Beware of the Devil:
Advice to a University Student
(Bringing Islam to the World One Concept at a Time!
Taking the Qur'an to Every Home and Heart that Needs It --
And which One Does Not?)
Here is a paraphrase of advice I gave some years ago to a fairly smart university student who wrote to apologize, and provide the usual litany of excuses, for not being able to be as active as before in what we have been calling Working for Allah.
The explanations included the following, and they are pretty impressive ones:
Continued and more focused work on the methodology and literature review parts of the ongoing Ph.D. thesis;
Concurrent work on a new competitive and refereed scholarly conference paper;
Preoccupation with tests that seem to be getting tougher.
Good stuff, I thought. And I offered advice that went something like this:
May Allah help and bless you.
Right now, your thesis, your tests and your conference papers are your Islam.
Just make sure you do not abandon or short-change Allah’s Work – which is basically doing your own work; doing your family’s work; doing your neighbors’ work; as well as doing everybody else’s work – when you are done navigating these rough patches of your student life, and things get a bit smoother and easier for you in life.
Work that we call: Taking the Qur’an to Every Home and Heart that Needs It – and Which One Does Not?
In effect I said:
Right now, Allah is laying out your life for you. And we all ask and pray that Allah will make that life easy for you.
But a time will come when your student days will be over and you will graduate. And you will find a job befitting your university qualifications. And you will acquire yourself a wife and Allah will bless you with children.
And you will fall under the usual illusion that somehow you were the secret to your success – and not Allah.
And that you earned all these wonderful perks of earthly life – health; wealth; family; education; job; house and all that – through your smarts and diligence and vigilance, and they are not really the bounties and boons and favors that came your way by the sheer grace and mercy of Almighty Allah.
Shaitan will then tighten his hold on you. He will get you busy with other things such as:
Making the daily runs to grocery stores and meat and fish markets;
And running to the doctors and the pharmacies;
And finding a new and better residence suitable to your new status as a successful man of the world;
And that residence may have lawns that may need cutting and trees and plants that may need tending and pruning and watering;
And you will need new and better cars as you roll through your new life.
And you will be afraid.
You will be fearful about what will happen to you – and to your family and to your career and to all these wonderful things that you now possess and claim – if your commitment to Allah and the fact of your Working for Allah are found out by the wrong people, at the wrong juncture in your life.
And what will happen to that impending promotion, and to all those opportunities for growth and success that are just around the corner and for which you worked so hard.
And you will slacken and cut corners and take care not to be seen too much and not to be heard too loud, till Shaitan completely whisks you out of the scene and makes Allah and Allah’s Work a fading and wistful memory in your mind.
And the upshot of all this will be that you will still be Missing in Action (MIA) when it comes to Allah’s Work – just like you say and feel you are right now. Your presences will grow rarer and spottier by the day.
And during all this, right below the radar, you will be aware and conscious of what is going on, but you will be unable to do anything about it. You will have lost control of your life.
For, Shaitan now will have you firmly by the throat.
Oh, you will still be around for all kinds of Islamic Cookouts and things. And you will dutifully carry out all kinds of Islamic chores and assignments for your influential relatives and friends, as the custom is. And as the social norms require.
But your Social Islam will beguile you into thinking that you now are absolved from the personal responsibility of that other thing we talk about:
Taking the Qur’an to Every Home and Heart that Needs It – and Which One Does Not?
Or you will strike out on your own and so something nice and perfectly Islamic – Far from the Madding Crowd, as a non-Muslim, I guess, Thomas Hardy will put it.
How I wish Muslims would seek clarity in life – and in relation to Islam, which is what life is all about. For, in Islam, life and Islam are synonymous.
Confusing? Sit down and work on it and you will see how amazingly clear it really is.
And, oh how I wish Muslims would at least accept clarity when it is offered to them, as it is being done here, on a platter as they say!
And how some of the best and most promising among them will ignore Allah’s repeated warnings in the Qur’an and underestimate Shaitan. And how they will take chances with Shaitan without realizing the extent of his reach and the sophistication of his approach.
God bless the Muslims.
And God bless his world.