Overindulgence in anything material will erode our iman. We will become so captivated by the opulence of dunia that we lose focus on the purpose of our existence and the remembrance of our Creator. Allah in His mercy constantly gives us warning signs. If we refuse to wake up after Allah has given us gentle signs, Allah will shake us awake in His own way, through stronger warnings and even misfortunes, to shake us out of our oblivion and addiction to dunia.
On the contrary, iman lends us power, focus, and clarity. If we are focused, our iman will strengthen us. It will provide us ammunition and defence against our material desires and whisperings of Shaitan.
Allah has created us in the best fashion, with our own individual beauty and the potential to achieve dignity and closeness to Allah. However, Allah also created us with inherent flaws and weaknesses. Among them, mankind is:
- Denier of Allah's message
- Stingy and frets about his provision
- Denier of Allah's ni'mah on him
- Arrogant and egotistical
- Oppressive and unjust
- Denier of the truth and signs of Allah
We have the above weaknesses in different proportions. All these weaknesses create instability and turbulence within us. They oppose the qualities of iman.
If we get close to Allah by understanding His qualities, the virtues we pick up along the way will overcome the inner turmoil and help us subdue our inborn weaknesses. If we persevere in our journey, Allah will take us to a different level, and will give us strength, support and protection.
There is no value to perfecting our pronunciation of the Qur'an if we do not comprehend what it says or utilise it to gain closeness to Allah. There is no purpose of having stylish Qur'anic decorations in our homes if we don't understand what the passages mean, and our hearts and lifestyles are still within the firm hooks of dunia. We will resemble the cursed ones of Bani Israel who were likened to donkeys carrying books:
The example of those who were entrusted with the Torah and then did not take it on is like that of a donkey who carries volumes [of books]. Wretched is the example of the people who deny the signs of Allah. And Allah does not guide the wrong doing people. (Al Jumu'ah, verse 5)
Knowledge has many levels and has to be taught at the right level. You can't discuss marital issues with a toddler. Similarly, there is no benefit from the message if its value is lost on you. Many people will perfect the verbal articulation of the Qur'an, but the relationship with Allah still remains as weak as their belief and faith have not advanced to a level where they are ready for the full depth of the message. Always keep this in mind – when teaching others about Islam, it is best to drip feed according to their ability to absorb.
When Allah chooses you and gives you knowledge, this is called guidance. If we deviate from the value of the guidance and the journey of guidance which teaches us that this material life is doomed to end, what will happen? We are here for a miniscule amount of time in which we can achieve our purpose, and then we will leave. We will accumulate knowledge of the material life and this knowledge will not generate guidance. We can accumulate multiple degrees but what is the use if it does not lead to the final and most successful destination? We will accumulate the knowledge but still run in the opposite direction to accumulate more of the material life and whatever knowledge we have will not benefit us in the least.