Jul
14
2012

Your notions dictate the life you lead

In the Name of Allah the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful

Dear brothers, I want to tackle a very serious issue. There is always a conception prior to every move, behaviour, stand, or step any human is about to make or take, and if this conception is right, then everything else will be right too.

Man’s movement in life:

What is the meaning of movement? I’ve mentioned before that a table, for example, doesn’t need food, mating, or self-esteem and as a result it is still and it stays as it is for years and years, unlike human being who needs food, mating, and self-esteem, and in order to fulfill these needs he has to move.
Human beings, thus, need to move either to make a living in order to eat and drink, or to mate in order to fulfill their desires. They also need to feel self-esteem. Movement is necessary for a human being to obtain sustenance, or get a degree and a job to make a living, and also to prove their capacity to succeed.
Consequently, our life is based on movement and we are mobile creatures. Such being the case, man’s movement can be for a good cause or a bad one. It can be a movement towards oppressing others or a movement towards giving others; a movement towards generosity or towards tyranny; and a movement towards chastity or otherwise.
For example, Prophet Yusuf (Joseph), peace be upon him, made his move by saying to the lady who tried to seduce him:

(He said: “I seek refuge in Allah (or Allah forbid)!)

[Surat Yusuf, ayah 23]

Many others in his place might have moved towards fornication.

There is a conception before every movement:

The delicate point here is that there is a conception before every move we make. We might ask, for example, why does a thief steal? Stealing is a kind of movement, so there must have been a wrong vision before that move, as the thief obviously imagined that he would get a lot of money by making just a small effort. The vision of a severe punishment is missing in his concept. We conclude, therefore, that there is always a conception before every move we make.
If the conception is right, so is the movement, as I said that there is no movement without a prior conception. So, if someone suggests that there is no connection between the conception and the movement, we will say to them: Imagine as you wish, believe what you want, and take what suits you, but remember that there is a real, constant and continuous connection between the conception and the behavior.
Focusing on the conception, we will be focusing on the creed (‘aqidah), given that the right understanding should lead to the right ‘aqidah, and if that occurs, then the action will be right too. When this happens, man is on the safe side, gaining happiness in this life and in the Hereafter.
Allow me to give the following example: If a student believes (according to his own conception or because someone has told him) that if you gave the teacher a valuable gift, he would give you the examination questions, where do you think this vision will lead to? It will lead the student to giving up studying, and as a result he will spend the whole academic year hanging out in parks and theaters with friends, his behavior being based on the belief that the teacher will give him the questions and all he will have to do will be just to read the answers one night before the exam and pass it.
So before the exam and because of that belief, this student pays his teacher a visit bringing a valuable gift with him in order to obtain the answers, but to his surprise the teacher’s response is a slap on his face and slamming the door after having thrown him out.
Clearly, this student is the victim of a wrong understanding of the matter. If it had been right, and had made him act honestly as regards his teacher and his examination paper, he would have studied and would have passed; and this example can be taken as a measure of misconceptions.
One might think that deceiving people can be profitable. What is missed in such reasoning is the fact that Allah is watching over us and at some point He may induce the person to commit a big mistake leading to violating the law. This can result in the confiscation of this person’s properties and money. Thus, one wrong move may result in loosing what has been gained by cheating. If this person had taken into consideration the punishment awaiting him in this life, he would have never tend to deceiving.

People’s hardship is the result of a misconception:

Believe me, dear brothers, this example is applicable to all people in all the affairs of their lives, and every misconception lacks the vision of punishment because it is impossible that you should oppose Allah and succeed. On the other hand, it is impossible to lose when you obey Him.
I am almost sure that most of people’s troubles are the result of misconceptions, weak ‘aqidah, fading tawheed (monotheism), and superficiality, because when you believe that this Universe has been created by the Great Creator, Who is watching over us, taking care of us, and holding us accountable for our deeds in this life and in the Hereafter, only then will you follow Allah’s Path, ensuring your safety and happiness. Let me repeat once again –every conception you form about any matter will result in a kind of behavior.
Therefore, he who has the right understanding in regard of Allah’s Justice and of the punishment for every wrongdoing as well as of the reward for every good deed, will be on the safe side and away from the Punishment of Allah the Almighty.
On the other hand, he who believes that wrongdoing, such as taking other people’s wealth, is beneficial, and forgets that he will be punished by Allah, is misled. It is a rule of thumb that the wealth earned in an illicit way will be made to perish together with its owner, whereas that earned in a licit way might be lost but its owner’s dignity will be saved. Therefore, misbehavior which is the result of a misconception brings hardship, problems, and calamity.

