A couple of days back I came across this wonderful hadith which talks about how a Muslim should go about dealing with his inclinations. It is just so relevant, makes so much of sense and the amount of reality it holds is striking.
Abu Muhammad ‘Abdullah bin Amr bin al-‘As, radiyallahu ‘anhu, reported that the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, said:
“None of you (truly) believes until his desire or inclination is in accordance with what I have brought or subservient to what I came with.”
[A fine and genuine hadith which was related by al-Maqdidsi in his Book of Hujjah]
It sort of freaks me out to even question myself whether or not all that I like or wish for complies with Islam. Oftentimes we develop liking towards things that are not-so-Islamic or outright un-Islamic. We might not realize that a certain liking of ours is in fact against the values of our religion. It’s because everything has become so common nowadays that you’d always find someone or the other sharing your interests or doing what you do. So it’s like even if your conscience warns you that it’s not right, there’d be a voice at the back of your head telling you, “what’s the big deal…everybody is doing it, why can’t I?”. This is nothing but one of the traps of shaytan to mislead mankind. In fact most of the time we do a thing just because others might be doing it, like simply go with the flow, maybe out of the fear of feeling out of place or something.
Now what exactly do I mean by “desire” or “inclination”? Just what it is: anything that we like or long for. It could be endlessly watching TV soaps, listening to music, or fanatically going to every single football/baseball/cricket match, or reading useless novels (those which apparently go against the values of Islam, like paranormal, romance, horror) and basically anything that opposes Islamic teachings. It’s sad that the problem today has gone much beyond the things that I’ve mentioned. As in, watching a football match is not wrong, but wasting your time, energy and money day and night and giving it priority over the obligatory things like Salaah is definitely wrong. It cannot be denied that anything besides worship if done excessively can cause one to go astray. So if these things are kept in control (after actually making sure that they’re allowed in Islam, obviously that doesn’t include listening to music or reading romance or the like because it’s so obvious that the’re un-Islamic) then it’s fine (actually I’m not really sure if being a fan of a sport like cricket or soccer is allowed in Islam and hence the awkwardness of this statement here, sorry for that. I’ll look that up inshaAllah and maybe write a separate post on it). [EDIT: So, here’s what I promised: Ruling on Watching Football]
I’d always prefer to completely leave something that’d negatively affect my eeman. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
This website has put it beautifully,
“Anyone who does anything that contradicts with the Message that Allah sent His Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, with and violates any of the instructions or prohibitions, is a person who is following his own desires. It should be noted that desire has to do with likes and dislikes. Likes and dislikes are not the main goal. Scholars say that the main point here is not to be influenced by those likes or dislikes. If someone likes something that violates the shari’ah, this person is following his own desires. If that person is influenced by those likes or dislikes, this will lead to an act. The act will lead to forms of actions which either pleases or displeases Allah. In both cases, the person has full responsibility and accountability. The responsibility and accountability are not for the likes or dislikes. They are for what the likes or dislikes lead him to.”
It’s actually kinda creepy because what we desire sort of defines a part of our personality. It is who we are or who we want to be. So it’s really important for us to Islamically channelize our inclinations. It shouldn’t be that while we talk about being good Muslims, we also like to go to the movies every weekend. This shows a deficiency in us. Like obviously it isn’t right to watch movies in these times for obvious reasons.
Al-Imam Al-Shatibi, in his book Al-Muwafaqat, volume number 2, p. 168, mentions that the objective of shari’ah (Islamic Law) is to keep Muslims away from desires so that the believer will be a servant to Allah willingly and become an honest servant of Allah. So beautiful is this thought! SubhanAllah.
Here’s something simply amazing…(I’m copy-pasting it from the other website I linked to earlier because it’s just so awesome, you should definitely read it!)
“With regards to how one can control and deal with one’s desires, firstly Al-Imam Al-Shatibi says that the main thing is to make the law of shari’ah and its rulings as a judging authority that every Muslim should respect, appreciate, and comply with. Secondly, some other scholars mention feeling Allah’s presence, seeking knowledge, and the continuance remembrance of Allah are the ways of controlling self-desires. Thirdly, Imam Ibn Qayyim mentions about 50 ways of dealing with self-desires. Even those who are already influenced by self-desire can use any of these ways to get rid of their self-desires. He mentions this in his book Rawdat al-Muhebin (Garden of Lovers). The following are 15 selected ways:
- Strong resolution.
- Considering consequences.
- Reflecting that Muslims have been created for a great mission which cannot be fulfilled except by controlling one’s desires.
- Not to be enslaved by self-desires.
- To know that Satan is the enemy that gets through the servants of Allah. Satan uses desires to influence people.
- To know that following self-desires will lead to someone’s destruction and punishment by Allah.
- To know that fighting desires by making an effort in order not to be influenced by the desires is one of the greatest forms of jihad. Fighting desires is the essential message of Islam. Muslims are required to make every effort to adhere to the teachings of the Qur’an and Sunnah.
- To know that the one who lets the desires take over and lead him will spoil his intellectual opinion.
- To know that following desires will weaken the eagerness for performing good deeds. The opposite is also true in this case – that is, not following desires leads to strengthening one’s motivation to perform good deeds.
- To know that not being misled by desires will lead to the honour in this life and the Hereafter.
- To know that following desires is the main cause of the spiritual heart disease and the remedy of the disease is to not follow desires. We have to make jihad to fight desires otherwise we will not be able to fight our enemies.
- To know that seeking knowledge and feeding it by performing the preferable acts will strengthen one’s faith.
- To know that we need to be enlightened by the Qur’an and Sunnah. This requires us to make the effort to recite the Qur’an in order to know the meaning and the wisdom behind the ayahs.
May Allah subhanahu wa ta’alaa make it easy for us to desire only that which pleases Him, the Almighty. Ameen!