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AVOIDING THE USELESS

The Qur’an advocates a purposeful life. It exhorts people not to indulge in useless talk or useless activity. On this subject, there is a particularly apt verse in the chapter Al-Mu’minun (The Believers) of the Qur’an. Its translation is as follows: Successful indeed are the believers; those who are humble in their prayer; and those who turn away from everything vain. (23:1-3)

Human pursuits fall into two categories: worthy and unworthy. A worthy pursuit is one that leads to positive results and an unworthy pursuit is one that leads to no result at all. A true believer is one who has before him a specific target, which makes him selective. He, therefore, makes a point of always selecting that kind of activity that is worthy and avoids that which is unworthy. It is this kind of person who will be rewarded with success by God Almighty.

Before taking any action, the believer must assess its possible result. He must anticipate its consequences. His response to any situation must be rational and well-considered and not simply an emotional outburst. This principle includes all kinds of human expressions and activities like thinking, discussion, dealing, association, shopping, outings, reading, etc. A believer must adopt this kind of behavior in every aspect of his life, both in word and in deed. It is a fact that we are on this planet earth for a limited time. Our lifespan is so very short, we cannot afford the luxury of wasting time and energy; we have to be very prudent. We have to select only such targets about which we can say with certainty that in the end, they will yield the required result. No excuse in this regard is acceptable. When you use your mind, use it on healthy subjects; when you speak, say whatever is good for you and good for others; when you are going to take a step, examine all the relative aspects. If there is any possibility that your step will prove to be counterproductive, then refrain from taking it.

A wise man always differentiates between a positive response and a negative reaction, between a realistic approach and an emotional approach. He invariably adopts a result-oriented policy. Jumping into things without assessing the result is a habit that only fools can afford, for fools rush in where angels fear to tread. But a wise man cannot afford this kind of involvement. When you use your mind, use it on healthy subjects; when you speak, say whatever is good for you and good for others; when you are going to take a step, examine all the relative aspects.

‘Useless’ means ‘without any result’ and whatever has no result is pointless and liable to be thrown into the litterbin. If even animals follow the result-oriented path, then why cannot men and women? If an honest person indulges in useless activities, his conscience will go against him. Before facing others, he has to face up to his own conscience and there are very few who can do that. Conscience, working as an internal check, is a moral keeper for every man and woman. Conscience never fails and if you pay heed to it, you will surely save yourself from going astray. Follow your conscience and you will surely develop into a divine personality.

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