Problems come from sins which are the outcome of misconception:

Hence, dear brothers, I positively believe that all the hardship one might go through is because of their disobedience to Allah and is the outcome of a misconception which should be rectified in order to correct our deeds and gain happiness in this life and in the Hereafter.
A believer should choose a job with a smaller income but clear money resources, and should reject any job offering hefty income yet involving suspicious money resources.
The prophet PBUH said:

No servant leaves anything for the sake of Allah Most High but will be compensated by Allah with something better than that for his Deen and his worldly life

[Al Jame’ Al Sagheer]

Therefore, the conception you have before any act is a serious matter, and “conception” here equals ‘aqidah. What is your ‘aqidah?
If, for example, you had got married, when you were quite poor, to a rather plain woman that you didn’t admire much, yet you accepted her and vise versa, and when you got wealthy, you snubbed her and then divorced, thinking that you would be happier with another woman, you should know that the wife you divorced has a right upon you, and given that you tyrannized her by divorcing her, you will be held accountable for it by Allah.
The more you fear Allah, the more rational you become, the more careful about not crossing the line, and the more religious; and the more you think of Allah in all your everyday acts, the more intelligent and reasonable you get.
The eldest and the most commanding son might usurp his brothers’ (inheritance) shares of their late father’s wealth, thinking that because he is young and strong and dominant he has the right to have everything, leaving nothing for his brothers, without taking Allah into account as regards his way of acting. Believe me, I was told that in one of those cases the oldest son ended up working for his brothers, and this in spite of having been rich. Since he had no right to the wealth he had seized, it was made to perish, and had he had the slightest knowledge of Islam, he wouldn’t have done that. You should know for certain that the consequence of such conduct will be taking to account, persecution, punishment and correction.

The delayed-effect acts are the most dangerous ones

Dear brothers, if we take food as an example, which lacks delayed effects, we can say that it can be expensive, cheap, nasty or delicious, but all that comes to an end when we are full. Not so our acts, as these are sure to have delayed effects, and this is very serious indeed.
For example, if someone oppresses others, this oppression will bring about big trouble for him, and the most serious acts are those whose effects are delayed.
The action of resting in one’s bath tub for 15 minutes has no delayed effect. On the other hand, reading something useful is beneficial for the rest of one’s life, as is also applying every hadith one has heard of, since such acts lead to one’s safety and happiness.
Therefore, there is a great difference between immediate-effect acts (that lack future effects) and delayed-effect acts that can bring about trouble, punishment, poverty, humiliation, and a bad relationship with the family or offspring. Every wrong deed is the outcome of a misconception and will result in future effects. Allah Most High says:

(And whatever of misfortune befalls you, it is because of what your hands have earned. And He pardons much)

[Surat Al Shura, ayah 30]

Some notions:

1. Notions about forgiveness:

Dear brothers, is the concept of Allah as Oft-Forgiving and Most Merciful a right one? The answer to that is both in the affirmative and in the negative. True, He is Oft-Forgiving and Most Merciful, but when? Allah Most High says:

(Then, verily! Your Lord for those who do evil (commit sins and are disobedient to Allah) in ignorance and afterward repent and do righteous deeds, verily, your Lord thereafter, (to such) is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful)

[Surat Al Nahel, ayah 119]

(Declare (O Muhammad) unto My slaves, that truly, I am the Oft-Forgiving, the Most-Merciful. And that My Torment is indeed the most painful torment)

[Surat Al Hijr, ayaat 49-50]

(And when My slaves ask you (O Muhammad) concerning Me, then (answer them), I am indeed near (to them by My Knowledge). I respond to the invocations of the supplicant when he calls on Me (without any mediator or intercessor))

