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THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS SEPTEMBER 1984 t GUIDE POSTS NO.3 *n (Bashir Ahmad Orchard) MAGNANIMITY A magnanimous person is one who is benevolent, large-hearted, courteous, chivalrous, good minded, generous, helpful and compas- sionate. No one was ever more magnanimous than the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be on him). He and his followers were subjected to bitter persecution for ten years by the idolatrous Meccans. They were abused, boycotted, tortured and even killed. The situation became so intolerable that they were all compelled to migrate for sanc- tuary to the town of Medina where they were favorably received. The Prophet yearned for the time when he would be able to return to the holy city of Mecca; but he had to wait a further ten years before his desire was fulfilled. He was accompanied by ten thousand converts to Islam and it was within his power to take the city by storm and wreak vengeance on his erstwhile persecutors but, on the contrary, he issued specific instructions that there should be no fighting or killing. The Meccans were at his mercy but much to their surprise and relief he forgave them for their past enormities. Many of them were so impressed by his gracious magnanimity that they accepted Islam with open hearts. Magnanimity was also a trait displayed constantly by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad—the Promised Messiah and Holy Founder of the Ahmadiyya Community in Islam (1835-1908). A false and groundless charge of abetment of murder was filed against him by his opponents in 1897 from which he was honorably acquitted. The magistrate told him that he had a right to prosecute the false wit- nesses but he replied that he had no wish to do so and forgave them. Perhaps there has been no Muslim ruler since the time of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, peace be on him, who has been more lauded for his magnanimity than Saladin who ended the Christian supremacy in Palestine during the wars of the Crusades. It has been written of him: SEPTEMBER 1984 6UIDEPOSTS “This man never once violated a treaty, broke his word, refused clemency when he considered it warranted. He was more gallant, more chivalrous and sincere than the Western Kings and barons who rode against him in the second and third crusades. He was also a better warrior. During his life time there was no man equal to him in the breadth, scope and depth of his honor and vision.” (Saladin—A Man For All Ages, by L. Paine.) He himself declared: “I have become as great as I am because I have won the hearts of men by gentleness and kindness. Never nourished ill-feeling towads any man, for death spares none.” (Ibid) How many of us can say we have never nourished ill-feeling towards another person? Magnanimity and rancour cannot go hand in hand. Resentment, jealousy, suspicion, prejudice, backbiting and all other bitter feelings poison the mind, body and soul. They are the source ojf hatred, strife and disharmony. The Quran warns us: “Leave not in our hearts any rancour against those -who believe”. (59:11) Blessed is he whose heart is free of all rancour for such a one tastes the peace and blessings of paradise: “Verily the righteous will be placed amidst gardens and fountains (paradise). Enter therein with peace and safety. And we shall remove whatever of rancour may be in their breasts so that they may become as brothers seated on thrones facing one another.” (15:45-48) How significant are the words of Hazrat Mirza Nasir Ahmad: “Love for all — Hatred for none”. Goodness of heart characterizes the magnanimous person who does not display evidence of rancour hi his make-up. He endeavors to pro- ject a bright and positive attitude in his relationship towards others. The following counsels have been given by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad: “Fling aside your resentment and malice which springs from worldly and selfish desires.” “Forget all mutual resentment and unpleasantness.” “I say that you should overlook the faults of others.” “Forsake all kinds of low mean hostilities and jealousies.” “A true Muslim never harbors malice for anyone.” Spit out all the turmoil of low emotions, anger and resentment.” THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS SEPTEMBER 1984 “We should always connive at the faults of our friends, no mat- ter however serious they may be.” Every one of the foregoing maxims is a nourishing morsel which we would be wise to digest and absorb into our personalities. Other- wise we shall never enjoy peace of mind in this world and, perhaps, not for a long time even in the life to come, because the soul is colored by the state of mind. Magnanimous and charitable thoughts brighten the soul while it is clouded and darkened by rancourous thoughts. What a pleasant tribute has been paid to Abraham Lincoln—one time President of the United States of America: “His heart was as big as the world, but it had no room in it for the memory of a wrong.” More than two thousand years ago the Philosopher Aristotle listed some of the characteristics of the Magnanimous Man: “He is reticent,. and somewhat slow of speech, but speaks his mind openly and boldly when occasion calls for it. He overlooks injuries. He is not given to talk about himself or about others; for he does not care that he himself should be praised, or that other people should be blamed. He does not cry out about trifles, and craves help from no one.” Quarreling is extremely distasteful to the magnanimous person. It is not in his nature to quarrel but being human he may have his lapses in which case he severely checks himself and resolves to watch himself more carefully in the future. He is, in fact, the well wisher of all and bears no ill-will or grudges to others for he realizes: There isn’t much point in nursing a grudge, For the one who will suffer is you: It clouds all the sunbeams that make Life worthwhile. And blights every happiness too. So bury it as deep as you possibly can, Dig with a smile on your face, And you’ll find where that grudge used To rankle and burn, A flower will grow in its place. Let us bear in mind that it is a good heart that bears no ill but a better one that thinks none.

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