The saying goes, “to err is human”. I’ve always wondered why it wasn’t anything else. Maybe it was a consolation for people who made mistakes – claiming that it is in their nature to make mistakes so they won’t be held fully responsible for their actions. And yes shortcomings and accidents are inevitable; it is a fact that we are imperfect. But why was the saying never “to improve is human”, or “to be considerate is human” or even “to make the right choices is human”?
The reality that we have chosen imperfection as our defining characteristic is saying a few things. Either a) we recognize our weakness and are using it as a reminder that, no matter how rich, powerful, intelligent, etc we are, we will never be perfect – and that should douse any flames of superiority that burns in our hearts. Or b) we are trying to push away the blame of the wrong choices we made, portraying them as something unavoidable and making it an excuse to make even more mistakes.
I think (b) is a little extreme.
We are imperfect, and by His will we should all know this very well. But we are imperfect for a reason – because where else would our effort go if not towards improvement? It could be improvement in anything – I’m speaking on a non-specific scale here – as long as we are heading somewhere. Fundamentally, it is imperfection itself that drives us forward.
As Muslims we believe that nothing happens except by Allah’s permission – and Allah always has a reason behind all that He allows to happen, and there is a wisdom behind every calamity that befalls us whether we know it or not. We are constantly searching for ways to better ourselves but sometimes, it just feels like we’re going nowhere.
Don’t despair. Allah has said in the Holy Qur’an:
“.. And never give up hope of Allah’s Mercy; certainly no one despairs of Allah’s Mercy, except the people who disbelieve” [12:87]
Let us be reminded that everything we posses and every good thing that has happened to us have been by Allah’s Mercy – same goes with self-improvement. We have only gone this far by Allah’s mercy, and if we pause in our tracks, Allah tells us to never give up hope of His mercy. It could be that He is testing your Iman and steadfastness, and it could be that a greater reward awaits in the end. Allah knows best J have Faith. I personally think that having Faith should be the defining characteristic of humans – what do you think?
On a another completely unrelated (but inshaAllah beneficial) note, do you know the origins of Christmas? The fact that it is nowhere near the birthday of Jesus (aka Prophet ‘Isa Pbuh) has long since been established (proven in both the Qur’an and the Bible), and there is more to this than exchanging gifts and dinners – as explained by brother Isma’eel in his Khutbah which you can check out here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LVxhRboTFPs