The Secret Beyond Matter

Satan's command: 'Don't think!'

The ability to think is one of the greatest blessings granted to people because only by thinking can people be aware of Allah's boundless power and the beauty of the universe He created. Only a thinking person realizes that the world has been created by divine wisdom in every detail, that death is near, and that there are certain obligations that are required to be met in this life. We are told in a large number of Qur'anic verses that only thinking people can heed advice and that they alone are capable of seeing the proofs of Allah's existence. Indeed, the very purpose of the revelation of the Qur'an is for people to think carefully about its verses, as is stated here: "It is a Book We have sent down to you, full of blessing, so let people of intelligence ponder its Signs and take heed." (Surah Sad: 29)

However, a large proportion of humanity regards thinking as a hardship. These people even believe that thinking is damaging to their lives and their set ways. According to this opinion, "the greatest damage" lies in reminding people of their responsibilities in this life and taking them out of the slumbering, empty minded state of heedlessness in which they find themselves. Like a kind of magic spell, this sleep makes people forget why they exist, that there is a purpose in life, and that one day they will die. Another form of this sleep is to be inundated by the daily routines. Perhaps these people feel they spend a great deal of time thinking, making decisions and finding answers, but in fact what they think about does not go beyond the details of their day-to-day needs and impulses. Their thoughts are not related to the purpose of human creation, how the world came into being or the fact that one day every living thing will be buried in the ground. Actions, statements and behaviour learned by rote, taught, and become accustomed to, have such a hold on these people that they do not even feel a need to think about more fundamental realities.

Just as they evade thought, so too do these people escape hastily from warnings given by others; they turn their faces from belief in Allah, thinking about the verses of the Qur'an, and living by His guidance.

But nothing and nobody has been put on the face of the earth for an empty purpose. Allah created every detail in the universe for people to think about. In fact in the Qur'an, Allah announces that he created "… death and life to test which of you is best in action…" (Surat al-Mulk: 2) In this fleeting life, one is put to the test by all his or her deeds. A person has a great responsibility towards Allah Who created him and will resurrect him after death and call for an accounting for his deeds. Reading the Qur'an, taking heed of it, thinking about the verses and comprehending and applying them are amongst every person's principal responsibilities. Allah draws attention to this truth with the verse which reads,"Do they not ponder these words? Has anything come to them that did not come to their ancestors the previous peoples?" (Surat al-Mu'minun: 68)

Thinking people will conclude that such fine detail in the universe and its examples of flawless design mean that it cannot have come into being by accident and that there exists a Creator of all things. By thinking deeply about the miracles created around them and other proofs of Allah's existence, and observing the divine wisdom in the details which He has created, they will give themselves over to Him and live solely for the purpose of earning His approval. Aware of this truth, Satan wants them to live their lives in heedlessness, keep away from Allah's verses and hence to refrain from thought. Allah describes this purpose of Satan's in a verse of the Qur'an:

[Satan said], "… I will lie in ambush for them on your straight path. Then I will come at them, from in front of them and behind them, from their right and from their left... (Surat al-A'raf: 16-17)

In order to achieve this ultimate aim, Satan prepares very special situations to sink people into a state of heedlessness. For this purpose, he makes plans using people's weaker aspects, and attempts to make evil deeds attractive to people's egos. Unlike the faithful, people distanced from religious morality can end up in a state of spiritual heedlessness by forgetting Allah and not thinking about their purpose in life.

For example, Satan can easily waylay people in places of entertainment, because such places are conducive to wasting time and not thinking about anything. In these places what assumes the most importance are the clothes and accessories people wear, the money they spend, and the people around them. With the music so loud that people cannot hear one another, the air so full of smoke they cannot see one another, exploding flashbulbs, loud conversation and yelling, an environment is formed in which people who have no fear of Allah certainly cannot concentrate their attention or think.

Of course it is a great blessing for people to enjoy themselves and come together with others they enjoy talking to. But these days places of entertainment are not those where the name of Allah is mentioned and where people recall their purpose in life. The purpose of creation is entirely forgotten. People who feel no fear of Allah in their hearts and spend their time in such places experience an atmosphere of heedlessness and are left in no condition to consider or understand warnings. In fact, one of the reasons why such people prefer these places is to forget everything and avoid thought, and they often say so. While a person who comes to such a place to, as he expresses it, escape from the troubles of the world, may have been behaving sensibly ten minutes earlier, now he starts to regard any excess as normal. In the name of enjoying themselves, these people see immorality of all kinds as reasonable and become insensitive to what is happening around them. In fact, in environments of this type, breaking plates, overturning tables, throwing napkins, attacks on others with obscene language, and fights reflect only a small part of the kind of heedlessness and immorality into which people can sink.

Concert arenas, football stadiums and other places where large crowds gather only magnify this effect of heedlessness. A large number of people go to such places not to enjoy themselves or to watch an entertaining game or to listen to a beautiful voice but to shout, to fight and to cause trouble, in short to display ugly behaviour of every kind. In such environments, it is utterly impossible for people with no fear of Allah to extract from their minds a single useful thought. It only remains to be said that people in such an uncontrolled environment that encourages violence and immorality, are wide open to the whisperings of Satan so that the obedience of people to Satan's "Don't think!" order is ensured. Allah draws attention to this method of Satan's with this verse: "Stir up any of them you can with your voice and rally against them your cavalry and your infantry and share with them in their children and their wealth and make them promises!.." (Surat al-'Isra: 64)

People whose lives are filled with work and going out to such places of entertainment, where heedlessness reigns, forget that one day they will meet the angel of death. And when they do, it is too late, because this person has passed his worldly life in pursuit of empty practices and has fled from consideration of the verses of the Qur'an. For a person who thinks about death, the transitory nature of life and his responsibilities towards Allah, it is impossible ever to accept such a heedless state. A person who knows that Allah can take his life at any moment and that there will be a reckoning for his every word, thought and action never lets these realities slip his mind in any environment whatsoever and does not surrender to heedlessness.

For a person to continue a life of heedlessness resembles his seeing a truck with brake failure hurtling towards him and failing to get out of the way-even though this is possible-while being fully aware that it is going to hit and crush him. During his life, a person can indulge in excess hundreds or thousands of times, can even spend his entire life in this way, but when death takes him, everything he has experienced is left behind. If a person has passed his time in heedlessness of the existence of Allah, he will realize on the day of his death that this way of life, described in ignorant societies as "making the best of life," has brought him nothing but loss. He will feel regret for all the excesses he indulged in because he forgot Allah and the Day of Judgement. But heedless people ignore Allah's warnings:

Mankind's Reckoning has drawn very close to them, yet they heedlessly turn away. No fresh reminder comes to them from their Lord without their listening to it as if it was a game. Their hearts are distracted... (Surat al-Anbiya': 1-3)
2009-08-15 22:15:33

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