A story was shared by my Professor last week, and I thought it said a lot about character. He talked about John Wooden’s acceptance of the Head Coach position for UCLA Basketball (GO BRUINS!).
His character teach us many great lessons, and give a glimpse as to why he may have been so successful. I think as Muslims in particular, we can learn a lot from John Wooden’s story.
His Commitment to Promises
Coach Wooden began his coaching career at what is now Indiana State University. He was very successful there in his own right, but after many years, decided to pursue another opportunity. He had two potential suitors: University of Minnesota (Golden Gophers) or UCLA.
Having already been comfortable in the Midwest, his wife and him hoped to get the Minnesota offer. He waited and waited for the expected phone call, but the time to make a decision was approaching quickly. He had to accept the present offer from UCLA as he had not heard back from UM.
Right after he accepted the offer, he finally received a phone call from UM with an offer for the Head Coach position. It turns out the university was trying to contact him for a while, yet a snow storm had caused many complications. His answer for UM was a simple “No.” His reasoning: he had already given the Bruins his word, and was not about to go back on it.
The rest is history as they say, and UCLA won 10 national championships.
In Surat As-Saf, Allah says, “O you who have believed, why do you say that which you do not do? Most hateful it is in the sight of Allah that you should say that which you do not do” (61:2-3).
While there are many meanings to these verses, the most basic holds true. A Muslim should follow through on their word. It is not liked by God when we do not fulfill our promises. If we cannot ensure that we will be able to do something – barring any unexpected emergency – then we should try not to agree to it in the first place.
This blog post is a reminder to myself first and foremost; I did not follow through on my agreement with Al-Talib for last week’s blog. I do want to acknowledge, though, that not all decisions or promises will come to fruition.
What I mean is, there are always special cases where we will have to forgo our commitments. This should, however, not be the general case, and we should not allow ourselves to consistently do it. We need to realize that sometimes giving our word means people are depending on us, and not fulfilling those requests could have adverse effects.