In the modern world, there is no shortage of options for endless entertainment. The Internet is a great place for you to lose 4 hours without realizing where it went. Our cable subscriptions offer up a myriad of channels for us to immerse in the fake lives of characters on screen. Video games, mobile games, scrolling on Facebook, double-tapping on Instagram – the list is truly limitless. What does this mean for people who believe in the Afterlife? For people who acknowledge that the soul exists and that the heart needs its nourishment? What does this mean for Muslims?
Taqwa: Being Mindful of God
Heedlessness is such a grave danger because it’s SO EASY to be heedless. Even the most pious and righteous amongst us have moments of ‘rest’ where our mind wanders. But the special ones are those who manage to bring the mind back to Allah, back to what matters. What is Taqwa but mindfulness of God? And why is taqwa such a laudable trait to acquire? Because if you are thinking of God, you will give your absolute best in your dealings with people and with Him, and you won’t commit a sin.
“They know what is apparent of the worldly life, and of the Hereafter they are Ghafilun (heedless).” [Ar-Room 30:7]
Allah also describes such people as being in a worse state than animals when He says:
“And surely, We have created many of the jinn and mankind for Hell. They have hearts with which they do not understand, they have eyes with which they do not see, and they have ears with which they do not hear. They are like cattle, rather they are more astray. It is they who are the Ghafilun (the heedless ones).” [Al-A’raf 7:179]
Consider the young boy who sits quietly in the room when his mother is around but becomes an absolute nuisance & wrecks the room when his mother leaves the room for just a minute. We are all like that boy. We forget that even if she left the room, she’s watching through the window. It’s easy to be a good person when you’re in front of good & righteous people, but the challenge is when you are left to your own devices and as much as you want to gain God’s Pleasure and reserve a spot in heaven, the seductions of this dunya can be difficult to resist.
This dunya is a cunning thing. It doesn’t attempt to make you commit grave sins – only to make you heedless, unaware, forgetful of a God and an Afterlife. The more addicted you become to heedlessness and entertaining yourselves to your (spiritual) death, your soul suffers, your heart hardens and your mind struggles to focus.
Instant Pleasure vs Delayed Gratification
Waiting is tough. It is tough for children to wait for after dinner before they can watch TV. It is tough for lovers to be apart and wait to be reunited. It is tough for customers to wait for their online shopping goods to arrive. Waiting is tough. Imagine how much tougher it is to wait till the end of your life before you see your reward in Jannah. I guess that’s why we give ourselves concessions in this life. We find the wait unbearable.
The first step in solving any problem is acknowledging that there’s a problem. If you’re steeped in heedlessness and have scheduled your day and time around being heedless, then it’s high time you start implementing technology or social media fasts and breaks throughout the day. This isn’t good for just your productivity and mental health, but more importantly your spiritual well-being.
In a previous article, we gave 4 Tips to engage in zikr throughout your day. This will help in forcing you to remember Allah throughout your day and eventually inshaAllah, the grip of heedlessness will loosen and the remembrance of Allah will fill your heart, mind and your days in this life.