[Surat Al Baqarah, ayah 186]

(Say: “O ‘Ibadi (My slaves) who have transgressed against themselves (by committing evil deeds and sins)! Despair not of the Mercy of Allah, verily Allah forgives all sins. Truly, He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful)

[Surat Al Zumar, ayah 53]

Dear brothers, when you reed the Qur’an, you should derive the right understanding from its ayaat. For example, Allah Most High says:

(Or do those who earn evil deeds think that We shall hold them equal with those who believe (in the Oneness of Allah Islamic Monotheism) and do righteous good deeds…)

[Surat Al Jathia, ayah 21]

This obviously regards the Hereafter, and what about earthly life?
Allah says:

(“…Good deeds in their present life and after their death? Worst is the judgment that they make)

[Surat Al Jathia, ayah 21]

Take for example the glorified Name of Allah “the Ever-Forgiving”. Our understanding of this Name should be right, namely, Allah Most High forgives sins after you have believed in Him, repented of them and amended their outcome. Allah Most High says:

(Then, verily! Your Lord for those who do evil (commit sins and are disobedient to Allah) in ignorance and afterward repent and do righteous deeds, verily, your Lord thereafter, (to such) is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful)

[Surat Al Nahel, ayah 119]

Allah says:

(Say: “O ‘Ibadi (My slaves) who have transgressed against themselves (by committing evil deeds and sins)! Despair not of the Mercy of Allah, verily Allah forgives all sins. Truly, He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful)

[Surat Al Zumar, ayah 53]

However:

(And turn in repentance and in obedience with true Faith (Islamic Monotheism) to your Lord and submit to Him, (in Islam), before the torment comes upon you, then you will not be helped.)

[Az-Zumar, 54]

2. Notions about Hajj:

Along the same lines, somebody inspired by the hadith apparently carrying such meaning might have a notion that if they perform hajj, they will be purified of all sins and be like newborn babies. However, if they had attended religious sessions, they would know that there are sins, such as violation of people’s rights, that can’t be repented by performing hajj, not even by offering a million prayers or fasting for a lifetime, in spite of the fact that the servant’s rights are based on exigencies and Allah’s rights are based on forgiveness. Your notion is right when you believe that Allah Most High will forgive, by your performing hajj, fasting, and repenting, those sins only which are between you and Him. Therefore, only when you re-establish people’s rights, you will be on the right track and you will be forgiven by Allah Most High. However, if you say that you have performed hajj and thus Allah has forgiven you, you will be demonstrating a wrong understanding of the Deen because the violation of people’s rights is not forgiven unless those rights are restored.
Hence, dear brothers, the concept of hajj needs to be correct, which is that true repentance at hajj won’t be enough to be forgiven for all kinds of sins.
You’ve got to have the right notion about Hajj, the prophet PBUH said:

Whoever performs hajj (paying) with haram money, saying “O Allah! Here I am!” Allah the Almighty will answer him: “You are not welcomed and your hajj is not accepted

[Shirazee and Abu Mutee’e, narrated by Omar]

3. Notions about Salah:

The same goes for the concept of salah, which is that your salah should make you refrain from committing haram to be accepted. So, you should have the right concept of salah, hajj, zakat, sawm (fasting during the month of Ramadan), as well as bearing witness that there is no god but Allah.
One of the examples of a wrong notion is the one according to which it is enough to bear witness that there is no god but Allah to be granted Paradise, and this is not true as the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said:

Do you know who a bankrupt is?” They said: “A bankrupt among us is one who has neither money nor property”. He said, “The real bankrupt of my ummah will be he who will come on the Day of Resurrection with (having offered) salah, sawm and sadaqah, and yet find himself bankrupt on account of his having reviled, disparaged or slandered (other people), having unlawfully devoured other people’s wealth, having shed other people’s blood and having oppressed them; so that his good deeds will be credited to the account of those (who suffered at his hand); and if his good deeds fall short of getting even with them, their sins will have been entered into his account and he will be thrown in the Hellfire.

