Courage is an enviable trait. It is also elusive because mustering courage requires courage. Instances which call for courage abound:

Courage is needed not only to speak the truth but also to support the weak who speak the truth;

Courage is also required to point out the faults of loved ones whose anger we fear;

Courage is also needed to admit one’s faults; without courage we cannot say no to questions we have no answer to and without courage we cannot ask questions we are afraid to ask and which may open up new knowledge frontiers for us;

Facing the trials of life requires courage;

Forgiving others also needs courage;

To never give up in the face of adversity also requires a captain courageous;

Saying no to commitments we very well know we will not be able to honour also needs courage;

Refraining from venting anger on the weak asks for loads of courage;

Finally, most feats of physical courage spring from the moral courage within.

If courage is elusive and the instances to exercise it also are plentiful, how can we then acquire this enviable trait? Some measures may be helpful in this regard.

1. The opposite of courage is fear and if we want to be courageous we need to conquer our fears. Perhaps the greatest way of conquering our fears is to fear God alone and make other fears subservient to His fear. If the love of God and love of the cause of God take root in us, if the love of the truth is more than the love of any other thing and if we ourselves try to be honest and morally upright, this will hopefully instil courage in us.

2. We should also look for people in our society who are courageous. If possible we should befriend such individuals and seek their company. It is a common experience that a person s gets inspired by remaining near such people. Every now and then, even in our own society and surroundings, we do get to know of such people. It is only a question of remaining on the lookout for such individuals.

3. We should also try to gather anecdotes of people of the past which reflect courage. One receives motivation from such tales. We know that there were people in the past who stood up to and never gave up even when faced with repeated adversity. They wrote tales of courage from the way they led their lives. People like Malik ibn Anas and Ibn Taymiyah, Ahmad ibn Hanbal and Shah Wali Ullah, Socrates and Galileo were nothing but courage personified. They adhered diligently to the views they held correct and no amount of persecution could waver them from their stance.

(Dr Shehzad Saleem)