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Lesson Thirty - Eight: Obstacles to Obedience ( Part II )
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Obstacles to Obedience
Intention and Obedience


Once we are out of the gray areas and our course of action is clear, the next step is to examine the intention behind what we are doing. In the Arabic language, intention is “niya”. As a reminder, we are here to obey, serve, and worship Allah (S.W.A). Therefore, how well we perform these three duties is entirely dependent on our intentions. Allah (S.W.A) confirms:

“Allah will not call you to account for thoughtlessness in your oaths, but for the intention in your hearts and he is Oft-Forgiving, Most Forbearing (2:225)”

Fear and selfishness are our enemies and a cause for wrong intentions. We do things for friends because we fear to lose them; we are nice to our parents, so that they can love us or buy us the latest shoes; we study hard, so that we do not fail or we score high on our exams; we try to please people, so that we can remain on good terms with them; the list goes on. Think of more examples of when you do things out of fear or selfishness as opposed to doing duty of service, worship and obedience to Allah (S.W.A). Unfortunately, Allah (S.W.A) accepts no action done for other than service, worship or obedience to Him. In short, anything done with the intention other than obeying, worshiping or serving Allah (S.W.A) is a wasted effort in this world- in the long run, and a total loss in the

Hereafter. Allah (S.W.A) speaks


" Say: 'Shall we tell you of those who lose most in respect of their deeds? (18:103) -


Those whose efforts have been wasted in this life while they thought that they were acquiring good by their works (18:104)?


They are those who deny the signs of their Lord and the fact of their having to meet him:vain will be their works, nor shall we, on the Day of Judgement, give them any weight (18:105)".


Allah (S.W.A) is not mean to us or selfish. No, because He created us for a certain end – a purpose, and this end is to worship, to serve and to obey none but Him. If we deviate, then, we fail the object of our creation. Allah (S.W.A) exhorts us to be firm and not to swerve from his worship, service and obedience for whatever reason, not even death. In case of death and extreme necesity, Allah (S.W.A) advises us to remain deeply rooted in faith with our hearts even though our enemy may force the physical body to do otherwise. Allah (S.W.A) speaks:


"He has only forbidden you dead meat, and blood, and the flesh of swine, and that on which any other name has been invoked besides that of Allah. But if one is forced by necesity, without willful disobedience, and transgressing due limits - then is he guiltless.For Allah is oft - forgiving most merciful (2:173)" .


Again, Allah (S.W.A) reminds us about our covenant with Him.  He speaks:

”Oh Children of Israel! Call to mind the favor, which I bestowed upon you, and fulfill your covenant with me as I fulfill my covenant with you and fear none but me

 "And believe in what I reveal confirming the revelation that is with you, and be not the first to reject faith therein, nor sell my signs for a small price; and fear me and me alone

These verses refer to the Jews but they carry  general instructions for all of us. The favors Allah (S.W.A) gave to the Jews may be different, but Allah (S.W.A) has given us, too, countless favors as well. He speaks:


"And he gives you all that you ask for. But if you count the favours of Allah, never will you be able to number them. Verily, man is given up to injustice and ingratitude ( 14:34)".


And also remember, we gave a covenant, too – to serve, to worship and to obey Allah (S.W.A). For us, to sell Allah (S.W.A)’s signs for a miserable price would be the selfish intentions we seek when we follow our whims or the whims of those we fear in exchange to upholding Allah (S.W.A)’s rights. Whatever we do for anyone else other than Him, Allah (S.W.A) rejects it for himself. Therefore, we must purge our intentions from any motives other than obedience, service and worship even if it involves our enemies. We must do right to our enemies as well in response to our duties of obedience, service and worship to Allah (S.W.A). Put it this way, other than doing service, obedience and worship of Allah (S.W.A), humanity is a  useless article roaming Planet Earth. We must serve creation or obey man only in in service and obedience to Allah (S.W.A); and worship? That is only for Allah (S.W.A) alone. He speaks:


" Say, ' I am but a man like yourselves, ( but) inspiration has come to me that your God is one God: whoever expects to meet his Lord, let him work righteousness, and in the worship of his lord, admit no one as partner ( 18:110)".


Even if the intention that favors Allah (S.W.A) does differ from what we want right now, we must still endeavor to do just that. This is total submission to the will of Allah (S.W.A) – the real Islam! Here is Allah (S.W.A)’s stand concerning doing right for His sake. Allah (S.W.A) speaks:

”Oh you who believe! Stand out firmly for Allah, as witnesses to fair dealing, and let not the hatred of others to you make you swerve to wrong and depart from justice. Be just: that is next to piety: and fear Allah. For Allah is well acquainted with all that you do (5:8)

To those who believe and do deeds of righteousness has Allah promised forgiveness and a great reward

Those who reject faith and deny our signs will be companions of the hellfire

To Be Continued.