Which path will you take?

If you live in a Western country, you will find that religion is having less of an influence on the decisions people make. In fact, many people are losing touch with religion in almost every part of the globe and they are resorting to a lifestyle with no boundaries. They do as they please, whenever they wish. Why? Because they do not believe in the Hereafter or the Day of Judgement. That is the Day we will have to answer for everything we did. But if you don’t believe in the Day we will all be accountable for our actions, what stops you from committing every sin under the Sun?

Unfortunately, Muslims are involving themselves in shamelessness too, not remembering their purpose in life. People are forgetting Allah, His commands and His message. They no longer trust Him, but they seek to pursue their desires, even if it results in the destruction of society. Just look around; we are facing the consequences of such carelessness today. Immorality does not only destroy our bodies, but it is also corrupts our minds and souls.

You will be exposed to a lot of negative things, especially in the society we live in today. Sin is available everywhere you go. At some stage in your life, you will be tested with a situation which will require you to exercise self-restraint. You might tell yourself that it’s okay to commit a sin but in your heart, you will know it’s wrong. Just because no one is watching, just because you’re young and you assume that you have a long life ahead, it doesn’t mean that you should follow your desires blindly. If you do that, something is bound to go wrong and you will have to live with the regret of knowing you committed a sin when you could have easily avoided it.

The main point I want to get across in this post is: just because you can, it doesn’t mean you should.

Everyone has the ability to make choices, whether they are good or bad, through the gift of free-will. This is a special quality that neither the plants nor animals  possess. You won’t find flowers picking themselves up and walking across the street. Allah hasn’t given them the ability to do that. Moreover, human beings have been given the ability to reason, to think and reflect. With this, we are able to realise that our actions have consequences.

Why have we been given free-will? Allah gave it to us as a test and He says in the Quran,

“[He] who created death and life to test you [as to] which of you is best in deed – and He is the Exalted in Might, the Forgiving”

{Surah Al-Mulk verse 2}

In this life, we will come across many paths which fall into one of two categories: good or bad. Some paths will be clear, safe and they will lead you to happiness whilst other paths will be dangerous, leading you far astray. These paths represent the choices you make. It’s your life and you can decide which path you want to take. Choose a path that will be good for you, in this life and the next. If you knew that by going to a certain place, your life would be at risk because there was a human-eating grizzly bear on the loose, you would (hopefully) avoid that area as best as you possibly can. Well, in the same way, if you know that your soul will be harmed as a result of taking a particular path, maintaining a safe distance would be the most rational thing to do.

Yes, everyone has freewill. People can choose to do pretty much whatever they like in today’s society. But just because you can choose to do something, it doesn’t make it right or morally acceptable. For example, I can choose to drink alcohol, smoke and do drugs, but that doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do, especially since it’s causing harm to my body.

However, a bigger calamity would be that, as a result of committing these sins, I risk losing my faith. My soul will be vulnerable, weak and lost. Once I start, there’s no limit as to how far I can go. I would have already disregarded a major principle of Islam which is to obey the commands of Allah. When Allah commands something, what do we do?

“We hear and we obey.”

{Surah Al-Baqarah verse 285}

Now, why do we do this? Does it mean we’re not allowed to think for ourselves? Of course not! Islam is a religion that encourages you to think, to ponder, to reflect and to question. Seeking knowledge is highly esteemed in our way of life and this is evident in the very first words of the Quran that were revealed to Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him),

“Read in the name of your Lord Who created.”

{Surah Al-‘Alaq verse 1}

This religion came to free us from the shackles of ignorance, backwardness and injustice. We are told the truth about this life and the life to come. The accurate descriptions of the human embryo, the mountains that serve as pegs, the water cycle, the barrier between the two types of seas and the fact that the Earth is round are all scientific truths that were mentioned in the Quran 1400 years ago. Yet, we have only come to discover these facts recently. We are a progressive people because if dressing less like a caveman is uncivilised, then dressing like a Muslim is the epitome, the highest standard of civilisation. University graduates wear long cloaks on their graduation day, similar to the modest dress Muslim women wear. We perceive them to be intelligent and often inspiring individuals. Finally, before the time of Islam, women had virtually no rights. Then Islam came and liberated them, honoured them and granted them protection. They were given so many rights and I would love to list them all, but then we might be here all day! To name a few, they had the right to inherit, to choose who they want to marry and to be seen as equal in the Eyes of Allah. Allah says in the Quran,

“Whoever does righteousness, whether male or female, while he is a believer – We will surely cause him to live a good life, and We will surely give them their reward [in the Hereafter] according to the best of what they used to do.”

{Surah An-Nahl verse 97}

We have to remember that Islam doesn’t need us, we need Islam. It’s not a pick and mix type of religion where we choose to follow what benefits us and deny the aspects that we don’t like. It’s a complete way of life. And we need to remember that it was Allah who chose this way of life for us.

As much as we can strive to acquire beneficial knowledge, we must realise that our knowledge is limited and that we don’t know everything. We can guess, speculate and predict future events but we may not always be correct. In Islam, we believe that Allah is the All-Knowing and the All-Wise. He knows the past, present and future more than and better than anyone else. His knowledge and wisdom is perfect. Furthermore, He created everything. Therefore, He knows the best conditions for everything and has prescribed certain laws for His creation to be maintained. For example, we know that the Earth orbits the Sun from a precise distance which ensures that it doesn’t get too hot so that we roast in the extreme heat, nor is the Earth too far from the Sun so that we will freeze to death. That’s something Allah has decided. Therefore, if Allah can take care of tiny, insignificant planet Earth, He  definitely knows how to take care of an even tinier, more insignificant human being.

When Allah decides something, it’s only good and that’s why we put our trust in Him. His wisdom and knowledge encompasses everything. So when Allah tells us not to drink alcohol, not to commit adultery, not to murder or steal or do any sin, major or minor, we must trust His wisdom. He knows the negative consequences of doing these actions and out of His mercy and love, He told us to stay away from these things because they harm us. And not only do they harm individuals, but families and communities are also torn apart.

“It is not for a believing man or a believing woman, when Allah and His Messenger have decided a matter, that they should [thereafter] have any choice about their affair. And whoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger has certainly strayed into clear error.”

{Surah Al-Ahzab verse 36}

At the end of our lives, the only thing that will matter is our deeds. We will leave our families, money, cars, status, whatever it is, we will leave it behind. That’s why it’s important to make the right choices in this life; our choices here have a direct impact on where we will be in the hereafter.

Key points to remember:

  • Every human being has free-will which is the ability to make choices
  • Each choice has a consequence in this life and the next
  • Just because you can do something, it doesn’t mean you should do it
  • Allah is the Most Wise and we should trust His wisdom
  • When Allah says that something is wrong, even if the whole world engages in it, it will still be wrong!

 


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