Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Spear and shield

There's centuries old Chinese story about a man trying to sell a spear and a shield. When asked how good his spear was, he said that his spear could pierce any shield. Then, when asked how good his shield was, he said that his spear could defend from all spear attacks. Then one person asked him what would happen if he were to take his spear to strike his shield; the seller could not answer. This lead to a paradox, "What happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object?"

I want to look at this paradox from a personal angle, in terms of challenges in everything we do, and confronting the myriad obstacles of life. I believe that- within this worldly plane and subject only to Allah's decree- the human will triumphs over all. I can become either the unstoppable force or the immovable object.

Unstoppable Force.Try it. When faced with a challenge, be the unstoppable force. Don't give up, no matter what. If one approach does not work, try another. Ignore those who tell you that what you're doing is impossible. Learn from failure and try again. When the road is dark, ask ALLAH for guidance and feel your way forward. When you want something, become the unstoppable force. Keep moving toward your goal.

Immovable Object.When you feel like you are under attack, become the immovable object. Root yourself like a mountain. Whether you are under attack for your faith, or being criticized for making life choices that others do not understand, hold your ground and do not yield an inch, as long as you are in ALLAH's path.

When the Prophet Muhammad SAW began preaching in Makkah, the people were idol worshippers. The Prophet used to go to the Ka'bah and preach the idea of "Laa ilaha-il-Allah". There is no god but God. In other words no idol is worthy of worship, Only God.

Because of this preaching the Quraysh persecuted him relentlessly. And yet he persisted, gaining followers, until the Quraysh became desperate.They met Muhammad SAW , and offered to make him king of Quraysh, and to bestow great wealth on him, on the condition that he stop the preaching. He replied, "...if they should put the sun on my right hand and the moon on my left, even then I shall not abandon the proclamation of the Unity of God. I shall set up the true faith upon the earth or perish in the attempt."

ALLAHU Akbar! That is the immovable object! I will not detail the extreme suffering that was imposed upon the Prophet Muhammad SAW and his family after that; the economic boycott, the assassination attempts and the wars against the Muslim; suffice it to say that Islam persisted and grew until it became the dominant religion of the world. All because one man was unstoppable and immovable.

Adapted from Wael Abdelgawad,

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