[These are the rough notes of a talk given by Shaykh Kamaluddin Ahmed in Karachi on September 16, 2012]
Being involved in too many pointless and wasteful activities is also something that harms a person’s spirituality. Just like if you are a student and you are involved in all sorts of pointless activities, then your intellectual progress will go down.
There are 4 common idle things that we do which are poison for the heart.
1. Fuzool kalam — Idle and pointless conversations
We talk too much. In the olden days women folk were known for talking too much, but now men have also become very talkative. And when it comes to talking to Allah (swt), they can’t do it. They find it hard to make du’a. This is worrisome. Cannot talk to Allah (swt) and can talk to people so much. Syedna Rasool Allah (sws) said tongue will lead so many people to hell.
A person utters a word thoughtlessly (i.e., without thinking about it being good or not) and, as a result of this, he will fall down into the fire of Hell deeper than the distance between the east and the west.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
That firstly means haram kalam (e.g. lying etc.) But it also means useless and idle talks. Every word we speak will either be nur on our heart or it will bring zulm on our heart. Even the West acknowledges that you should be purposeful in your speech. And if you don’t have anything good to say then you should stay quiet altogether.
He who believes in Allah and the Last Day must either speak good or remain silent. [Muslim]
Power of tongue is such that even a few rude words can bring us to sin. Like if you say something to your parents that’s rude, this is a sin. In English they say that wounds inflicted by sword are cured but the wounds inflicted by words cannot be cured. Because you cannot put a band-aid on a person’s heart.
Another Hadith is that gheebah (backbiting) is greater than zina. Gheebah is the sin of the tongue.
Types of idle talk
i. Tabsira. This means views and analysis. They say this is my opinion, now lets see what is the opinion of the news anchor. Then they discuss that opinion for hours on end and still don’t reach any solution. In the previous three years millions of hours of analysis has been done, or even billion. If we had taken the same amount of time to turn to Allah (swt) in worship just imagine how much more beneficial that would have been. Youngsters today also have such a weak faith, they leave all their obligations and duties for rallies and protests.
Once a tree said to a wise man that look how wonderful I am! If someone throws stones at me, in turn I give them my fruits. The elderly said that if you are so wonderful, howcome Allah (swt) has made you fuel for the hell fire? The tree replied that’s because of one of my shortcomings, that I turn towards wherever the wind blows, go with the flow!
ii. Sawal. Asking bad questions with bad intentions or to ask a question that is of no benefit or relevance to you. That’s all useless. So many people have asked me questions in my short life that was of no benefit to them. And I even gave them the answers in the hope that they will ask me better questions. But they don’t do that. It’s like you have cancer and you ask the doctor about a pimple. And the doctor answers hoping he will ask about his cancer later.
You should not be speaking at all. No recreational conversation. That’s what our elders have said. Speak of khyr and deen. Any worldly talk will lead to fuzool. Although talking about conditions and problems faced by Muslims is another thing.
Do not indulge in excessive talk except when remembering Allah. Excessive talking without the Remembrance of Allah hardens the heart. [at-Tirmidhi]
2. Fuzool nazr — Idle and pointless gazing
An idle gaze will lead to haram and sinful gaze. Like maybe there’s a person who went to the store with the intention to buy something. If he walks around in such a way that not only does he looks at the item he has to buy, but all the other things as well. So he doesn’t lower his gaze and his eyes keep wandering around. Looking at billboards is useless. It’s not required for driving. If you expand the range of idle gaze, sooner or later you will have a haram nazr. Our basarat (vision) is over-charged, and our baseerat (wisdom) is almost non-existent.
All the things you watch in media; the movies and also on youtube is all wasteful. I won’t call it haram but it is definitely pointless. Even good Muslims who don’t have TVs at homes watch strange videos on youtube. I am talking about halal things, but even then, it’s all useless. This world is all about idle and pointless things. And it’s making you too visually aware. You over-use your gaze. Because you are addicted to idle gazing, you are deprived of the tranquility of worship. It’s a big cost to pay. So we should stop looking around. You should literally and physically lower your gaze.
Next time try it when you go to the shop. It’s not going to hurt you in anyway. Tell yourself I don’t want to see even any item that I don’t have to buy. I want to prove that I can control myself from all this marketing.
Idle gaze will guaranteed lead you to sinful gaze. And a person who sins with their eyes will lose the pleasure of dua, of salah, and will even lose the pleasure of serving people. They will feel burdened even when serving their own parents, because serving them is also a type of worship as Allah (swt) has prescribed it. They will become irritable. What do you think that you will take pleasure from so many different types of sinful gazes and only pleasure of one type of worship will be taken away from you? Rather all different types of pleasure of worship will be taken away from you! The best way to save yourself from sinful gaze is to stop yourself from idle gaze.
3. Fuzool sun’na — Idle and pointless listening
Not just haram things, like backbiting and music is downright haram. But this would include everything laghw like you guys love to get the scoop – you want to know what’s going on. But you don’t have time to listen to the recitation of Qur’an. Those who don’t have enough time to spare for music now use earphones. This is their dedication! You can also use those earphones to listen to Qura’n. Listening to futile things also leads to haram. This is the general flow of how shaytaan gets us into haram:
Listening to the other –> Seeing the other –> Talking to the other –> Touching the other
This is the sequence. So if you stop yourself from idle hearing, then you can stop from haram hearing and a list of other things that follow.