[Muslimَ]

4. Notions about Sawm (fasting)

Here is another hadith that shows the right concept of sawm:

Whoever does not give up lying and wrongdoing, Allah is not in need of his giving up food and drink (i.e. Allah will not accept his fast

[Bukhari 3/127]

5. Notions about Shafa’a (intercession):

For example: Someone might attend a religious talk given by a person whose knowledge and analysis are poor and hear there a wrong idea of the following hadith, whose interpretation is a delicate matter:

My intercession is assured for the sinners of my ummah

[Tirmizi and Ahmad]

What can be the response of this person? He might feel at ease doing kabeer (great sins such as killing, adultery and the like) and instead of going righteous (as the result of attending that session), he will, based on a wrong and naïve interpretation of the above hadith, deviate and backslide. Needless to say, on the Day of Judgment this person will be held accountable for his deeds and the following ayah will be recited to him:

(Is, then, one against whom the Word of punishment justified (equal to the one who avoids evil)? Will you (O Muhammad) rescue him who is in the Fire?)

[Surat Al Zumar, ayah 19]

His understanding in regard to shafa’a was wrong and it led him to wrongdoing, and he will be horrified at the high price he will have to pay for it.

6. Notion about money spending:

Here is an ayah that shows the right concept of sadaqah and spending on the needy. Allah Most High says:

(Say: “Spend willingly or unwillingly, it will not be accepted from you. Verily, you are ever a people who are Fasiqun (rebellious, disobedient to Allah)”.)

[Surat Al Tawbah, ayah 53]

Some of the approaches that man takes:

1. Towards money:

Someone may be offered a well-paid job involving suspicious financial dealings, in which one is expected to commit wrongdoing and things haram, and accept it because of the high income which ensures luxurious life, a big cozy house, a superb car and a beautiful wife. Some time later, however, one may find, to his great surprise, that his money is gone, his marriage broken, and his life and job a total failure. The question will remain: Why realize it so late? If this person had only read the Qur’an and had acquired the right understanding, he would never have disobeyed Allah Most High. A believer should choose a job with a smaller income but clear money resources, and should reject any job offering hefty income yet involving suspicious money resources.
Therefore a believer’s life is heroic; he has no price, he cannot be bought or sold, and “no” is a daily practice in his life.
Dear brothers, every day I hear of similar cases, and I always say “reject the job if you suspect that the income may be haram and say instead:

No servant leaves anything for the sake of Allah Most High but will be compensated by Allah with something better than that for his Deen and his worldly life

[Al Jameh Al Sagheer]

One of our brothers owns a luxurious vehicle which was rented by a Japanese company for a substantial sum of money, and all he had to do was just take their employees to work and then back home. On their way home they used to stop at a supermarket and do some shopping. One day he noticed that they bought wine and, quite naturally, were thinking of taking it home in his car. Fearing Allah, he apologized and quitted his job there and then. What is more, he rejected a similar offer from another company. So what do you think happened next? What happened is quite incredible. Instead of accepting his apology, the Japanese company insisted on having him (out of respect for his honesty) and asked their employees to stop buying wine while they were being driven in his car. They even entrusted him with the keys to their apartments while they were going on holiday to Japan as well as with their expensive cars in their absence. Glory be to Allah as it is exactly as the hadith says:

No servant leaves anything for the sake of Allah Most High but will be compensated by Allah with something better than that for his Deen and his worldly life

[Al Jameh Al Sagheer]

I swear by Allah that I know of someone who worked in the field where he would have been able to get really rich if he had only wanted to, yet he swore to me that he had spent more than 40 years working in this field and never earned one haram penny, and I can assure you that I checked on his life style and I found out that he lived to be 90, having a decent income, good health, surrounded by his children, each of them having a respectable job and good social position. And as far as I know there was another person in the same field who earned haram money and acquired huge wealth by living off people’s backs and out of blackmailing them, and let me tell you that he ended up in a way you wouldn’t accept for your enemy, and I said to myself: “If only he had been aware of the Law of Allah The Almighty.”
A man I was once talking to said to me: “I am 96 years old and, as usual, I worked full time yesterday,” and he continued: “I swear by Allah that I never knew haram either in my earnings or my affairs with the opposite sex.”
In one of the Muslim countries another man told me: “I used to work as a porter in the largest vegetable market in my country”, and he owns now a fleet of 50 trucks. And he continued: “I swear by Allah that I have never missed a prayer or eaten haram money.”

