A Time of Polar Opposites

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It is a time of things old,

A time of things new;

It is a time of grey skies,

And a time of skies blue.

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It is a time of gradual beginnings,

A time of abrupt endings;

It is a time of knowing to be bold

And a time of self-surrendering.

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It is a time of dreams come true,

A time of hopes and lives destroyed;

It is a time of scientific admiration,

And a time of environment annoyed.

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It is a time of spontaneous bursts of love,

A time of inexplicable impulsive hate;

It is a time of refusing to submit to reality,

And a time of embracing what brings fate.

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It is a time of promising failures,

A time of unfortunate successes;

It is a time of lack of resources,

And a time of cruel excesses.

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It is a time of needless luxuries,

A time of great need;

It is a time of loving charity,

And a time of ruthless greed.

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It is a time of deep fulfillment,

A time of endless longing;

It is a time of painful alienation,

And a time of finally belonging.

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It is a time of times light,

A time of times dark;

It is a time of deadened hearts,

And a time of souls sparked.

~

It is, alas,

A time of polar opposites;

And we must strive to grow, love and flourish,

Somehow, inside of it.

And God knows Best.

-A.S.

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The Critic and the Doer

The Critic and the Doer

“It is not the critic who counts;
not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles,
or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.

The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena,
whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood;
who strives valiantly;
who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming;
but who does actually strive to do the deeds;
who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions;
who spends himself in a worthy cause;
who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement,
and who at the worst, if he fails,
at least fails while daring greatly,
so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls
who neither know victory nor defeat.”

(Theodore Roosevelt)

3 Types of People

*I know this blog post might make very little sense on a general level. On a personal level, though, it is everything.

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Of the many kinds of people one can meet, I have most often encountered three types of people in my life:

a) Those with a backbone (self-made)

b) Those with a semi-backbone (tentative)

c) Those without a backbone at all (moldable)

 

TYPE A

These people have made great men and women of themselves against all odds. Now I am not talking about famous people that have made it into history books– I’m talking about individuals I know, be they family or friends or even merely someone I’ve heard of. These people who either lacked (some very simple examples) money, parental support, access to proper education resources, got bullied in school, or disadvantaged in any other way— and yet they defied every social assumption of being miserable and rose above what they were. If they were ignorant, they acknowledged it and sought out the knowledge; if they were financially limited, they were proactive and did not expect the money to grow on trees; if they lacked parental support, they did not lose all sense of morality and lose themselves in the vain pleasures of this world, but rather self-disciplined themselves and raised themselves better than any parent could.

There are so many more examples besides the ones I have just presented, but I think you get my point. These self-made individuals, in all cases, sought God’s help and had both hope in His mercy and fear (taqwa) of Him. These people are my role models and everyone I look up to, every single person, has in some way overcome difficult obstacles in their lives and risen above what they might have ever deemed possible.

 The fascinating thing about these people is that they are not always successful– they fail quite often. But they learn from their failures and refuse to let it define them. They live life– not let life outlive them.

These people, in short, have a backbone.

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TYPE B

These people want to be great. In fact, these people look up to people of Type A, so they have their sense of priority figured out! However, Type B people want what they don’t work for– or rather, they just can’t bring themselves to work it. Procrastinators on a general than rare-exceptional level. These people may put the intention to work very hard for a specific goal, and may indeed aim pretty high– but then at the very tip of the finish line, at the very bare minimum, they give up and settle for the mediocre. They succeed, but only on a passing level– and yet if they put in their all, they can truly become something great.

The problem with these people are, they don’t have full trust in God– at least not always. When they remember Him they strive and strive, but in moments of forgetfulness, they give up, and sometimes lose hope in whatever endeavor they were working towards and hence never continue in its path. Instead they’ll seek something easier, something less tiresome but less worth it, and settle for the least.

There is still hope for people of Type B people to become self-made… but only if they develop an intense desire to achieve excellence and do things with ihsan. Otherwise, they will be stuck in this hole that most of society is content to be in, because it doesn’t realize it’s in it.

 The fascinating thing about these people are, they can easily be re-directed in the right direction. They just need a little (friendly) push, a word of encouragement, and purifying of intentions. All is not lost if you are a Type B person.

Your backbone is not born yet… Just be patient and you’ll grow a backbone!

But now… 

Type C

I don’t often run into these people, and when I do, I run the other way as soon as I can. These people are the very opposite of Type A except in one regard of the ‘final prize’. You see, just as Type A aims for the best, so does Type C. The difference?

Type A actually seeks God’s help while taking full means to achieve whatever reward is in store for them.

Type C, on the other hand, may or may not seek God’s help; but whether they do or not– they will not lift a finger to make their dreams come true.

Type C people are usually lazy, boring, lack personality and are easily mold-able depending on what they think society expects of them. Somehow they think the best of both worlds is owed to them. Type C folk believe that they are naturally special people who don’t have to do any self-development– yet still, miraculously. expect the best of everything to come their way. They either passively wait for destiny to sweep them off their feet while steadily becoming a potato in front of the TV, or they ask someone to do the work for them.

But time passes and Type C soon wonders, how come I’m not getting as much as Type B or Type A? What’s wrong with me? They’ll fail to realize it’s their lack of taking initiative, their passivity, their reactiveness instead of proactiveness, that is leading to their doom. Maybe when they hit their third or fourth decade of life, they might start seriously questioning their lives. But then this would lead to self-blame, and it’s easier to point the finger of blame at someone else instead.

The fascinating thing about Type C people is that they have extremely high expectations of everything and everyone around them– but none of themselves. They expect the world to be at the service of their feet, but they can’t even serve themselves, let alone serve others in return.

 These people, in short, do not have a backbone. They rely on others that do to give them their prizes so they can feel they do.

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However, it’s never too late to be a Type B or Type A– but it will be just much harder and take a lot of sincere effort.

I know many Type B people and a few Type A– but alhamdulileh, praise be to God, many Type B people I know have realized their traps and are actively working their way to Type A. But sadly, and frustratingly, I’m increasingly meeting Type C people these days… I try to avoid them like the plague, because everything about their presence de-motivates and un-inspires.

I pray I, and you, and she, and he, and we can all be members of Type A: people who will make a difference, beginning with ourselves. Only with that can there be any hope be of, inevitably, changing the world.

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And Allah knows best. ~

— A.S.