Wednesday, 25 January 2012

The archer

A young archer, hoping to improve his skills decided to enter an archery competition. In preparation for that day, he trained meticulously and prepared his best bow and arrow.
Although he had done everything he could, the young archer couldn’t help but feel intimidated by the more established archers. They were so confident, their shots so precise, and their names were etched on the wall of fame.
When his turn came, he went to the field heads down, his hand and feet trembling. But still, the young archer raised his bow, knocked an arrow took aim, and shoot. His first shot went wide and missed the target altogether. The spectators laughed.
The young archer ignored them. He knocked another arrow, took aim and shot his second arrow. THUD his shot struck the target. A good shot, but not perfect. Again he aimed and shot, and this time his shot hit the bulls-eye. Again and again, until the last arrow, he aimed and he shot. Sometimes his shots were good, sometimes not so much, but aim and shoot he did to the best of his abilities.
The reigning champion came up after the young archer, proud and confident. He took his stance, aimed…but he never took the shot. Overcome by anxiety borne from his expectation to achieve perfection, the champion forfeited; and he didn’t even take the shot.
Our novice young archer didn’t get first spot, but he did much better than the forfeit-er who didn't even try.
  1. It is not enough to prepare, and aim – you must shoot!
  2. It is not enough to have a goal, and prepare yourself for it. After doing all that, REALLY go for it! If you don’t ‘shoot’, you will never know what you can achieve.
  3. We have a goal, and we have prepared ourselves all we can. We take aim, and we shoot. Our shot may be good, it may be not-so-good, or it may be totally horrible. If it is horrible then try again. Again and again, relentlessly without giving up, and maybe eventually we will hit the bulls-eye. If we don’t try, we won’t find out no?
  4. Sometimes we may get what we aim for – we may hit the bulls-eye. But we won’t be hitting a bulls-eye every time, because we are HUMANS. Imperfect, and not infallible. Sometimes we succeed, sometimes we don’t. We will get to feel all that experience if we take the shot – if we DO.
  5. Don’t be afraid to do something that you THINK you may do badly in. Doing badly is better than doing nothing I think, no? Maybe if you continue to try, you will hit something. If you don’t even try, you won’t EVER achieve anything.    

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

The story of two mountaineers

Two mountaineers wanted to conquer the ‘Peak of the World’. The first mountaineer began his training many months before the real climb. He started off by climbing easier mountains and when he had conquered those, he moved on to more difficult ones. One mountain after the other, he improved his stamina, strength and mental endurance, until finally he was as prepared as ever could be to try for the ultimate challenge.

As for the second mountaineer, well, he could hardly be called that. He had read articles and watched documentaries about men and women who have succeeded in reaching the peak of Everest, and he thought to himself that seems kinda cool, I think I’m gonna try for it myself. He didn’t bother training for it like the first mountaineer. Maybe he read a bit about mountaineering here and there, liked a few related facebook pages and blogs, talked about it with a few friends, dreamed and imagined himself on the front cover of National Geographic, a picture of him at the Peak of the World and then – poof he thought that he was a mountaineer able enough to scale the highest mountain in the world.

The two mountaineers met at the base of Mount Everest… They met and parted there, because the second mountaineer didn’t have the strength to go more than a few steps before he gave up. So much for sweet dreams and feisty imaginations.


1.       If you want to go high, you are going to have to be able to go lower first. If you want to conquer a mountain, you are going to have to be able to conquer easier mountains before going for the harder ones. If you want to reach a grand ambition, you are going to have to be able to reach lesser things first…If you want to have the strength to give your life to Allah, you are going to have to at least be able to sacrifice lesser things for Him first.

2.       The hardships we face in life are out training; building on our patience, our willingness to sacrifice for Allah. Perchance, maybe when He Deems us ready and worthy, Allah Most Benevolent will offer us the opportunity to give our lives to Him. And then – by His Will – we will have the ‘strength’, ‘stamina’ and ‘mental endurance’ to climb that mountain and reach its peak. To die in the cause of Allah is our greatest ambition.

