Due to the fact that there are things that are a hindrance to knowledge and actions, they must be studied in order to be removed; and one should begin by assiduously examining one’s livelihood.
One should not forget one’s goal in this worldly life, and that is to single out Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala in worship and uniqueness and fulfilling that which pleases Him for man was not created for any reason other than to worship Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala.
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala said:
“I did not create jinn and men except they should worship Me (Alone).”
So it is befitting that the Muslim looks into his own and his family’s necessities as regards to wealth, and work accordingly, because spending hours working for the sake of acquiring extra wealth will only be at the cost of knowledge or actions or inviting to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. So beware of this matter, then do as you please.
Also, it is not befitting, that a Muslim lolls out his tongue after extra work, while he is lacking knowledge in many aspects of his religion such as creed, fiqh, points regarding Islamic manners and other important pillars and compulsory actions. Yet it is astonishing to find such people justifying their actions to those that censure them, with the general texts encouraging righteous actions, saying: “Islam is a religion of action”.
Yet I don’t know what the consequence of this action is. Does it benefit by purifying and cleansing the soul? Or bring about some goodness for the Muslim Ummah? So, I say in replying to this:
Having sexual relations with one’s wife, with the intention of keeping chaste and pure, is considered worship, but this does not mean that a person remains persistent upon this matter, neglecting Friday prayers, praying in congregation and other obligatory duties!
Likewise, eating with the intention of keeping strength for the sake of fulfilling acts of obedience to Allah, is a form of worship, but does it mean that eating becomes a major aspect of our lives?
Similarly, striving to find a lawful job, seeking pure earnings and refraining from begging, is all worship, but does it mean that we constantly engage ourselves in this, so much so that it hinders us from congregational prayers, joining ties of relationship, learning about Islam and inviting to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala?
So look into this matter, may Allah have Mercy upon you, and if one job is enough for you, there is no need for a second; if one shift suffices your needs, don’t take on another in overtime, and if you are able to cut the number of hours you work, don’t hesitate. Furthermore if you are from amongst those whom Allah has increased in provision and wealth, disengage yourself and whomsoever you are able to from your children and family, for the sake of worship, knowledge and inviting to Allah.
Let us remember together his saying sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, “Verily Allah says: O son of Adam, free yourself for my worship, I will (in turn) fill your chest with satisfaction and remove your poverty, and if you don’t I will fill your hands with distraction and will not remove your poverty.” In another narration, “I will fill your chest with distraction.”
The explanation of this in Fayd al-Qadir is: “Free yourself of your interests in order to worship Me and do not busy yourself in earning that which exceeds your needs and the needs of those under your care.”
This is the way a person should be, busying himself in obedience to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala so that when he earns enough to fulfill his needs, the needs of those he is responsible for and whatever else is necessary, he does not busy himself in acquiring beyond that because in this way he will be establishing his worldly life but destroying his Hereafter.
Yet it is surprising to find people who have thousands and thousands of dollars or pounds, still running madly after the world and by so doing placing upon themselves difficulties and hardships, embarking upon business ventures, one after the other, which they could possibly do without.
Maybe now one will strive to listen to more audio tapes on beneficial knowledge and attend talks and exhortations or read more beneficial books. Ponder upon the saying of the Messenger of Allah sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam ” … and what he acted upon from the knowledge he acquired”, and know, that you are accountable in front of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala for everything that you knew.
Check yourself before you try to seek increase through reading and listening to lectures and convert the knowledge that you already have into actions that accompany you as you live.
Knowledge reaches you of the impermissibility of usury, ask yourself, “Have I fulfilled acting upon this knowledge, and left off all dealings with interest?” You are required now to act by leaving off dealings with it, before anything else.
One reads the texts obligating the lowering of the gaze – so are you amongst those who lower their gaze from that which Allah the Glorified has made haram? If the answer is no then there is no need to inquire about lectures that they may deal with topics already materialized in you, for what you need most at this stage is to be lowering your gaze and studying all that would contribute towards implementing this matter, by reading, listening and generally learning.
Study these hindrances that you may remove yourself from them, and search in books and audio tapes in order to make this goal easy.
