Allahﷻ created us and sent us into this world for a short period of time. During this time, He promised to take care of all our affairs in return for which He gave us the honor of establishing His Deen on the earth.
وَمَا خَلَقْتُ ٱلْجِنَّ وَٱلْإِنسَ إِلَّا لِيَعْبُدُونِ
مَآ أُرِيدُ مِنْهُم مِّن رِّزْقٍ وَمَآ أُرِيدُ أَن يُطْعِمُونِ
إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ هُوَ ٱلرَّزَّاقُ ذُو ٱلْقُوَّةِ ٱلْمَتِينُ
Zariyaat 51: 56-58 I did not create jinn and humans except to worship Me. I seek no provision from them, nor do I need them to feed Me. Indeed, Allah ˹alone˺ is the Supreme Provider—Lord of all Power, Ever Mighty.
Allahﷻ created us to know Him and to worship Him and to enable us to do that not only did He take care of all our needs, but He also gave us a system, the Deen of Islam, whereby every action of ours becomes an act of worship if it is done with the right intention and in the right way. Both intension and method are important, and one doesn’t nullify the need for the other. Allahﷻ sent us His Messengerﷺ to teach us by word and action how to apply Islam in our lives. That is the Sunnah of Rasoolullahﷺ which is the Field Book of the Qur’an. The orders are in the Qur’an. How to carry them out, we learn from the blessed life of Rasoolullahﷺ. If we do this, then every action of ours, from eating, to sleeping, to working, to studying, to marrying, to raising children; in short, every action that we do for our own benefit will be rewarded by Allahﷻ. We do the action to fulfill our need, but if we do it in keeping with the Sunnah, we will be rewarded for it.
It was narrated from Abu Dharr (R) that some people from among the Sahaba of Rasoolullahﷺ said to him, “Ya Rasoolullahﷺ, the rich people will get more reward. They pray as we pray, and they fast as we fast, but they give in charity from their excess wealth.” Heﷺ said, “Has not Allah given you things with which you can give charity? Every Tasbih (Subhaan Allah) is charity. Every Takbeer (Allahu Akbar) is charity. Every Tahmeed (Al-hamdu-Lillaah) is charity. Every Tahleel (Laa ilaaha ill-Allah) is a charity. Enjoining good is charity. Forbidding evil is charity. Having intercourse (with one’s wife) is charity.” They asked, “Ya Rasoolullahﷺ, if one of us fulfils his desire, is there reward in that?” He said, “Do you not see that if he does it in a Haraam way he will have the burden of sin? So, if he does it in a Halaal way, he will have a reward for that.” (Muslim).
What more can we ask for? Live your life normally. Do whatever you like. Enjoy yourself. Set great financial, political, educational, family or community goals and achieve them. Become rich, famous, successful, and powerful. But do it as Allahﷻ ordered and as Rasoolullahﷺ showed us. And we can have all we desire in this life and Jannah when we meet Allahﷻ. Rasoolullahﷺ was all these things and more. In a purely worldly context, Rasoolullahﷺ was the most successful human being ever. He took his people from being the weakest, least influential, most oppressed, and persecuted to becoming role models and undisputed leaders of their land in just 23 years. He inspired the creation of great empires which ruled the world for over a thousand years. His message permeated the psyche of the world and founded universities and educational institutions, spanning boundaries of time and geography. His model of life is a model of success for anyone who wants to use it, Muslim or not. And for the Muslim it is the ticket to Jannah. The biggest fact to note is that unlike the so-called ‘greats’ of the world, he did all this without wars, bloodshed, or oppression. He won hearts and minds over by his unbending commitment to truth and reason and his beautiful manners. In a world which is characterized by compromising truth, justice, and compassion for the sake of political power, it is good to remind ourselves, that Rasoolullahﷺ had and inspired more political power than anyone can hope to do today but he did that without compromising in any way, the values, and ideals that he stood for.
I began with this introduction because there are two voices that promote compromise and one that warns us against it. It is essential to recognize those voices and to know what to do when we hear them if we want to achieve our life goals and Jannah.
The first is the voice of Shaytaan. He is our constant companion who is totally dedicated to his goal of getting us into Jahannam. That is why Allahﷻ taught us to recognize him and told us how to treat him.
إِنَّ ٱلشَّيْطَـٰنَ لَكُمْ عَدُوٌّ فَٱتَّخِذُوهُ عَدُوًّا إِنَّمَا يَدْعُوا۟ حِزْبَهُۥ لِيَكُونُوا۟ مِنْ أَصْحَـٰبِ ٱلسَّعِيرِ
Fatir 35: 6 Surely Shaytaan is an enemy to you, so take him as an enemy. He only invites his followers to become inmates of the Blaze.
