We must avoid being guided by our own desires, S N Smith


We must avoid being guided by our own desires, S N Smith

In the absence of divine guidance and revelation on what basis do we behave, speak and interpret the world around us?

The answer to that question is that we will be guided by our own fickle desires and the ever-shifting opinions of others.

We will become selfish and narrow-minded, always insisting on our own rights and disrespecting the rights and feelings of others.

As a result, the only source of guidance arises from whatever fancy may fill our minds at any particular moment.

Allah says in Surah Rum 30:29:

بَلِ ٱتَّبَعَ ٱلَّذِينَ ظَلَمُوٓا۟ أَهْوَآءَهُم بِغَيْرِ عِلْمٍ فَمَن يَهْدِى مَنْ أَضَلَّ ٱللَّهُ وَمَا لَهُم مِّن نَّـٰصِرِينَ
In fact, the wrongdoers merely follow their desires with no knowledge. Who then can guide those Allah has left to stray? They will have no helpers.
And in Surah Al-Furqan (25:43), Allah says
أَرَءَيْتَ مَنِ ٱتَّخَذَ إِلَـٰهَهُۥ هَوَىٰهُ أَفَأَنتَ تَكُونُ عَلَيْهِ وَكِيلً


Have you seen ˹O Prophet˺ the one who has taken their own desires as their god?Will you then be a keeper over them?

Allah further says in Surah Al-Jathiya 45:23:

أَفَرَءَيْتَ مَنِ ٱتَّخَذَ إِلَـٰهَهُۥ هَوَىٰهُ وَأَضَلَّهُ ٱللَّهُ عَلَىٰ عِلْمٍ وَخَتَمَ عَلَىٰ سَمْعِهِۦ وَقَلْبِهِۦ وَجَعَلَ عَلَىٰ بَصَرِهِۦ غِشَـٰوَةً فَمَن يَهْدِيهِ مِنۢ بَعْدِ ٱللَّهِ أَفَلَا تَذَكَّرُونَ

Have you seen ˹O Prophet˺ those who have taken their own desires as their god?˹And so˺ Allah left them to stray knowingly, sealed their hearing and hearts, and placed a cover on their sight. Who then can guide them after Allah? Will you ˹all˺ not then be mindful? 

And there are numerous other related verses but for the sake of brevity, I will not include them all here.

One of the main purposes of revelation is to guide us away from following our personal desires, inclinations and the opinions of others, and to live and conduct our affairs in a way that is pleasing to Allah despite what our own personal desires or opinions may be.

Allah clearly says in Surah An-Nisa 4:135:

يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا۟ كُونُوا۟ قَوَّٰمِينَ بِٱلْقِسْطِ شُهَدَآءَ لِلَّهِ وَلَوْ عَلَىٰٓ أَنفُسِكُمْ أَوِ ٱلْوَٰلِدَيْنِ وَٱلْأَقْرَبِينَ إِن يَكُنْ غَنِيًّا أَوْ فَقِيرًا فَٱللَّهُ أَوْلَىٰ بِهِمَا فَلَا تَتَّبِعُوا۟ ٱلْهَوَىٰٓ أَن تَعْدِلُوا۟ وَإِن تَلْوُۥٓا۟ أَوْ تُعْرِضُوا۟ فَإِنَّ ٱللَّهَ كَانَ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ خَبِيرًا

O believers! Stand firm for justice as witnesses for Allah even if it is against yourselves, your parents, or close relatives. Be they rich or poor, Allah is best to ensure their interests. So do not let your desires cause you to deviate ˹from justice˺. If you distort the testimony or refuse to give it, then ˹know that˺ Allah is certainly All-Aware of what you do. 

We must stand for that which is just even if it is against ourselves, and we should not allow our own personal desires, opinions, or the estimations of others to cause us to deviate from that which is just.

We may think we are in the right and are doing the right thing, but our thinking regarding these matters has zero relevance in the court of Allah.

The standard of what is right and wrong, fair and unfair, just and unjust, kind and cruel, etc. comes from divine revelation, and this is what must guide us in everything we do.

And the entire Quran, as well as the prophetic example, is filled with this central message.

And Allah is Al Adl, the source of true justice.