“The Joy of Hope”

“The Joy of Hope”

(Translated from Urdu, “Umeed ki Khushi” written by Sir Syed Ahmad Khan: ‘Tahzeebul Akhlaq’, 1st Janad-u-Sani 1290H)

O Rainbow! You are bright like lightning amidst the brown clouds in the sky. O stars in the sky! Your lustre is enthralling. O the concealed lofty peaks! You seem to be conversing with the sky. O the magnificent trees on the mountain! O the flora on the high peaks! Why do you look more charming than our adjoining vegetation, lush green fields, and curving streams? It is because you are far away from us? This distance has lent you charm. Because of this remoteness, your blue colour fascinates our eyes. Distant things fascinate us more than the nearer ones.
Guess the entity? Is it the grey matter, which is valued the most by all? Can it promise the joy of the future? Nay. Its domain is restricted. After a tedious struggle, it can attain the proximity of nature, which is evident to all. She is the only daughter of the bright-faced belief, Hope! This spiritual light is only with you. Only you console us in the hour of grief. Only you lend a helping hand to us in our bad times. Only because of you do we perceive our remotest joys close to us. With your help, we cross the challenging valleys. Your prod awakens our snoozing ideas. Your blessings prepare joy for pleasure, popularity for popularity, bravery for bravery, generosity for charity, love for love, and virtue for goodness. All the qualities and virtues of man are subservient and submissive to you. All virtues abandoned the first sinner when Satan trapped him in his cage, and all the vices cordoned him off; only you provided him company. You did not let the hopeless be hopeless; you did not let die the heart trapped in the clutches of death. You pulled him out from the well of dishonour, then led him to the zenith where the angels prostrated in front of him.
Only your beautiful face consoled the Pious Prophet who suffered for hundreds of years at the hands of his nation. When the First Captain was rolling along with the tides of the storm, except hopelessness, nothing was visible to him; only you rowed his boat in the storm and guided him to the shore. The sacred mountain of the Jodi was honoured. To the green branch of olive which reached like the reunion-message held in the beak of faithful pigeon, whichever blessings it carries, it is because of you.
O the light of the skies! The consolation of the hopeless hearts! You, Hope! From your lush green garden, everyone gets the fruit of his hard work. You have the panacea for all ailments. From all the grief, we get relief because of you. In the desolated jungles of mind, the tired traveller is in search of lush green trees of your thick garden. The cold breeze, melody of the tuneful birds, and the waves of the flowing streams of that garden lend tranquility to our hearts. Our lifeless ideas are brought to life by you. All the heart’s worries go away, and the imaginative joys of the remotest time come into existence.
Behold! A helpless child is sleeping in the cradle. Its troubled mother is busy with her errands; simultaneously, she pulls the cradle’s string.

Her job in her hand; her child in her heart, she sings a lullaby to her child:
Sleep my child sleep
O! The father’s idol and the coolness of mother’s heart, sleep
O! The bud of my heart, sleep
Grow and bloom
May the autumn never dare to befall
upon you
May thorns never sprout on
your branches
May troubled times never come to you
May you never see any difficulty borne by your parents
Sleep my child sleep
My eyes’ vision and my heart’s joy
Sleep my child sleep
Your face shall be brighter than
the moon
Your quality shall be better than your
Your popularity, aptitude, and love for us, at last, shall console our hearts
Your laugher shall brighten our
dark home
Your lovely chatter shall do away with
our grief
Your voice shall be a pleasing and
blissful melody for us
Sleep my child sleep
O! Our Hope’s sapling, sleep
When we shall depart from you, what
shall you do?
You shall be standing before our lifeless bodies
You shall ask, but we shall say nothing
You shall weep, but we shall not take mercy on you
O! My dear weeper
You shall come to our grave to make our souls happy
Ah! We will not be, and you shall weep in our remembrance
The love-filled face of your mother
The luminous picture of your father
You shall remember
Ah! We have grief
When you shall remember our love
You shall turn gloomy
Sleep my child, sleep

