By Shaykh Muḥammad ‘Alī Aṣ-Ṣābūnī raḥimahullāh
Translated by Mufti Abdullah Moolla
Just as there is a clear difference between the people of īmān and the people of disbelief, likewise, there is a difference within the people of the Ummah—between those who are sincere and those who are hypocrites and show offs.
Among the people we will find that there are some who do deeds ostentatiously. They do not do what they do for the pleasure of Allāh Ta’ālā. Rather what they seek is praise from the people. When they do good deeds it is because they desire to hear things such as:
‘He is a noble person.’
‘He feeds others.’
On the other hand they may do an act of obedience but without seeking the pleasure of Allāh Ta’ālā through it. This too is a type of hypocrisy. It causes the good action to be wasted away and destroyed. It is reported in a ḥadīth of Sunan Tirmidhī from Sayyidunā Muḥammad Rasūlullāh ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam, wherein he speaks of what will happen during the end times. He said:
‘During the end times, a people will emerge that will mix up (swindle) the world with the religion (dīn).’
This means that they will deceive the people in the name of religion. They will eat of the world in the name of religion.
‘They will wear clothing in front of the people made of soft sheep skin, their tongues are sweeter than honey, and their hearts are the hearts of wolves. Allāh says, ‘Are they deluding me or are they conspiring against me? I swear upon myself, I shall definitely send upon them a trial that will leave the tolerant amongst them bewildered.’
For this reason, it is crucial that we adopt ikhlāṣ (sincerity in our actions) and that every deed we do is done only for the pleasure of Allāh Ta’ālā, so that it is accepted by Allāh Ta’ālā.
It is stated in a ḥadīth qudsī:
‘Allāh Ta’ālā says, ‘I am the One who is most independent of partners. He who does an action for the sake of anyone besides Me, I discard him and his polytheism.’
We ask Allāh Ta’ālā to bless us with ikhlāṣ and that He makes our deeds and actions solely for Him.
The polytheists of Makkah Mukarramah had called Sayyidunā Muḥammad Rasūlullāh ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam towards the worship of their idols. They said that, in turn, they will worship his deity for a year. They said:
“O Muḥammad, come. Let us agree, let us come to a compromise. You worship our deities for a year and we shall worship your deity for a year.”
Allāh Ta’ālā revealed these verses rebuking them and denouncing them:
قُلْ أَغَيْرَ اللَّهِ أَبْغِي رَبًّا وَهُوَ رَبُّ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ وَلَا تَكْسِبُ كُلُّ نَفْسٍ إِلَّا عَلَيْهَا وَلَا تَزِرُ وَازِرَةٌ وِزْرَ أُخْرَى ثُمَّ إِلَى رَبِّكُمْ مَرْجِعُكُمْ فَيُنَبِّئُكُمْ بِمَا كُنْتُمْ فِيهِ تَخْتَلِفُونَ
«Say, “Is it other than Allāh I should desire as a Rabb while He is the Rabb of all things? And every soul earns not [blame] except against itself, and no bearer of burdens will bear the burden of another. Then to your Lord is your return, and He will inform you concerning that over which you used to differ.”»
Do I seek the worship of something besides the Rabb of the universe? He has control of everything and He is the Rabb of everything. He is the Creator and Controller of everything. No person will bear the burden of another. I cannot carry your burden, just as you will not carry my burden. Hence, he said:
‘I shall not worship anyone but Allāh. He is in control of benefit and harm.’
The sinful soul will not bear the burden of someone else. Divine justice entails taking a person to task for whatever actions he or she has done.
The entire creation will return to Allāh Ta’ālā for reckoning. He will inform you, i.e., mankind, about what you differed in. Allāh Ta’ālā will inform mankind of what he did in terms of wretchedness; deviation; going astray from the dīn of Allāh Ta’ālā; belying the Messengers of Allāh. Allāh Ta’ālā will give the recompense of this.
Allāh Ta’ālā then says that some people will come after, i.e., one nation succeeds another. People increase and their progeny spreads. People come and go from this world. It is Allāh Ta’ālā that raises some and degrades others. He gives people various ranks in terms of wealth, health, knowledge, and ignorance. It is through these things that people differ from one another.
What is the reason for this?
So that He may test you in what He has given you. To test whether you will be grateful to Allāh Ta’ālā or not. Or, will you become proud and boastful that he or she is richer than the other, better than another, just as the polytheists of Makkah Mukarramah used to do. They would say:
‘We have more wealth and children, and we will not be punished.’
We learn from the above that during the end times—like the times we find ourselves in now—there will certainly be people who will try to swindle us out of our religion in exchange for the world. They will have sweet tongues and hearts like wolves. This is a clear indication to stay away from people of this nature. However, the world is alluring. It pulls and draws us to those who have sweet tongues. Hence, whenever we get pulled in such a direction, we should remain vigilant and understand that the wolves’ hearts will soon come into motion, and they mean to leave you in distress and trials.
Ostentation goes hand in hand with trying to swindle the religion out of people. It is a terrible trait and must be kept in check.
The thread of the message seems to fit hand in glove for the times we are in. We find celebrity scholars who have no qualms about polytheists and interfaith; and mixing the dīn with pagan practices that leave the listener or onlooker in a state of utter shock and bewilderment.
We seek the protection of Allāh Ta’ālā from the trials that come with teaching, spreading and defending the blessed and pure religion of Islām in this age. Āmīn.
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