PART 21 – SETTING OUR PRIORITIES AND THE USEFUL KNOWLEDGE
A woman wants her husband’s attention and spends hours decorating herself for him to obtain a few minutes of pleasure with him. How many times do we decorate ourselves (through our actions and manner) for Allah in order to obtain the pleasure of Allah? When we decorate ourselves for others, how many times do we find all that effort has gone to waste – the husband may be asleep or simply not in the mood? All that time spent in vain and for the sake of one who cannot benefit us. But how many hours do we invest for Allah to earn His everlasting benefit?
Every time we are thinking too much of something that detracts us from the thinking of Allah, Shaitan then fills that gap by elevating our desires into obsessions. Don’t entertain your desires all the time, because Shaitan will make your desires your aim in life. Shaitan distracts us by what we have or what we are yearning for. If we have a good income, Shaitan motivates us to work harder for more income. He will exaggerate the deficiencies in our lives and makes us chase our ambitions, relationships and impossible dreams. This is why many people can never be satisfied by what they have in their hands. Such people remain in a state of poverty until the end of their days, even if they are rich.
The middle path is to thank Allah for what we have, and this is what leads us to faith.
Thinking of Allah will increase our pleasure and contentment. Allah commands us to call Him by all His beautiful names, because He created us and knows that we need Him.
We can call out to Allah for a need, worship, love or honour. Which is higher, to only call Him when we need Him or all the time? If we fail to consciously develop this connection with Allah, during the good and bad times, we will fail to obtain it with the people around us. Even our external conditions, the surplus and the deficiencies, are our trials in life.
We should elevate ourselves and appreciate the magnitude of utilising our faculties to reach this high level. We are surrounded by multiple signs of Allah, when we observe the perfect structure of everything on earth. Observe the complicated construction of the human anatomy and the intricacies of the natural world. We have plenty to thank Allah for, because even one broken toe or a toothache can throw our lives in agony and misery.
In Surah Naziat, verse 27, Allah asks “Are you a more difficult creation or is the heaven? Allah constructed it.”
We marvel at our medical advancements but what is that compared to the dominion of Allah? Giving His might its due respect will increase our humility, makes us realize the universal pecking order, and all of these are key to initiate and continue the journey of iman.
Our comprehension is linked directly to the purity of our thinking and how much of our mental capacities we channel towards the thinking of Allah. When we contemplate the way that the universe has been assembled, then we should not have any problem or doubt the power of Allah over the events in our lives. We should not fear.
The problem is when Allah subtracts one element from His bounty, it is that missing piece that we focus on and are frustrated with. We feel anxious over what we don’t have instead of rejoicing over the things that we have.
Shaitan will make us feel aggravated and depressed by what we lack. Whereas if we are flooded with the pleasures of life and do not thank Allah, we are actually the losers because we do not give Allah His due gratitude.
In the right frame of mind, with knowledge and constant contemplation of Allah, even our salah is more profound, because we are in a positive state of mind. This will open up passages to lead us to a happy life and a hsappy hereafter, with elevation and success to infinity.
A normal person will love those who are good to him. He is attracted by quality behaviour and will respond by trying to please the ones who bring him goodness. This voluntary act of pleasing another is higher than an act motivated by obedience – the key difference is that one can only please another willingly, whereas obedience usually originates from compulsion.
When we value someone and his positive qualities, the love for that person will develop naturally. That love is often evidenced by the act of giving to the one we love, without expectation of any reward apart from the pleasure of the other person. As the love of the person and his positive impact on us increases, the more we would be encouraged to give as a demonstration of our appreciation.
Only those with a distorted understanding of love would love those who treat them abusively and without respect. For a normal human being, it is only natural that a person who knows what is good for him, will allocate the maximum amount of love to the one who benefits him the most.
Who benefits us more than Allah? Who do we need more than Allah? Who has the capacity to benefit us, whether in life, death or after death? No human being fits that criteria. Only Allah alone can benefit us the most, dunia and akhirah.
An intelligent person would understand that knowledge is only useful if it leads us to the discovery of Allah. The quest for knowledge would never end, because the more we discover, the more we will realise how little we know.
We chase our credentials, diplomas and degrees enthusiastically, but if all the knowledge and information we gather in life does not lead us to the Creator, then what is the use of all that time, effort and money spent on such education? It might be useful for us in dunia, but what about akhirah?
So let us seek useful knowledge and acquaint ourselves with the Creator. We must familiarise ourselves with His attributes. One who embarks on this journey with a sincere heart, when understanding Allah’s qualities, cannot help but love Allah.
Majority of mankind deny Allah’s immense qualities and goodness. Despite their intellectual abilities, most are too foolish to recognise and seek the knowledge that would be the most beneficial to them. The number of highly qualified people who make catastrophic decisions in their personal lives is testimony that academic intelligence does not necessarily guide a person towards correct decisions in other matters of life.
How many textbooks have we read in life in order to get through school and college? How much time do we spend memorizing facts and knowledge which will elevate our position in life? Yet, how many of us have spent time to understand just one important book, which is the Qur’an?