Deen vs Desire

Thousands of animals will once again be sacrificed worldwide on the occasion of Eid-ul-Adha. Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) described this Qurbaani (sacrifice) as the “Sunnah of your Father Ebrahim (alaihis salaam)”. Hadhrat Ebrahim (alaihis salaam) was commanded to offer his little son Hadhrat Ismail (alaihis salaam) as a sacrifice. He submitted himself to the command of Allah Ta’ala and In compliance to the command he firmly passed the knife over the throat of his son. Allah Ta`ala prevented the knife from cutting and Hadhrat Ismail (alaihis salaam) was spared.


The Qur’aan-e-Kareem refers to this incident as one of the tests that Hadhrat Ebrahim (alaihis salaam) was put through, which he passed with distinction. What really was the test? The test was simply to determine what will be given preference – Deen or desire? Like any other parent, Hadhrat Ebrahim (alaihis salaam) also certainly desired to see his beloved child living with him in this world. Yet Deen – the command of Allah Ta`ala – dictated that the desire to see the child living, no matter how intense, must be curbed and the child should be slaughtered. Hadhrat Ebrahim (alaihis salaam) did not hesitate a moment in giving preference to Deen over desire.

This is the message and the spirit of Qurbaani – to always give preference to Deen over desire; to slaughter one’s desire but refrain from slaughtering the command of Allah Ta`ala or the beloved Sunnah of Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam).


The entire life of a Mu’min is a test. Allah Ta’ala says: “Do the people think that they will be left to say ‘we have Believed’ and they will not be tested?” (s29; v2). The core of this test, to put it simply, is one’s desire. Many desires are natural and in-born in every human being. The very nature of one’s desire is that it has no limit and wishes to be expressed unhindered. However Shari`ah has placed clear limits and boundaries. To curb one’s desires and restrict them within these boundaries is Deen, while overstepping these limits is akin to worshipping one’s desires. Allah Ta`ala asks in the Glorious Qur’aan: “Have you seen the one who has made his desire his deity (god)?” (s45; v23) The meaning of this aayah is that the one who does what he desires and  disregards the command of Deen, it is as if he is a worshipper of his desires.

Restraining one’s desires, despite any pain that may be experienced in doing so, is the dictates of Imaan. Rasulullah’s (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) is reported to have said: “None of you is a Believer until he submits his desires to that which I have brought (the Qur’an and Sunnah).” This is the greatest test. Nabi (Sallallahu alaihi wasallam)’s greatest fear was that his followers must not become the slaves of desires. He is reported to have said: “Among the things I fear most for my people are the following of desires (against the commands of Shari`ah) and having lengthy worldly aspirations. As for following one’s desires, this prevents one from (accepting or following) the Truth (Deen) while future worldly aspirations make one forgetful of the Hereafter.” (Baihaqi)

In order to assist us to curb our desires and pass the test, Allah Ta`ala and His beloved Rasul (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) have declared numerous rewards for those who restrain their desires and give preference to Deen.


For instance every person has a natural desire to have wealth. Wealth earned in a halaal manner without compromising Deen in any way, and spent in a correct manner, is a great blessing. Likewise, every person naturally desires to be respected and honoured. However, if one’s desire for wealth becomes his object of life due to which he does not care about Deen or the rights of people, or if he chases after fame, his desire will lead him to destruction. Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) is reported to have said: “Two hungry wolves let loose on a flock of sheep cannot cause as much destruction to the flock than the damage inflicted upon one’s Deen by one’s greed for wealth and fame.” (Tirmizi) On the contrary, curbing one’s desire for name, fame, power and popularity and sincerely adopting humility is greatly rewarded. Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) is reported to have said: “He who humbles himself for the sake of Allah Ta`ala, Allah Ta`ala will elevate him.”

Our emotions and thoughts are also subject to the same test – Deen or desire. To desire good for every believer is Deen. “None of you is a believer until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself,” declares Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam). On the contrary, to desire that somebody should be deprived of the bounty that he has been blessed with is termed jealousy. It is described in the Hadith as “alhaaliqah” – something that shaves off and destroys one’s Deen. The acid test is whether we desire good for others or wish harm for them?

Anger is also a natural emotion in man. When one is angered, one naturally desires to give vent to that anger. Once again Deen dictates that the anger in personal matters should be restrained. Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) has declared: “The one who restrains his anger where he is capable of venting it, Allah Ta`ala will fill his heart with Imaan and peace.”


In the use of one’s limbs one is constantly engaged in the tug-of-war between Deen and desire. For instance the heart desires to cast lustful glances. Submitting to this desire destroys the heart and all the noor of Imaan. Deen demands that this desire be curbed. Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) has related from Allah Ta’ala the reward for curbing this desire in the following words: “The lustful glance (looking an nonmahrams) is from amongst the poisonous arrows of shaitaan. He who refrains from it out of my fear, I will bless him with such Imaan, the sweetness of which he will experience in his heart.”

