Distractions, disunity and the unnecessary clash of ideas

Part I

We’ve all heard the famous hadith where Prophet Muhammed (ﷺ) informs us about a time when the people would collectively begin attacking the Muslims, as though they were inviting each other to lunch (or to our oil reserves or natural resources as the case may be).

We would be many in number but unfortunately we wouldn’t amount to much, as described so accurately, we would be like sea foam, which forms when the sea is continually agitated (the attacks are unceasing) and the foam washes away easily.

Because no one is being held truly accountable for the crimes against Muslims and there’s no real resistance, the attackers are relentless, they have nothing to fear and so wave after wave the attacks continue.

The hadith concludes by explaining how al-wahn will be cast in our hearts. As explained by Prophet Muhammed (ﷺ), this is “love of the world and dislike of death”.

This simple English translation doesn’t do justice to the message conveyed in the hadith. I will attempt to offer a more modern interpretation of what this phrase might mean.

Think about what it means to love something.

When you love something, you want to be around it, you devote your time to it, it occupies your mind and you work for it, you exert some effort towards achieving that which you love.

When you dislike something, you don’t care much about it, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you fear it (the phrase is carelessly translated as fearing death sometimes) but it means that you don’t spend much of your time thinking about it, nor working for it.

If we start reflecting on how we live our lives, how we spend our time, it’s inevitable to reach the conclusion that we are, simply put, “busy”. There’s always something that robs us of our time, time being a precious commodity that cannot be saved, it can only be spent and spend it we do, recklessly.

Think about what we are devoting our time to, spending hours:

  • on our latest digital devices,
  • watching movies, sports, cooking shows, comedies, documentaries…
  • playing sports, soccer, basketball, tennis, cricket…
  • playing video games,
  • studying for years, some of us literally spending decades on further studies
  • working and commuting to work in an effort to climb the corporate ladder; seeking to earn lots of money
  • holidaying and travelling for pleasure
  • gardening
  • shopping
  • building our first, second, third house
  • etc…

There are many things that we are required to do in order to survive and make a living as an individual and we also have responsibilities towards building a beneficial society for everyone, however have you stopped to think that perhaps much of what we are spending our time on are just distractions?

There’s no shortage of things to keep us occupied with. There’s always something to do and there is always something for everyone, it’s almost as though it’s been perfectly designed to draw us in, it never ends.

These things are there mostly to distract us, to rob us of our time, to occupy our minds. We’ve aged without even realising it or appreciating the time that’s gone by.

And what have we prepared for our akhira, for the next world?

Why would we wish to leave what we’ve worked so hard to achieve and establish here, and go to a destination that is barren and destitute, where we don’t have any possessions, we don’t have any loved ones? Everything that we love and worked so hard for is here, in this world.

Do you see how we’ve been fooled? Iblis has perfected the art of deception. We’ve lived a life devoted to this world and its distractions; we’ve not prepared much for the next world. We’ve not understood “death” for what it is, the ender of meaningless distractions, the destroyer of pleasures and the door to the eternal life.

Al-wahn is cast in our hearts.

We’ve relegated and imprisoned this religion inside the places of worship but is that what we think this religion is really about? Is Allah ﷻ on our minds as we go about our business each day? Are we behaving like Allah ﷻ is merely watching this creation without being engaged in it? The reality is that Allah ﷻ is engaged in the daily affairs of this universe and everything in it, every single moment of the day; so let’s remember Him, glorify Him and ask of Him, constantly.

سبحان الله و بحمده

Part II

To be continued…

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