Causes of deviation and turning away from truth

Causes of deviation and turning away from truth
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Author: Abu ‘Abdur-Rahmaan Al-Idreesi –



Truth has signs that guide its seekers to it and paths that they travel to reach it. Likewise, falsehood also has twisted paths that lead to it and routes that end in its swamps, as mirrored in the following Hadeeth: “The Messenger of Allah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) drew a straight line with his hand then said: ‘This is the path of Allah, which is straight.’ Then he  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) drew other lines to the right and left of the first line and said: ‘These are paths on each of which there is a devil who invites to it.’ And then Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) recited the following verse of the Quran. Allah Says (what means): {And this is My path, which is straight, so follow it; and do not follow [other] ways, for you will be separated from His way} [Quran 6:153] [As-Saheeh Al-Musnad by Al-Wadi‘i]

The search for truth is a painstaking path, as a person encounters a myriad of beliefs, doctrines and religions, scrutinizing one after the other. If he adopts the sound intellectual approach and logical reasoning, and adheres to impartiality and fairness, then Allah will undoubtedly guide him to His true religion. But if he fails to adhere to that methodology, he will be carried away by falsehood and Satan will adorn his actions for him, being the sworn enemy of mankind who pledged to mislead them, as stated in the Quran. Allah, the Exalted, Says (what means): {[Satan] said, “Because You have put me in error, I will surely sit in wait for them on Your straight path. Then I will come to them from before them and from behind them and on their right and on their left, and You will not find most of them grateful [to You]”} [Quran 7:16-17]

So, the methodical question that should be asked, yet many people fail to take notice of it, is: What are the distractors that divert people away from the truth?

These distractors can be summarized in the following manifestations:  

Social oppression: it exists when a society is lagging behind in the procession of civilization and individuals have very low social status, being subjected to terrible marginalization, rampant unemployment, extreme poverty, and difficult social life conditions. This drives them to nurse hatred towards such society, even if it is equipped with an advanced culture and a huge regional heritage. Such hatred extends to the belief system of their social group and whatever is held sacrosanct by them. So, the individual would defiantly go against them, embodying the principle: “Dissent and you will be known.” He develops his independent opinions that do not conform with those of his social group, follows other paths, strays from the straight one and objects to every idea introduced by this society. He thus becomes contemptuous of all the beliefs held by his social group, looks down on them and their beliefs, and perceives himself to be among the most knowledgeable people in his society! He does not listen to anyone, and were he to listen, he would be inattentive, and whenever he is invited to a debate, he neither understands nor is willing to contemplate!

Blind imitation: an individual in a backward society is bedazzled by what philosophers call the “metaphysics of technology”. He mistakenly assumes that the other (civilizational rival), who has achieved tangible progress in science and technology, has achieved similar progress with regard to values ​​and beliefs as well. Accordingly, he follows the false claims and theories proposed by the Orientalists. By doing so, the follower transforms himself into a replica of the followed one (the other), consciously or unconsciously, in confirmation of the words of the Messenger of Allah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) when he said: “You will follow the ways of those who were before you span by span and cubit by cubit, to the extent that even if they entered a lizard’s hole, you would follow them.” The Companions asked, “O Messenger of Allah, you mean the Jews and Christians?” The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said: “Who else?” [Imam Al-Bukhari] 

Blind imitation of the West impairs the individual’s intellect, reducing him to a blind follower and sheeple, following the crowd, as if the Western civilization is embodying the statement of Fir‘awn (Pharaoh) stated in the Quran (which means): {Pharaoh said, “I do not show you except what I see, and I do not guide you except to the way of right conduct”} [Quran 40:29]

Hence, an individual becomes emotionally confident in whatever is borrowed from the West, so much so that it is held as an ultimate referential authority, and he thus strays from the path of the truth. The great Companion Ibn Mas‘ood  may  Allah  be  pleased  with  him criticized such blind imitation and said: “Do not be sheeples!” People asked: “Who are these sheeples?” He said: “Those who say, ‘I do what the people do. If they are guided, I will be guided, and if they are misguided, I will be misguided!’ Rather, each of you should keenly train himself that were people to disbelieve, he would not disbelieve like them.” [Al-Haythami in Majma‘a Az-Zawaid]

The same applies to blind imitation of peers, forefathers, affiliations, and others. Some people in the West who love a singer may even follow them in their religion and beliefs!! This is one of the distractors that drive people away from the truth.

Ignorance of the religion: this is the main cause of deviation and turning away from the truth. When a person is ignorant of Islam, he easily absorbs any other belief, like a sponge which, if dry, soaks up any water, clean or otherwise. The same is true for a researcher who does not learn Islam from its referential sources, and rather laxly settles for relying on the orientalists’ studies on Islam, although most of them were unfair as it is well-known. So, he begins to read their misconceptions and false claims, alienating him from Islam, and this has been the fundamental objective of the Orientalists since ancient times.

I urge you, dear truth-seeker, to study Islam from its pure referential sources rather than confining your knowledge of it to what the missionaries and orientalists convey, and not to sell your mind at a cheap price. This is a fateful matter, too serious to leave any room therein for blind imitation and idleness in this regard.

Following whims and desires: when a person is indifferent to religion and sometimes existential questions come to his mind, he distracts himself from them by following his whims and desires, as an escape, until death befalls him all of a sudden, or he comes back to his senses and returns to the straight path in a moment of sincerity.

Indulgence in sins, clouding the mind with intoxicants, and preoccupying the soul with the pursuit of pleasures are, in reality, mere painkillers that impair the body and soul. Such a person would go to work in the morning, thinking where he should spend his night, and thus he gets caught up in a destructive routine that undoubtedly diverts him from the truth.

Sins may be likened to sleeping pills that distract you from what is important in your life and lead you to evident loss in this worldly life and the Hereafter. O doubters who waste their time and squander their lives, reflect on your situation and ask yourselves how long you will let yourself remain in such a state.

Defective psychological coping mechanisms: these are among the causes of deviation from the truth. The worldly life is an abode of affliction, in which human beings experience both happiness and sadness, health and illness, unity and disunity, wealth and poverty ... When a calamity befalls an individual and he is unable to cope with his new situation, he is either afflicted with an incurable phycological illness or complex, and in both cases, this will negatively affect his belief system. It may lead him to intellectual extremism and denying the existence of Allah, the Exalted, altogether, in confirmation of the Saying of Allah that reads (what means): {And of the people is he who worships Allah on an edge. If he is touched by good, he is reassured by it; but if he is struck by trial, he turns on his face [to the other direction]. He has lost [this] world and the Hereafter. That is what is the manifest loss} [Quran 22:11]

The pursuit of truth and the spiritual journey to Allah, the Exalted, are much easier for a person who adheres to fairness and keenly avoids straying from his objective by these distractors, and they are difficult for those who do not abide by that methodology and wade through the waves of falsehood and stubbornness that toss them from every side.

My advice to you, dear truth-seeker, is to be sincere in seeking the truth and keenly avoid distractors and you shall find the true religion of Allah, the Exalted. How fortunate is the one who has found his way to it and how miserable is he who has lost his way, and prayers of success for he who has not yet reached the destination.

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• Author: Abu ‘Abdur-Rahmaan Al-Idreesi – Truth has signs that guide its seekers to it and paths that they travel to reach it. Likewise, falsehood also has twisted...More