Dalia had come to our home recently to attend a Syrian cooking class and dinner; our new Syrian friends, for whom KindWorks had set up apartments, wanted to express their gratitude by sharing their culinary talents and traditions with us. Dalia was busy taking copious notes on how to cook kabsa, but took a break so I could ask her what wisdom from an elder holds special meaning for her.
It’s something her father said, and continues to say, she tells me. “He would basically say …”, Dalia starts, but has to pause to hold back tears. “If nobody’s criticizing you, that means you’re not doing any work.” Criticism is evidence of the fact that you’re doing something, her Baba would say; if you’re not being criticized, you can’t be doing something worthy.
“The Prophet (pbuh) is perfect. But he was being criticized,” Dalia says. “There’s no way to do work and not be criticized, because if there was, it’s the Prophet who would have achieved this because he was a perfect human being.” Criticism is evidence of work.
Dalia’s father would say this to her when she was in college. She was an activist and would organize events and write articles, and would be criticized, usually by members of the Muslim community. Dalia’s husband Mohammed, standing next to us, interjects, “it’s still happening now!” “It’s been my life-long story,” Dalia laughs.
“I go back to this wisdom alot because it’s so important to remember so you don’t get discouraged or want to quit,” Dalia says, ‘because that’s what I felt like doing as a 17 year old.”
Thank you to Dalia’s Baba, for encouraging our dear Dalia to continue to write, continue to fight, and continue to see criticism as an essential part of making a difference.
Day 2 Wisdom 2: Criticism is evidence of work.
Please follow all 30 wisdoms by ‘liking’ the Facebook page @30 days 30 deeds, following social media @salmahasanali, or subscribing to the newsletter on this website. And please share your own wisdoms from elders that hold special meaning for you, by commenting below.