Knowledge v Action
Many Muslims listen, subscribe and attend the events of Islamic speakers the world over, especially the "celebrity" ones, but what good does it do if they do not implement what was learnt once the talk is over? Then, such attendances are just for entertainment and display.When questioned by Allah, how many can defend that what they heard at such gatherings transformed their behaviour, and that they translated that knowledge into action?
The real love of Allah is also personified by the way we love others. We love those around us, but within the right limits and with the right priority. The love of spouses and family for example, is the love of compassion and caring, not the love of obsession or desire. We choose and love a spouse for sabeelillah and raise children with goodness for the sake of Allah, always mindful that each relationship on earth is a trust from Allah. The love of Allah governs all the actions and overrides all other impulses and emotions.
In Surah Tawbah verse 24:
Say [Prophet], ‘If your fathers, sons, brothers, wives, tribes, the wealth you have acquired, the trade which you fear will decline, and the dwellings you love are dearer to you than God and His Messenger and the struggle in His cause, then wait until God brings about His punishment.’
In other words, if we love and value someone or something over and above Allah, Allah will torture us with the very thing we love. Look at how a person is destroyed by loving a girlfriend, boyfriend or even a spouse excessively, or how a person's love of money will lead to his ruin.
Look at how parents love their children beyond obsession, boasting about them constantly and fussing over their needs to the brink of slavery, such that any form of zikrullah is absent from their tongues and hearts. The same children will be the cause of their disgrace or emotional torture later on. They might migrate to another continent, or ignore their parents once they are grown up, or even turn against them totally, causing the parents heartbreak and distress! This is the measure of the torture of Allah.
Diseases of the heart blind us to the message of Allah and deny us from goodness. When you die who will remember you, despite your memorization and recitation of the Qur'an? How far does the personal ibadat go when compared to the worship of cultural norms such as showing off and wasting time?
We do this repeatedly and pass the wrong values to our children. If the parent is continuously backbiting others, or competing in the matters of dunia, changing cars or furniture to keep up with the neighbours, or being perpetually disontented, the child will be able to detect the hypocrisy, and this is a big reason that any commandment by the parent to perform the religious rituals will often be met with resentment and rebellion.
Iraq once housed all the knowledge of Islam, and Allah caused it to be destroyed. The same fate was suffered by the Muslim civilizations in Spain and southern Italy. The remnants of the masjid there have all been converted to churches and museums. Allah caused the massive downfall because the Muslims ignored the core message of Allah and engaged heavily in the pleasures of dunia. When society reduces the message of Islam to amusement, empty discussions and status symbols, their destruction is inevitable.
Lack of contentment will also destroy us, because it indicates the lack of respect of Allah's bounty to us. When we are asked how someone is, we respond with frowns and complaints, but claim that we are merely sharing the information and are thankful for what we have! Look at the pinched expressions of those who lack shukr and contentment, and this belies their true attitude even if they say "Alhamdulillah."
A Muslim responds to everything positively and with gratitude to Allah. He keeps his sufferings discreet. He deflects unnecessary personal questions and does not over-share private details. He addresses all his complaints of life only to Allah and not to others.The time, tongue and ear of the mu'min are too precious to be embroiled in petty and inconsequential day to day affairs.
Colonialism planted a seed of religious complacency within us. Over the years our worship has been reduced to basic rituals on a superficial level, but our self absorption with our daily lives has made us disregard the rest of humanity. We don't think collectively. While our worship may be correct, it is just one component of the message of Islam. We pay no attention to the bigger message.
As Muslims, we should also think for the collective good of the ummah and make a united niyyah or intention. This generates ikhlas or sincerity into which Allah will put barakah. If our niyyah is to be united to please Allah, any meeting or encounter will be pleasing to Allah and Allah will bestow His barakah upon us.
How much dunia do we have in our hearts compared to the early Muslims?
'Ali (RA) entered the house and gave his greetings to his wife, Fatimah (RA), the most beloved daughter of the Prophet SAW. Her stomach hurt, and she requested 'Ali (RA) to take the few remaining dirhams she had to buy her some pomegranates. Ali (RA) obliged and purchased a pomegranate from the market. On the way home, a man in the street waved to him, saying that he was poor and wanted the pomegranates. Without hesitation, 'Ali (RA) gave the poor man the pomegranate, explaining that he had intended it for his wife but gave it to the poor man instead for the sake of Allah. The poor man offered to take only half, but 'Ali declined and went home empty handed. He explained the incident to Fatimah (RA). Immediately, she replied, "Best, what you did. It is better that you gave it to the poor person."