It is narrated that we can love who we want, but we will be separated from that person eventually. We can live in whatever lifestyle we want, but we will still die. We can do whatever we like, but we will be rewarded or tortured with it.
After Rasulullah SAW passed away, the Companions shunned excessive conversation. They even shied away from giving advice. They were instead busy with Allah. To them, this dunia was worthless. This is the reality of iman.
We often glorify artists, architects and even chefs. We can be mesmerized by a painting or an iconic building for hours. Do we slow down to appreciate the construction of Allah, from mountains to seascapes, and glorify the Creator? Imam Ghazali mentioned that worshipping the creation of the creation – man made constructions such as cars, decorations, artwork, buildings – can lead you to shirk or association with Allah.
If acquisition of knowledge does not lead us to be the spreader of iman, that knowledge will destroy us. It is a historical fact that once the previous Islamic civilizations misused and corrupted their knowledge to gain material power and wealth, Allah destroyed them.
Today, we are so ignorant of the things which are the most crucial to us, but we are busy chasing irrelevant knowledge such as life on other planets. Allah already said that He created known and unknown things. Yet we ignore what is tangible before us, and we permit Shaitan to continue manipulating our time and thoughts.
In Surah Waqaa, verse 61, Allah says: “In that We will change your likenesses and produce you in that [form] which you do not know” in other words, that we were created in ways we cannot comprehend. Mankind continues to make new discoveries, some of them demolishing previously established scientific theories. These should serve as a reminder of how little we know and how much wisdom in Allah’s creation still remains undiscovered.
Knowledge of Allah should automatically fill us with contentment. The weight of our problems will be eased in the knowledge that all has been planned by Allah and therefore something ordained for which we should be thankful.
The Qur’an repeatedly reminds us of the existence of previous nations, which were mightier than ours. The earth is dotted by remnants of once glorious civilisations, which have now been destroyed. Some of them were obliterated without warning. Some of them were destroyed so suddenly that their bodies have been preserved and frozen in time for others to reflect upon. Every nation has its own fable of lost kingdoms, but their names and locations are forgotten. Names of the kings and architects which walked the halls of power are lost in time. What will your final legacy be? When visiting the archaeological sites, do we remember or even care about the names of the kings, queens, treasurers and businessmen of that time?
Contrast this to the great names of Islam after the Messengers and Prophets – the likes of Bilal RA and ‘Umar al Khattab RA, what they stood for and the legacy they left behind. We remember them for their actions, and we hope to share the resplendence of jannah with them. Muslims don’t care what the original occupation of the Companions were – whether slave or merchant – because it is their good deeds and their footprints in the spread of Islam that we are concerned about.
All the Prophets warned their communities to divorce dunia, but even with continuous reinforcement of that message over centuries, mankind forgets. It was related that a man approached Isa AS to accompany him on a journey. Isa AS had two pieces of bread and the man only one, but it was agreed that they would share the bread equally. When Isa AS finished praying, he found one of his pieces missing. His companion claimed ignorance on the matter. They continued on their travels, where Isa AS demonstrated great miracles, such as walking on water. He then asked his companion, that in the name of the Creator who allowed him to tread on water, who ate the bread? The man continued to deny knowledge. They then passed some men who were fighting over a dead person, and by the will of Allah, Isa AS brought the dead man back to life. Isa AS asked again what happened to the bread, and the man continued to claim ignorance.
After a while, they became hungry, and Isa AS called a baby deer to approach them. He slaughtered and cooked the baby deer, and once they had eaten, the baby deer came back to life and ran back to its mother. Isa AS repeated the question about the bread, and the man gave the same reply. They then passed a village in which a few men were fighting over three pieces of gold. Of the three possible claimants to the gold, one was sent by the other two to get some food. Afraid that the others would steal the gold, they ended up poisoning and killing each other. Now Isa AS asked his companion to divide the gold between themselves – one piece for him, one for the companion, and the third piece to the mystery man who ate the bread. The man immediately confessed that he was the one who took the bread!
Such is the nature of human beings – the multiple signs of Allah do not move them, but the glitter of wealth does. According to some reports, Allah then killed and cursed the man.
If we ask Allah, He will grant us increased wisdom, but if we continue to be rebellious, that wisdom will be withheld from us. Allah calls us towards Him, because all the solutions to our issues lie exclusively with Allah. Yet we seek answers to our woes through food, money and music, not understanding that all these are limited short term gratifications which will never restore our spiritual and emotional balance.
Our advancing age should remind us of the transience of life. Human beings are constantly undergoing change. The lucky ones are those who gain the closeness to Allah, and this cannot be gained if we are in the continuous prison of our own desires. Shaitan tries to amplify the insignificant, and makes us upset and focused about them, and tries to make us waste our time fulfilling our desires.