Tafsir as-Saranbi- Surah 14. Ibrahim , Ayah 3



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الَّذِينَ يَسْتَحِبُّونَ الْحَيَاةَ الدُّنْيَا عَلَى الْآخِرَةِ وَيَصُدُّونَ عَنْ سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ وَيَبْغُونَهَا عِوَجًا ۚ أُولَٰئِكَ فِي ضَلَالٍ بَعِيدٍ


    The ones who love the lowly life over the Hereafter, and they divert away from the Path of Allah seeking to make it crooked. These are the ones who are in far misguidance.
    

        In this ayah Allah (swt) continues to describe the ungrateful. Those who do not show thanks to Him for His countless favors and blessings. Those whom He is most angered with. Actually here He tells us about a certain group within this group. Within the ungrateful and the unjust there is a group which is particularly evil. These are the ones whom He speaks of here. He tells us here what their essential traits are.

     The first characteristic of theirs which He tells us of is their love for this world. Many scholars have said that the love for this world is the root of all sin. Without a doubt this world is the greatest of tests that we have been given. Because it is always in front of us. And we have been made to desire so many of the things within it. Everything from power to women to the material things to foods and drinks. Our hearts yearn for these. We all have this desire. This weakness. And the more distant we are from Him. The more that we forget Him. The stronger that this desire becomes. Sadly in our time these temptations and distractions have increased exponentially. The world today has literally opened itself for us. If you want power, you can get it. If you want to increase your wealth then there are so many avenues. If you want fornication and adultery then this has never been easier. And women today show more skin than they ever have in the past. All the demons which can take a soul away from the Divine are rampant in this world, and these were how the nations before us were lead astray.

     So how scared then do we have to be? The sad reality is that the more we attach our hearts to this world the less they will be with Him. And all of us can see how distant we are from Him. How distant we are because of our love for this world. This age that we live in today. This age of the industrial and technological revolutions. This age of marketing and consumerism. This age of hedonism and capitalism. This age is truly more of a curse than a blessing. Because even though our lives may be more comfortable than that of our ancestors, even though we may have more worldly pleasures, even though it may seem as if all our needs are fulfilled, what is the cost of all this? If the cost is our relationship with Him. If the cost is our eternal life in the Hereafter then is it truly worth it?

     So we all need to make the effort to bring our hearts back to Him. We have to remind ourselves once again that we live only for pleasing Him. Whatever it is of this world that our hearts may be attached to, we have to try and break that attachment. We have to realize that if we love anything of this world more than Him then we are in a very dangerous situation we could be close to the ones whom He is describing here. Those to whom He has promised a severe torment. It is a test. Can you rise above these desires that you have? Can you make the effort to strive for Him? Can you turn away from all the temptations no matter how many times they present themselves to you? Can you bear patiently all that happens to you? This is the effort that you must make. The effort to turn away from this world. The effort to attach your heart to Him. This is your test. If you can pass this test then He will reward you both in this world and the next. But if you fail, then you remember well the previous ayah. Just imagine the worst pain that you have ever felt. Now imagine if it was multiplied exponentially, this would only be a taste of the torment.

     Without a doubt this is not easy. Especially when we consider the day and age we live in. Everyone seems to be drowned in a sea of heedlessness. Everyone seems to have filled their heart with other than Him. And as we come closer to the Day of Judgment the situation will only become worse. To the point where the Prophet (saw) told us that we should just withdraw from the world completely. He (saw) told us to take what provisions that we can and to retire to the mountains. Just to escape the trials and the temptations that the world will be filled with at that time. I personally believe that we are very near to that point if we have not reached it already. So we should try our best to flee from this world and the temptations that it throws at us. We should try our best to remind ourselves of His Purity and Majesty. Of how He is far greater than this world. Of how He is the One deserving of our dedication.