Deen dictates that one should dress with garments of Taqwa (piety) – garments which fulfil the requirements hayaa and simplicity. One’s desires dictate that one should wear flashy garments which will impress others (besides one’s spouse). To follow such desires harms one’s Deen. Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) is reported to have said: “The one who wears garments to show-off, Allah Ta’ala will clothe him with garments of disgrace on the day of Qiyamah.” Thus following the “style” of the pious will be Deen while adopting the fashions of the day will be slavery of one’s desires.

The crux of our test in this world is summed up in the Qur’an wherein Allah Ta’ala says: “As for the one who fears standing before his Rabb (on the day of Judgment) and restrains himself from following his desires, verily Jannah is his abode”. Thus the lesson of Qurbani is simple yet very comprehensive: Adopt Deen over Desire. Therefore when any desire threatens to drag one beyond the limits of Deen, slaughter it.

The courage to curb one’s desires and give preference to Deen comes from adopting the company of the pious and by means of sacrificing for Deen. The more one sacrifices, the stronger one will become against one’s desires.

May Allah Ta’ala keep us steadfast on Deen and save us from becoming the slaves of our desires. Aameen.



The abode of eternal bliss, where no pain or suffering will ever be experienced is Jannah (paradise). Jahannum (hell) is a place of non-stop punishment. This world is a mixture of pleasure and pain, happiness and grief, health and sickness and generally all types of “ups” and “downs”. Every person in this world experiences problems and difficulties. Some difficulties come as a test from Allah Ta’ala, such as the difficulties that come upon the pious. Other problems and hardships are the result of sins.

The solution to all problems is to turn sincerely to Allah Ta`ala. Irrespective of the nature of the problem, whether it be a financial crisis, a domestic dispute, illness, being afflicted by any jinn or whatever other problem there may be, the solution lies ONLY in drawing the help of Allah Ta’ala. Therefore, while adopting sabr (patience) do the following:

  • Make sincere tauba (repent) and engage in excessive istighfaar (seek forgiveness).
  • Ensure that you have not transgressed the rights of people.
  • Perform all your salaah. Males must perform salaah with jama’ah.
  • Ensure that you have discharged your zakaat correctly.
  • Protect yourself from all haraam – haraam actions, haraam earnings and haraam food.

Learn and recite the masnoon duas (duas taught in the sunnah) on the relevant occasions. Also spend at least seven minutes daily in one sitting and earnestly engage in dua.

Together with the above one should, with the intention of following the sunnah, resort to permissible methods of treatment, as well as consult people of experience in business and other matters.

Remember! Only Allah Ta`ala can help you.


Q&A: Staff and Zuhr Salaah

Question: Many Muslim staff at our manufacturing plant do not perform Zuhr Salaah. Their excuse is that the thirty minute lunch break is not enough for both lunch and Salaah. As the employer would I be responsible for their omission of Salaah? It should also be noted that many of these staff only perform Jumu’ah Salaah!

 Answer: Salaah is compulsory upon every individual. If a person is prevented from performing his Salaah at his place of work, he must immediately start looking for another job. While he should continue with the current job until he finds another one, he should nevertheless look for alternate employment with the same urgency as an unemployed person who is desperate for work. As for the situation in question, the employee should perform his Salaah in fifteen minutes and quickly have his lunch in the remaining time.

Having said the above, as a Muslim employer you should look at the situation from another perspective. Presently, your focus is only on the production of material goods. You should change this and make your primary focus the production of eternal rewards in the hereafter.


Allah Ta’ala has placed your staff under your employment. While they certainly benefit from the salary that they earn, your benefit from their collective labour is far greater. It is by means of their collective labour that your earn your millions. Since Since Allah Ta’ala has made it possible for you to earn your dunya (worldly benefits) by means of their labour, part of the gratitude for this favour is to be concerned for the Deen of your staff. Since many of your staff hardly perform Salaah at all, it is your duty to encourage them towards Salaah. If you gave your Muslim staff an extra fifteen minutes so that they could easily perform their Zuhr as well as have lunch, no loss will be incurred in your business. Instead there will be greater barakah. Much more will be achieved in a shorter time. Whatever is achieved will be filled with blessings and will be a source of benefit and comfort.


Therefore, do not consider your business to be merely a money-making machine. Instead, first regard it as a means of inviting your staff, customers and others towards Deen. Then consider it to be a means of earning a Halaal living. In many countries Islam spread through Muslim businessmen. They conducted their business with honesty, good character, clear dealings and by practically inviting whoever they dealt with towards Islam. If you change your focus and adopt the same manner and conduct as those businessmen, Allah Ta’ala will make you also a means of many people coming into the fold of Islam, insha Allah. Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) is reported to have said: “If Allah Ta’ala guides one person through you, it is better for you than the world and whatever it contains.” This is the real production to aspire for. May Allah Ta’ala assit you. Aameen.


