“Some roosters believe the sun rises because of them” – German novelist Theodore Fontane (1819-1898).
Is it possible for a stream to grow and become a sea? I did not say; the ambition of a young person to grow and becoming sublime.
Let us say a stream wishes to become a sea, but it failed on planning how it can gradually achieve its wishes.
The stream flows on to cover a significant distance towards achieving its wish. However, due to lack of planning, it encounters a river. Naturally, the river refuses the stream’s attempt to grow and instead swallows it completely.
The stream’s ambition overstepped its nature and rendered it to destruction. It did not base its ambition on rational conviction; in fact, it forgot the concept of the river, which would not allow the stream to grow and affect its interests. Life in this world is based on various levels – social, economic and so on.
Naturally, the stream’s miscalculation in this aspect rendered its waters to dry up – neither did it remain in its natural state of pure sweet water nor did it achieve its ambition of becoming a sea. Such a stream is not worthy of any sympathy due to its irrational ambitions.
There are amazing manifestations in the story of the stream and its ambitions. It is focused on Machiavelli’s principle of “The end justifies the means”. Therefore, the stream depicts itself to be strong and able to expand but how unlikely it is for a stream to become a sea!
In a folk poem of the famous “Ali Al-Qahtani” a.k.a. “The Poet of Peninsula”, he described how impossible the materialization of the steam’s dream to become a sea is. In fact, he went on to give a metaphoric similitude in his amazing poem. He compared the unlikelihood of the stream becoming a sea to the unlikelihood of cotton becoming silk.
This is the main point of this article. Al-Qahtani described this situation in an amazing manner in his poem about the stream. He said, “The water in the stream, which intended to become a sea, dried up. It was no more because of its weak suicidal efforts. Did the stream ever wonder how silk can come from cotton?”.
An Arab Muslim jurist, theologian, ascetic, and Hadith traditionist Ahmad bin Hanbal (780 AD – 855 AD) once asked Hatim Al-Asam, another renowned Muslim scholar of his time, about how to be safe from people.
Al-Asam answered by saying, “Give them the money you have and do not take theirs. When they bother you, do not bother them back. Cater to their interests and do not make them cater to your interests”. Al-Hanbal responded by saying, “It is very difficult to do that”, and Al-Asam replied, “Being away from them is better”.
Be yourself and not like others. Have rational ambitions, not those which exceed your ability to achieve. Such kind of ambitions will destroy you and destroy whatever had been achieved by you before.
You are better off thousand times being the way you are than resembling others. Make sure that having ambitions and striving to achieve them has nothing to do with being yourself to others or what others have achieved.
Be ambitious! Create for yourself what suits you and not what suits others. It should be within your capabilities. Do not base your ambition on the capabilities of others because, while you are striving, the first one to step on you will be the one who claims to stand by you, at least most of the time.
By Yousef Awadh Al-Azmi