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The blame is not on the one who does not accept advice. Rather, it is on the one who presents it inappropriately

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Thursday, 19 May 2011

Moral Eclipse


Assalamu alaikum. Undoubtedly, constant exposure to something bad takes away its flare and strange appeal and the passion with which we hate it fades away like the hair strands. Human nature is given to dynamism; we love exploring new things and are easily detached from what is oft repeated. That's just us. This could be a positive or a negative factor depending on which direction we take it from.

Interestingly we all were born in a pure state with an inherent quality of natural inclination towards doing what is right. In an authentic Hadith on the strength of Abu Haytham (RA), the Prophet (saw) says: "Every new-born child is born in a state of fitrah. Then his parents make him a Jew, a Christian or a Magian, just as an animal is born intact." Reported by Muslim. The environment we live in also has a profound influence in molding our character and behavior. Fitrah is an inborn natural disposition which exists at birth in all humans and makes us naturally inclined towards right actions and willing submission to Allah, the one God. Allah says in His inimitable style in the Qur'an that "Set your face to the deen in sincerity (haneefan) which is Allah's fitrah (the nature made by Allah) upon which He created mankind (fatara’n-naas). There is no changing the creation of Allah. That is the right deen but most people know not." Q: 30:30.

With this natural disposition, it can safely be said in the light of the above Hadith that the battle is between our fitrah and the overwhelming negative human and environmental factors we encounter constantly. I have done a modest research on why we always yearn for a bigger sin and I came to this conclusion that the more we get exposed to a particular sin the less we see it as a sin and the more we yearn for a bigger one. When I went to the University, in my first year I was uncontrollably exposed to an entirely different environment. This new environment was/is characterized by high level of moral decadence. The first few months that I got exposed to the ugly sight of social nudity in the name of fashion and ‘civilization’ it was terrible. The word Subhanallah! Could easily be aired out and it was easier to lower the gaze because then, the fitrah was less tempered with. Why I was able to shift my gaze away easily could not be isolated from the fact that the evil I saw was relatively alien to my natural disposition and my spiritual immune system was active. But as time went on, the exposure rate increased and the virus became stronger and my spiritual immune system got familiar with this virus and it no longer posed any threat. 

What is the ripple effect of this in our larger society? I got so familiar with the evil I saw around me that it became a ‘righteous deed’ and trust the human mind, I was now looking for a bigger sin because the first one became part of my system. At the initial stage for example, kissing was seen as a sin, subsequently it became normal and now hugging of opposite sex carried the flag. This also faded away and fornication was now seen as the new devil on campus. It became the in-thing and one was/is seen as archaic if he has a strong moral arsenal to repel the evil temptation. Little did we know that even the so called pinnacle of immorality (Zina) will soon become normal and only such acts as homosexuality are shun in the society. The ripple effect continues and now what makes our hair to stand on ends is when a man cohabits with an animal (bestiality).  

All these things start innocently and the major contributing factor cannot be isolated from our attitude towards sins. When we conveniently trivialize an act of disobedience and ideally provide a comfort zone for ourselves, then we are treading the path of destruction. One of the greatest Islamic scholars said; “the greater part of good apart from the reward is that good begets good” and in like manner I say the greater part of evil apart from the punishment is that evil begets evil. It starts from the glance, to the speech, to the location and then the evil act.
Today the immoral virus has spread so widely to the nooks and crannies of our larger society. The younger generation with an unguided zeal for electronic gadgets and sophisticated cell phones gets its share of moral eclipse in the form of nude pictures, indecent chatting and all sort of disgusting and immodest display pictures and status messages. We see these immoral display pictures (for those using blackberry and on facebook), enlarge them and sometimes even save them. We think that’s the end? No! the journey has just begun and it will not end until there is a total moral eclipse and people will shamelessly put up their naked pictures and we will start panicking. May we not live to witness this dark hour.

What is the way out? In general terms Allah has told us unequivocally that: “O you who believe! Obey Allah and obey the Messenger (Muhammad SAW), and those of you (Muslims) who are in authority. (And) if you differ in anything amongst yourselves, refer it to Allah and His Messenger (SAW), if you believe in Allah and in the Last Day. That is better and more suitable for final determination.” Q: 4:59. Firstly, let us journey through the world of Qur’an and see at least one destination where our solution lies. Allah said it so beautifully that: “Verily, those who are Al-Muttaqun (the pious), when an evil thought comes to them from Satan, they remember (Allah), and (indeed) they then see (aright). Q: 7:201. The moment an evil thought flashes through our minds we are asked by Allah to remember Him. Finally the Hadith of Abu Saeed Al-Khudri (RA) in which the Prophet (SAW) said: “Whosoever of you sees an evil action let him change it with his hand; and if he is not able to do so, then with his tongue; and if he is not able to do so, then with his heart; and that is the weakest of faith.” Reported by Muslim. Let us stop these things from within ourselves first then hate it vehemently in our hearts. We all know how vulnerable we are so we shouldn’t expose our vulnerability to these evil acts.

If we allow our subtle approval of sins to cast a shadow over our natural disposition to righteousness (Fitrah) we will surely witness a MORAL ECLIPSE. Oh Allah! Give us the ability to become agents of positive change.