Maulana Wahiduddin Khan | The Sunday Guardian | December 1, 2013
Ernest Shackleton is best known for his expeditions to Antarctica. On his third expedition, he faced a very serious situation when his ship sank. He and his group of twenty-seven men were literally stranded on ice, for they were drifting aimlessly in the wild southern seas. Apparently, they had no hope of survival. They remained on the floating ice for six months and spent the next four months on Elephant Island before they were rescued. In the end they returned safely to their homes.
Now the question is: how did this miraculous escape come about? Alfred Lansing in his book Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage explained it in these words: Underlying the optimism of the party was the confidence that their situation was only temporary.
This miraculous formula is applicable not only to Shackleton's crew, but to every single man and woman. Everyone has the experience of facing serious situations in life. But if you believe that every situation is only temporary, and that it will last for only a limited number of days, then you are able to repeat the story of Shackleton's party. Every dark night is a temporary phase in this world, and the same is true of human difficulties. Every human difficulty is temporary in nature. Every difficulty is bound to disappear after some time. It is a law of nature that no difficulty goes on and on forever. So, you have to feed this simple formula into your thinking: "It is all but temporary".
Ghalib, the Urdu poet, says in his verse: "Raat din gardish mein hain saat asmaan, ho rahega kuch na kuch ghabrayein kya." "The seven heavens are active every day and night, something new will emerge, then why this anxiety?" History only verifies this formula. Difficulties come and go, just like day and night. This is the universal law that applies equally to every human being.