Sunday, March 28, 2010

Clinging to Dunya, Losing Religion...

Bismillah Ar Rahman Ar Raheem,

As a Muslim in the West, (and I suspect anywhere in this world,) we are constantly inundated with the desire to seek and acquire personal wealth and material possessions. The idea that "more is more" and that having such things will bring happiness and satisfaction, possibly status and admirability. Allah tells us in His glorious Qur'an that "Beautified is the life of the world..." 2:212 and it is a hard thing to resist. Is having wealth and possessions wrong in Islam? Does it go against Islam? In some aspects, no. Look at the fact that 6 of the 10 people guaranteed paradise were incredibly wealthy mashAllah, however, what we do with this wealth is critical. Does it draw us closer to or away from Allah. Does it distract us from our worship of Allah and our ultimate pursuit... that of the Hereafter? This is where we need to examine ourselves and our intention. If dunya or its pursuit is hindering the worship of Allah, or even becoming a god to you in the way that you worship it over our Glorious Creator, then there is a problem.
On that note, here is some food for thought I thought was worth sharing. Alhamdulillah recently I had the opportunity to read some of Ibn Khaldun's works. He is a sunni scholar who focused in detail on the construction and order of society ( this is a very basic and poor description of his focus). Anyway, he makes some great points worth contemplating. Essentially he argues that a nation will always try to surpass the one previous by attaining more, and that we view progressive nations as something superior and worth pursuing.

“[t]he vanquished always want to imitate the victor in his distinctive mark(s), his dress, his occupation, and all his other conditions and customs.” “ [He] always sees perfection in the person who is superior to it and to whom it is subservient.” such thinking then “adopts all the manners of the victor and assimilates itself to him.” “Therefore, the vanquished can always be observed to assimilate themselves to the victor in the use and style of dress, mounts, and weapons, indeed, in everything.” The Muqaddimah, I, p. 299.

"when a nation has gained the upper hand and taken possession of the holdings of its predecessors who had mulk, its prosperity and well-being grow. People become accustomed to a great number of things. From the necessities of life and a life of austerity, they progress to the luxuries and a life of comfort and beauty. They come to adopt the customs and (enjoy) the conditions of their predecessors. Luxuries require development of the customs necessary to produce them. People then also tend toward luxury in food, clothing, bedding (carpets), and household goods. They take pride in such things and vie with other nations in delicacies, gorgeous raiment, and fine mounts. Every new generation wants to surpass the preceding one in this respect, and so it goes right down to the end of the state. The larger the realm ruled by a state, the greater is the share of its people in these luxuries. The limit eventually to be reached is set for a particular state by its own power and by the customs of its predecessors.The Muqaddimah, I

He further argues that those who are furthest removed from society or the urban life are the closest to religion specifically because they are void of such distraction and dunya, i.e. the pursuit of the attainment of such luxury.

“The frugal inhabitants of the desert and those of settled areas who have accustomed themselves to hunger and to abstinence from pleasures are found to be more religious and more ready for divine worship than people who live in luxury and abundance.” Ibn Khaldun-The Muqaddimah, I, pp. 179-180.

So, if then naturally having less brings us closer to Allah, makes us "more religious and ready for divine worship" then maybe this is the way that we should be living? In my using Ibn Khaldun's insight as an example in no way to I forget the way of the Prophet (Sallahu Allahi wa Salam). The best example for mankind of course is him, and it is certain he lived a life that was not excessive, wasteful or full of anything that would draw him away from the worship of Allah. However reading the above caused me to think about this subject and I felt it was worth sharing with those I care about... the Muslim ummah, with the hope that insha'Allah it would cause us to ponder about it and reflect upon ourselves and how we live.

May Allah make us among the pious, those who associate none or nothing with Him. May we be those who place nothing of importance over Him, and may we always remember our ultimate goal is the Hereafter and not anything in this life. Ameen.


Anonymous said...

So true. I always love reading your thoughtful comments and look forward to more entry’s!

Anonymous said...

Here is a London based free online islamic TV channel's(English) link--

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

asalaam aleykum wa rahmatullaahi wa baraketu,

Inshallaah you are in good health and high emaan.

I have enjoyed reading your blog as well as your friend Buckskin-Niqabi. Mashallaah, you two are strong voices in the dunya against the tyranny of taghoot, kafir and oppressive regimes. Jazaak Allaahu khair for reminding us to focus on what is really important, our next life and the glory of Allaah Subhana wa Ta'alaa.

I found the quote from the Muqaddimah, mashallaah, so relevant. Subhanallaah, that is what the Muslims do today. They act defeated. May Allaah return us all to the right path. Ameen.

Keep up the good work!

Your sister in Islam,


Anonymous said...

I generally don't read blogs, but my sister forwarded me the link for yours. It was insightful, yet logical. Like someone telling you what you already know. The best saying in this regard, I believe, is where the prophet (pbuh) said to 'live in the world as though you were a wayfarer' and to 'be very wary of living lavishly, for Allah's servants do not live lavishly'. The difficult aspect of this is to determine what constitues ''lavish' living in today's society? When compared with the past, materials and resources have grown. Does it mean size of house? Number of cars, interior decor, clothing or jewerly?
Personally, I think it is about not being excessive, living according to need, not dresire. It's okay to have a nice house and things, but not if done to show off. A person should use their wealth responsibly.