Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala takes our mind to look within ourselves – to the dual lives that we live. There are people who apparently seem pious and righteous but they are engaged in sins that only they know. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says,
“And leave what is apparent of sin and what is concealed thereof,” [6: 120].
Quit immediately. Give them up. Learn to control your nafs. Cleanse yourself internally. Our Prophet ﷺ taught us a beautiful du’a:
“O Allah! Give my heart its piety and purify it, for You are the best who can purify it You are its Protector and Guardian.”
Don’t Waste Your Good Deeds
To do a good deed is not as difficult as preserving that deed. We may be doing a lot of good deeds in our lives but sometimes we hurt one person, and backbite another. We spread rumors about people without verifying the source of information. All these people will be coming on the Day of Judgment to take a portion of our good deeds. Do we wish to give our Salah to other people when we will be the neediest ones?
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says,
“Whoever comes [on the Day of Judgment] with a good deed will have ten times the like thereof [to his credit], and whoever comes with an evil deed will not be recompensed except the like thereof; and they will not be wronged,” [6: 160].
What a loss it would be if our deeds are added to someone else’s scale! Repent and protect other people’s rights.
The Ten Commandments
Towards the end of Surah al-An’aam, there is a list of prohibitions and commandments that is similar to what Prophet Musa ‘alayhi salaam was given in the Torah. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala instructs Muhammad ﷺ to say,
“Come, I will recite what your Lord has prohibited to you. [He commands] that you not associate anything with Him, and to parents, good treatment, and do not kill your children out of poverty; We will provide for you and them. And do not approach immoralities – what is apparent of them and what is concealed. And do not kill the soul which Allah has forbidden [to be killed] except by [legal] right. This has He instructed you that you may use reason. And do not approach the orphan’s property except in a way that is best until he reaches maturity. And give full measure and weight in justice. We do not charge any soul except [with that within] its capacity. And when you testify, be just, even if [it concerns] a near relative. And the covenant of Allah fulfill. This has He instructed you that you may remember. And, [moreover], this is My path, which is straight, so follow it; and do not follow [other] ways, for you will be separated from His way. This has He instructed you that you may become righteous,” [6: 151-153].
Why were these prohibitions mentioned? It is because if we engage in them our peace will be snatched both in this world and the hereafter.
The first thing that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala mentions is Shirk that is because there is no forgiveness for Shirk if one dies without seeking repentance. Right after, He mentions kindness to parents because they have the greatest right on an individual. Then we are warned against killing children out of the fear of poverty and hunger. The Arab pagans used to bury their daughters alive today we have abortions.
We are told immorality is unacceptable don’t even come near it. We should be upright in our character and have high morals. Murder and suicide is absolutely prohibited in the Shariah. Then the rights of the orphans are mentioned. If one has spent anything on them, he can recollect his honest share otherwise handover their property as it was received. We continue to cheat the women when it comes to inheritance and do not give them their share.
Be Honest in Your Dealings
The discussion moves on to business dealings. People cheat one another for petty prices. The Prophet ﷺ said if one is honest in his business dealings Allah’s blessings will descend. But when we misquote our prices and scheme deceitful plans how do we expect barakah in our wealth?
This brings us to another aspect of our lives. When we have to sell something of this world, our mind can think of all sorts of strategies to lure the customer. We are polite, kind, friendly and respectful. But when it comes to calling people to Allah’s Deen we can come up with all the excuses that one can think of. The energy that drives our business marketing skills has vanished. Our time becomes limited. Our tongues become sharp and bitter. We forget all our manners and etiquettes. We will not humble ourselves for the grandeur of the Hereafter but we will open our hearts to accommodate the customers for a paltry gain of this world.
Brothers and sisters, the Deen is more valuable! It can result in Paradise for you as against the momentary benefit of this world.
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says,
“[This is] a Book revealed to you, [O Muhammad] – so let there not be in your chest distress therefrom – that you may warn thereby and as a reminder to the believers,” [7: 2].
How fortunate we are that we have the Qur’an, which is an anti-depressant yet, how selfish we are that we do not communicate its gems and wonders with our friends and families. We recite the Qur’an, learn it, preserve it in our hearts and keep the knowledge to ourselves. The Prophet ﷺ said,
“The best among you is the one who learns the Qur’an and teaches it.” [Bukhari]
If someone informed us that there is a university wherefrom if we graduated we will get $150,000 per month we would have rushed to enroll ourselves in it. The Prophet ﷺ is calling us to something better and we are not moved.
