Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Light at end of tunnel

There is a famous quotation that has been attributed to the spiritual teacher Confucius (551–479 BC) . Some Muslim scholars have the opinion that he could have been a prophet sent to the people of China  This opinion is based of the verse below:

Translation from Sahih International (http://quran.com/17)

Al-Isra’ 17:15

 Whoever is guided is only guided for [the benefit of] his soul. And whoever errs only errs against it. And no bearer of burdens will bear the burden of another. And never would We punish until We sent a messenger.

The persons referred to as messenger  could have been anybody, but for the lack of knowledge on this matter, scholars speculate on anyone who had the four characters, which are siddiq, amanah, tabligh, fatanah. These four characters are truthful, trustworthy, delivering (all that revealed upon him) and intelligence.

Going straight into the topic of the post,  I would like to discuss a famous quotation that has been attributed Confucius. I used to know that the quatation is:

"The end of the tunnel is bright if there is light"

 However after searching the Internet, this quotation seemed to have changed such as listed below:

"There is bright light at the end of the tunnel"

"There is always light at the end of the tunnel"

Idiom: "Light at the end of the tunnel"

First thing first. I will accept any correction to the quotation that I have known, if any one can bring the "original" one.  Otherwise I would take it as the correct one.  

Now let us see what differences can be unveiled between the original quotation and the others. The other quotation has no philosophy attached to them. The simply motivational quotes which emphasise that no matter how bad the current situation is, if one woks hard, one can have a bright future. 

In comparison, the original quotation contain a hidden, but powerful element, which is borne by the conjunction "if" and the word "light".  The presence of "if" makes the sentence a conditional sentence containing an antecedent (dependent clause) and a consequence (independent clause).  

"The end of the tunnel is bright"
 is the consequence (independent clause) of the antecedence (dependent clause)

"if there is light" 
meaning that, 
the end of the tunnel will BE be bright IF, ONLY IF, there is light.
and that,
the end of the tunnel will NOT BE be bright IF, there is NO light.

This very philosophical indeed.  Two things come to our mind as follows:

i)  there is a condition when there is light at the end of the tunnel, and CONSEQUENTLY the end of the tunnel is bright.  (This condition can be met by the presence of sunshine, moonshine, lighting)

ii) there is also a condition when there is NO light at the end of the tunnel, and CONSEQUENTLY the end of the tunnel is dark (NOT bright). (This condition can be met by the absence of sunshine, moonshine, lighting)

In the Al-Quran and in Islam in general, Light figuratively means guidance.  Hence, if there is no guidance from Allah, the creator of all the universe, then however hard and diligent one searches for the bright future, one will not able to find it. Guidance changes and structures one's attitude in how one views the world. Only then one can view that true success only be achieved when one has full submission to Allah as shown by His prophets.

Thus, "The end of the tunnel is bright if there is light" can be a source of motivation if one can see the REAL light.

Wallahu a'alam.

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