If it were that simple, then why does guidance still elude some of us? The clue is in Surah Mutaffifin below:
Nay! But on their hearts is the Ran (covering of sins and evil deeds, also a tar like substance) which they used to earn. Nay! Surely, they (evil-doers) will be veiled from seeing their Lord that Day. (Mutaffifin, verses 14 – 15)
These verses apply to those who have transgressed, which results in their hearts being veiled from the light, cloaked in darkness upon darkness, cover upon cover, because of their wrong doings. When we continuously fail to allocate the due focus to Allah, Allah will veil our hearts. This has the terrifying consequence that we will not be able to see Allah on the Day of Judgment. Can you imagine if you are on trial, trying to defend yourself, but the judge ignores you? You know for sure that you do not have a chance to exonerate yourself at this crucial moment.
When we lose focus, we are susceptible to be tossed into the deep and dark ocean of dunia. This is why guidance does not come easily after prolonged neglect – when we have lost our spiritual orientation and our perceptions are topsy turvy. When we try to regain the remembrance of Allah, it is very difficult and will take time and effort. We have to clean up, keep on cleaning repeatedly, until all the accumulated layers of all the spiritual grime have been scrubbed clean. Like silver, tarnish can form layers on our heart, and only rigorous cleaning can restore it to its gleaming form.
Only when our hearts are clear again, that it can admit and receive illumination from Allah. Without attachments, distractions and doubts, our hearts will be like pure vessels capable of comprehending the message of Allah, and converging the rest of our thoughts and limbs to live out the lives that we were created for.
Surat Ta Ha reminds us of the consequences of losing focus on the remembrance of Allah. The effect manifests through hardship in this life and blindness in the next:
“But whosoever turns away from My Reminder (i.e. neither believes in this Qur’an nor acts on its orders, etc.) verily, for him is a life of hardship, and We shall raise him up blind on the Day of Resurrection.
He will say: “O my Lord! Why have you raised me up blind, while I had sight (before)”. (Allah) will say: “Like this, Our Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) came unto you, but you disregarded them (i.e. you left them, did not think deeply in them, and you turned away from them), and so this Day, you will be neglected (in the Hell-fire, away from Allah’s Mercy).” (Ta Ha, verse 126)
Contrast the above with the comforting reminder below:
Those who believe (in the Oneness of Allah – Islamic Monotheism), and whose hearts find rest in the remembrance of Allah, Verily, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest. (Al Rad, verse 28).
Those who remain focused on the remembrance of Allah are the ones upon whose hearts Allah will descend tranquillity and peace. What more glorious achievement is there in today’s fast paced world than to harbour serenity in our hearts? How many of us pace up and down, are anxious, have panic attacks and aren’t even able to sleep, because of the lack of inner peace?
From here, we can revert to the primary purpose of our existence. All of creation exists in order to worship Allah. Mankind in particular, has an additional role of being the vicegerent – khalifa or ambassador of Allah. This is a monumental honour, with a responsibility so weighty that even the mountains refused to bear its burden.
Can one live as the ambassador of Allah if he is unfamiliar with Allah? Before diplomatic ambassadors are qualified to represent their countries, they have to be trained – to be able to personify the values and policies of the country they represent. Once on the job, they have to obey a specific etiquette, dress code and protocol. Their behaviour is regulated, for they are accountable to their home country. If any issue arises, they are to refer back to the laws of their home country instead of making decisions based on their personal desires.
It is similar when we are tasked with being the khalifa of Allah on earth. To carry out the honour of representing Allah, we need to inculcate a deep and intimate understanding of Allah before we can perform the job successfully. We need to transmit values, principles and justice in the way that Allah wants, and not according to our personal opinions.
If an ambassador goes on duty in a foreign country, but he acts with complete autonomy from his country of origin, busies himself with the events of his host country, forgets who he is and what he is there for. What if you meet an ambassador who is dirty, dishonest, rude and untrustworthy? One who does not show up on time, has no respect for himself or others, is ill mannered, breaks his promises, has a shallow character and lacks wisdom or purpose, running everywhere to chase what he likes, and not what he is supposed to do. Can you say that he is successful in his job or is he disgracing his country? Will his country allow him to continue in that role? Will he be rewarded or get a promotion? Can he have the complete protection and immunity from his country of origin?
What about you and I, the ambassadors and representatives of Allah on earth. We have been selected by Allah and are bound by a constitution consisting the Qur’an, and a comprehensive technical manual about what our job is and how we should perform it. In this information age, we have at our fingertips the explanation of this book, through learning the Sunnah of Rasulullah SAW. Can you carry yourself with this title, which is the highest and most dignified status ever given to any nation of mankind? If we choose to ignore it, we will never learn and never develop ourselves for this role, and this is where the majority of us are today.