DO WE HAVE THE RIGHT KNOWLEDGE?
Allah SWT has informed us that the true knowledge, being the most superior knowledge that everybody should be aware of, is the knowledge provided by Allah SWT.
We relate to you, [O Muhammad], the best of stories in what We have revealed to you of this Qur'an although you were, before it, among the unaware. (Yusuf 12:3)
The core of the Islamic faith is based on the belief of the unseen. Among them are the belief in:
• His angels,
• Day of judgment,
• Life after death,
• Paradise and hellfire.
This knowledge is what Allah SWT calls the real knowledge, Al-Haqq (truth) and Al-Yaqeen (certainty). This is the knowledge we are supposed to attain and apply in our lives to prepare us for the long journey in the hereafter. All our knowledge of the duniya is supposed to be ancillary to support us in reaching that goal, not the other way round. Yet today, we discard what little knowledge with have of the hereafter in favour of obtaining worldly skills that can elevate our status in duniya.
The divine knowledge to guide us toward that belief is contained in the Qur'an. As an introduction, Allah SWT says:
This is the Book about which there is no doubt, a guidance for those conscious of Allah. Who believe in the unseen, establish prayer, and spend out of what We have provided for them; and who believe in what has been revealed to you, [O Muhammad], and what was revealed before you, and of the Hereafter they are certain [in faith]. Those are upon [right] guidance from their Lord, and it is those who are the successful. (Al Baqarah 2:2—5)
This knowledge is available for all of us. On our end, we need to read and understand the Qur'an carefully, and apply its meaning into our actions, thoughts and deeds.
If we acquire all the knowledge of this world but are unaware of the knowledge of Allah SWT and what He is telling us, then are we really knowledgeable? Would any of our information on worldly affairs be able to come to our defence when we are presented before our Lord? The following verse tells us the repercussions of doing so:
They know what is apparent of the worldly life, but they, of the Hereafter, are unaware. Do they not contemplate within themselves? Allah has not created the heavens and the earth and what is between them except in truth and for a specified term. And indeed, many of the people, in [the matter of] the meeting with their Lord, are disbelievers. (Ar-Rum 30:7-8)
HEEDLESSNESS VS. AWARENESS OF THE MEETING WITH ALLAH
The following verses establish the relationship between heedlessness and the awareness of the meeting with Allah SWT. It is a linear relationship where when one variable increases the other decreases.
Indeed, those who do not expect the meeting with Us and are satisfied with the life of this world and feel secure therein and those who are heedless of Our signs. For those their refuge will be the Fire because of what they used to earn. (Yunus 10:7- 8)
The above verses emphasize that the danger of falling into a pattern of self-satisfaction with our life in duniya, for it is such contentment with the duniya that directs us to heedlessness. The consequences are dire.
Allah SWT has given us numerous examples of heedless people and on more than one occasion has compared them to creatures lower or dumber than cattle – denoting their lack of intellect, inability to perceive their reality, and their obliviousness to their surroundings.
And We have certainly created for Hell many of the jinn and mankind. They have hearts with which they do not understand, they have eyes with which they do not see, and they have ears with which they do not hear. Those are like livestock; rather, they are more astray. It is they who are the heedless. (Al-A’raf 7:179)
Prophet Muhammad SAW said:
“The example of the one who remembers his Lord, in comparison to the one who does not remember his Lord, is that of a living creature compared to a dead one.”
You may wonder: is it not enough that we observe the mandatory rituals prescribed by Allah SWT to us?
The answer lies in how we behave when we are not engaged in our rituals. Any benefit of such rituals is eroded by our own lack of awareness, vigilance and priority in the majority of our actions. It is our accumulated negligence towards our eventual meeting with Allah SWT, as manifested by the way we occupy our thoughts and time and how we accord priority to our preparation for death, that make us heedless.
• How much of the income that you earn is allocated towards Allah SWT – for charity, assisting the needy or financing good deeds in the name of Allah SWT?
• How much of our time is spent in daily routines that can easily be cut short or delegated to others so that we can spend more time doing good deeds or being in the remembrance of Allah SWT?
• How much of our bank balances are we willing to withdraw in order to aid someone in distress as compared to how much of it we put aside for our next electronic toy?
• Who do we spend our time with – those who kill our time, or those who are capable of leading us to goodness?
• How much of our conversations are on matters pleasing to Allah SWT, as opposed to idle chatter and gossip?
• How much of our activities on Facebook are meaningful, as opposed to silly entries which benefit no one?
• How much fiction and tabloid do we read, as compared to books which educate us on developing our deen (way of life)?
• How many nights do we spend worrying about the academic performance of our children, in contrast with the nights we spend worrying if our children will pass their final exams before their Lord?
• What kind of skills do we, as parents, impress upon our children? Do we educate them that the ultimate aim is life is to earn a good income, or do we educate them that values of compassion, caring and selflessness are even more important?
Each of your actions which neglect the remembrance of Allah SWT brings you a step closer towards heedlessness. After an honest self-assessment, you will know where you stand.
THE ULTIMATE BLINDNESS
In the meantime Allah SWT has warned us in the Qur’an that He will veil the hearts of the heedless people and let them continue on their path until they destroy themselves. This destruction comes in the form of disgrace in this life and the hereafter. The disgrace of this world is to leave the person in the whirlwind of duniya until it destroys him; and the disgrace in the hereafter is when he wakes up in front of Allah SWT empty handed.
Another form of disgrace is for Allah SWT to give people a clear message and then make them blind from this message. He does this by snatching away their ability to comprehend and understand what Allah wants from them, and by depriving them of the honour of carrying the message of Islam to humanity.
If it comes to a point where our hearts are sealed, then none of the signs of Allah SWT on this earth will make the slightest dent on our intellect and our spiritual selves. If we reach this level, none of our achievements or treasures can rescue us from certain doom.
Those are the ones over whose hearts and hearing and vision Allah has sealed, and it is those who are the heedless. (An-Nahl 16:108)
I will turn away from My signs those who are arrogant upon the earth without right; and if they should see every sign, they will not believe in it. And if they see the way of consciousness, they will not adopt it as a way; but if they see the way of error, they will adopt it as a way. That is because they have denied Our signs and they were heedless of them. (Al-A’raf 7:146)
And those who do not expect the meeting with Us say, "Why were not angels sent down to us, or [why] do we [not] see our Lord?" They have certainly become arrogant within themselves and [become] insolent with great insolence. (Al-Furqan 25:21)
And the ones who disbelieve in the signs of Allah and the meeting with Him - those have despaired of My mercy, and they will have a painful punishment. (Al-‘Ankabut 29:23)
This is the terrifying reality which we witness in the world today, where corruption and tyranny are rife, where leaders plunder and slaughter their own people with impunity; and where people carry out their lives as if they were immune from any accountability in this life and in the Hereafter. Heedlessness does not only affect your immediate personal surroundings, but has the capability of destroying entire nations.