Capriciousness, Almighty's Wrath, Purpose
Issue 531 » May 29, 2009 - Jumada al-Thani 5, 1430
Al-Qasas (The Story)
Chapter 28: Verse 50 (partial)
Physical action depends on one's capacity. When the desire and repugnance of the heart are complete and perfect, and the creature acts upon them to the best of his ability, he receives the reward due to one who performs perfectly. For there are some whose love, hatred, desire and repugnance are purely personal feelings, not in accordance with the love and hatred of God and His Messenger.
The basis of capriciousness is selfish love and hate. This in itself is not blameworthy, since it is beyond our control. It is blameworthy to act upon it. Love and hate lead to the acquiring of tastes when their objects are present, to passion, desire and so on. To follow these without the sanction of God and His Messenger is to follow one's whim without guidance from God. Worse, things may escalate to the point where one makes a god of one's whim. Capriciousness in religious matters is more serious than following the whims of the flesh, since the former is the condition of the unbelievers.
This is why those who depart from the requirements of the Quran and Sunnah - whether scholars or ordinary people - are classed as People of Caprice, just as they were named by the early believers. For whoever does not follow knowledge follows his own whim. Religious knowledge is possible only through God's guidance.
"Public Duties in Islam" - Ibn Taymiya, pp. 83-85
The Noble Prophet, upon him be peace, met everyone in the same spirit. Most certainly, he had no desire to be a tyrant on earth or a king over men; nor did he ever entertain ambitions of personal grandeur. On the contrary, what he desired was for Allah to deliver him from the arrogance of the ignorant, and from the injustice of the aggressors. He frequently sought refuge in Allah from trials, envy, treachery, ignorance, all those things that detract from the dignity of a human being. Nonetheless, he was able to and did accept abuse or insults from others - for the sake of his attachment to the Lord. What concerned him above all was that he should never become the object of the Almighty's wrath. In his prayers he would often say:
"If Your wrath be not upon me, I worry not. But Your favour would be far from liberal."
"Remembrance & Prayer" - Muhammad Al-Ghazali, p. 102
Someone once told me that if I did things out of sincere love for them, then I would make sure they were done with sincerity. I would make sure that they got done with ihsan. "Fall in love" with the task, she said, and indeed, this can lead to great productivity.
This is proven in how a petite mother turns into a superhero to serve an ailing child or how a young man works long hours to pay for his wedding to the girl of his dreams. However, how do you fall in love with a final exam? Or a mundane work assignment?
You reflect on the purpose behind it. And then really connect with that purpose.
So, for example, you might ask yourself why this particular task is so important to you. Your answer may be different, but perhaps if you do well on it, you may finish a great education. This great education can lead to a great job that will require use of your skills for the betterment of your society. People need your skills; and maybe your parents will be pleased with you. If they are pleased with you and you are happy that you're helping others, then Allah (SWT) will be pleased with you - and if Allah (SWT) is pleased with you then you'll have the best of this life and of the next.
All these great things start with that one task, and because it can potentially lead to these things, you must fall in love with it - just as you love to win the satisfaction of your parents or your Creator.
What is the purpose of the assignment you're currently working on?
"The 5 P's of Productivity: How to Get Things Done" - Heba Alshareef