SOME TEXTS REGARDING THE REMOVING OF HINDRANCES
On the authority of Abu Bakr ibn ‘Abdullah ibn Qays from his father who said that he heard his father say whilst he was facing the enemy: The Messenger of Allah sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “Verily the Gates of Paradise are under the shades of swords”, so a man with a shabby appearance stood up and said: “O Abu Musa – did you hear the Messenger of Allah sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam say this?” He said, “Yes”, so he returned to his Companions and said, “I send my (farewell) Salam to you”, then he broke the sheath of his sword, threw it away, went with his sword to the enemy and fought with it until he was killed.”
One the authority of Jabir radhiallahu ‘anhu who said, A man said, “O Messenger of Allah sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam where will I be if I am killed?” He sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam replied, “In Paradise”. So he threw away some dates he had in his hand and then went and fought until he was killed.
So the first thing that we must race towards doing is to remove all that is inauthentically atttributed to the Messenger of Allah sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam – so that we do not act upon anything except and until it has been authenticated and checked. Should we not be more enthusiastic than this man in this, for he was living in the best of all eras?
Then, after he removed this important barrier, he broke the sheath to his sword – not even thinking about returning.
Similarly, the great Companion who asked the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam about his place if he was killed (in fighting), as soon as he heard about Paradise, he threw away the dates that were in his hand only because he believed that these dates would delay him and hinder im from entering Paradise – and dates are from that which Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala has made halal – so how about those things that hold us back and hingder us from which Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala has made haram?
In the hadith of Anas radhiallahu ‘anhu, Umayr ibn al-Humam radhiallahu ‘anhu said, “If I were to live until I have eaten all of these dates of mine, it would be a long life.” Anas said, “So he threw away whatever dates he had and then fought until he was killed.”
So hurry, O My Muslim brother, to the front line, cast away your desires and remove the love for wealth that has deprived you of the Pleasure of Allah, the Most High. Leave alone the haram things and the following of desires, the doubtful matters and the love for leadership, high position and the love of being noticed. Leave off injustices and oppression in all its different types and forms.
Then, do not forget – may Allah have mercy upon you – that you should hasten towards doing whatever you are able to of good and righteous actions. So do not delay and do not procrastinate and be careful of saying “soon, soon”, as verily it is from the army of Iblis.
That virtuous man with the shabby appearance heard from Abu Musa radhiallahu ‘anhu the saying of the Messenger sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, “Indeed the gates of Paradise are under the shades of swords.” He did not postpone nor delay fighting in Allah’s Path. He did not say: I’ll fight after one or two years,” or “after I finish this business project”, or “after I free myself of my preoccupations”.
As soon as that great Companion heard about Paradise as a reward from Allah for the one that died a martyr in the path of Allah, he threw away the dates that were in his hand without any delay or slightest hesistation.
Hasten, my Muslim brother, do not postpone and do not delay.
Then, ask yourself, O slave of Allah, why has this desire to procrastinate befallen me? Is this desire part of the din? Is it something that pleases Allah the Most High? Or is it a satanic methodology of making smooth the way to escaping from carrying out Allah’s orders or desisting from that which He has prohibited.
It is imperative that you take advantage of strong bursts of faith in order to precede with beneficial actions without any delay or postponement, while at the same time place in the back of your mind the saying of the Messenger of Allah sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam,”There is hesitation in everything except in the actions of the Hereafter.”
If you hear that somebody is calling to good actions, such as, contributing towards building a masjid or joining ties of relations, or to make peace between two disputing parties, or visitng a sick person, don’t think twice about responding, and don’t deliberate.
Know that the best time to act is the moment you hear the call. There is nothing to guarantee that you will live the moments after it. Whispers of Shaytan continue in increasing the will to procrastinate, causing the zeal to subside and the firm resolution to weaken. As a result, it becomes impossible for you to advance your level of faith, leaving no room for rectifiying those deficiencies, sins and shortcomings.
OBLIGATORY ACTIONS BEFORE THE SUPEREROGATORY AND RECOMMENDED ACTIONS
Act upon those things which are obligatory, may Allah have mercy on you, before the acts that are supererogatory and recommended. Bear in mind that obligatory actions are of different levels of importance, so give preference to the most important of them first, and then to the next in importance. Only then move on to the supererogatory and recommended actions, giving precedence to that which is most important amongst them.