The mother had these joys of Hope when the child was still unable to snore. However, when he grew a bit and started making his mother’s heart happy, and learned to chirp Ama, Ama, its sweet voice in broken words, started reaching into the mother’s ears. Its crying would intensify the mother’s love. Then it was admitted to a school. In the night, with a heavy heart, it would repeat the lessons learned in the school before its mother. It started waking up with its parents and performing ablution in the shadow of stars, and standing for the morning prayer.
When with its sinless heart, sinless tongue, and unhypocritical ideas, it started chanting the name of Allah, Joys of Hope increased exponentially. How happy its parents were to see their genuine sympathy for the infallible. Furthermore, you are our dear Hope which is with us from the cradle to the grave.
Envision, the blind old man sitting weeping in his home. His dear son went missing in the flock of sheep. He is searching for him but all in vain; he is gloomy but not hopeless. He looks at the blood-soaked and teeth-torn shirt but is still not hopeless about finding him. Fasts have dried him up, and grief has broken him down. Continuous weeping has turned his eyes white; no joy is with him, but Hope has kept him alive in the optimism of reunion, and the idea has kept him happy.
Perceive, the sinless prisoner in the dark well locked up in seven basements. His sun-like bright face has turned pale; he is friendless and in a foreign nation, imprisoned by the people of a different religion. The old father’s grief hurts his soul, and the separation from the dear brother keeps him sorrowful. The troubles of the prison, his loneliness, the darkness of home, and the idea of his innocence keep him melancholic. In the hour of grief, he has no companion; but O immortal Hope! In you lies his joy.
The valiant soldier is standing on the battlefield, tired of moving from one station to another. He faces thousands of perils, but his strength is due to you. When the soldiers stand up silently in files and the battlefield presents a look of a deserted world, their hearts fill with strange bravery mixed with fear. When the time of battle reaches, and the sound of the war bugle strikes the soldier’s ears, he raises his eyes boldly and fearlessly, scrutinizing the battlefield and the dazzling swords.
Listen to the sounds of cannons showering fire like the thundering clouds and volcanoes. O! the mighty arm of the soldiers and O! the mother of the bravery! When the soldiers see their companions soaked in blood lying on the earth, you strengthen the idea of victory in their hearts. Their ears hear only your songs from the trumpet.
He longs for national welfare and thinks about the welfare of his nation; it burns his heart day in and day out. Searching for means for welfare, he travels far and wide, meets familiar and unfamiliar people, and looks for the national interest in everyone’s conversation. In hard times asks for help, and people turn out to be his enemies for whom he wants welfare. Citizens call him to be a savage; friends and acquaintances call him crazy. Scholars and authoritative people terrify him with the decrees of disbelief. Nears, dears, and relatives advise him, yell the following couplet, and remain silent:
Whom does he pay heed to;
Brother Syed is a crazy man.
Companions accompany him but halfheartedly and insincerely. Many sympathize with him but keep him away from their house and warehouse. His heart is always restless; he notices none like himself. Finds no one trustworthy, but O! relief of the hearts and O! the strength of the broken hearts, you are always with him. You are the consolation of our hearts; you are our companion in challenging destinations, and with your strength, we reach our targeted goals. Because of you, we shall find the pearl of aim, the darling of heart, and the Mehdi’s lovely Hope is always the consolation of our hearts.
O! Eternal Hope! When the lamp of life flickers and the sun of worldly life is about to set, limbs turn cold; color fades out, and death looms over the face; air in the air, water in the water, and earth in the earth are about to get mixed; only with your support does that challenging hour become soft.
Then the pale face, slowly moving lips, carelessly closing eyes, and the heart drowned in the river of ignorance remember only you, and your bright face is visible. Your voice comes into ears with a new soul, fresh joy, and a new immortal life containing Hope of everlasting joy.
Because of you, this painful time turns into the beginning of spring for us. The Hope of this eternal joy makes us forget all the worldly griefs and physical troubles, and it converts the evening of grief into a morning of happiness. However, death keeps intimidating that dying is a horrible thing.
In the world hidden from our eyes wherein we have to live forever, where there will neither be the rays of the sun nor the waves of time, three things shall pave the way: (1) Viaticum of Faith. (2) Guide of Hope (3) The Ride of Death. However, among all these, the most powerful is the beautiful daughter of faith, whose lovely name is “Hope.”
People say the atheists do not have any hope at the difficult moment of death, but I see your kingdom spreads over there too. Those who do not believe in doomsday think death is the end of all life’s difficulties and expect no further difficulty. In the Hope of that problem-less time, with excellent tolerance and with the joy of ending the troubles, they surrender life uttering the following couplet:
It was easy as anything to see the
Running, going, standing, sitting,
sleeping, and dying
(Intikhab Mazameen Sir Syed by Anwar Sidiqi pp 100 to 107) —[email protected]

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