     We have to always remind ourselves of the fact that any good we have in this world is only because of Him. So rather than this world being a source of our misguidance like it has been for so many, we should increase in our submission and love for Him when we partake of it. Because even though this world is a test, even though it can take us away from Him, that does not mean that we have to turn away from it fully. That does not mean that we have to live like ascetics. Renouncing it completely. Rather there has to be a balance. We can enjoy some things of this world in moderation. But we can never violate His Law and more importantly we can not allow that thing to distract us from Him. We cannot love that thing more than we love Him. And at the same time we also have to show our gratitude to Him for whatever of this world He has given us. As we partake in that thing. As we enjoy it. We have to always remember that it was He Who gave it to us. So the pleasure that we take from that thing should increase us in love for Him.

     Notice also in the ayah how Allah (swt) does not simply describe these people as those who love the world. Rather He describes them as those who love this world over the Hereafter. This is what is most displeasing to Him, that they love this world more than they love the Hereafter. This shows how they have failed the test. The test to see if they would choose the Hereafter over this world. And it also shows how they have no trust at all in His Promise. Because He has promised us that the next life is better for us than this. He has told us to strive, and to struggle and to sacrifice in this life so that we would be rewarded in the next. He wants us to realize that this life is not the life for us. He wants us to realize that there is something more than this life. This lowly life filled with pain and suffering. This lowly life where even the pleasures are transient and fleeting. Yet those whom He describes here. Those who prefer this world to the Hereafter fail to realize this. Thus it shows that they are a people who are distant from Him. They fail to heed His words. This shows how they do not care for Him. Because even though in the Hereafter can be found the pleasures and the delights of the Garden, and even though in the Hereafter there is the end to the pain and suffering of this world, by far the greatest bounty of the Hereafter is the station of nearness to Him. It is the beholding of Him. So those who prefer this life over the next not only betray a lack of trust in His Promise, they also show that they do not care for Him. They do not yearn to be near to Him. They do not look forward to returning to Him. This is why He does not care for them. He is the most deserving of our love. He is the most deserving of our yearning. If any choose not to give Him this then is it any surprise that He does not love them in return. Is it any surprise why they become a people whom He curses in His Book with His very Words? May He save us from ever become such!

     So to love this world more than the Hereafter is a sin. To love this world more than Him is among the greatest of sins. We have to strive to rid ourselves of both these. But the group whom He describes here. Their crime is even greater than this. Because not only do they turn away from Him but they also divert others away from Him. As He tells us in the second part of the ayah "they divert away from the Path of Allah seeking to make it crooked". The Arabic sada not only means to divert but it also means to revert. To send back. If someone is walking along a path and you take them away from this path, if you make them lose this path or you make them turn back then this word is used to describe what you did. Such is what those whom Allah (swt) has described in this ayah have done. They take people away from His Path. The Path of Allah (swt) is Islam. It is the life of slavehood and submission to Him. It is believing in Him and in the Message that He has sent. It is striving to please Him by following the way of His Messenger. It is loving Him and yearning for nothing from life except His nearness. The more that you love Him, the more moments of your life that you are conscious of Him, the more that you do to please Him, the further you progress in this path. But when you become heedless of Him. When you do what is displeasing to Him. When you violate His Law. Or when you doubt Him or His Messenger. Or when you allow moments to pass when you are not serving Him, Then you lose you get off this path. Instead of becoming nearer to Him, you become distant from Him. He fades away and the world becomes more real. You begin to see this world before you see Him. Your concern becomes this world instead of pleasing Him. Soon you forget Him. Soon you begin to doubt if He is even there. Such is what it means to be misguided away from His path. May He save us all from that fate!

     Now the ones whom He speak of here actually do this to people. They actually take the people away from Him. They misguide people away from His Path. They make the people to forget Him and become heedless of Him. This is why they are so hated to Him. They are so despised to Him.

