Sometimes, or rather many times, we leave the affairs of the Hereafter for the affairs of this world. I am not asking all of you to decide to give up everything that you are doing every day. All of you must continue to work, to look after members of your family, and others, to do all those activities related to your life according to the position in your family and your position in the community. Those of you who are studying must work hard to achieve skills that are needed for you to earn your living. I want each one of you, that when it comes to these activities, to set very high standards of performance and achievement. When you study, you must do well. When you work, you must give of your best in your relationships that you establish with others, and you must demonstrate the best of human qualities. In other words, you must always be a fine person, a person of integrity, of understanding and one that demonstrates human decency at the best possible level.

Of course, all this, although primarily human affairs draw their energy and decision-making from the nature of your heart, as it gives expression to your religion. In a certain sense, all our human affairs are also religious affairs. But they are not purely so. Of course our religious affairs are purely so. If one’s involvement in one’s religion has to do with one’s whole heart, then all one’s human affairs, as we say, will in some way be coloured by Islam. Such people have hearts that are primarily for Islam with very little for other things. The only other things that might perhaps occupy that heart, are those things to do with earning a living and carrying out our responsibilities in the positions we occupy. It is not easy to have a heart that is almost totally concerned with one’s Lord. The one who has achieved such a heart was, of course, Nabi Muhammad (ﷺ) and all the other Prophets (a.s.) to a lesser degree. We, who are at the bottom of the scale in this, usually only have small portions of our hearts for God. This is the reason why we say so many times: “O my Lord, cleanse my heart from other than Thee.” The Prophet’s (ﷺ) heart attained this status that we are striving for. And although we make this supplication, we know we cannot reach that status, but we will be in deep gratitude if Allah (ﷻ) grants us only a small portion of that; so that at least we know that there is a portion of our hearts for Allah (ﷻ). Even such a portion will give us massive satisfaction.

However, we must understand, as I have stated previously, that there are certain of our activities that are purely religious and have to do with that small portion of our hearts that are for Allah (ﷻ). We are so weak in all of this. Our Lord has made us like this; some better than others, some with better hearts than others, some with greater portions of their hearts for Him than others. And so when we become involved in activities which have to do with these portions such as our daily prayers or our congregational adhkar, then we must know that portions of our hearts are filled with Light. We must know this because we must cherish it and we must cherish it because it is that portion of us that is solely for Him.

I am telling you all of this because, in a certain sense, we must jealously safeguard what our Lord has granted us in our hearts. And when I say do not neglect the affairs of the Hereafter for the affairs of this world, I mean do not neglect that portion of your heart that you should be jealously guarding, because of what is in it. When you attach greater importance or more time to the affairs of this world, you are in a state of negligence of the remembering heart, of the heart or whatever the portion might be that is engaged in the remembrance of his Lord for the sake of Islam. This neglect is called “ghaflah” in Islam, the state of forgetting one’s Lord.

I am putting all of this in a very complicated manner because it is a complicated matter. If you have religious commitments, do not neglect them or substitute worldly affairs for them. Always say: “First for my Lord, then other things.” This is very difficult. In fact it is extremely difficult, because we have been programmed, in some cases for decades, to place our religious affairs second to our worldly affairs. We should all be striving very hard to get our priorities with regard to these matters in proper order. If we want to progress spiritually, and by this I mean to have a large portion of our hearts occupied by His remembrance and His Lights, then we must place what I call our worldly affairs after our religious ones.

I am writing this letter because many times, and we are all guilty of this, we cannot attend congregational adhkar or to see to any other religious matters because of our commitments to a large range of human affairs. One of the reasons we make dhikr is to empty our hearts of the importance or the status of these affairs in our lives. We cannot intermingle in our hearts what is for God and what is for man. This has never worked, and it becomes solely what is for man. The function of dhikr is to erase from our hearts, those things which block the entry of the remembrance of God and of God’s Affairs. We must see how easily we concern ourselves with the affairs of the world and we do this because we are neglecting our adhkar. I see it all the time. When our concern on a daily basis and at regular times is the remembrance of our Lord, then Allah (ﷻ) uses that remembrance to open our hearts. We must be so careful especially of those worldly things that block our hearts to heavenly lights. For each one of us, our hearts are our centres for spirituality, but they can so easily become the centres for satanic remembrances. We must be careful. We ask Allah (ﷻ) that He must place Him and His Affairs, first in our lives, that He must open our hearts to Him, that He must change our hearts to be for Him, and that what happens in our hearts will indicate to what degree we are His servants. We ask Him for that, amin.

[Unpublished 2012]

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