True Mu’min

A mongst the highly emphasised teachings of Islam is to love every Muslim for the sake of Allah Ta`ala. Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) emphatically stressed this lesson when he said: “None of you is a believer until he loves for his brother (his fellow Muslims) what he loves for himself.” (Sahih Muslim)

The message is clear: The person who does not love for his brother what he loves for himself is not worthy of the title of Mu’min (Believer), though his Imaan itself is not negated by this serious deficiency in his life.

What does it really mean to love for others what one loves for oneself? There are two meanings to this hadith.

Firstly, one should treat others in the same manner that one would like to be treated. For instance, every person loves that he should be treated with respect and honour. He does not like to be mocked or ridiculed, or want anyone to harm his life, dignity and belongings. He should therefore treat others in the same manner. He should not harm anyone in any way or desire any ill for anyone.

The second aspect that applies is the following: If you were in the next person’s situation, what would you have desired for yourself. For instance a fellow Muslim is a trader. If you were the trader in his place, what would you have desired for yourself? Surely you would have earnestly wished that your business prospers and is protected from all harm, that it becomes the means of earning the good of this world and the Hereafter, etc. You should now love the same for your fellow Muslim trader. Think in a similar manner with regard to every other person, whoever he may be. What good you would have desired for yourself had you been in his shoes, desire the same for him.

If every Muslim adopts only this one concise teaching of Deen, most of the problems between people would be resolved. Malice, jealousy backbiting, revenge and a host of other social evils will be eliminated. Love and brotherhood will prevail.

We should therefore endeavour to bring this Hadith alive. Wish for the good of every Muslim. Daily make dua for every Believer. If you find yourself not wishing good for any Muslim, especially make dua for him that Allah Ta’ala should grant him the best of both worlds and save him from every difficulty and hardship. Insha Allah this will remove the ill-feeling and generate love. One will then become worthy of the title of “Mu’min”.


Roots of Humility

Hadhrat Ali (R.A) described three aspects as the roots of humility:

  • Making salaam first.
  • Being happy with an indistinguished place in a gathering (i.e. he is happy to be seated in a common place, not on any special seating or stage, etc.)
  • To despise riya (showing off) and sum’ah (wanting popularity).


Faqihul Ummah: Sustenance

Summary of Letter:

باسمه تعالى
Respected Mufti Saheb
السلام عليكم و رحمة الله و بركاته

In reply to my previous letter, Hadhrat advised me not to regard any particular avenue of rizq as the only door through which sustenance can be acquired. From this it appears to me that perhaps I will not get back my civil service job. Hadhrat! I was earning Rs1100,00. If I had remained employed, by the time I would have retired I would have earned approximately Rs400000 (rupees). Upon retirement a further lump sum would have been given to me. All this has been snatched from me due to a small mistake. Hadhrat! I have six young children. I desperately need your dua that I get my job back.

Summary of Reply:

 باسمه تعالى
Respected Brother/Sister
السلام عليكم و رحمة الله و بركاته

Firmly embed this fact in your heart that one’s sustenance has been decreed by Allah Ta`ala. You will certainly receive whatever is destined for you. It is reported in the Hadith: “No person will die until he completely receives his sustenance.” The one who trusts in Allah Ta`ala, Allah Ta`ala opens up the doors of sustenance for him and grants him from such sources that he could not imagine. This is explained in the aayah wherein Allah Ta`ala says: “The one who fears Allah, Allah will make a way out for him (from his problem) and grant him sustenance from sources that he did not imagine.”

If something is not decreed for one, one will NEVER receive it. Furthermore, one’s needs are fulfilled with the blessings of Allah Ta`ala. The fulfilment of needs is not dependant on excess wealth. I have seen many people who, despite earning thousands every month, cannot make ends meet. They are steeped in debts and are constantly in worry. Often they are not in the position to pay for basic medical treatment for their families. Despite what they earn they cannot afford their own home, or pay for their children’s education or even afford their own vehicle.

Likewise, I have also seen people who earn hardly anything, or in some cases, nothing. Yet they are comfortable and happy. They have nothing in their houses for tomorrow, but they also have no concern and worry. Their conviction is that the One who gave us food today will give us tomorrow as well.

Therefore, I once again have the same advice for you – DO NOT REGARD the Rs 1100 job as your sustainer. Do not specify a particular avenue of rizq for yourself and then insist upon Allah Ta`ala to grant it to you only from that avenue. Consider carefully that if you do get the Rs1100 job, but at the same time get saddled with such expenses wherein the entire Rs1100 gets spent, what benefit will there be in such income?

Was Salaam (Ramadhaan 1407/1985) (Maktoobaat, vol.4)