To love someone we have to serve. Why do we keep falling during this journey today? It is because we are stubbornly clinging on to what we want, and therefore become slaves to our yearnings, be it money, food, status, physical relationships, or showing off. Once the desire intensifies, we would do anything to fulfil that desire. We have the illusion of freedom, but we are actually imprisoned and enslaved by our own obsession. We cannot serve because we do not care about anyone other than ourselves.
Liberation from this bondage can be achieved when we get to know Allah. When we love Allah, embodying that love in our hearts, thoughts and actions, Allah will love us in return. When Allah loves us, He will guide us. Now, our actions and reactions are in line with to what Allah wants and this is always aligned with what is good for us in the long run. Otherwise, our actions and reactions are dictated by our desires, and we will continue to be enslaved. Once we do not receive what we want, we get rude, temperamental and angry. We cannot behave well with others. We are blinded by our own slavery, and incapable of even recognising or caring what others want.
Allah is the owner of quality, and He can bestow some of these qualities to us, according to the strength of our relationship with Allah. To obtain this quality, we have to be a slave to Allah, and to do that we have to release the bondage to our own desires. Once we are in a state of pure submission to Allah, Allah will make everything a slave to us. If we are not slaves to Allah, Allah will enslave us to our surroundings.
How many times are we subjugated by our own thinking, temptation, fear, love and desires? Once that connection with Allah is ruptured, Shaitan stirs up negative emotions and takes us on a further downward spiral. Now we are no longer free, and will become enslaved to Shaitan.
Musa AS once asked Allah to give him a gift. Allah asked him to say "La ilaha illa-Allah". Musa AS wanted something even more unique than this, but Allah repeated this. It is because this phrase is so mighty that if we were to place the entire universe on one end of a scale and this phrase on the other, the phrase would outweigh the other scale. A man can come to the Day of Judgment with massive sins, but one sincere utterance of "La ilaaha illa'Allah" can be heavier than all his sins.
The gift of the belief in la ilaaha ilallah will not last forever, and will be taken away from us if we do not value it and live it out sincerely. It is the originator and reaffirmation of our faith, but only if said with sincerity. This is because we cannot be a believer unless we have la ilaaha illallah dominating our actions, which crucially requires the negation of all but Allah. If we meander from this absolute negation, our slavery and surrender to Allah are incomplete. This makes us moody, unstable, and infected with the disease of our desires and our other weaknesses. When the Companions implemented "la ilaaha ilallah", they conquered their bad habits, tribalism, culture and predispositions, and they made Allah the most important element of their lives.
Our underlying intention depends on our internal navigation. One can be a doctor with the genuine intention to cure someone whereas another can choose to be a doctor because of the title and the money accompany that job. Medicine is a noble profession and in the older generations, doctors used to be dedicated to it for the desire of curing the ill. Traditionally, doctors would stay up all night attending to a patient, even if the patient had limited ability to pay him. People became doctors because of the nobility associated with this profession. Nowadays, a career in medicine is lucrative and is one of the most sought after professions.
So if you want to be a doctor, what is the core intention – money or servitude to people? If you are in it primarily for the salary, can you later make a comeback and claim that your intention all along was for goodness? Today many of us make decisions based on greed and selfishness, but disguise it in a cloak of nobility. Our concern is primarily on fulfilling our own needs, not the needs of others.
If we are immersed in just thinking about our own well-being and not that of others, can we claim the quality of a mu'min? It is easy to lock ourselves in our own world and ignore the needs of those around us, but this will only increase the diseases of the heart.
Isolation should just be for the sake of spending time with Allah, not because you cannot be bothered about anyone but yourself. Spending time in seclusion for Allah will increase your qualities, but if it was for some other intention, the diseases of the heart will increase and these will destroy you. Your true colours and intentions will manifest when you are tested with a situation.
Hiding in your own bubble and being uninterested in helping society is not an act encouraged by Islam. Islam involves involvement and sacrifice, and to help others in society, Muslim or non-Muslim. Islam entails a social contract, where we are encouraged to attend weddings and even the arrangements for a funeral fall on the immediate Islamic community, for the sake of strengthening community ties.