Sometimes we respond to situations because we are compelled to do so. The compulsion comes from family members or other individuals who push one into performing certain tasks. A few years ago, somebody told me that he had to take his father by his hair to take him on Hajj. I suppose one can call this Hajj by compulsion but it was definitely not Hajj by commitment.
In our organisation, we have an assortment of individuals; some of them have levels of commitment that one does not find easily in others, and so it does not matter what the task, they are always ready to perform or to help. These people are the exceptions. Many of us respond to these tasks, because of a variety of factors either in our homes or in our community.
Years of religious practice have helped considerably not only to purify our hearts, but also to give it direction. Of course, the purification and the direction are in terms of the decree of Allah Almighty. He decides whose hearts He shall guide and the extent of that guidance. In the same way, He decides on the amount of derusting and the extent that He is going to take the individual’s heart between His “Two Fingers” and give it direction. One of the greatest pleasures in my life has been the fact that I function under the Decree of our Lord and not in terms of my own decisions. He is the Most Generous, the Most Fair, the Most Understanding, and so many other similar Attributes. And I find it far better to be under the direction of my Lord than to plot my personal path in terms of the many discourses that operate on this planet. The fact that Allah Almighty is in charge of one’s life and the path that one walks, makes one intensely confident of the guidance and the direction that He gives one. Of course, there are many of us who prefer to be under the direction of those who really know nothing about us.
But let me come back to commitment. The extent that one is prepared to put one’s shoulder to the wheel of Islam, depends entirely on the extent of one’s commitment to that religion. Let me rather put it in another way. The extent to which one is prepared to work in the Cause of our religion, depends to a large degree on the extent and nature of our commitment to our Lord, His Messenger (ﷺ) and His Message. In another way, the more genuinely pious one is, the more one wants to be engaged almost on an hourly basis in different aspects of the Cause of Allah Almighty. That is if you find, in the history of Islam, how the pious people committed themselves in one way or the other to the Cause of our Lord. When one reads, for example, the history of some of the early Muslims, then one just feels embarrassed by one’s lack of commitment. They were so committed that they were prepared to give up their lives for their religion. Is there a level of commitment greater than this? In Blikkiesdorp, there is a lady who refused the comforts of a decent house, and accepted to live in a “blikkie” so that she could teach almost everyday the children of the area in which she lives. Is there anyone in our organization that can say that you have the same level of commitment of that lady? There are others busy on a daily basis with activities associated with their religion and there is never a grouse. All of these people with these admirable levels are being committed to the Cause of Islam, and who are always busy with that work, and spend their time and energies with that work. What can we say? It is our Lord’s prerogative to decide on their final destinations; so that we cannot say they are people of Paradise. We can only hope so. What we do know is that according to the messages that have come through the Qur’an and the Prophetic Practices, there is a great possibility that they will be of the inhabitants of Paradise. But it is not for us to decide this. Allah (ﷻ) decides.
Even this concept that it is Allah Almighty who will decide who the inhabitants of Paradise are is a concept, the decisions about which lie with our Lord. Apparent behaviour by an individual may cause us to think that that individual is destined for Paradise or the station that his Lord had granted him will again cause us to say that he is destined for Paradise, but what we say is one thing because what our Lord decides is the only thing. If only we had more understanding of this, we would plead more. Or we’ll be less judgmental and more self-critical.
But let me again come back to commitment. Sometimes my thoughts go elsewhere and I explain things which come to my heart. The essence of commitment is, of course, sincerity. Some of the reasons for people not being able to commit themselves to the Cause of Allah Almighty, are because of the lack of sincerity in their hearts. A sincere heart, by its very nature, is one that would want to work in this Cause. This is a worrying factor. In Jahannam there is a special cavern from which Jahannam itself seeks protection from Allah Almighty. This cavern is called Hubbul Huzni and it is for those people who what they did, they did for other people’s knowledge, eyes and ears. Their actions were not purely for the sake of their Creator. In the Prophetic Traditions these people include Quranic reciters, those fighting in the Cause of Islam, those giving sadaqat and the many others who are supposed to be busy with some or other aspect of Islam. What they did, they did not do for the sake of their Lord. And so, they are going to be placed in the worst level in the Jahannam.
In a certain sense, this tradition warns us regarding our hearts. Just as our hearts are there for Allah Almighty, we can also use our hearts for all kinds of satanic whisperings; whisperings that interfere with our worship of Him and with our working in His Cause. We appeal to our Creator as weak servants needing help, and wanting to be for him, amin.
[Letters to Seekers on the Spiritual Path Vol 2 – Unpublished 2012]