Guide Posts

Guide Posts SELF CONTROL (Bashir Ahmad Orchard) “He is most powerful who has power over himself.” (Seneca). Reaching for the moon with outstretched arms will never bring that luminous satellite within man’s grasp. Great laws of the universe have to be understood and mastered before the spacecraft can be built, launched and ejected into the depths of outer space on its speedy and silent journey to the moon bearing with it its load of scientific instruments and crew of astronauts for bringing that orb within the dominion of man. God is not prepared to fulfill the desires and dreams of man by miraculusly transporting him in the twinkling of an eye from the fertile landscape of the earth to the barren surface of the moon. He has, however, gifted man with intelligence and enabled him through diligent study, observation and experiment to discover and comprehend certain scientific laws enabling him, thereby, to achieve his goal — the conquest of the moon. There are also spiritual laws which if recognised and observed can transport man from this mundane world to the blissful realm of heaven; but man must take the initiative if he wishes to succeed in this spiritual conquest, bearing in mind that God helps those who help themselves. Just as the successful flight of the spacecraft is dependent upon the control centre which directs its multifarious operations so does the spiritual flight of man depend upon that inner quality — self-control. Serf-control is the underlying factor which marks the character of man’s conduct. It is the directing influence in character building and should therefore receive intent cultivation and maintenance. The power lies within man to elevate his character to almost limitless heights. He possesses the master-key but his progress or retrogression depends largely upon himself. True, all power rests with God but He helps those who help themselves: “But I will write of him who fights And vanquishes his sins, Who struggles on through weary years Against himself and WINS.” (Caroline Le Row). GUIDE POSTS 3 The object of existence is self-purification: ‘Verily he truly prospers who purifies himself.’ (87:15). A true believer yearns to find divine protection in the lap of God where he is no longer influenced by the power of Satan. The upward climb to this holy sanctuary requires self exertion and the assisting hand of God which He is ever ready to offer to those who strive to reach Him. The Islamic way of life is a disciplined one calling for obedience, endeavour and constant watchfulness; and the backbone of discipline is self-control. The spiritual rife of a Muslim should be a progressive one; and the greater the measure of self-control he cultivates the greater will be his progress; for this quality is indeed the balance wheel of life by which the whole character and conduct of a man is effected for the better or the worse. Study the lives of the Prophets, saints and holy men of God and it will be seen to what great extent self-control was the directing power contributing to their spiritual poise and charm. Self-control governed every act, word and movement of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (may peace be on him) ..He never swerved from his path of duty and exercised the utmost patience under the severest hardships and provocations. He was the embodiment of charm, patience, forbearance, truthfulness, honesty, courage, justice and all the other noble virtues of Islam. He was indeed •—• as Hazrat Ayesha declared — an embodiment of the Holy Quran. The life and character of the Promised Messiah — Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the Holy Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement — was also spiritually poised and a delightful exhibition of perfect self control. Nothing ruffled his composure though no other man in his time was ever more abused and misrepresented; and the responsibilities on his shoulders were immense. He placed complete reliance on God and had absolute confidence in the ultimate success of his mission. He was not disturbed by temporary setbacks; nor was he ever inflamed by the enmity and derision of his opponents. He said: “The feeling of mercy is influx in my heart and I have reduced the feeling of resentment and anger in my mental attitude.” (Reported by Maulvi Abdul Karim). Within ourselves we are but our own commanders. God has provided us with the guidance, given us the tools with which to forge our characters, and the promise of His help. It is for us to take command of ourselves, resist the forces of Satan, purify ourselves through righteous behaviour and constantly seek the help of God through prayer. This is the great task we have to tackle 4 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS “Everyone who looks down upon a brother because he esteems himself more learned, wiser or more proficient than him is arrogant inasmuch as he does not esteem God as the Fountainhead of all intelligence and knowledge and deems himself as something. Has God not got the power to afflict him with lunacy and to bestow upon his brother whom he considers small better intelligence, knowledge and higher proficiency than him? So also he who, out of a mistaken conception of his wealth, status or dignity, looks down upon his brother, is arrogant because he forgets that his wealth, status and dignity were bestowed upon him by God.” “He who does not listen courteously to his brother and turns away from him partakes of arrogance. He who mocks and laughs at him who is occupied in prayer partakes of arrogance. He who does not seek to render full obedience’ to a commissioned one and Messenger of God partakes of arrogance. He who does not pay full attention to the directions of such a one and does not study his writings with care also partakes of arrogance. Try, therefore, that you should not partake of arrogance in any respect so that you may escape ruin and you and yours may attain salvation. Lean towards God and love Him to the utmost degree possible and fear Him as much as anyone can be feared in this life. Be pure-hearted and pure intentioned, meek and humble and free of all mischief so that you may receive mercy.” What does humility require of us? We should attribute nothing to ouselves except the wrong which we commit. We should know full well that the source of all blessings is God — the Helper, Sustainer and Creator of the Universe. Prayerfully we should animate ourselves with the life of holiness and do nothing for the sake of self-esteem or praise but only for the glory of God; and always in a spirit of humble gratitude for the blessings and favours He bestows upon us.