Maulana Wahiduddin Khan | Principles of Life

A man came before Prophet Mohammad and asked him for some advice. “Will you heed the advice?” the Prophet asked him. The man said that he would. The Prophet said to him: “When you decide on some action, think of its consequences. If they are good, go ahead with it: and if they are bad, refrain from it.” (Al-Zuhd wa al-Raqā’iq by Ibn al-Mubārak, Hadith No. 41)

The Prophet’s words show that every prospective action should be weighed up according to the outcome it is likely to have. One should think before one acts: what will be the consequences of my action? If the prospects appear good, he may carry on with what he is intending to do: otherwise, he should rethink his course of action. This is the Islamic method of going about things, and it was this method the Prophet taught his followers to adopt.

Generally, people just take matters at their face value and rush into them without thinking. This is not the Islamic way of doing things. A Muslim should study matters carefully from every angle before deciding on a course of action. He should particularly, take note of others’ probable reaction. Are people likely to stand in his way? If so, does he have the capability to overcome the obstacles they pose? Is he in a position to surmount all the hurdles which are likely to be strewn in his path, winning through to his final goal? He should consider what the psychological, social and political reper­cussions of his actions will be. Only if he is confident that his work will have beneficial consequences should he embark on it.

The only initiative worth taking is one which will yield positive results. If someone embarks on a destructive course of action it will be he himself that suffers: therefore, one should steer clear of such actions, as any sensible person steers clear of destroying his own life.