By Maulana Wahiduddin Khan
The Quran (41:34) tells us:
Good and evil deeds are not equal. Repel evil with what is better; then you will see that one who was once your enemy has become your dearest friend
This Quranic verse refers to one of Nature’s secrets—and that is that inside each enemy is a friend, and that we should discover this hidden potential friend. Once we do this, a veritable miracle will occur. The person we earlier considered as our inveterate foe will become a close friend!
The fact is that enmity is not something natural or intrinsic. Rather, it is an artificial reaction. Whenever someone appears to become your enemy, you should not react in the same hostile way towards him. Rather, you must try to act in a good, kindly way, even if you have to do this one-sidedly and despite the hostile behaviour of your imaginary foe. This unilateral kind behaviour on your part will dampen your opponent’s negative thinking. It will kindle the flame of humanity that slumbers deep in his heart. It will make him a new person, or, in the Quran’s words, your ‘dearest friend’.
The truth is that every human being is born on a common nature. Our common human nature is what unites ‘enemies’ and ‘friends’. This means that you share the same basic human nature with your imaginary enemy. That is why despite your seeming enmity, you must search for this common nature inside your imaginary enemy, too.
A Result of Our Own Actions
The Quran (42:30) tells us:
Whatever misfortune befalls you is of your own doing
This Quranic verse describes a fundamental fact of life—that this world is based on the principle of causality. Causes lead to results. This verse teaches us that whenever we face any misfortune, we should discover its cause inside our own selves, and not seek to locate it outside us.
If a person realizes this fundamental truth and remains deeply aware of it, he will never blame others for his problems and inflict violence on them. Instead, he will engage in a comprehensive and unconditional examination of his own life. He will search for and discover his own weaknesses and will work on them so that he can save himself from further harm. To blame others for one’s problems is like a sick man blaming his neighbour for his illness and then going about fighting with him.
Suppose that in a certain town the traffic rules require you to keep to the right. Now, if you start driving on the left, you are bound to have an accident. Some car or the other is bound to bump into yours. On the face of it, it would seem that this accident was caused by another car crashing into yours. But you certainly do not have the right to claim that it was not you, but the driver of the other car, who was at fault. You will have to admit that the fault was yours—because you were driving on the wrong side of the road—and that it was not the mistake of the other person.
The same principle holds true in all aspects of our lives. Whenever you face any loss or misfortune in life, you ought to know that whatever has transpired is because of your own wrong-doings. This is the right way to deal with life. But if, on the contrary, you go about blaming others for your woes, you will only ruin your future. And, as for your past and your present, you have already ruined them!
Maulana Wahiduddin Khan heads the New Delhi-based Centre for Peace and Spirituality.