2. Towards women:

Allah said:

(Come on, O you.” He said: “I seek refuge in Allah (or Allah forbid)!)

[Surat Yusuf, ayah 23]

It was Yusuf, peace be upon him, an unmarried young man at the point of being seduced by a beautiful woman and of committing mayor wrongdoing, but at that very moment he said:

(I seek refuge in Allah (or Allah forbid)! Truly, he (your husband) is my master! He made my stay agreeable! (So I will never betray him))

[Surat Yusuf, ayah 23]

Dear brothers, the biggest loss is to lose the earthly life and the Hereafter alike.
Hence, whoever prefers their earthly life to their Hereafter will lose them both; and whoever prefers their Hereafter to their earthly life will be granted them both.
You will find another example in the following ayah:

These are the limits (set) by Allah, so approach them not

[Surat Al Baqara, ayah 187]

Adultery is approached by befriending lowly persons, by being alone with a woman, by feasting one’s eyes on female beauty, by frequenting streets where one is sure to find women walking around in clothes revealing their bodies, by watching indecent movies and by reading indecent books, and all these are ways of getting near adultery.
Therefore, even if someone believes in Allah’s Words but has a wrong understanding, and says, for example, that he is in total control of his desires, and then hovers around what is forbidden, they are sure to be surprised by committing a sin and that simply because they didn’t take Allah’s Words seriously and their understanding was wrong. That is why the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said:

No man is alone with a (non-mahram) woman but Shaytan is the third one present

[Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 2165; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani, 1758]

The right way is to derive our conceptions from the ayaat and ahadith that you read and to apply them to all the affair of your life.

Triumph comes from the right conception about religion:

Dear brothers, our success, happiness, safety and loftiness are achieved by having the right concept of the Deen. On the other hand, the concept of the Deen can be devastating when it comes down to ritual acts of worship such as salah, sawm, hajj, and zakat whereas everything else in our life is entirely un-Islamic –our houses, our parties, our marriage ceremonies as well as our professional life –cheating at work, using haram resources, lying or stockpiling. This is considered to be the most serious problem of Muslims nowadays –that of imagining the Deen as being the mere application of the five pillars, following the hadith:

The building of Islam is based on five (pillars)

[From Ibn Umar]

True, Islam is a structure built upon these five pillars, yet it is, at the same time, a structure of morals, righteousness, chastity, piousness, faithfulness, honesty (when Muslim talks to you), trustfulness (when Muslim deals with you), and chastity (when there is an attempt at seducing a Muslim). The present-day wrong concepts Muslims have is the reason behind being undeveloped in comparison with other nations. Clearly, Muslims lost their righteousness when their Deen got reduced to ritual acts of worship. Some, for example, hang a copy of the Qur’an in the car yet they stare at female beauty, and some others hang in their shops a sign which says “Verily, We have given you (O Muhammad) a manifest victory”, yet they are in the habit of lying, cheating and cunning.
When you firmly believe that it is impossible to disobey Allah Most High and be successful, as it is impossible to obey Him and lose, you will have the right understanding and will reject a sum of haram money, no matter how substantial it is, and will accept a much smaller sum because it is halal.
One of the wrong concepts is to long for a beautiful woman regardless of her religious status, marrying her and living the consequences of such option by having a life from hell, all because one didn’t believe what the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said:

Choose a religious woman lest your hand gets stuck to dust (because of destitution)

[Al-Bukhaari and Muslim]

