Moving from despair to hope

DespairHow the legacy of Hussain’s inner strength and intense courage, can help us tackle the modern challenges facing society and bring us back from despair to hope.

Refugees, war, conflict, explosions, poverty, crime. With such terrible stories dominating news headlines every day, it may seem like gloom has become the default state of our world, and hope has become the exception.

With every new disaster of social problem we read or hear about, we twitch as we feel the pain of those who are suffering. The broken heart inside of us may whisper a prayer to ease their suffering, reduce their burden and lighten their heavy load.

Others who are reading or listening to the news may resort to despair. Bombarded with such negative news headlines every day is very demoralising and make us easily fall into thinking traps such as:

These problems are unsolvable.

It’s all the fault of X.

Things will never get better; we can’t do anything about it.

 

In short, we lose all sense of hope.

But by being bombarded with such stories, we also become easily prone to forgetting the inspirational men and women in human history who did maintain hope, showing great strength and courage to rise up and tackle the challenges facing their society.

Hussain ibn Ali was one such man.

Love and compassion

Hussain felt strong enough, that despite having marched for days in intense desert heat, he offered water from his own supplies to an army of thirsty enemy soldiers who had also marched through the desert to meet him. His love and compassion extended beyond his group as he saw the common humanity between us all.

Today in the ongoing global refugee crisis, we see armies of volunteers extending their love and compassion to those outside of their immediate circles too.

Surely this can give us hope.

Speaking against injustice

Hussain was so firm in his principles, that despite having family members oppressed and killed, he still preferred to speak out against the injustices committed by the incumbent ruling government in an era where free speech was not tolerated, rather than choose the easy route of looking away and letting someone else deal with it.

Today we have outspoken activists, pressure groups and NGOs working tirelessly to expose the corrupt and exploitative practices of unjust individuals and systems of governments, in the pursuit of fairness for all.

Surely this can give us hope.

Addressing poverty

Hussain recognised the wealth gap in his society, and he prioritised spending his time and attention with the poor and economically disadvantaged, rather than the powerful minorities at the other end of the economic spectrum.

Today activists are campaigning passionately against food poverty, corporate greed and unfair distribution of wealth, and initiatives like fair trade and the living wage are gaining momentum.

Surely this can give us hope.

From despair to hope

Hussain was a human being just as we are. But few human beings could absorb the intensity of the challenges that he did and still emerge strong, dignified and committed to tackling the root causes of his society’s problems.

Hussain did not solve the challenges facing his society overnight, but he did not despair either.

He focused on influencing the factors within his control, rather than waste time worrying about things he could not affect.

He drove forward with will power, determination and perseverance, rather than resort to despondence, hopelessness and despair.

He knew the tests he had to face were difficult in the extreme, but instead of praying for a lighter load, he prayed for stronger shoulders.

Hussain’s legacy lives on today and can continue to inspire us. Surely this can give us hope.

 

To find out more about Hussain ibn Ali, visit www.whoishussain.org

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