In previous chapters, I
quoted revealed texts to illustrate the importance of being gentle; here we
expand on the same theme by mentioning some examples. Imagine yourself driving
a car on an extremely narrow road that is enclosed on either side by a wall.
There is no way for a car to pass except with a great deal of care, gentleness,
and caution. However, if a driver attempted to go through this street at a high
speed, he would constantly crash into the wall on the right, and then into the
one on the left, eventually causing his car to break down. In both of these
instances--- that of driving carefully and that of driving recklessly at a high
speed --- the street is the same and the car is the same, but the way of
driving is different.
A small plant that we
nurture can be watered in different ways. If you pour water on it slowly, it
will absorb the water and find nourishment in it. But if you pour the water
from the jug all at once, you will only succeed in uprooting it. The quantity
of water used is the same; the difference lies in the method.
Someone who is gentle in
handling his clothes, in putting them on and taking them off can be confident
that they will last for a long while. The one who treats his clothes in an
opposite manner always complains of rips and tears. We need to establish a
degree of gentleness into our lives -- gentleness with ourselves:
"Verily, your soul has
a right upon you."
And gentleness with our
brothers and wives:
"Verily, Allah is
gentle (and kind) and He loves gentleness. "
The Turks built many wooden
bridges over rivers. At both ends they would inscribe these words:
"Gentleness, Gentleness." The one who passes calmly won't fall,
unlike the one who speeds across.
Written upon an entrance to
some gardens of roses and flowers is, "Be Gentle." The one who runs
through the garden carelessly will not succeed in seeing many of the flowers,
but to the contrary will probably wreak havoc to them.
There is a saying that goes:
"The sparrow is not
gentle like the bee."
In a hadith, the Prophet
"The Believer is like
the bee, which eats what is pure, produces what is pure, and destroys not the
tiny branch when it lands on it."
A flower does not feel the
bee as it calmly sucks its nectar, thus achieving its goal with gentleness. On
the contrary, when the sparrow lands on something, it announces its presence to
One of our pious
"A proof of one's
understanding of the religion is if he is gentle in entering, exiting, wearing
garments, taking off shoes, and riding a mount."
You will usually cause harm
when you are hurried and rough, because goodness finds its roots in gentleness.
The Messenger of Allah (Blessings and Peace be upon him) said:
"Whenever gentleness is
present in something, that thing is beautified; when gentleness is removed from
something, that thing becomes spoiled."
The hearts of people are
attached to the one who possesses a gentle nature:
(And by the Mercy of Allah,
you dealt with them gently. And had you been severe and harsh-hearted, they
would have broken away from about you)
(Qur'an 3: 159)