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Realizing Ideals
May 1, 2015

Question: In a society where disorder is rampant and a war of values is taking place, how can balance be established between reality and ideals? What are the characteristics of those who can achieve this balance?

It is a fact that our social values have been turned upside down. It is very difficult for order to appear from this chaos; every chaos gives birth to new chaos. In general, scholarly viewpoints affirm this pattern.

Willpower is one of God’s most unique and important blessings. It helps to distinguish humans from the rest of creation; it is what elevates us from the level of “beast” to that of man, which means we have more potential than any creature in the universe – but that potential is both for good or evil.

Because human willpower pales in comparison to the Divine willpower, any restoration or renewal initiated by people is likely to be preceded by chaos. When we’re faced with such chaos, it’s necessary to break the vicious cycle of entropy – the transformations and changes leading to decay – to be able to attain a virtuous circle; that is, a prolific circle and not a barren one. Many instances in human history show that such breakthroughs have been possible with the grace of God.

For example, the children of Israel wandered aimlessly in the At Tih desert for forty years. Yet, internally they were directed towards a purpose, and they eventually dominated the destiny of that region. As a result, since they were fully focused on material things, the messages of Jesus shook them to the core. But they eventually collected themselves and became a community open to the metaphysical.

During the Age of Ignorance, before the advent of Islam, all moral principles had decayed; illicit relationships were encouraged and the family structure was turned upside down. Yet from a society where almost all moral values had degenerated, God managed to bring forth teachers of civilization to lead mankind.

These examples show that feelings, consciousness, and willpower are important factors for humanity and should not be neglected. Yes, just as these qualities distinguish a person from all other people in the world, they also distinguish him from creatures that have been subjugated to his or her service.

If an exemplary society could rise out of an ignorant and savage society in the past, then new generations can surely rise from today’s society to fulfill our hopes – with the grace of God, of course. It is important to be able to inspire these generations with love of faith. For faith is what nurtures love, enthusiasm, and hope. Yes, faith is the best way to nourish hope; one who has no faith has no hope, either. In the words of Bediuzzaman, “Faith is both light and power. A person who has obtained true faith can challenge the universe... and can withstand all trials in proportion to the strength of his or her faith.” Thus it is very important to implant the light of faith in the bosoms of new generations and allow it to take root there.

The second basic principle after faith is knowledge. However, many people portray faith and knowledge as opposites; actually, they are connected like the two faces of one thing. For with faith, a person has opened the door to love of the truth. The love of truth is a love of searching. The love of searching brings about the love of knowledge. Knowledge should be upheld at the level of love. The love of truth should not be held at bay. For love of the truth is serving humanity. In my opinion, almost every problem – physical and spiritual – can be easily solved by connecting these two matters.

On the other hand, it is possible to add the love of responsibility as a third principle, after faith and knowledge. Taking on duties for the sake of one’s country, society, and religion, without any consideration for personal gain, and attaining this feeling of larger responsibility to educate future generations is truly an important factor in ending this chaotic period. Those who act with this spirit of responsibility will find their misfortune turn into fortune.

As a result, the laborers of thought who are trying to transform the path of God’s good pleasure into a highway should never get caught up in the passion for personal success and future expectations. By subjugating their own desires, they can attain a better society for tomorrow’s generations.