Everything we do in life is a means to an end.
For a Muslim, the ‘end’ is the pleasure of Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā) and reserving our place in the highest gardens of Jannah. This is the ultimate goal, and the ‘means’ is simply the way in which one goes about attaining this.
So with this, we can say that:
– the degrees that we study;
– the jobs that we work;
– the knowledge that we seek;
– the decisions that we make;
– the parents that we obey;
– the families that we love;
– and the Islamic daʿwah projects that we volunteer for, are all examples of this.
The problem, however, lies when one gives greater importance to the means, making them lose track of the end. They detach themselves from the end and instead attach themselves to the means.
And now as we are approaching the season of Ḥajj, there is an important lesson we can learn from the life of Prophet Ibrāhīm (ʿalayhi al-Salām).
Upon describing his dream, he said to his son:
يَا بُنَيَّ إِنِّي أَرَىٰ فِي الْمَنَامِ أَنِّي أَذْبَحُكَ
“O my son, I have seen in a dream that I must sacrifice you.”
Ibrāhīm (ʿalayhi al-Salām) loved his son, but he loved Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā) more. So when the commandment came to sacrifice his son, it was not his son that was to be slaughtered, it was his attachment to him that Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā) was testing.
And did he pass the test?
قَدْ صَدَّقْتَ الرُّؤْيَا إِنَّا كَذَٰلِكَ نَجْزِي الْمُحْسِنِينَ
“You have fulfilled the dream. This is how we reward those who do good.”
If that Islamic project or daʿwah organisation that you give your time to shuts down, your overall daʿwah or activism should not shut down with it. For that organisation was just a means, and there are other organisations to be part of to serve the dīn.
If you are made redundant in your job, that does not mean you stop providing for your family altogether. For that job was a means, and there are other ways to earn a halāl income.
If the local sheikh, whom you like and attend all of his lectures, moves cities or travels abroad, that does not mean you stop attending ḥalaqas and lectures altogether. For that sheikh was simply a means, and there are other classes taking place in your locality for you to benefit.
Be like Prophet Ibrāhīm (ʿalayhi al-Salām); show your love to your Lord by detaching yourself from the means and re-attaching yourself to the end.