[Following are some highlights from the Tazkya Talk delivered by Shaykh Kamaluddin Ahmed[db] on 22nd April 2010]
This is a continuation of the honourable Shaykh’s talk on acquiring balance which he started during his Tazkiya last Thursday 15th April 2010 [inshaAllah to be uploaded soon]
How to Balance the Deen & the Dunya II
رَبَّنَا آَتِنَا فِي الدُّنْيَا حَسَنَةً وَفِي الْآَخِرَةِ حَسَنَةً وَقِنَا عَذَابَ النَّارِ
The notion of balance is very elusive for a lot of us, part of the reason is because we are looking for balance in the wrong place.
If we were to look at balance from the surface, specially those of us who are beginning on this journey, trying to make ourselves closer to Allah[swt], trying to become more pleasing to Him, many times this notion of balance may come as a deception for us…when someone has this genuine desire to change their lifestyle to make their whole being in more accordance with Qur’an, Sunnah and Shari’ah and all of a sudden a warning/sort of a whisper comes up in their mind and they start thinking that no, I have to make sure I am balanced and in this case what they do is that they slow down and at that time they have a lot of passion for the Deen [which may have come because of something they had read, something they heard, or someone they met or some time they spent in dawah or something which put a passion in them] and all of a sudden in a gift wrapped way/kind of like a reality check, they get a whisper that no I have to make sure that I’m balanced – that notion of balance, many times, is coming from Shaytan and what he’s trying to so is that he’s trying to cool the passions, to tamper the flames, to not let a person ride on that wave of taubah that they may have been feeling or that wave of muhabbat-e-ilahi or love for Allah[swt] that they may be feeling or love for the Prophet[saw] that they may be feeling or concern for the ummah that they may be feeling, he’ll try to tamper those passions and he makes you do that using this concept of balance.
Now, what happens is that when a person looks for balance they say that I look at people who seem to me outwardly to be religious, I don’t find them to be balanced; I find them to be extreme, that they spend too much time in Deen or they’re neglecting acquiring this world or their worldly responsibilities…and then again they shy away from Deen. Now if they had only looked at their own self instead of looking at others they would realize how truly imbalanced they themselves are.We would realize how imbalanced we ourselves are if we were to look at our ownself…
Now, the balance that we are looking for is not to be mapped or gauged in terms of hours, minutes and seconds; that I spent so many hours for the Dunya and so many hours for the Deen because actually thats not possible.It is a fact for the vast majority of Muslims, that the most of their day is spent in earning the dunya, except for those few people who have dedicated their entire lives to doing khidmat of deen.
Therefore, we’re actually looking for balance in two things:
- Firstly, in our free time we should have balance;
- Secondly, when we are engaged in any work of the dunya, we should have balance in our consciousness it means that 50% of our consciousness should be devoted to the activity that we are doing and the other 50% of our consciousness should be thinking about Allah, thinking about our Deen, about the attributes of Allah[swt]. i.e. we cannot loose our identity even when we are working for the dunya.
Now, this balance in our free time is big a mistake which many of us make that we’re not able to attain that and this balance eludes us. You can always follow what a person’s passions are when you look at their free time.
Sometime what many of us do is that we have extremes in our free time – it means that many a times we spend many days in idle hobbies and pursuits or even halal recreation and then all of a sudden they’ll go and spend 3 or 5 days in intense Deeni activity whether its sohbat of their Shaykh, work of dawah, or its a weekend of intense Islamic learning, and so when that ends then we go back and we again spend our free time in idle pursuits [surfing, reading, hanging out with people..doing random things]. And then a person goes back and forth, and this sometimes happens to the best of us that much of our free time is spent in totally mundane activities and all of a sudden we have this surge and we leave and we spend a day, two or x number of days and dedicate almost all of this free time to the deen and then we crash again. In this way, we surge into deen, crash, surge and crash again. First of all, even for this state we should be thankful to Allah[swt] – anything that Allah[swt] gives us we should be thankful for it.
First way to get balance: Spend 20-30 minutes daily in doing nafl ibadah
What we should do is that we should spend a potion of everyday for the [nafli] ibadat of Allah[swt]. Just like when there is a huge ship it needs a heavy anchor to keep it at bay and if the anchor is not strong enough it starts moving, just like that we if we don’t cast these anchors of ibadah, we start shifting back[it can be because of bad companionship, some sin we did or some worry in our life etc]. Our ship is such that even our fardh namaz is not enough for us thats why we need nafl ibadaat and amaal-e-saalih and additional achors to support us. When we loose these daily anchors of nafl ibadat, we loose balance.
Second way: Follow the Sunnah
Another way we can get balance is by drowning ourselves in sunnah, there is no balance without the sunnah, outside the sunnah. Balance is attained by taking only the hasanaats/ حَسَنَةً of both the worlds as stated in the dua that we recited in the start. Thats what our elders used to do; for them even daily mundane acts like eating, sleeping and earning halal livelihood would be hasanaat because they would make niyyah and do them consciously for Allah[swt]. So, they linked their mundane acts to Allah[swt] and then their free time would be spent for Allah. In our free time, we should turn to your Rabb as Allah[swt] has stated in Quran-e-karim:
فَإِذَا فَرَغْتَ فَانْصَبْ
(94:7) So, whenever you are free, strive in devotion,
وَإِلَى رَبِّكَ فَارْغَبْ
(94:8) and turn to your Lord with longing.
So, in our free time we should turn to our Rabb in complete devotion and we should be yearning for our Rabb.
In the deen of Islam everything that is حَسَنَ will have spiritual beauty and the definition of what is حَسَنَ comes from the sunnah of our beloved messeger[saw]:
لَقَدْ كَانَ لَكُمْ فِي رَسُولِ اللَّهِ أُسْوَةٌ حَسَنَةٌ
Imbalance comes from those acts which are not حَسَنَ . The litmus test for any act being حَسَنَ or not is that we connect it to the sunnah.
For e.g. Lets take the example of Smoking; some people follow the zahiri sunnahs and alongside they are smoking. Can we ever imagine that our beloved Messenger [saw] would even take a puff of it? It means that this act is khilaaf-e-sunnah and is not حَسَنَ
Any activity that we can never imagine that our Prophet[saw] would do is not from حَسَنَةً . That is why our Prophet[saw] has asked us to seek legal opinion from our own heart…
Similarly, when a thought comes to our mind we should try to connect sunnah to it. Initially we could try to link it to out Shaykh because for some people it very hard to imagine and for them it is khilaaf-e-adab to imagine about RasulAllah[saw] even thought we should be able to do this because hasanaat are only those things that would be in accordance with the Sunnah.
So, the more and more we adorn ourselves with sunnah, we will have balance.
Thats what we learn when we spend time with a person who practices the sunnah more closely, it is then that you see the reality of that balance; it is then you experience the miracle of sunnah.
- Firstly we should do the faraidh
- Leave the haraam, sins and
- Do nawafil[ 20-30 minutes daily] – we need these extra ibadahs; dhikr, tasbihs, muraqaba, dua, tillawat, listening to bayans etc.
In conclusion, I would quote a famous saying by one of our mashaikh:
“Work for this dunya to the extent that you plan to live in it and work for the aakhirah to the extent that you would live in it.”