3.       Be patient in facing the trials of life. Know that every hardship – as is every enjoyment – is from Allah. Everything that He Does has a purpose, and if we are true to Him, He will not forsake us.

“Fighting is prescribed upon you, and ye dislike it. But it is possible that ye dislike a thing which is good for you, and that ye love a thing which is bad for you. But Allah Knoweth, and ye know not”
[Surah al-Baqarah 2 : 216]     

Sunday, 1 January 2012

The Curious Hunter

 Once there lived a hunter who loved to collect weapons. Long distance, short distance weapons, swords, daggers, maces, guns, machine guns, bazookas, tanks and jets. ‘All the more efficient to take down the hunt’, he would say, and collect weapons he did. The sight of his collection would make any animal tremble, and he was not poorly trained in their use either.

One fine day, the hunter decided that he wanted to hunt wolves. Winter was fast approaching and their pelts would keep him warm during the long nights. So off into the wilderness he went with a good many rifles, machine guns and a few bazookas just in case. Indeed he was a sight to be feared (or laughed at?).

His hunt though were not ones to fear men for they too were haunted by the long winter ahead, and a lone man with but his steels was game enough for their winter supply.

As the pack closed in on him, the hunter raised a rifle, took aim and…shot himself in the foot.

The wolves stopped their advance as the hunter cried out in pain; not because of the racket but because of the absurdity they just witnessed.

Next the hunter took out a hunting knife and…chopped off one of his own limbs. The wolves sat on their haunches and whined with puzzlement. What a weird human this one is, they thought.

As if that wasn’t enough, the hunter armed a machine gun and…maimed both of his legs.

Crippled and helpless, the hunter lay in a pool of his own blood and gore surrounded by a pack of hungry wolves – all the doings of his own hands.

The wolves stared at the hunter with bewilderment and curiosity. Then the alpha shrugged and resumed the hunt - massacre more likely. The wolves had a feast that night.

  1. Knowledge is useless unless you use it. If you collect and possess a lot of weapons, but you do not use them when they are needed, then it would be as if you do not have them – worse in fact because you actually DO have them. Similarly if you possess all the knowledge in the world but you do not practice and apply them, then they are but useless baggage. What use is having a gun in your hands if you do not pull the trigger when a wolf comes for your throat…
  2. Worse than useless is folly, and this is when one uses the resources at his disposal not for his own betterment but for his destruction. The Muslim Ummah is not short of resources – whether knowledge, funds or produces from the Earth. It would be almost impossible to deny the latter two, though the first may be contended. Our problem is that we use those very resources to destroy ourselves as the hunter maimed himself with his own weapons. And with that we present ourselves very nicely on silver platters to our enemies.
  3. The Muslim Ummah is as a single body. When one part is hurt, the whole body feels the pain. Being heedless of the pain is still within the realm of logic – the work of the anaesthetist mayhap – but to willingly harm oneself, that is inanity manifest. We (the Muslim Ummah) are hurt: in Palestine, in Somalia…even in ‘peaceful’ and ‘prosperous’ Malaysia. Our bellies and our enemies anaesthetise us from those pains so we do not notice as the injuries fester and spread. But the really weird one is that we willingly maim ourselves: in Syria, in Palestine, in Egypt and…even here at home (no?). While wolves come for our throat, we use our own guns to cripple ourselves (rather than shoot the obvious threat). What logic explains that!?
  4. Friend and foe. We mistake one for the other when we lose sight of our true GOAL. When we have veered off the straight, clear path that Rasulullah has shown us. Not an uncommon human error verily, yet one best corrected fast less our new crooked path destroys us – as the hunter shaped his own sorry end – and leads us to hellfire. Recall our original goal – ‘we seek naught but Allah’s Love and eternal Jannah by His Leave’.