Islamic Voice A Monthly English Magazine

SAFAR
- RABI-UL-AWWAL 
1425 H
APRIL
2004
Volume 17-0
4 No : 208
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Criticism is Counter - Productive
Winning Encounters Through Silence

Criticism is Counter - Productive

Much energy is spent by the members of different Muslim sects, in criticizing the policies, methods and members of other sects

By Shahnawaz Khan

There is none among us who has never Criticized others. Most of us do it behind the backs of whoever they criticize and some of us have the courage or strength to say it upfront and openly. Whatever the method, it is most definitely counter-productive. Very few people can appreciate criticism and hence we should refrain from it, unless invited by the concerned person to do so. Even then, it is most important to use restrain, criticize constructively, use the correct language and tone of voice.

Much energy is spent by the members of different Muslim sects, in criticizing the policies, methods and members of other sects. For some people, criticism has become a second language, and they spend a lot of energy, effort and time finding faults with one and all. I am sure most of us have come across such people somewhere in our lives. Ask yourself, "Have I made any friends by criticizing them". Those who listen to you, will always think "This person must be saying the same things about me, to others". No one will want to trust you with their intimate thoughts, as they will feel that you will misuse this information to talk bad about them in front of others.

There are two things about Criticism which I would like to point out. Firstly, we can rarely win over another person or sect, simply by criticism. If we hope to reform our children, our friend or relative, we cannot hope to do that by talking endlessly about the wrong things that he/she is doing, and push his head deeper into the mud. It will only make the person more rebellious and do exactly what we condemn him for.

Secondly, criticism means, we are spending more time thinking about the bad things in the person or sect. This will have an effect on us. The more we talk about bad things, the more chances are, we will find it in ourselves and in those around us. Let us not spend our precious time, thinking about the faults in others. Instead spend more time thinking about the good things, about progress, about ideal character and the work of Allah. Remember, children pick our habits instinctively and without our knowledge. They will learn that it is acceptable to criticize others and tomorrow you, yourself can become the object of their criticism. I am sure no one wants that to happen, yet we cannot see that, it is we ourselves who have taught them how to do it.

There are many scientific methods, which teach us how to talk constructively about others. Instead of condemning the person himself, talk to him about his habit. Tell him, "You are a good person, but your habit of Lying is bad". Separate the problem from the person. Literally.

The writer can be reached at mnfarms02@vsnl.net

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That's Life

Winning Encounters Through Silence

Silence in emotional turmoil is a soothing balm. It is a healing for all ailments.

By S.P. Kewal

Life is no longer a journey into beauty and pleasure. In the complex world of today, the struggle for existence has become very acute. The rivalry to win in life are played out most viciously. Challenges track us, and encounters are in ambush, unexpected hostile situations clamour for a duel, wherever we go. We shiver in our boots and cry for a way out. Thus tranquility becomes the first casuality because we don't know how to fight in silence. But do the people understand the language of silence? Noted thinker Elbert Hubbard says that "he who does not understand your silence will probably not understand your words". Caryle writes in his book Heroes and Hero-Worship that silence is more eloquent than words.

Does being fully engaged in one's favourite activity makes a person really happy and successful if he all the time shrills and screams? Does a combative personality hold out a promise for greater achievements in life? Such people think they can get their work done if they keep people around in constant terror through shouting and screaming. To be aggressive in behaviour, arrogant in manners and harsh in language is a manifestation of savagery. You cannot always remain oblivious to such things. Fight back? No, keep your calm. You just can't make a hawk sing like a dove. Moreover, you can't always control the external events, but you can control your attitude towards them. Your strength is your silence. Poet Sadi in the Gulistan says, "A man of virtue, judgement, and prudence speaks not until there is silence."

Finding oneself faced by danger, difficulties, sudden outburst or an explosion of anger,; one shouldn't react quickly. Take a careless posture while encountering an unpleasant situation. It does not mean that one should go through life with apologetic steps. But choose your words carefully, and be ready to give answer to anyone who seeks questions. Of the best society it used to be said, "their speech instructs the mind, and their silence the feelings". Noted French novelist Camu says that "life is meaningless, but we give meanings to it through sensible activities." It is possible only when you make your struggle silence-based. English poet R L Stevenson is of the opinion that it is not always possible to translate all your plans and projects into reality, sometimes a genuine failure is better than a fake success. When a sense of defeat stings you because someone else has stolen march upon you, close your eyes and pray: "Even though I grumble and bemoan my fate from day to day, and wish my circumstances were not quite modest, thankyou lord for the gift of a peaceful life.

Not only mundane affairs, but dreams and fantasies can also turn into a monster-like challenge that shakes your emotional life. In a moment of ecstasy, you weave your dreams around someone. You like to be liked. You want to be wanted. You love to b e loved. But possibilities of deceptions in life cannot be ruled out. Your dreams are shattered, because association has ended in a let down. You look around for something to slit your throat because pain has become unbearable and it has gone into your soul. Sir Walter Raleigh in The Silent Lovers suggests that silence in emotional turmoil is a soothing balm. It is a healing for all ailments. If challenge is simple, observe silence. But if it is grave one, observe frostly silence. The storm will blow over.

It is beautiful to be famous. It is glorious to be rich. It is heavenly to be loved. But before you venture on a perilous journey, you had better wear an armour of silence. It will surely protect you from the onslaught of nasty encounters. It is a sure recipe to win the day.

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News Community Roundup Editorial Letters to the Editor Exclusive Making Difference Open House Trends Debate People Track Community Development Men, Missions and Machines Children's Corner Just for the Young Muslim Perspectives Quran Speaks to You Hadith Reflections Question Hour - Dr. Zakir Naik Religion Quran and Science Guidelines Women in Islam Muslims and Cyberspace Back to the Past Harmony Journey to Islam Job Hunt Matrimonial
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