     How exactly do these evil ones take the people away from Allah (swt)'s path? He tells us in the ayah itself. They do it by seeking to make the path crooked. Notice how He says that they seek or they desire to make the path crooked. The path itself is not crooked. On the contrary as we saw already it is a Straight and upright path. But the evil ones want to deceive the people. They want the people to think that this path is crooked. They want the people to think that this way of life is wrong. They want the people to think that there is nothing in Islam except pain and suffering. Except oppression and hatred. They want the people to think that Islam is a crooked way of life. A deviant way of life. So that the people would turn away from it. So that the people will not even look into if this is the Truth or not. So that people would choose a way of life other than it. So that the people would choose to be slaves of their egos and their lusts rather than slave of the Divine. This is what they want for all mankind. Can you even begin to fathom the extent of their evil? First they themselves turned away from Allah (swt) even though He is their Creator and their Sustainer. He is the very Source of their very existence. Every morsel of food they eat, every drop of water they drink, every breath of air they take, every beating of their heart is only because of Him. And yet still they would deny the Right that He has upon them. The life of slavehood and submission that they owe to Him. If you would only realize His Majesty and His Beauty and the extent of His Bounty upon them then you will see how great is their evil in turning away from Him.

     But then another evil on top of this evil is that they seek to take others away from Him. They seek to misguide the people away from Him. So not only do they themselves turn away from the path by their preferring this life to the Hereafter, but they seek to take others with them. They want all mankind to turn away from Allah (swt) just like they had done. Is this not the greatest of injustice? Is this not the vilest of evil? What is a greater crime that misguiding away from the Divine? How can anyone be so ungrateful and unjust to the One Who has given so much and Who deserves so much? In that after turning away from Him they would also take others away from Him.

     In the final part of the ayah Allah (swt) says of such people "These are the ones who are in far misguidance". They are far astray from the path. They have lost their way. They are not even close. The path of course is what leads to Him so since they are far from it they are far from Him. They are the most distant of all peoples to Him. This is clear from their actions. Just think about it. If they actually have the nerve to divert people away from Allah (swt) then how little is it that they must care for Him. If it at all. They have forgotten Him to such an extent. They do not even remember Him for a moment in their lives, let alone yearn to please Him like a true slave of His should. All they seem is themselves. They are drowning in their own egos. And do you think they are happy? No, their distance from Him is a torment even in this life. They are always looking to satisfy themselves. They gorge themselves on this and that. But of course they can never be satiated. Their souls were created for Him and as long as they remain distant from Him they will be in pain. The further they are from Him the greater will be their misery. And as we know a far greater torment awaits them in the next life. Insha Allah we will learn more about this in the ayahs to come.

     There were evil creatures like these at the time of the Prophet (saw) and they are there today as well. You only have to turn on the television or do an internet search or go to a bookstore to find them. They speak half truths, exaggerations, and out right fabrications against this Din. Sometimes they take incidents from the Prophet (saw)'s life or ayahs of the Quran out of context. Sometimes they use weak of fabricated hadiths. Sometimes they just outright lie. But they always hide from the people the fact that there is a Creator for this universe and that this Message is from Him. They hide from the people the evidences for both these facts. They hide from people the Truth that they know. How far are they from Him? How sad is their condition? How much must He be angered with them?

     So without a doubt there is a lot of propaganda and lies being spread about Islam today. Many are speaking lies about this Din. Many are distorting and twisting the teachings of this Din. Many are blaming this Din for the evils of the secular society. Many are committing acts of great evil and attributing them to this Din. In so many ways are they trying to take the people away from Him. What then are we doing? Are we in any way countering their evil? Are we trying to expose their words for the lies and fabrications that they are? Are we trying to call the people back to Him just as they are calling them away from Him? If we are not doing anything. If we are just keeping silent while they say all this then in a way are we not as guilty as they are? Is not our silence our approval of what they are saying? Could it not be then that He is angered with us just as He is angered with them? How tragic would it be for us if so Tremendous a Being is angered with us? How distant would that make us from Him? Do you know of the ways in which He can torment you? Both in this life and the next? How scared then do you have to be?

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