At a previous reception in Sharjah, the biggest fear for my mother was whether I would be speaking in Malayalam! Therefore respecting her feeling and sympathizing with my friends seated here, I shall opt to speak in English. It was only yesterday that your English Club had contacted to attend this event. Therefore, do bear with my impromptu thoughts. The success of my message, nevertheless, lies in your understanding
It’s an honor to address an institution which is unique of its kind in the country. My first visit here was in 1999, when I arrived here soaked in monsoon rain. Despite the unannounced visit, I was lavishly received and shown around the campus only to conclude with a super hospitality.
Talents as Blessings
We all embody the truth expressed in the Quranic verse, ‘I blew into him (man) of My Soul’. Our talents- be it of our body or intellect- is a blessing from Him. Moreover, for the very same reason it is our responsibility to use it in His Way.
I would like to propose before you four steps, modeled after a Quranic prayer, for the successful implementation of your creativity to yield better results.
Firstly, we have to pray to sharpen our talents and to broaden our thoughts. This is the intellectual aspect.
Secondly, thereafter we have to request Him to make the task easy for us. This includes the mastery of the medium in which one is involved. For example, the canvas for an artist, books for an orator, pen and paper for an author etc. This is the practical aspect.
Thirdly, we have natural shortcomings which hamper our creativity. Habits like impatience, anger and intolerance soil our talents. They tie ‘knots’ over our senses! And this is where Satan gets the better of us. Therefore, the third prayer is to release us from such knots.
Fourthly and finally, it is imperative to present our ‘product’ in a language ‘they’ can understand. Speak in a contemporary language.
As the Mouth, So the Morsel
Remember my dear brothers that each is granted only what is in his capacity. Moses begged Lord to see a glimpse of Him to which he received a simple answer, “you cannot see Me”. This was because the Liberator of Children of Israel had asked for a favor which was beyond his capacity. The Creator did not use the words “I am not seeable”. However, in the case of His Beloved, the Lord invited him to His Throne and revealed ‘whatever he revealed’. Moreover, the Beloved saw it all with a smile whereas Moses fainted by a mere ray of His Light!
Don’t dictate to God what is best
Nevertheless, when you ask, seek the best. However, do not dictate to Him what the best is. The definition of best is His domain. Don’t wish just to become another so and so. Who knows, there are heights to reach beyond them? You have to aspire to be great, not just a good artist. “If good batsman contributes to the game, a great batsman changes the course of the game”. Your mission should be to change, not contribute, to the flow!
Every Language is Holy
Literature is the intellectual reflection of life and it is natural for the belief-system to influence the thinking of the writer. Never believe those who say otherwise! And languages (differences in your tongues) are, in the objective words of the Qur’an, among the signs of the Creator. Each of them reflect the diversity of His Creation. They show his Wisdom and Might. Therefore, every language is holy and should be honored too.
However, languages also inherit local influence of the people who speak them. That is why we have Malayalam vocabulary shaped after Dravidian culture, Arabic by Islam and Hijazi lifestyle, and English by Biblical and Western thoughts. To be more elaborate, we have hundreds of words in Arabic for the Arabian animal Camel, while a single word in Malayalam to call it!
Human Emotions are Neither Eastern no Western
Be not shy to use the language of heart. Distract not yourself with the norms of East or West. Your emotion is a human emotion, not particularly Christian, Muslim or Buddhist emotion. Affinity between your work and the reader in any part of the world is sure to be established simply because they too are humans. I can boldly say this from my experience with Jaihoon.com. Seen from such an angle, globalization is a blessing to communicate human emotions and consequently bring about the unity in the hearts of mankind.
I leave you with a sincere advice to make the best of your time. And Time will not be so sweet in your future life as you find it during your student days. Now when you are left with hours to perform something, the outside world will demand the same work within minutes.
Summary of Jaihoon’s speech at Darul Huda Islamic University – Chemmad – Kerala – India on May 08 2005