Unfortunately Muslims get wrong concepts as regards their Deen by imagining it as a set of ritual acts of worship whereas in fact the Deen is within your clinic (if you are a doctor), in your office (if you are an architect), in your shop, in your factory, in your field (giving little thought to what they are doing, some farmers use cancerous substances on their crops to increase them artificially, hurting thus the consumers, yet they offer salah). The Deen is also in your hospital (in some hospitals there have been cases of sudden deaths among patients due to medicines past their expiry date, which instead of going to the rubbish bin were given to the patients; yet a sign reading “And when I am ill, it is He who cures me” is hanging there on the walls).
When Muslims separate their behavior from their Deen, they end up having the wrong concept of their Deen and come to imagine it as a set of ritual acts of worship not as a pious way of dealing with others.
Dear brothers, life is an entangled affair and in this kind of life some people come up with rules such as: If you lie, you will profit. For example, they might import bad fabric and add to it some quantity of a famous brand, then sell it as a high quality fabric for 10 times its price, thinking that they are very clever by doing so and ignoring that later on they will pay a very high price for their cheating. Where does the problem come from? Its origin lies in the notion that Allah Most High does not know about it and won’t call them to account.
Dear brothers, watch out for your conceptions, as the wrong one you may have will lead to wrong behavior on your side.

Stories of companions concerning right understanding:

Dear brothers, as an example of the right understanding I’d like to bring forth a story of Sayyidina Ka’b Ibn Malik, one of the Prophet’s companions, which tells us how he lingered behind the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, in time of jihad. When the Prophet returned (from the battle of Tabuk), Ka’b realized the tremendous burden he was shouldering and wondered what explanation he should offer.
This companion was an excellent debater, as he described himself, and in the contemporary expression it would be called “powers of persuasion”, which is a gift that some people have and which makes them capable of convincing you of any ideas, no matter how wrong they happen to be. So when the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was about to arrive in Medina, this companion felt torn between lying to the Prophet, as he was capable of forging a false excuse, and telling the truth.
However, his conceptions were correct, so he said: “I speak fluently and eloquently, and if I avoid his anger by lying, Allah will be angry with me, so I decided firmly to speak the truth.”
So his conception made it clear to him that there is Allah, Who is watching over him, no matter how clever he could be and how capable of forging a false statement that would properly convince the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. So when the Prophet came back, those who had failed to join the expedition (to Tabuk), over 80 men, came and started offering (false) excuses and taking oaths before him. The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, accepted the excuses they had offered, took their pledge of allegiance, asked for Allah’s Forgiveness for them, and left the secrets of their hearts for Allah to judge.
When Ka’b's turn came, he said: “By Allah, I have been endowed with the power of eloquent and fluent speech, but by Allah, I well know that if today I tell you a lie to seek your favour, Allah will surely make you angry with me in the near future; but if I tell you the truth, though you will get angry because of it, I hope for Allah’s Forgiveness. By Allah, there was no excuse for me since I have never been stronger or wealthier than I was when I remained behind.” The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said: “As for this man, he is telling the truth.”
And you know the rest of the story –those who lied were neglected by the Order of Allah and ended up in the dustbin of history.
Allah Most High revealed:

(… Then He turned to them that they might repent)

[Surat Al Tawbah, ayah 118]

A bedouin asked the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, for advice, asking to be given a brief piece of advice, to which the Messenger of Allah recited the following ayaat:

(So whosoever does good equal to the weight of an atom (or a small ant), shall see it. And whosoever does evil equal to the weight of an atom (or a small ant), shall see it)

[Surat Al Zalzalah, ayaat 7-8]

The Bedouin said that it was perfectly enough for him.

happiness or misery in life and the hereafter is based on notion:

Dear brothers, you should know that right notions are the outcome of tawheed, as Allah is not neglectful and everything is taken into account.
Hence, success is to have a right conception of Allah Most High being in control of everything, of Him being the Giver, the Preventer, the Exalter, the Abaser, the Bestower of Honor, the Humiliator, the Guide, the Protector, and the Advocate, so you should obey Him, therefore:

(Nay! But worship Allah (Alone and none else), and be among the grateful)

[Surat Al Zumar, ayah 66]

You have one mission, and that is to worship Him, and Allah Most High will take care of the rest. You don’t have to worry about the Deen as it is Allah’s Deen; you should worry about your position, whether Allah has allowed you to be one of his soldiers or not.
Hence, dear brothers, I positively believe that all the hardship one might go through is because of their disobedience to Allah and is the outcome of a misconception which should be rectified in order to correct our deeds and gain happiness in this life and in the Hereafter.

Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds

Prepared by: Noora Al Sharabi

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