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Unformatted text preview: n to list the questions, but the pupil could not remain silent and said, "I told you, I don't want to sit this exam!" The teacher looked at the pupil with a smile and said, "Am I forcing you to sit an exam? You are an adult and responsible for your own actions." The pupil found that he could not make this teacher angry, so he calmed down, took out a pen and paper, and began to write down the questions. Afterwards, he was disciplined by the school administration for misbehaviour. When I reflected upon this story, I realised the difference in people's ability to deal with diverse situations, and their expertise in either solving a problem or making it worse. Dealing with a stubborn person by using stubbornness only results in fireworks. Everyone would agree that fighting a fire with fire would only increase the flames, and that responding to coldness with coldness would not work either. Therefore, one's relationship with others should be like the hair strand of Mu'awiyah... Mu'awiyah was once asked, "How did you manage to be a governor for twenty years and then a Caliph for twenty years?" He replied, "I placed a hair strand between myself and the people. I would hold it from one end and they would hold it from the other. If they pulled it from their end, I would loosen it from mine so that the hair strand would not break. If they loosened it 141 Mu'awiyah's hair 21 from their end, I would pull on it from mine." May Allah have mercy on him, how wise he was! We can all agree that if both partners of a couple are stubborn, then they could never live together in happiness. Similarly, two stubborn people can never be friends for long. I recall giving a lecture once in a prison. It happened that the lecture was to be delivered to a special section of the prison where most of the prisoners were guilty of murder or manslaughter. When I finished my lecture and the prisoners went back to their cells, one of them came forward to me to thank me. I realised that he was...
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- Spring '12