The Measure of Reflection

The Measure of Reflection


Nothing can ever be completed without careful study, planning, and cautiousness; at the same time, nothing can ever be completed without a lack of care as well.‌

صَلَاحُ حَالِ التَّعَايُشِ وَالتَّعَاشُرِ مِلْءُ مِكيْالٍ‏ ثُلُثَاهُ فِطْنَةٌ وَثُلُثَهُ تَغَافُلٌ


Imam Ṣādiq (Ýa) is narrated to have said: The reformation of life is completed through a measure that is two thirds caution and one third a lack of care and attention!


Brief Commentary:
Nothing can ever be completed without careful study, planning, and cautiousness; at the same time, nothing can ever be completed without a lack of care as well. Now the question is how can such a thing be, since it appears to be a total contradiction in terms? The answer is that if we wanted to do something without study, proper planning, and attention, then we would be unable to take that to completion. Yet, if we wanted to plan for all the possible things that could take place or could go wrong, then we would become bogged down with all the possibilities, and even simple tasks would end up taking years upon years of difficult planning and thought. In a nutshell, over thinking and over planning play a role similar to a lack of thought and a lack of proper planning. This is the explanation behind the tradition where it mentions that planning and attention to detail comprise two thirds of this issue, while one third is comprised of a lack of attention to detail.[1]

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1. Tuḥaf al-ÝUqūl, p. 267.

 

 

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