One may become engrossed in the work one does, the purpose of which is simply accepted-or accepted through the leadership that initiated a project and then became stultified in the process. Indeed, the work itself becomes an object of worship in one's outlook; so much so, it does not leave room for any other viewpoint, unless it be in agreement with that of the leadership. The consequence is that people may distance themselves, perhaps in the hope of benefiting from new developments under another leadership.
This may occur, too, if the obsession in the initial stages of the project makes it seem that the other stages necessarily depend on previous ones; that they could cause revision because of new developments in the data, changes, and new efforts that bring to light the errors of past endeavors. As such, we see that many Islamic movements have become frozen in their sanctifying, at the first stage, of things that need no such consecration. This is because there is a difference between respecting a person or a stage, in the light of the factors which call for such respect-whether they be intellectual or in terms of work done-and hallowing this person and his position far beyond what he actually deserves.
Such sanctification is the obsession with a particular personality or stage; it makes you lose your clarity about the stage, or what you will encounter in the future.
Therefore, I feel that the time of action may be important in the normal course of experimentation. But it may become a negative element when transformed to a state of frozenness, among the other elements of the undertaking. In this state, an experiment limited to viewing this person, who has become recognized in the movement he started, now becomes so far-reaching that its influence is sought on every subsequent development.
We may feel that some of those involved in movements should retire to open the opportunity to new people in the movement. I do not mean by this that the previous elements of the movement should be abandoned. I state that the old elements may live in the past in a way that makes it difficult for the Islamic movement to develop people.
If the old elements see that they now have experience, and that surrendering the leadership to new elements represents a foolhardy venture, from an intellectual or functional viewpoint, then this may create a new negative issue. This means that the second and third ranks of those involved in the movement will remain in a state of self-sufficiency but with a sense of failing. This will cause the old elements to be in a position whence they are unable to extend support, since their abilities do not permit this. Or, because their minds are not in accord with the new reality in which new growth have sprouted. Or, one may work on the foundation for entering a development which had not been considered in terms of the changes, because they do not possess all the factors that undergo this test.
Along with this problem, the old activists may open the opportunity for the new people through mentorship and, at some time, providing names until the new elements become part of the established hierarchy. In this way, they may hand over the movement, probably with new initiative, new strength, new elements-especially if we realize that many historical activists may be afflicted by weariness, which may cause them to display intellectual and political fatigue. In this way, they participate in restricting the movement, wishing for the movement to remain limited to their spent resources. And so, without knowing it, they thrust the movement towards failure and conclusion.
This is one issue. Another is the sanctified glorification of the historical leadership of the movement, intellectually or politically. This unconsciously suggests that development has reached a level beyond which there is no room for further progress. It may cause a mental struggle against every new idea, on the grounds that such an idea is different from the concepts cherished by a hallowed leadership or a hallowed stage.
There is a difference between respecting those who had initiated the movement and giving them absolute sanctification. The latter makes idol worshippers of activists; whereas respect changes them into people who welcome strength in the interest of newer, more vigorous elements for the future.
Addendum of Narrations (4)
- Imam Ali said: "Issues are by experiment and test, and deeds are by experience."
- He also said: "Experience provides beneficial knowledge."
- He said: "He who has little experience has been misled, and he who has much experience has been made less inattentive."
- He said: "Experience is the best disciplinarian."
- He said: "To learn from experience is the highest of intellect."
- Imam Ali said in the last portion of his counsel: "I exhort you to fear God and to look at your affairs."
- He also said, "You must stick to the rope and bond of God, be from the party of God and His Prophet, observe the covenant of God and its hold on you, for Islam began as a stranger, and shall return to being a stranger."
- He also said, "Would it make you happy to belong to the victorious party of God? Fear God [Exalted] in all your affairs, for certainly God is with those who fear Him, and those who do good."
- On the authority of al-Imam al-Sadiq, from the Messenger of God: "There are two groups from my umma-if they are righteous, the whole umma will be righteous, and if they are corrupt, then the whole umma will be corrupt." He was asked, "O Messenger of God, who are these two?" He said, "The jurists and the rulers."
- On the authority of al-Sadiq: "The learned of his time are not stumped by confusion."
- And from the Messenger: "Whoever rises and does not concern himself with the affairs of the Muslims is not a Muslim."
- Ali, al-Amir al Mu'minin, said: "The weakness in politics of those in authority is their ruin."
- He also said, "Governance is politics."
- He said: "Who is deficient in politics is deficient in governance."
- He said, "The best guide to expanding the intellect is to estimate things positively."
- He said, "Justice is the best politician."
- He said, "The best politics is justice."
- He said, "Woe to tyrannical policy."
- He said, "The fundamental requirement of politics is justice."
- He said, "The politics of the just lies in three things: He is gentle in firmness, meticulous in justice, and best in intentions."
- He said, "The essence of politics is to give friendship."
- He said, "Kindness blunts the sharpness of disagreement."
- He said, "If you rule, be kind."
- He said, "Patience is the best of politics."
- He said, "Controlling the self is the best politics, and leadership with knowledge is the best leadership."
Themes V - Our Youth ... The Shariah View