False Monasticism - I

False Monasticism - I
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The Messenger of Allah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said: "This life is cursed; cursed is everything in it except remembrance of Allah and what is relevant to that, or a scholar, or a learner."

Mu‘aath read this Hadeeth (narration) on Thursday morning while turning the pages of a book. He was terrified by what he saw and read, and pondered for a while. Thoughts rushed to his mind like a waterfall and he began asking: Does this Hadeeth mean that this life is dedicated to worship only? Does it mean that work is considered a distraction and a waste of time? Does this mean that we must remain in the Masajid (mosques) and not leave them at all?

If the answer to these questions is in the affirmative, this leads us to ask other more important questions: From where will we eat, drink and feed our sons and daughters? Who will assume positions of authority and command in the Ummah (Muslim nation)? Who will work in factories and shops? Where will scientists in medicine, engineering, astronomy, warfare and other sciences, graduate from? Should we leave all these fields to non-Muslims so that they control us and humiliate us even more?

All these questions and more, cropped up in Mu‘aath’s mind, so much so that he could not sleep. The questions confused him till he met Shaykh Yoosuf after ‘Ishaa’ (night prayer) at the Masjid. Mu‘aath was unable to hide his concern. Shaykh Yoosuf noticed and decided to ask him about the reason for it after the prayer.

After the prayer, Mu‘aath sat in front of Shaykh Yoosuf who asked, "How are you Mu‘aath? You seem to have a lot on your mind today. What is it and what is preoccupying you?"

Mu‘aath answered hesitatingly: "Praise be to Allah, O Shaykh Yoosuf, but there is something that has been worrying me since this morning and I cannot get it out of my mind."
Shaykh Yoosuf asked again with a clear note of worry in his voice: "What is the matter, Mu‘aath? Tell me. Perhaps I may be able to alleviate what you are suffering from."

Tired of hiding the matter, Mu‘aath immediately said, "In fact, Shaykh Yoosuf, I read a Hadeeth this morning that was almost about to destroy my perception of Islam and adherence to it as well as form a new perception. You certainly know it. It is the saying of the Messenger of Allah, sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam: 'This life is cursed; cursed is everything in it except remembrance of Allah and what is relevant to that, or a scholar, or a learner.'"

Shaykh Yoosuf said wonderingly, "Yes, I know this Hadeeth, but what made you say that it destroys your perception about Islam?"

Mu‘aath replied in confusion, "O Shaykh Yoosuf, I understood from this Hadeeth that work and production are not important because they are not part of remembering Allah The Almighty and what is relevant to that."

Shaykh Yoosuf smiled and patted Mu‘aath’s shoulder, saying, "O Mu‘aath, do not rush to judge things at first glance, but you have to wait a little before you explain things. This Hadeeth could never lead to your conclusion, and I have many proofs regarding that."

Mu‘aath’s worry started subsiding and he asked anxiously, "I beg you, Shaykh Yoosuf, tell me what is the correct understanding of this thorny issue."

Shaykh Yoosuf sat up straight and said, "O Mu‘aath, listen to this Hadeeth of the Prophet, sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, which will astound you: 'If the Hour comes while one of you has a palm seedling to plant, let the one who is able to plant it do so before the Hour strikes.'" [Al-Albaani: Saheeh].

When Resurrection is imminent, it is expected that the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) orders us to repent, seek the forgiveness of Allah, forget this life, and work eagerly for the Hereafter. On the contrary, the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) ordered us to fill the earth with life by planting a seedling. Which seedling does the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) order us to plant? It is a palm seedling which only produces fruit after long years. What do you think, Mu‘aath?"

With a gaping mouth Mu‘aath said, "Oh! I did not expect that the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) would say these words."

Shaykh Yoosuf continued, "The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) told us this to show us that the road to the Hereafter is the road to this life with no difference or separation. They are not two separate roads: one for this life and another for the Hereafter. Rather, it is one road that includes both of them and connects them. There is no road to the Hereafter called "worship" or a road to this life called "work". It is one road that starts in this life and ends in the Hereafter and in which work is not separated from worship, nor is worship separated from work. Both worship and work are the same in the sight of Islam and proceed side by side in this single and only road. In that way, we can properly understand how to carry out the saying of Allah The Almighty (what means): {Say, "Indeed, my prayer, my rites of sacrifice, my living and my dying are for Allah, Lord of the Worlds.} [Quran 6:162]

It is not conceivable that a person keeps praying, fasting, and reading the Quran night and day to dedicate his life completely for Allah The Almighty. This was not the state of Prophet Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) or his noble Companions. Thus, it is essential to combine working for this life and working for the Hereafter in order for the believer to dedicate his life entirely to Allah The Almighty.

If you realize this comprehensive meaning of worship, Mu‘aath, you would know how the Muslim Ummah (nation) has become lost and lags behind other nations when it was torn between two groups: a group that lost this life on the pretext of dedication to the Hereafter, and another group that neglected the Hereafter and pursued this life, not to attain the Pleasure of Allah The Almighty, but to fulfill their desires and pleasures.

The giants of faith, who walk in the way of Allah The Almighty, are the owners of real success because they seek to please Allah in all their works. They are the ones whose hearts have been touched by faith and have great energies whereby they inhabit this world and achieve the highest aspirations of immortal success. It is success that starts with a good living, happiness with achievement, and enjoyment of success in order to please Allah The Almighty, and ends up in the Hereafter in the Gardens of Eden, in the seat of honor near the Sovereign and Perfect in Ability.

To be continued...

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