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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The danger of self obedience

The story of the first man is something that has caused much reflection over many centuries. This is of course referring to the exchange that occurred when Adam (upon him peace) was created. And then Allah (Almighty and Majestic) ordered the angels to prostrate to him. This was not a prostration of worship, as some claim, rather it was a prostration of respect.

They all prostrated except one individual who was with them but was not of them. Satan was with the angels because of his obedience and righteousness yet he was from the Jinn and like man he had the option of whether to obey or not. Unlike the angels, who were created for obedience; so it was something they did instinctively. As for the Jinn they could disobey or they could obey like mankind. Satan refused to obey the command then Allah (the Exalted) asked why. Know that Allah (the Exalted) did not need to ask for Himself but this was done in order to manifest what was in the being of Jinn. His response was something that was not according to his previous behavior. He said that he was better than Adam (upon him peace) as he was created from fire and Adam (upon him peace) was created from clay. He saw his being as more important than the being of Adam (upon him peace) yet he had failed to grasp the most important point which was to obey Allah (Almighty and Majestic). 

Disobedience in the court of the king is not that the same as disobedience out of the kings court. Thus he was cursed and he promised to mislead all of mankind except those who are made sincere as they are the elite of the servants of Allah (Almighty and Majestic).

Going back to his disobedience we can see that he refused because he saw his self as better than Adam (upon him peace). Yet, this was not about the substances that they were created from, this was about the command of Allah (Almighty and Majestic). Satan had to obey when he heard the order yet he refused and in this refusal he rejected Allah (the Exalted) because Adam (upon him peace) was a representative of Prophethood. Prophets were sent to man to be obeyed by the permission of Allah (the Exalted).

In another story, during the life of the Prophet Musa (upon him peace) satan came to him and asked him to pray to Allah (Almighty and Majestic), when Musa did, the response was for him to prostrate at the grave of Adam when satan heard this he said, “I did not prostrate to him when he was alive I shall not now he is dead.” (Imam Al-Ghazali – Ihya Ulum Ad-din)

Here, satan asked for assistance from Prophethood but disobeyed once again. He was the first to disobey and he continued to rebel since. Envy/hasad was the first sin and then disobedience to Allah (the Exalted) because he thought he knew better than to follow a prophet. All of mankind is like this when they refuse to follow the prophets of their time.

The Pharaoh

One of the most repeated stories in the Quran is the story of Musa (upon him peace) going to the Pharaoh to admonish him in an excellent manner. One of the responses of arrogance towards the mighty Prophet was that the Pharaoh himself was a Lord and he attested himself to this!

So here, once again, Allah commanded a prophet to go to a tyrant and speak gently. Giving even a tyrant chance to repent. Despite this, he openly rebelled against Prophethood and this was something that would cause his greatest downfall. As he even refused miracles and claimed that it was magic.

Here again, we see the Pharaoh follows his self and rejected the guidance that came from Prophethood. Yet, this story comes up frequently in the Quran as a reminder to Qurayesh that their position was not about wealth rather was about their position with Allah (the Exalted). As they were rejecting the Prophet Muhammad (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) because they thought he was lower than them, they even claimed that a king should receive the message. They were like Pharaoh rejecting the message whilst being afraid of losing position and power. The Prophet (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) is the greatest creation and what great loss it is for those who do not see this.

If we look clearly at this story we can see that the rejection of Prophethood is rejection of Allah (the Exalted). Nothing hurls oneself into the fire unlike the rejection of Prophethood. In terms of doctrine, a Muslim is he who believes in all what the Prophet Muhammad (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) came with, with the condition that it is definite/qati. (ref: Jawharah Al-Kalamiyyah) This should clarify why is so important to accept Prophethood.


The Prophet (may Allah bestow peace and blessings be upon him) described this Surah as the heart of the Quran. And its primary message is accepting Prophethood as it describes some of the followers of the Prophet Jesus (upon him peace) preaching in Antioch then being killed. 

The heart is the place of belief so when the Prophet (may Allah bestow peace and blessings be upon him) described the surah as the heart of the Quran; he was describing this as place that faith dwells. The Quran is memorised by heart, ponder over this.

How does this apply to us?
Important note, a Muslim who does not pray is still Muslim but is sinful for not fulfilling the commands of Allah (the Exalted). A person who prays should not think he is better than someone who does not pray. Often, people who do not pray have no pride just repentance when they supplicate to Allah. Often, the people who pray have arrogance in their hearts. When Allah (the Exalted) looks at peoples hearts, He is pleased with the heart that turns to Him in repentance. So outwardly and inwardly are two different matters, that can mislead one, beware!

Simple, ask yourself the easy question how do you find your heart when the command of Allah (the Exalted) comes? Do you hasten to fulfill it as soon as you can or do you delay it or you reject it or do you just sit and wait? When the time of Fajr comes in are you too lazy to get out of bed or do you jump out of bed? Or do you crawl out of your bed? Or do you ignore it and obey yourself? Are you listening to your laziness? Is that better than listening to Allah? That extra ten minutes of sleep often means that you will miss the prayer. 
When you obey yourself you are rebelling against Allah (the Exalted) in your heart. This is also done by lack of action of the limbs, external or internal rejection. Often the limbs reciprocate the heart. Whether knowingly or unknowingly you are rejecting God given guidance and preferring misguidance. As for those who delay their actions they still have a station that shall be envied but true envy is for those who hasten to pray when the time comes in. Sins of the heart are as bad as sins of the limbs, see this link for effect of sins post. Also see sins of the heart in Imam Al-Ghazali's beginning of guidance.

Yet this is not just about prayer, how do you find your heart when your partner makes demands of you? Do you ignore them or do you attack them with the ferocity of a loin, for disturbing your evening’s viewing? Looking in the mirror of your self is one of the darkest things that you can do but from this bitterness can fruit of sincerity grow. If you look at it and decide to make a change.

How is your heart when you hear Quran and when you hear hadith? Does your heart say I am the Lord most high or I am better than him? Look, think ponder, reflect and be honest with yourself because when we meet our Lord we hope to give an honest answer on that day because if we do not we may be punished. People often argue about religion with teachers and this is a bad sign for them. Question them yes but do not argue.
When you see someone possess what you do not, do you look down on them? Because you are better? You deserve it and they do not? You are rebelling against the decree of Allah (the Exalted) that gave him that thing. Envy consumes good actions like fire consumes wood so it is not something that you should let yourself to delve into.

Abu Muhammad Abdullah Ibn Amr Ibn Al-‘Aas (may Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) said, “Not one of you believes until his passion is in fellowship of what I have come with.” (Ibn Abi ‘Asim in As-Sunnah 15, Al-Khattab in History of Baghdad 4/369.)

Following the Sunnah is way that you can escape the mud trenches of your own ego. So warn and admonish yourself when you see it wander over to the pits of disobedience. As the fall in these is great and leads one to greater difficulty. What we want to hear is welcome words of being admitted into paradise because we are pleased with whatever Allah (the Exalted) is pleased with. That is the true sanctified soul that returns to Allah (the Exalted) and is given paradise as its eternal reward. This is only done by following the path of the Prophet Muhammad (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) by the permission of Allah (the Exalted). 

And do not slip on the slope of our egos as they descend into the pits of disobedience. The danger of self obedience is leaving prophetic guidance and that is the greatest loss.

Please read effect of sins

What is the sunnah click here

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