4. Fuzool khyalaat — Idle thoughts
The more useless thoughts you get, the greater the chances of you getting the sinful thoughts. You have to keep a control. Do mukhalafat of nafs i.e. go against your desires. We go all the way from fuzool thinking to day dreaming and always conceptualizing sin. Why? It’s because you didn’t hook yourself on dhikr. A heart void of dhikr feels the emptiness. First this void will get filled with idle thoughts and then with sinful thoughts. Therefore do not leave the void. Always be thinking thoughts of Allah (swt). And when you are not thinking about Allah (swt), then shaytan and nafs will book a room in your heart.
Imagine a person who hasn’t thought of anything idle for a whole 24 hours, neither in speech, nor in listening, nor in speaking. Just imagine how easy it would be for such a person to remember Allah (swt)! The practice of this dhikr makes it easier for a person to tread on the path of Shari’ah. You say that deen is so hard to follow, isn’t their an easier way? Leave the idle, pointless things and it will itself become easy for you. What’s easier than this? But you will have to do turk-e-fuzool.
5. Fuzool khana — Overeating
People say I only want to do fardh. Okay, how about you take this fardh-only attitude towards food? There is a certain amount of food you need to keep the body going. The rest of the energy and calories go to your nafs. There are many harm of indulging in overeating.
- Time is wasted
- Money is wasted
- Nafs becomes stronger
- Will power gets weaker
You have just spent Ramadan. Allah (swt) gave you Ramadan that when you eat less, drink less, indulge less in these things then you can attain taqwah.
يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ كُتِبَ عَلَيۡڪُمُ ٱلصِّيَامُ كَمَا كُتِبَ عَلَى ٱلَّذِينَ مِن قَبۡلِڪُمۡ لَعَلَّكُمۡ تَتَّقُونَ
O you who believe, the fasts have been enjoined upon you as they were enjoined upon those before you, so that you may be God-fearing [2:183]
6. Fuzoon sona — Over sleeping
You people have a lot of free time and then you oversleep. All the time in which you oversleep, that is the time you were supposed to do dhikr. Dhikr is also a source of relaxation and sukoon. It would have been the same thing. A person can sleep 6-7 hours max, anything more than that is extra. You can go below 6 hours if you are doing intense work of deen otherwise don’t go below that. If you have 8 hours of sleep then bring it down to 7 hours and do 1 hour of dhikr.
7. Fuzool kamana — Extraneous earnings
This might be most worrisome for you. Extraneous earning. You can do it up till you get your comfort and up till you get the comfort of your family, for the short-term future. Beyond that it becomes extra. It’s hard to admit. The rest of the capitalistic society is pushing you to earn more. You will make up excuses that whatever extra I get, I will give it to charity. But you won’t do it. People become miserly even in taking out zakat. Earning is good up till a limit, after that it is all useless.
Those who indulge is extraneous earning, sooner or later turn to unlawful means of earning. It’s gauranteed. Tark-e-fuzool se ijtinab-e-haram hota hai (leaving idle will prevent you from sin).
How to stop extraneous earnings?
One way to practically do this is to leave the doubtful. Another meaning of fuzool is extra. Technically speaking it just means extra.
Listen to this sentence carefully: because we are so involved in the extras of this world, we don’t have time for the extra of deen. You can say Jannat-ul-firdous is extra. So if you’re involved in extras of dunya then be ready to sacrifice Jannat-ul-firdous. Be ready to sacrifice the company of Sahaba karam (ra) and of Prophets (as).
8. Fuzool milna milana — Pointless socializing
Useless gatherings. Pointless social-life. Pointless interactions with people. Same thing: the more you engage in pointless socializing, the more in danger you are of falling into sin. If you socialize for religious purposes then it is beneficial. Anything else is at best doubtful and at worst haram.
1. Some gatherings are like medicines
Without them, you cannot be healthy, you cannot survive. For example halal job and halal business can fall into this. It is necessary interaction. In education that is your vital interaction, within the bounds of shari’ah.
2. Some gatherings are like an illness
The gatherings of dunya where and ghaflah (heedlessness) takes place. We should try to refrain from them, try to stay away from sin. To stay away from sin one should try to stay away from ghaflah. Cyber majlis is also harmful. Your own company with the laptop can harm you.
3. Some gatherings are like poison
i. Haram gatherings
Even if you claim you will not do anything haram there, it’s still haram. Like you say that I will go to that place but I will lower my gaze. Even if you do that, why do you want to be at a place which Allah (swt) is looking at with anger and wrath?
ii- Company of na-jins
To keep company of those people who are not trying to seek the pleasure of Allah (swt) the way you want to. Like there’s a young man who keeps company of corrupt young men for the sake of imaan. This can only be possible if you have super-strong imaan, only then will you be able to influence others. But you have to be honest with yourself about who is influencing whom.
4. Some gatherings are like food. Especially those gathering that are like food for the spirit and heart like majlis or gatherings of mashaikh. Lazman aisi majalis ko pakrein.