One of Shahīd Shahriyārī’s students
October 20th, 2016
Professor Shahriyārī was a hundred stations ahead of us in his positive virtues, but he also had more forbearance than us in facing difficulties. One day I complained to him about the shortcomings of certain people and the lack of their dedication to their work. After talking about the subject of my complaint he talked about some of his own complaints and how some people were not conscientious enough in their expenditures from the public treasury. He then pointed to one of his legs and said, “See, there are times when a leg [or cog within the wheels of the system] is lame [and does not work properly]. You have to look around and see what it is that you want: are you with or against this [constitutional] order (nezām) ? I did not envision myself as going against this order; thus, I drag the lame foot along with me and put up with all of its problems. You too should determine what it is that you want to do. If you want to work within the system (nezām), then you have to put up with certain things, because there are instances wherein we do not have the ability to change the [undesirable] conditions or personnel.” He gave me an earful of advice that day. Three days later I sent him the Serenity Prayer [of Reinhold Neibuhr’s which I had first heard] from Shahīd Chamrān and which was on my mind, as a way of telling him that I will heed his advice and not grumble any more. The note said, “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” And in the note I also added the suffix, “Give me the wisdom to know that the world and the people within it are not there to act in accordance to my will.”
In response, Professor Shahriyārī send me the following comment: “My hope is that we not have any desire other than that which is pleasing to God.” With this one sentence, I felt truly humbled when I compared myself to him.