An aalim shared an experience whilst sitting in the company of Ārif Billāh Hazrat Moulana Shah Hakeem Muhammad Akhtar Sahib رحمه الله; a brother dropped a tumbler which resulted in water being spilt across the Dastarkhān (tablecloth). Upon hearing the disturbance, Hazrat Hakeem Sahib رحمه الله asked; “What happened?” Someone responded; “The glass fell.” Hazrat Hakeem Sahib رحمه الله thereafter posed the question; “Did the glass fall on its own?” In correcting the disciple, Hazrat Hakeem Sahib رحمه الله advised; “Learn to take responsibility for your actions. Say: ‘I dropped the glass.'”
This is a great lesson for everyone in that Hazrat Hakeem Sahib رحمه الله was bringing our attention to the need to bear the responsibility of whatever we do. Until and unless we do not take responsibility for our actions, our islah (reformation) will not take place. Unfortunately, we don’t, rather we don’t want to take responsibility for our actions. At times, we refuse to acknowledge our wrongs or there may be some weakness in us which causes us to be in denial. There are people who are addicted to alcohol, substance abuse, gambling, adultery and a host of other evils but if the problems are acknowledged and assistance sought; the issues can be rectified. If an individual is ill but he does not acknowledge the severity of his illness, the illness becomes worse. Similarly, if one is spiritually diseased but he says that he doesn’t have a problem, this makes islah (reformation) very difficult. Acknowledgement of the problem is a sign of progress and when one goes to a spiritual mentor to rectify the malady; a cure will be achieved proportionate to the commitment and courage of the Saalik (seeker of Allah Ta’ala جل جلاله).
In most instances, if there is an argument between the husband and wife, the husband will apportion the blame to the wife and the wife will blame the husband. Can we not reflect for a few moments and with sincere hearts say; “I am to blame. I am the problem.” Due to the fact that we are not prepared to take responsibility, we blame others – the result is that the problem becomes worse. Another weakness in people is that if anything goes wrong, we are quick in blaming others whereas if anything goes right, we desire to take credit. This is a common spiritual illness which can cause havoc in the spiritual path. This attitude of playing the blame game is indicative of pride.
If we will assume responsibility, there will most certainly be the need to adopt and display humility. But contrary to our perceptions, acknowledgement will result in the enhancement of our respect and reputation in the hearts of others. It is essential for us to resist the advances of Shaitān and the treachery of the Nafs; adopt determination and display good character. If we are going to forgive, overlook the faults of others, stay away from arguments and open the door of reconciliation; Allah Ta’ala جل جلاله will cause unity, mutual love and happiness in our lives. Allah Ta’ala جل جلاله says in the Kalaamullāh:
ولا تستوى الحسنة ولا السيئة. ادفع بالتي هي احسن فإذا الذي بينك وبينه عداوة كأنه ولي حميم.
‘The good deed and the evil deed cannot be equal. Repel (the evil) with that which is better (to be patient, forgive, etc), then verily, he between whom and you there was enmity, (will become) as though he was a close friend.’
(Surah Fussilāt 41:34)
Success can only be attained through displaying good character and observing the demands of social etiquettes.