By Turki Al-‘Abdili
There is a category of people who held a wrong belief that caused them to go through difficulties and travel a distant path to accomplish their duties and tend to the affairs entrusted to them, as they claim to be unsatisfied with anything less than perfection in all matters! On top of that, they closely followed up and excessively scrutinized everything, no matter how insignificant it was, in every academic or Da‘wah project that they tried to carry out, until their lives came to an end without accomplishing anything of real value!
One of my acquaintances, who fits this profile, is a man who devoted his youth and part of his old age to seeking knowledge, reading books, learning from scholars, and carefully seeking their Fatwa on matters about which he was confused, but whenever I say to him: “Write a book or an article, or give public lessons to benefit people,” he would reply, “Not now! I am still unqualified to do so,” while I know very well that he is!
I believe that he was wrong in his course of action and wrong in the decision he made. Time does not wait for anyone, and every minute that passes never comes back. Spending a lifetime in doing one kind of good deed is like placing limits on what should be unlimited.
Rather, a believer should be like a seasoned farmer who divides his care among different plots of land in accordance with their conditions. He should teach those who are less knowledgeable than him, learn from those who are more knowledgeable, enjoin good, forbid evil, accept the advice from the one who guides him to it, and earnestly devote his days and nights to good doing. He should also draw closer to Allah by spending in charity, even if half a date fruit, and seek to earn the Pleasure of Allah even by a single word of truth. He should not pursue difficult paths nor make difficult what has been made easy, and he should also perceive every good deed, however insignificant, to be a potential means to earn Paradise.
Was not a woman promised Paradise for offering water to a thirsty dog? Was not a man promised Paradise for removing a thorny branch that was harming people from the road? These good deeds were the reasons they earned Paradise though they possessed inherent Tawheed and genuine basics of religion.
You should not belittle yourself by suppressing your opinions with regard to a righteous matter, nor should you refrain from treading the paths of goodness as long as you are able to travel them by means of performing a good deed that benefits you. Do not be intimidated by those in power as long as you are able to give your opinion and offer advice; we all need a sincere advisor at some time.
Did not Allah, The Exalted, save Madeenah during the Battle of Al-Ahzaab by Salmaan’s opinion (regarding digging the trench), while among the Muslims were the great Companions Abu Bakr, ‘Umar, ‘Uthmaan, ‘Ali, and the rest of the ten Companions who were promised Paradise, may Allah be pleased with them all?!
Let me relate to you a nice incident that happened to me. As I was sitting in my office one day, a man from my acquaintances who is considered a layman came to consult me about something that was closely related to my work. The moment he sat down, another man who was actively involved in Da‘wah activities and who was a holder of a high academic degree came in. I believe him to be devoted to Da‘wah and reform, and Allah knows him best. He warmly greeted us, but I noticed a strange, meaningful smile on his face while he was greeting my guest. When my guest left, I asked that man of Da‘wah about the reason for his smile?
He paused a little then said: “Allah, The Exalted, guided me at the hands of this – common – man because of words that I heard him say in a public place twenty years ago. He related to us the Hadeeth about the “seven whom Allah will shade in His Shade (i.e. the shade of His Throne)” and they include “a young man who grew up in the worship of Allah.” I was eighteen years old at that time.
When he finished his story, I was awed by what I heard! I am still amazed at the triviality of the matter about which that common man came to consult me and how he was totally unaware of the river of rewards pouring into his record of good deeds because he was the reason that that man of Da‘wah became religiously committed.
In conclusion, my advice to you is to spend from what you have; it is not necessary that you should obtain great wealth to do so, nor (is it a requisite) to acquire great knowledge. The Prophet said: “Do not belittle any good deed.”
You should be a key for the goodness that you have; the Prophet said: “Goodness includes many treasures, and for those treasures are keys. Glad tidings are for the one whom Allah has enabled to be a key for goodness and a lock for evil.”
Do good throughout your lives and avail yourselves of the blessed spiritual seasons perchance you would be encompassed by the divine mercy. During such blessed times, Allah, The Exalted, bestows shares of His Mercy upon whomever He wills of His slaves.