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Lesson Thirty-seven: Obstacles To Obedience ( Part I)CTND

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Gray Areas and Obedience.
Prayer Eliminates Gray Areas

Another way we can deal with gray areas in decision making is through prayer. Sometimes some matters are neither right nor wrong. Fore example, given a task to choose  between two equally suitable spouses; what do you do? Do you just close your eyes and pick, or do you draw lots? Such cases require the knowledge of the unseen (Ghaib) which we do not have. Both spouses may be equally appealing at the moment but given the test of time, one is bound to be better than the other. Unfortunately, we do not have the liberty to use the test of time. The decision has to be made right there and then. At this moment the believer turns to his lord in prayer. It is forbidden for Muslims to live with people they have not married to test them out for suitability as a spouse. So, in such cases, prayer is the only option. Allah (S.W.A) is very proud of a servant who turns to Him when he/she is in trouble. He loves people who get in a fix and do not panic or give up or despair but turn to him for help. Prayer to Allah (S.W.A) is a form of worship. One such a person who used the power of prayer was Prophet Ayuub (A.S). Allah (S.W.A.) proudly speaks of him thus:

“Allah says, commemorate our servant Ayuub. Behold he cried to his Lord: ‘The evil one has afflicted me with distress and suffering!’ (


(The command was given): ‘Strike with your foot. Here is (water) wherein to wash, cool and refreshing and (water) to drink (38:42).’


And we gave him back his people and doubled their number as a grace from ourselves, and a thing to remember, for all who have understanding (38:43).


‘And take in your hand a little grass and strike therewith: and break not (your oath).’ Truly we found him full of patience and constancy, and how excellent in our service! Ever did he turn (to us)(38:44)!”

Indeed turning to Allah (S.W.A) in prayer is of such a great importance that Allah (S.W.A) made believers recite a surah or a chapter holding this lesson more often than any other surah in the Qur'an. Allah (S.W.A) considers this surah a great favor to mankind (15:87). This is surat Al-Fatihah. In surat Al-Fatihah we surrender to Allah (S.W.A), and we confide in Him that we worship none but Him; we do not worry ourselves to death, but from Him alone we seek  assistance when we are in trouble. Why should we not turn to Allah (S.W.A) and trust Him with our problems when He is the doer without let? He needs no one’s permission to do anything (85:16). He has all the power to make all things happen.Besides, the knowledge of the unseen.Then, we ask Allah (S.W.A) to show us the right path - not any paths, but the path that has been trodden by those who had incurred His pleasure and not His wrath – those who had not gone astray (1: 5, 6, 7).

We utter these words in all the five prayers and in every rakah of all prayers. So, prayer is mighty important in our lives. We are constantly reminded in Surat Al- Faatihah that we must turn to Allah (S.W.A) when the going gets tough; even in a small matter as asking Allah (S.W.A) helping us with our housework or homework. Allah (S.W.A) will always help us unless the object of our desire is harmful. So, ask again and again; Allah (S.W.A) never tires to hear us out, and He always has the right answers.

From since time immemorial man has been galloping trying to distinguish right from wrong. Some people succeeded and discovered the right way of living, yet others gave up on themselves and lived as life was/is without thinking about the rights and the wrongs and the consequences of the two. The latter group of people is prone to losing direction when it comes to gray areas or when choosing between alternative choices; they base their decisions on human brain and experience both of which ae prone to error and lack the knowledge of the unseen.

There is right, and there is wrong, and the middle of the two is the gray area. Muslims are forbidden to live in this gray shadow. We, Muslims, are supposed to look for answers to light up the gray areas or simply ask Allah (S.W.A) to guide and sail us through the foggy situations. Allah (S.W.A) promises us His help. He speaks:

And how would you deny faith while onto you are rehearsed the signs of Allah and among you lives the messenger. Whoever holds firmly to Allah will be shown a way that is straight. (3:101)”
The Prophet, Muhammad (S.A.W) taught us that if a matter is unclear, one must drop it altogether. We must never imprison ourselves in a life full of unresolved conflicts due to inability to make up our minds. We must never live in indecision (gray areas); after all, Allah (S.W.A) will judge us based on our decisions/intentions. Avoiding a life in gray is to choose a clear and focused life. This is, especially, good for one who chooses decisions embedded in fear of Allah (S.A.W) out of great love and respect (taqwa) for Him. A clear mind is a healthy mind. This is one of the many secrets of confidence. Do not feel lazy; feel smart and think through your decisions and make sure they all carry the guidance of Allah (S.W.A). For example, Do not let the media dictate to you a life style if it is not compatible with what you believe to be right. The Holy Qur'an warns us that there are many lifestyles (3:137). We must carefully and cleverly pick Islam from all what is around us. We cannot afford to live passive lives, or else, we are going to be assimilated and absorbed. We must not turn over our lives, for example, by letting fashion designers make our decisions on how to dress.  Do anything you want because you think it is the right thing to do. Remember, we have to stand trial for our actions/decisions; and not making them will not get us off the hook. Hence, here is the whole picture for us put forward by Allah (S.W.A). He speaks:

“Say: ‘Not equal are things that are bad and things that are good even though the abundance of the bad may dazzle thee. So fear Allah, oh you that understand; that you may prosper (5:100).”

“Nay – those that keep their plighted faith and act aright – verily Allah loves those who act aright (3:76):

As for those who sell the faith they owe to Allah and their own plighted word for a small price, they shall have no portion in the hereafter: nor will Allah speak to them, or look at them on the day of judgment, nor will he cleanse them:
they shall have a grievous penalty (3:77)

And for such as had entertained the fear of standing before their Lord’s tribunal and restrained their souls from lower desires (79:40)

Their abode will be the garden (79:41)”

The choice is ours; to choose Allah (S.W.A)’s way and we see clearly and succeed, or to submit to the popular life styles and gallop in semi darkness and fail in the end. Choose Allah (S.W.A) and enjoy success and contentment in this life and in the hereafter; Allah (S.W.A)'s way is the only way to total fulfilment of all desires.