The life or death poem. In the 8th year after Hijrah, Shurahbeel ibn `Amr al-Ghassani attacked and killed the Prophet’s envoy `Umar al-Azadi. Allah’s Messenger, sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam, sent 3000 of his men to Mu’ta in retaliation. He named Zayd ibn Haritha as the leader — but gave the instruction that if Zayd were killed, then Ja`far ibn abi Talib (the Prophet’s cousin) should become the leader. And if he too was killed, then Ibn Rawaha was to assume command.
Everything happened as the last Prophet said. First Zayd and then Jafar became martyred, may Allah be pleased with them. Seeing his turn had come, Abdullah ibn Rawaha slightly hesitated to pick up the commander’s flag. He knew, picking it up meant he was going to die.
But language! Language has the power to move.
Abdullah ibn Rawaha recited a poem to himself, as he rode his horse, reminding himself:
“Dear soul! Why do I find you disliking Paradise.
Even if you do not fight, you will die one day / Now the dove of death is near
Whatever you want, Allah will give you, my dear soul!”
He picked up the commander’s flag.
According to Compton’s Encyclopedia, the English language contains some 500,000 words. Yet the average person’s working vocabulary consists of 2,000—0.5% of the entire language. And the number of words we use most frequently—the words that make up our habitual vocabulary? For most people, it averages 200-300 words (Robbins, 2012).
Now think: What if you had your own anthems, power language, and statements that raise YOUR standards?
Here are two examples of language patterns that I’ve stopped saying: