When I contemplate conditions on the earth and those on it, I realize that its destruction is more than its construction.
Then, I contemplate the constructed part of the earth. I find that non-Muslims have control over most of it, and Muslims are few on earth in comparison with the unbelievers.
Then, I ponder over Muslims’ conditions, and I find that seeking livelihood distracts most of them from seeking the pleasure of the Giver of sustenance, Allah, and seeking knowledge guides to Him.
The ruler is busy with issuing commands and prohibitions, and incidental whims. His interests are safe; however, he does not thank Allah for them. Moreover, no one admonishes him; rather, he is met with praise, which strengthens his soul’s whims.
Diseases should be countered by their opposites, as Umar bin al-Muhaajr said, “Umar bin Abdul Azeez said to me, ‘If you see me divert from the truth, then pull me with my clothes, shake me, and say: O Umar! What is the matter with you?’”
Umar bin al-Khataab, may Allah be pleased with him, also said, “May Allah have mercy on whoever informs us about our faults.”
The person who is most in need of advice and admonition is the ruler.
As for the employees of the ruler, most of them are busy with whims, and enjoying life’s pleasures, and to these things is added ignorance and lack of knowledge. Thus, they do not feel uneasy when committing sins, wearing silk, and drinking wine to the extent that some of them may say, “Will an employee of the ruler wear clothes made of cotton?”
They also take what they want unjustly; thus, injustice becomes like their natural disposition.
As for the villagers, they are overwhelmed by ignorance. They usually indulge in vices, and belittling the importance of prayers, and a woman among their women may pray sitting down, though she can pray standing.
Then I ponder over the conditions of the merchants. I find that they are overwhelmed by greediness to the extent that they do not care from which source their earnings come, and usury becomes prevalent among them. Hence, they do not care about how they attain life’s enjoyments.
Moreover, they neglect paying zaka, and they do not feel ashamed of neglecting it except those whom Allah protects from doing so.
Then I consider the conditions of the employers. I find that cheating, fraud, and deceit usually have place in their dealings as well as they are overwhelmed by ignorance.
I also find that most of them let their offspring work with them so as to gain money before their offspring know what is obligatory on them and apply it.
Then, I contemplate women’s conditions. I find that they lack religious knowledge, and have great ignorance as well as they do not have knowledge of matters related to the hereafter except those whom Allah protects.
I say, how strange! Who remains to serve the religion of Allah, and learns knowledge about Allah, e.g. His oneness, and His names and attributes?
Then, I consider and I find these categories: scholars, knowledge seekers, worshippers, and ascetics.
I reflect on the conditions of the worshippers, and ascetics, and I find that most of them perform worship without having knowledge. They are happy with being exalted, and their hands being kissed by people, and having many followers. If one of them is forced to buy something from the market, he will not do so in order not to degrade his prestige.
Moreover, they are deeply concerned with formalities to the extent that they neither visit the sick, nor witness funeral prayer except if the person concerned is someone whom they consider important. They also do not visit each other, and some of them may be reluctant to visit his fellows. Verily, in their views, formalities become like idols worshipped besides Allah without taking notice of such a state.
Among them are some who give fatwa without knowledge in order not to break the requirements of prestige, and they criticize the scholars, accusing them of seeking worldly enjoyments. However, they do not know that the dispraised enjoyment of life is what they do, not enjoying permissible things.
Then, I ponder over the conditions of knowledge seekers among the scholars. I find that signs of intelligence are in a few of them. That is because sign of intelligence is to seek knowledge to apply it. Most of them seek knowledge to use it as a means for gaining advantage either to become a judge in a certain court or city, or attain status by which they become distinguished among their fellows. And after achieving their goal, they stop from seeking knowledge.
Finally, I reflect on the conditions of the scholars. I find that most of them are deceived by their whims and busy with satisfying them. They prefer what distances them from knowledge, and seek what knowledge requires to avoid. They hardly find the taste of happiness of performing what brings them close to Allah; rather, their only concern is to give sermons.
However, Allah will never make the earth void of someone who demonstrates proofs for His sake, combining between having knowledge and applying it, having knowledge of Allah’s rights, and having fear of Him.
Such a person is the pivot of the worldly life, and if he dies, Allah will bring someone in his place.
And he may not die until he sees the person who is suitable to take his place in every difficulty.
Such a person, the earth will never be void of him. His rank is as the rank of a prophet in his nation.
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