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Chapter 24. Motivating a Low Endeavor

If the defected endeavor is an established habit of the self, then no cure will have any effect on it. However if it is acquired as a result of accompanying those with low endeavor or because of  the predominance of the nature or desires, then its cure is attainable through many ways; some of them include: boycotting the people of low endeavor, disdaining them, accompanying those who have high endeavor. Then reflecting on the consequences, the destiny of those possessing low endeavor, and the destiny of  those who are serious and hard working. As Abdul Samad said, 'A man who was known for his hard work died while people were still saying to him, 'Die today so that you may live forever', and this statement awakened me.'

Whoever thinks deeply about people of high endeavor will know that they are no different from him, when it comes to what they are created from, them being human beings, however the love of idleness, leisure has aggrieved and chained him. So they have walked away while he stood still, if he had moved the foot of determination, he would have reached what they reached.

A poet said:

If you like the characteristics of a person,
then imitate him and you will be what you have liked.
For there is no barrier before
generosity and good morals if  you come to them.

He who reads the biographies, stories of the righteous predecessors will find that most of the jurisprudents and scholars are from amongst the slaves, the weak, or those with low craftsman­ ship, but as their endeavors were high they succeeded. If people with low endeavor contemplate the consequences of their low endeavor, they would understand that their idleness is their enemy, however, they have favored low endeavor, hastening relaxation and leisure. Further, their regret for losing virtues, people's disrespect, humiliation is indeed greater than every distress and adversity. In contrast, the people of high endeavor receive comfort through others dignifying them, and the elevation of their status in this world as well as in the hereafter, which removes the bitterness of the hardship  endured. It is as though he who endured hardship never relaxed, and he who relaxed never endured hardship.

It was reported that Anas ibn Malik (ra) narrated from the Prophet (saw), "One of the inhabitants of the hellfire who had the utmost pleasure in this world will be brought forth on the Day of Resurrection and will be dipped into the hellfire. Then he will be asked, 'O son of Adam! have you ever seen anything good?' Have you ever enjoyed any pleasure?' He will say, 'No, by God, O Lord. Then one of the inhabitants of paradise, who had the most miserable life in this world, will be brought forth and will be dipped into paradise. Then he will be asked, 'O Son of Adam! Have you seen any misery? Have you experienced any adversity? He will say, 'No, by God, O Lord! I have never suffered from any misery and I have never seen any adversity."

The meaning of this hadith is that exhaustion and the bearing of hardship will end, only comfort remain. On the other hand comfort and ease will end, and only remorsefulness remain. For life is just a season [that will end], the loss is blocked, yielding is urgent, and some of  this is enough to disturb the sluggard.