One young friend of mine, who
is a pilot, recently flew to Australia. Due to the ash clouds, they
were told they would not be able to take off. They were thus delayed
a few days.
When he returned, I asked him : "There
was still a lot of ash …What did you'll do?"
He said : "They gave us a flight
path whereby we could bypass the ash clouds. We took this route
and we avoided the ash."
I then asked him : "Did you
take any lesson from that?"
He, in turn, asked : "What lesson?"
I explained :
"The lesson is this : When there was a lot
of ash, then there was danger that the ash cloud would damage the
engine of the Boeing you were flying. Your life was in danger and
the lives of all the passengers were in danger. If you were caught
in such an ash-cloud, you could have gone and the passengers could
have gone. …So they gave you a 'round about' route, to avoid
the ash clouds and reach your destination.
The lesson we take is that when there is
temptation to sin, or some fitnah approaching, we must avoid it.
We must take a 'round about' route. If that plane crashed, the lives
would have gone. However, here, if there is a crash – i.e.
the person falls into sin – the spiritual life – Imaan
- can go.
…Some of those crashes take the person's
Imaan away. Some pretty face takes away the Imaan of a person, or
some other temptation or invitation to Haraam leads to a spiritual
crash. The environment of drugs, pornography, fornication and adultery,
gambling, music, etc. are like those ash-clouds.
The Muslim avoids all areas of sins –
whether the cinemas, clubs, theatres or other venues of vice. To
whatever extent he can avoid, he avoids. He takes a 'round about'
route so that he can reach his destination safely. And the destination
of a Muslim is Jannat.
If there is a group of young girls dressed
indecently and the gaze falls on them accidentally, then try and
avoid an encounter with them. Don't even look again. Think that
the ash clouds are approaching. …If the person cannot lower
his gaze and quickly walk pass, then he must move in another direction.
Cross the street. Go over to the other side. Take another route
lest he gets caught in the ash cloud of fitnah and loses his Imaan
I told this pilot friend : "When
you are flying the plane, then you avoid the ash clouds. Avoid those
clouds of fitnah as well. …On the plane itself, there will
be encounters with the air-hostesses and female passengers. At that
time, guard the gaze. You must be an example. You must show to others
that I am a Muslim. …That you don't behave like the other
And the same applies to all of us. We too face different 'ash-clouds'
of fitnah – whether on the plane or train, whether at work
or in the bazaars and market places, whether at school or college.
How do we respond ? Do we adopt Taqwa? Do we fear Allah Ta'ala?
Do we take the opportunity to prove our sincere and deep love for
Allah Ta'ala? Do we subscribe to "Fafirroo Ilallaah' –
i.e. we flee to Allah Ta'ala? Or do we recklessly 'fly' into the
ash clouds of sins, unconcerned that we may be meeting our spiritual
There is no doubt that the environment around us is hazardous,
dangerous and high-risk for our Imaan. Despite the scenario, a Muslim
must be courageous. We do have the courage. We need to only make
use of that courage.
Steer the heart and body away from those ash-clouds of fitnah if
we want to reach the Hereafter safely, if we want to enter Jannat
without delay; and above this, if we want to earn the Pleasure of
How do we build up this spiritual strength, whereby we avoid sins
like how the pilot avoids the ash clouds, or like how we would avoid
the plague… ?
We work on developing the quality of Ihsaan.
Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) explained the quality of
Ihsaan as :
"THAT YOU WORSHIP ALLAH AS
IF YOU ARE SEEING HIM, AND IF YOU CANNOT SEE HIM, THEN HE SEES YOU
The understanding and knowledge has to be deeply impressed in the
heart and mind : "Wherever I am, my Allah
My Shaykh, Hazrat Maulana Hakeem Muhammad Akhtar Saheb (Daamat
Barakaatuhum) says in poetry :
"If you hide and commit sins,
Someone is watching from above (Allah Ta'ala)…"
A Muslim works towards developing the sifat (attribute) of Ihsaan
in all aspects of his life. It is not confined to the different
forms of Ibaadah (worship), like Salaah, Fasting, etc.; rather it
is a reality which should be found across the spectrum of our lives.
Unfortunately, this quality of Ihsaan – this Conscious Awareness
of Allah Ta'ala - is something which is lacking in our lives. As
such, we very quickly and easily lose sight of Deen and Shariah,
we lose sight of that khauf and khashiyat of Allah Ta'ala, or muhabbat
and love of Allah Ta'ala.
The moment we are occupied in the mundane activities of life,
we incline towards negligence. We forget Allah Ta'ala is watching.
And this 'ghaflat' (negligence) is the stepping stone to spoiling
the harmony of life. This 'ghaflat' is the HEN which lays the eggs
However, if this attribute is cultivated and nurtured in all aspects
of life. ..."That you worship
Allah as if you are seeing Him, and if you cannot see Him, then
He sees you (anyway)." …then this is opening
the doors of success in both worlds.
The person who has developed within himself the beautiful state
of "ihsaan" will lead a very balanced life. …Temptations
will come his way, but he will not fall for those temptations. The
quality of Ihsaan does not mean that Shaytaan will then leave him
(or her) alone. Shaytaan will work harder and will continue to tempt.
However, due to this Muslim's conscious awareness of Allah Ta'ala,
he will not fall for the temptations. He will resist them. And in
this manner, he will also secure the noor of Taqwa. In this way,
he becomes the friend of Allah Ta'ala.
"…VERILY NONE ARE THE
AULIYA (FRIENDS OF ALLAH) EXCEPT THOSE WHO REFRAIN FROM HIS DISOBEDIENCE…"
[SURAH AL-ANFAL 8 : 34]
That Conscious Awareness of Allah Ta'ala makes us apply brakes
and resist the temptation to sin. If we are faced with temptation,
we will move away. Wherever we feel we will be tempted, then we
will keep far from such areas. If an invitation to sin is extended
to us, we will refuse and reject it.
Our dua is, as my Shaykh says, in poetry :
'(O Allah) wherever
I am – whether on earth or in the skies –
my Taqwa must always remain safe.'