Do not worship your own desires

Do not worship your own desires

In Surat al-Jathiya, Allah Almighty says:

Have you seen him who has taken his desires as his god? Allah has let him go astray knowingly, and has sealed his hearing and his heart, and covered his eyes.’ [45:23]

This ayah is addressing the issue of following your whims and desires, and treating them like your god – i.e. you do whatever you like, as if it’s a command you just have to follow. But we should only be following Allah’s commands, not our own whims.

Islamically, the more you control your desires, the closer you are to Allah. And the more you follow your desires, the further you are from Him.

Idol worship doesn’t always mean worshipping physical statues. Sometimes following your own whims is like worshipping them – a hidden and dangerous form of worship.

This is why Allah is warning us against this trap of Shaytan. Allah created the desires in us, but we have to control them, and fulfil them only in moderation.

Your desires make you blind and deaf

In the hadith, Rasul Allah (peace be on him) said:

Your love of something can make you blind and deaf.’ [Abu Dawood]

He was saying that when you love something, you don’t want to hear anyone saying anything bad about it, and you don’t want to see anything but what’s in line with your desire.

It’s like being intoxicated or addicted to something: don’t give in to this intoxication. Otherwise you will end up blind and deaf, unable to see or hear the truth.

People fall into this trap all the time. We only recognise it when we wake up, and suddenly we can see how blind we were.

It’s only when we have a barrier between us and our desires that we can take a step back and be able to see and hear.

Blocking your eyes and ears also blocks your heart

These two are external faculties which Allah has given us. If we shut them down, then it will also shut down the internal faculties Allah has given us, which is our hearts.

When your eyes and ears are blocked, you are blocking the means for Allah’s light and guidance to reach your heart. The more you block, the more you are in delusion, and the more you go astray. So be careful.

However when you want to unblock this, then all you need to do is control your desire.

Of course Ramadan teaches us how to do this: how to control even the halal, let alone the haram. Eating, drinking and intimacy are halal outside Ramadan, in moderation. So Ramadan reaches us how to control the halal, in a gradual process over 29 or 30 days, in order to learn how to control the haram.

We ask Allah to help us control our whims and desires, and be in line with what pleases him.

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Shaykh Haytham Tamim – Ramadan Night 15

Transcribed by Hana Khan

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Shaykh Haytham Tamim is the founder and main teacher of the Utrujj Foundation. He has provided a leading vision for Islamic learning in the UK, which has influenced the way Islamic knowledge is disseminated. He has orchestrated the design and delivery of over 200 unique courses since Utrujj started in 2001. His extensive expertise spans over 30 years across the main Islamic jurisprudence schools of thought. He has studied with some of the foremost scholars in their expertise; he holds some of the highest Ijazahs (certificates) in Quran, Hadith (the Prophetic traditions) and Fiqh (Islamic rulings). His own gift for teaching was evident when he gave his first sermon to a large audience at the age of 17 and went on to serve as a senior lecturer of Islamic transactions and comparative jurisprudence at the Islamic University of Beirut (Shariah College). He has continued to teach; travelling around the UK, Europe and wider afield, and won the 2015 BISCA award (British Imams & Scholars Contributions & Achievements Awards) for Outstanding Contribution to Education and Teaching.