Please notice that Allahﷻ is not telling us to merely ignore Shaytaan or to turn away from him or not listen to him. Allahﷻ told us that Shaytaan is our enemy and that we should fight him. How can we fight Shaytaan? We can fight him by recognizing his voice and doing the opposite of what he advises us to do. Let me state something else which Allahﷻ told us about Shaytaan; that he has no power over us. He can only whisper and tempt. He can’t force us to disobey Allahﷻ or to go against the Sunnah of Rasoolullahﷺ; both of which are the same thing anyway. Allahﷻ said:
فَإِذَا قَرَأْتَ ٱلْقُرْءَانَ فَٱسْتَعِذْ بِٱللَّهِ مِنَ ٱلشَّيْطَـٰنِ ٱلرَّجِيمِ
إِنَّهُۥ لَيْسَ لَهُۥ سُلْطَـٰنٌ عَلَى ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا۟ وَعَلَىٰ رَبِّهِمْ يَتَوَكَّلُونَ
إِنَّمَا سُلْطَـٰنُهُۥ عَلَى ٱلَّذِينَ يَتَوَلَّوْنَهُۥ وَٱلَّذِينَ هُم بِهِۦ مُشْرِكُونَ
Nahl 16: 98 – 100 When you recite the Qur’an, seek refuge with Allah from Shaytaan, the accursed. He certainly has no authority over those who believe and put their trust in their Rabb. His authority is only over those who take him as a patron and who—under his influence—associate ˹others˺ with Allah.
Truly the Qur’an is clear, and we ignore it only at our own peril. Allahﷻ taught us how to protect ourselves from Shaytaan, which is by seeking the protection of Allahﷻ. This is not restricted only to reciting Qur’an but extends to every aspect of life. We must make it a habit to seek Allahﷻ’s protection always.
I want to draw your attention to all those who, even though the mask mandates have been withdrawn, continue to wear masks for their own safety. That is because they are so afraid of the danger of infection that they want to take no chances. The question we must ask is how fearful we are about being infected by Shaytaan, the result of which will be far more serious than Covid or any worldly disease. After seeking Allahﷻ’s protection, we must have faith (Iman) and reliance (Tawakkul) on Allahﷻ. Evidence of faith is to obey Allahﷻ. No excuses, no games, no compromises with the orders of Allahﷻ. To do what Allahﷻ ordered us, in the way that Rasoolullahﷺ taught us, is the meaning of Islam. When we obey, we have faith. When we have faith, Allahﷻ blesses us with Tawakkul. Remember that to have faith is a choice. Tawakkul is the reward of faith. That is not a choice but an honor and reward. There are many who don’t have faith. Or those who claim to have faith but have no Tawakkul. But there is nobody who has or had Tawakkul but whose faith was weak or absent.
Tawakkul frees us from all worries, all anxieties, all fears. Tawakkul ennobles and illuminates our hearts with the Noor of Allahﷻ’s Magnificence and Power which drives out the shadows of all evil. The one who has Tawakkul has Allahﷻ. Who else does he need? Allahﷻ asked:
أَلَيْسَ ٱللَّهُ بِكَافٍ عَبْدَهُۥ
Zumar 3: 36 Is Allah not sufficient for His slave?
That is the reason why Ta’alluq Ma’Allahﷻ is so critical. How can one be the slave of a Master who one doesn’t know and is not connected to? But when I am the slave of a Master whose Magnificence blinds me to all human pretensions of power, whose Power shows me the true extent of the power of the spiders spinning their webs, masquerading as worldly rulers, whose Mercy I am constantly aware of and grateful for, whose Forgiveness, I seek and am assured of, then what do I care for this world and whoever and whatever it contains? I still use it as a tool because I have been put into it and shown how to use it, but it can never be my goal, my desire, or the aim of my life. I use it to gain the pleasure of Allahﷻ like Rasoolullahﷺ taught us, as the farmer uses his fields to plant grain to harvest and feed his family. Planting is not his goal. It is the means of reaching his goal, which is to feed his family. Dunya (worldly life) is not our goal. Our goal is to reach Jannah. The Dunya is the way to do that. Allahﷻ showed us how to build our Iman. He commanded us and said:
يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا۟ ٱدْخُلُوا۟ فِى ٱلسِّلْمِ كَآفَّةً وَلَا تَتَّبِعُوا۟ خُطُوَٰتِ ٱلشَّيْطَـٰنِ إِنَّهُۥ لَكُمْ عَدُوٌّ مُّبِينٌ
Baqara 2: 208 O Believers! Enter Islam completely and do not follow Shaytaan’s footsteps. Surely, he is your sworn enemy.
