ON the invitation of the father, a newly married son joined him at the breakfast table on the second day of his marriage along with his bride. The father first congratulated the couple on the start of this new phase in life and then desired to share some of the fundamentals of life.
He said: “Nature has awarded a great many gifts to all human beings. Among them, four are core fundamentals and ought to be protected at all times. If protected and monitored throughout our life, this will lead to success, prosperity and happiness. By protecting these fundamentals, one can have a peaceful, quality life which all of us deserve.”
This fatherly counsel is relevant for all of us, so it is shared. The following is what was advised. The first fundamental relates to faith. We are born in a family and inherit the family’s faith.
This consists of religious traditions and ethical values. If one is sincere in upholding one’s faith, he or she will find the courage to endure hardships, face challenges, surmount difficulties and turn the latter into opportunities. Thus faith is a great gift of nature and needs to be made a part of life. Without faith, a person’s life is like a kite flying in the air with its string cut, and without a destination.
Faith is a gift of nature and must be made a part of life.
Life is not smooth all the time; it has bumps and upheavals. However, if taken positively, it gives endless opportunities to learn; in fact, the more difficult the situation, the greater the learning process. Satan is the biggest enemy of faith which has been mentioned time and again in the Quran.
The second fundamental gift is a person’s health. Each one of us should be indebted to nature for rewarding us with sound health, which includes bodily fitness as well as emotional, psychological and spiritual well-being. Sound health makes one’s life active, fulfils dreams, plans and helps our vision materialise. Without health, no one can visualise a happy and prosperous life. In other words, life becomes extremely difficult if one’s health has deteriorated.
An unhealthy person remains dependent on others. His mind remains obsessed with his constant pain and agony. Therefore, each one of us needs to monitor and nourish our health throughout life. The Holy Quran says “…O’ you who believe! Take care of your own selves (5:105).”
The third fundamental requirement for every person is to secure his or her livelihood. Whether one is engaged in manual labour or a blue-collar job, or in a profession, business, working with hands or mind, each one of us is supposed to protect our livelihood. Unemployment, job loss and economic dislocation make a person a pariah in society. Job loss leads to more perplexity. Therefore, whatever means of income one is engaged in, it must be protected as far as possible.
Some people fail to protect their livelihood; they quarrel, get dismissed in the process and then face a terrible situation. Usually, an unemployed person remains unhappy and dejected as his pocket is empty, his stomach hungry, his heart depressed and mind worried. Therefore, it is a fundamental of life to protect our livelihood. This does not mean that one should not think or look towards upward progress or promotion. This should be our aim and we must strive for enhancement, but within ethical parameters.
The fourth and final fundamental relates to family. With marriage, we build our family and work for its growth and development. Family is like a strong embankment in the face of outside pressure. It supports a person in the thick and thin of life. The life of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) is a shining example of family support. When he started his mission of preaching Islam, the people of his native city became hostile and opposed his mission tooth and nail. But the Holy Prophet was unfazed at this moment of difficulty, as his immediate family was all supportive. His wife Hazrat Bibi Khadijah was particularly supportive, with the blessing of Allah, thus the Makkans were not able to harm him despite their efforts.
Similarly, each one of us should make his or her family strong and supportive. Though the relationship among family members can come under stress due to modern lifestyles, with love and affection one can make the family a fortress. The art of compromise and give and take is an essential component of life. In case of rigidity and inflexibility, the family breaks up. This creates a terrible situation for all the members of family but the children suffer the most.
The desire for a good-quality life exists in every mind and heart but the key to this lies in ensuring protection of these fundamentals. Those who are aware of its importance and protection lead a happy life.
The writer is an educationist with an interest in religion.
Published in Dawn, March 9th, 2018