The Amanah or Trust
What if we spent what we have been given in accordance with what Allah has commanded us to do? If all the Muslims spent our excess wealth to alleviate the suffering of the ummah, poverty can be eradicated overnight.
If you gave someone a bag to hold on trust, and that person opens the bag and takes its contents without your permission, how would you feel? And moreover, he becomes so fascinated by the bag and its contents that he forgets that you are the owner! This is exactly what happens when we abuse what Allah has given us, and we end up loving Allah's gifts which He bestowed upon us on trust – be it a spouse, children, or material goods – more than we love Allah.
Love is the feeling and desire to achieve pleasure and benefit to you. Human beings love what benefits them. If so, is there a love more magnificent and beneficial than the love of Allah?
Conversely, we are also warned that when we love something more than Allah, we risk being in a state of associating something with Allah, it can make us a mushrik.
Anas bin Malik (RA) reported that the Prophet (SAW) said, “There are three qualities whoever has them, will taste the sweetness of Iman: To love Allah and His Messenger (SAW) more than anyone else; to love a slave (of Allah) only for (the sake of) Allah; and to hate returning to infidelity after Allah has saved him from it as he would hate to be thrown into the fire (of Hell).” (Bukhari and Muslim)
The life story of Ibrahim AS demonstrates the request for the greatest sacrifice to Allah – his beloved son. Allah has spared the rest of us from the burden of such a monumental sacrifice. Yet, in return, what are we willing to sacrifice for Allah?
Some scholars mentioned that zikrullah gets you close to Allah, whereas sacrifice grants you admission into Allah's palace.
If your heart is connected to Allah it will be clean, and filled with the light of Allah. This happens to those who are detached from dunia and guard their relationship with Allah. The diseases of the heart begin when one feels that he is staying in this earth for infinity. This is what causes us to accumulate the accomplishments and properties of dunia. However, we will never be happy if our happiness is pegged on wealth and secular achievements. This will only cause us stress, misery and discontentment. Happiness comes from within, and is not associated with the material.
The Love of Dunia
Love of dunia is often misperceived as being the love of money, but the love of dunia can capture us in any form, by distracting, occupying and enticing us. It can be reflected in our pastimes and habits, or engulf us through money or spending excessive amount of attention on a time wasting hobby, sport or passion. It is the love of dunia that causes us to be glued to the television, spend wasteful amounts of money on a meal and even spend hours on a painstaking past time that does not benefit anyone.
When people love a piece of dunia above all else, then nothing matters above what they love. A man may be focused on being a top performer at work, channeling all his efforts on his career, travelling from meeting to meeting, working late nights to the point that he does not mind if his wife is having an affair!
To cleanse our love of dunia, we should remind ourselves that Allah is the Ever Living and the inheritor of this earth. Whatever worldly possessions we have will dissipate and turn to dust. We cannot bring them with us to the grave. Every time we accumulate dunia, we are challenging Allah's eternal nature and denying our own limited lifespan on earth. The accumulation of dunia and the love of wealth, is similar to being a guest in someone's house, where the guest starts renovating and building his own room in it! It is pointless and inappropriate.
If you forget this fundamental principle of existence, the diseases of the heart will fester and spread. This cultivates long hope, nurturing plans for the distant future, and not respecting one's own mortality.
Normal sins take a few minutes or a few days to perform, but the sin of loving dunia can be a lifetime sin without you being aware of it.
Gaining the Love of Allah
If you wanted to gain someone's love, you would do what pleases him, not what pleases yourself. You would cook the type of food the other person loves even if you don't care for it too much yourself! These are the same actions we should perform for Allah. Allah has given us clear signals of what He wants, and we should comply in order to earn His love.
If we are eager to earn the love of Allah, we should go above and beyond. Let's say you hire someone to clean your room daily. He does a decent job, but another employee not only cleans it, but polishes the furniture, puts some fragrance, decorates it with flowers and makes sure that even the spots that are hidden from view are well dusted. That extra service will delight us and we will favour the second person.
The more we are in servitude to Allah, the more it benefits us. The more we spend for Allah, the more iman we will receive from Allah, and the more pleasure and love of Allah we will gain.
Love of Allah v Love of Others
What of the love of our husbands, wives, children etc? What many of us define as love,is in reality physical attraction, possessiveness, obsession, dominance, addiction or ownership. So much of what we think is love is twisted – displayed in the forms of addiction, excessive control, dictatorial behaviour, interference in personal affairs and lack of compassion! That kind of love and control benefits no one and is only for satisfying our corrupted nafs.
The diseased heart inspires jealousy and interference in the wrong situations. A prime example is the meddling of the mother in law – how many marriages have collapsed because of the unwarranted prying and control by the mothers in law into the domestic affairs of her children? The jealous mother in law often tries to prescribe the issues of the married offspring, instigating rife and turmoil in the household. Very few, if any, encourage their children to be contented and thankful with the new household and to continue the journey of self development.
Many of us are spiritually blind, and riddled with diseases of the heart. The consequence is:
In their hearts is disease, so Allah has increased their disease; and for them is a painful punishment because they [habitually] used to lie. (Surah Al Baqarah v 15)
Another clear warning is in Surah Taubah, verse 115 which says:
And Allah would not let a people stray after He has guided them until He makes clear to them what they should avoid. Indeed, Allah is Knowing of all things.
Thus the ones most at risk are the ones who already own the knowledge of Islam, but when a situation arises, disregard Allah's message and obey the way of Shaitan and personal desires. How many of us, in order to make extra money or earn a promotion or please our children, will perform forbidden acts (such as haram investments, backstabbing our colleagues, or even trying to gain clients by buying them alcohol).
How many of us, when under financial strain, pray and vow to Allah that in return for wealth, we will spend in the way of Allah, but when the money starts rolling in, we stash it away for a rainy day, or spend it on ourselves? These are the dangerous building blocks of hypocrisy, and are far removed from the actions of someone who believes of his appointment with his Lord after death.