This is the story of the giant ship engine that failed. The ship’s owners tried one expert after another, but none of them could figure but how to fix the engine.
Then they brought in an old man who had been fixing ships since he was a youngster. He carried a large bag of tools with him, and when he arrived, he immediately went to work. He inspected the engine very carefully, from top to bottom.
Two of the ship’s owners were there, watching this man, hoping he would know what to do. After looking things over, the old man searched into his bag and pulled out a small hammer. He gently tapped something. & instantly, the engine lurched into life & got started.
He carefully put his hammer away. The engine was fixed! A week later, the owners received a bill from the old man for £10,000.
“What?!” the owners exclaimed. “He hardly did anything!”
So they wrote the old man a note saying “Please send us an itemised bill.”
The man sent a bill that read:
Tapping with a hammer …..£2.00
Knowing where to hammer..£9,998.00
Moral of The Story:
Effort itself is important, but knowing where to make an effort in your life,
‘Makes all the difference’. So often we see people striving, working and making effort tirelessly, often for years only for them to later on realise that they were all misplaced and how they wish they had spent the time and effort on something more fruitful. This reminds me of a quote I once read a long time ago:
“My worry for you is not that you fail to succeed, but that you succeed in the wrong thing.”
An example that springs to mind which I have heard from our scholars is that people strive to do a lot of good a’maal but fail to refrain from committing sins, and they explained this point by using the example of a petrol tank with a hole in the bottom, we keep on filling it with petrol, little realising our loss of fuel from the hole in the tank.
May Allah give us the ability to reflect, learn and act on the above.