We have read Harry Potter and other similar books. We wait for their launch and fantasize the stories but have we also read the Qur’an? If we have not read the Qur’an ourselves, how can we teach it to others and be among the best? This is the Book of Allah, the word of the Creator, which we have not even attempted to learn. That is why we don’t have peace in our lives.
Beware of Shaytan
We need to be careful of the devil’s plot. Shaytan says,
“Then I will come to them from before them and from behind them and on their right and on their left,” [7: 17].
He beautifies sins for us and makes us fall for them. May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala bless us the insight to distinguish between the straight path and the trap of Shaytan, ameen.
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala then mentions the story of Adam ‘alayhi salaam that how he lost a certain place in Paradise due to the treachery of Shaytan. This teaches us an important lesson: if we fall for Shaytan’s traps, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala will take away the blessing that He gave us. In this story, we also learn about clothing, which is both an adornment and a covering.
What is our attitude towards clothing? When we are invited to the house of our friends or some renowned politician, businessperson or anyone famous, we pick the best clothes that we can. We make sure our hair and our accessories are in order. We check ourselves out several times in the mirror before leaving the house. But how do we approach Salah? When the Maker of everything invites us to stand before Him for a private conversation that guarantees us everything that we desire what clothes or condition are we in? Sometimes for Fajr Salah, we simply roll out of our beds throw water on our face, perform a quick wudhu and stand in prayer in our sleeping pajamas. Is that an attitude of gratitude towards Him Who rewards one good deed up to ten times?
Do Not Be Extravagant
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says,
“O children of Adam, take your adornment at every masjid, and eat and drink, but be not excessive. Indeed, He likes not those who commit excess,” [7: 32].
Do not be extravagant in your clothing. When one looks today at the prices of bridal and semi-formal clothing one wonders where the money is coming from. An ordinary dress with trimmings of silk or banarsi fabric and some embellishments is priced at 50,000 rupees or even more. Lawn, which was the clothing of common people is now sold at Rs. 6,000. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says, “But the clothing of righteousness – that is best,” [7: 26].
Be Mindful of Your Clothing
Not only should the clothing not be insanely priced but it should also serve the purpose for which it was created. And that is “covering.” Too tight, too short, too revealing is not the clothing of people of Taqwa. If Salah is not accepted in such clothes, how can one step out of their house wearing those welcoming gazes of strange men?
If one has to shed their clothing in order to appear attractive in front of others then they should know twenty years later they will not have the same appearance. So why not attract people by your character and Taqwa instead of superficial things?
If we dress up according to how Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala commands us, we will, in sha Allah, attract those who are best for us in the Sight of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. Who doesn’t want a righteous companion? Everyone does! The righteous companions push us to give our very best to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. Let us not attract the filth and dress appropriately.
Develop Taqwa, Transform and Get Out of Your Depression
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala has promised us that He will send messages and reminders to us in various forms. Some fortunate ones lived in the midst of the messengers. For later generations, there were people who had acquired knowledge from the messengers and disseminated it to others. And that is how it reached us. So what should be our attitude to these messages? Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says,
“O children of Adam, if there come to you messengers from among you relating to you My ayaat, then whoever fears Allah and reforms – there will be no fear concerning them, nor will they grieve,” [7: 35].
Two actions are required: taqwa and reform. By being conscious of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala and rectifying our faults we will be free from anguish.
A Dialogue Between the People of Paradise and Hellfire
Then we learn about a dialogue that takes place between the people of hellfire and the people of Paradise: “And the companions of the Fire will call to the companions of Paradise, ‘Pour upon us some water or from whatever Allah has provided you.’ They will say, ‘Indeed, Allah has forbidden them both to the disbelievers,’” [7: 50]. What led them to the hellfire? Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says, they
“took their religion as a distraction and amusement and whom the worldly life deluded,” [7: 51].
Materialism took over them. They were more attached to the material things than to their Maker. The love of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala should exceed our love for every other being or thing. The people who have taken religion as play and amusement have today chosen to ignore Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala (may Allah ta’ala protect us), so on that Day, He will disregard them. How does one ignore Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala? By not abiding to His rules and regulations, by not abstaining from His prohibitions, and by not following the commandments that He has ordained upon us. Move towards Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala even if it’s inch by inch.
Our Prophet ﷺ would say,
“O Allah, make faith appear beautiful to us and adorn our hearts with it, and make kufr, sin and disobedience abhorrent to us. Make us of those who are rightly guided.” (ameen)
(Adapted from Mufti Ismail Menk’s Peace of Pearl Series, Cape Town, Ramadan 2013.)