Allahﷻ ordered complete and not partial obedience in all aspects of life.
It is very important to note that the problem that most Muslims have is not with total disobedience and denial (Kufr) but with partial obedience that they are happy with, and think is enough. Please remember that selective obedience is disobedience. Selective obedience is arrogance. When a person selectively obeys Allahﷻ, he is saying by his actions, ‘You may have ordered me to do such-and-such but I will decide what and how much of that I want to do.’ This is one of the favorite games of Shaytaan which gives one the illusion of being obedient while putting oneself in a very bad place with Allahﷻ. Allahﷻ warned us and said:
أَفَتُؤْمِنُونَ بِبَعْضِ ٱلْكِتَـٰبِ وَتَكْفُرُونَ بِبَعْضٍ فَمَا جَزَآءُ مَن يَفْعَلُ ذَٰلِكَ مِنكُمْ إِلَّا خِزْىٌ فِى ٱلْحَيَوٰةِ ٱلدُّنْيَا وَيَوْمَ ٱلْقِيَـٰمَةِ يُرَدُّونَ إِلَىٰٓ أَشَدِّ ٱلْعَذَابِ وَمَا ٱللَّهُ بِغَـٰفِلٍ عَمَّا تَعْمَلُونَ
Baqara 2: 85 Do you believe in some of the Scripture and reject the rest? Is there any reward for those who do so among you other than disgrace in this worldly life and being subjected to the harshest punishment on the Day of Judgment? For Allah is never unaware of what you do.
The standard of behavior for the Believers is as Allahﷻ described it:
إِنَّمَا كَانَ قَوْلَ ٱلْمُؤْمِنِينَ إِذَا دُعُوٓا۟ إِلَى ٱللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِۦ لِيَحْكُمَ بَيْنَهُمْ أَن يَقُولُوا۟ سَمِعْنَا وَأَطَعْنَا وَأُو۟لَـٰٓئِكَ هُمُ ٱلْمُفْلِحُونَ
Noor 24: 51 The only response of the ˹true˺ Believers, when they are called to Allah and His Messenger so he may judge between them, is to say, “We hear and obey.” It is they who will ˹truly˺ succeed.
We hear and we obey. This is obedience with knowledge. Not blind obedience. It is obedience with knowing who Allahﷻ is and who His Messengerﷺ is and having a heart filled with love for Allahﷻ and His Messengerﷺ and the desire to do whatever it takes to please Allahﷻ. This is the position of the Muslim. The best and most powerful way to fight Shaytaan is to take the position of ‘We hear and we obey’. No games, no excuses. Just obedience because we love the One to whom is our return.
I finally remind myself and you that when all is said and done, Shaytaan will wash his hands of all responsibility for having deceived us and say:
وَقَالَ ٱلشَّيْطَـٰنُ لَمَّا قُضِىَ ٱلْأَمْرُ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ وَعَدَكُمْ وَعْدَ ٱلْحَقِّ وَوَعَدتُّكُمْ فَأَخْلَفْتُكُمْ وَمَا كَانَ لِىَ عَلَيْكُم مِّن سُلْطَـٰنٍ إِلَّآ أَن دَعَوْتُكُمْ فَٱسْتَجَبْتُمْ لِى فَلَا تَلُومُونِى وَلُومُوٓا۟ أَنفُسَكُم مَّآ أَنَا۠ بِمُصْرِخِكُمْ وَمَآ أَنتُم بِمُصْرِخِىَّ إِنِّى كَفَرْتُ بِمَآ أَشْرَكْتُمُونِ مِن قَبْلُ إِنَّ ٱلظَّـٰلِمِينَ لَهُمْ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ
Ibrahim 14:22 And Shaytaan will say ˹to his followers˺ after the judgment has been passed, “Indeed, Allah has made you a true promise. I too made you a promise, but I failed you. I did not have any authority over you. I only called you, and you responded to me. So do not blame me; blame yourselves. I cannot save you, nor can you save me. Indeed, I denounce your previous association of me with Allah ˹in loyalty˺. Surely the wrongdoers will suffer a painful punishment.
Let us not fall into this trap and turn to Allahﷻ in repentance.