Caution against apathy
October 05 2017 10:48 PM
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All praise be to Allah The Almighty, Who created and proportioned,
All praise be to Allah The Almighty, Who created and proportioned,

All praise be to Allah The Almighty, Who created and proportioned, Who destined and guided; and may prayers and peace be upon the Prophet of guidance, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, and those who are guided by him. 
Success is the goal of those who work hard; and, Allah The Almighty has made it contingent on purifying, disciplining and refining the soul, as He Says (what means):
{He has certainly succeeded who purifies himself.} [Qur’an 87:14]
{He has succeeded who purifies it, and he has failed who instills it [with corruption].} [Qur’an 91:9-10]
Furthermore, Allah The Almighty sent His Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam (may Allah exalt his mention), as a teacher and a mentor, as He Says (what means): {It is He Who Has Sent among the unlettered a Messenger from themselves reciting to them His verses and purifying them and teaching them the Book and wisdom - although they were before in clear error.} [Qur’an 62:2] Hence, the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, was careful to elevate and cleanse the souls of his Companions may Allah be pleased with them.
And such is the practice of all those who seek to draw close to Allah The Almighty. The Prophets, may Allah exalt their mention, and their followers, all reformed and purified their souls. The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, endured much hardship in calling his people to Allah The Almighty. Every night, he used to stand before his Lord, bowing and prostrating, supplicating to Him and seeking His help, in full submission and humility to Him. And so, for an entire year, this practice became obligatory on all Muslims because of its great effect in reforming their hearts, motivating them and keeping them steadfast. Therefore, even today, though it is no longer mandatory, praying at night is indispensable.
Thus, all Muslims, particularly those who seek religious knowledge and those who call others to Allah The Almighty, are required to prioritise the reform and discipline of their souls, maintain their relationship with Allah The Almighty and take care of their manners toward others. This should be the starting point for inviting other people toward the faith and rectifying them.


Purification, beautification and striving
Among the most important guidelines in reforming the soul, is to purify it from following its desires, which bring about countless diseases. Since the source of an illness can only be treated by countering its effects, the heart can be cured by acting in a way that contradicts one’s whims. Allah The Almighty concisely mentioned this, when He Said (what means), {But as for he who feared the position of his Lord and prevented the soul from [unlawful] inclination, Then indeed, Paradise will be [his] refuge.} [Qur’an 79:40-41]
The other requisite to the rectification of the self, is to truly struggle for it, to be among those Allah The Almighty mentions, when He Says (what means): {And those who strive for Us - We will surely guide them to Our ways. And indeed, Allah is with the doers of good.} [Qur’an 29:69] An important aspect of striving is to be resolute; so, when one forsakes a certain desire and Allah The Almighty tests him or her by facilitating its causes, he or she must be patient and determined. Otherwise, if the soul is irresolute, it will become accustomed to being that way and be prone to corruption.
The third step in reforming the soul is to beautify it, by instructing it to do righteous deeds until it gets used to them and doing them becomes an inherent characteristic. The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, said: “Knowledge and forbearance are obtained by training for, and perseverance in attaining, them. The one who earnestly seeks goodness will be granted it and the one who avoids evil, will be protected against it.” There is no doubt that one’s deeds have a correlation to the heart. Every quality that is in the heart is reflected on one’s body; equally, every deed that is performed by the limbs, influences the heart. This is only one aspect that showcases the wonderful link between the heart and the body.
When the soul is purified from following its base desires and is beautified by its righteous deeds and virtues, a person is required to then shift his or her focus to the manner of his or her performance of religious duties and favorable acts, and refraining from prohibitions and disliked deeds.
Thus, even when a person is doing what is permissible, it is essential to ensure having a pure intention, because laziness and negligence are part of human nature. The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, said: “Every act of worship and obedience witnesses a primary surge followed by a state of slackness. A person who remains within the boundaries of my Sunnah, even at times of slackness, will prosper. Otherwise, he [or she] would be on the path towards ruin.”
In his book, Madaarij As-Saalikeen, Ibn Al-Qayyim may Allah have mercy upon him, said: “It is inevitable that worshippers become dispassionate. Yet, even during such a phase, if a man adheres to what is right and remains steadfast without neglecting obligations or committing unlawful acts, he is expected to eventually return to a state that is perhaps even better than his former one.”
 
Degrees of apathy
Based on the above, it is inevitable that everyone will experience a period of listlessness and apathy. However, it may be of either of these types:
1.    General: this impacts all acts of worship and instills an intense dislike toward them; it is the most dangerous kind and is a state of the hypocrites.
2.    Specific: this is characterised by a sense of lassitude regarding certain acts of obedience, along with undesirability, but not hatred; such is what many immoral Muslims are mired in. 
3.    Physical: sometimes, there is a desire to perform good deeds, but there is a feeling of weariness and disinterest; and this is how many Muslims are. The danger here lies in the fact that one’s time passes by, and his or her life is wasted without having done anything beneficial. What is even more dangerous is if he or she deteriorates to a worse level and ends up being like the hypocrites in their neglect of obligations and other good deeds. 
Hence, even the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, used to seek refuge with Allah The Almighty from weakness and laziness every morning and evening, and teach his Companions may Allah be pleased with them to do the same. Moreover, when the believers were slow in their response to the call for Jihad (fighting or struggling), Allah The Almighty reproached them for it and urged them to race each other and hasten in doing righteous deeds, and motivated them by describing the reward of such forerunners in faith.  
 
Apathy and the caller to Islam  
Listlessness is a disease that afflicts everyone, regardless of their degrees of faith. However, it is particularly alarming if it affects the callers to Allah The Almighty and those who seek knowledge. Therefore, it is necessary to evade it by all means and immediately treat it if one does fall prey to it.
Since prevention is better than cure, one should make a habit of being attentive so as to steer clear of any symptoms of apathy that may gradually lead to ruin. If that happens, the remedy and cure would be very difficult. The diseases of the heart are like a plant, easy to uproot in its early stages; however, if it grows and becomes firm in the earth, removing it requires strong men and tools.
Moreover, an ill heart presents with simple symptoms, but, if left untreated, will choke a person in its grip and turn into a chronic and incurable problem. Therefore, as callers to Allah The Almighty, we are required to examine ourselves and ponder our condition. If there is any sign of apathy, we are immediately obliged to look for the cause and seek treatment.
 
Aspects of apathy
Apathy manifests itself in many ways, some of which are as follows:
* Sense of lethargy and disinterest in performing acts of obedience
l Neglecting Thikr (remembrance of Allah The Almighty) and recitation of the Qur’an
* Hardness of the heart, such that it is not moved by Qur’anic verses or sermons
* Indifference toward committing acts of disobedience and letting that become a habit
* Lack of responsibility and realisation of being entrusted with a great trust
* Lack of eagerness in performing Da’wah (propagation to Islam)
* Weakness of the bonds of brotherhood among those who should love each other for the sake of Allah The Almighty
* An intense concern with this worldly life and indulging oneself in its pleasures at the expense of doing righteous deeds
* Idle talk, increasingly engaging in disputes and self-praise
* Creating problems
* Bothering oneself with petty issues and neglecting serious and beneficial work that serves the Ummah
* Weakness of faith and an indifference toward violations of the commands of Allah The Almighty
* Wasting time
* Exhibiting no readiness to handle responsibility and avoiding serious work, instead indulging in actions with no objectives
* Demonstrating a chaotic demeanour in one’s work
* Criticising every positive act
* Postponing good deeds
* Possessing excessive wishes
Article source: http://www.islamweb.net/emainpage/

Last updated: October 05 2017 10:48 PM


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