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Complacent Muslim Mindset (False Contentment)

Maqsood Ahmed, OBE

Self-complacency is a mindset that generates false contentment to make people (Muslims in this context) feel good and comfortable with their beliefs, thinking, expectations, intentions and behaviour in life, concerning living a righteous and virtuous life as ordained by Allah (SWT).
So, ‘Self-Contentment’, coupled with ignorance of actual risks or deficiencies, leaves one content and comfortable with where they are in life, including religious belief system or work, school or any other settings.
First and foremost of such mindsets is:
i) “Being born into a Muslim household”.
Being born into a Muslim household is not enough. In some cases, at best, it leads to becoming “ritual Muslim” the very characteristic Allah (SWT)has warned us about becoming (2:177) and at worst it could lead to relinquishment of the basic tenants of Islam but be just known as Muslim by name only or coming from a particular Muslim household.
To be a ‘ritual Muslim’ is not the goal, but rather the rituals, however significant the obligatory or supererogatory may be, are meant to help Muslims to be the best version of themselves. The complacent mindset is not a positive or growth mindset to become the best version.
Secondly, expectations of:
ii) Forgiveness by Allah Almighty is overstated by the ‘transgressors’ and they tend to rest on their laurels.
The promise of Allah (SWT) to forgive his slaves for transgressing is absolute for which there is no doubt, and Allah (SWT) keeps His promise: He (SWT) never fails in His Promise (39:20, 30:6, 22:47, 13:31, 3:9, 2:80). But at the same time Allah (SWT) says in the Qur’an in a variety of contexts: “…And fulfill your (part of the) covenant, I shall fulfill My (part of the) covenant…” (2:40).
Nonetheless Allahٰ says:
Tell (O Prophet) My servants, who have committed excesses against themselves, do not despair of Allah’s Mercy. Surely Allah forgives all sins. He is Most Forgiving, Most Merciful (23:53).
It shows the endless mercy and forgiveness of Allah (SWT) Who (SWT) says: Never give up hope of Allah’s Mercy (12:87), Allah will forgive those who have done wrong out of ignorance (16:119), Seek forgiveness of Allah. He is Forgiving and Merciful (73:20)
To err is human: it is natural for human beings to make mistakes. Allah (SWT) is aware of the fallibility of His (SWT) creation and has repeatedly said in the Qur’an,
And whoever does evil or acts unjustly to his soul, then asks forgiveness of Allah, he shall find Allah Forgiving, Merciful (4:110).
Repenting, after transgressing from the straight path and seeking forgiveness from Allah (SWT) is the most humble of acts to connect and comply with Allah’s (SWT) decrees. Allah (SWT) encourages His (SWT) servant (Abd) to remember Him (SWT) and seek forgiveness with three caveats:
i) Repentance with Allah (SWT) ٰ is only for those who do evil in ignorance (6:54,7:153, 4:17),
ii) Repentance is not for those who go on doing evil deeds (4:18) and finally,
iii) Most surely “I am most Forgiving to him who repents and believes and does good, then continues to follow the right direction” (20:82).
Repentance with Allah is only for those who do evil in ignorance, then turn to Allah (SWT) ٰ soon. Allah (SWT) turns (mercifully) to them, and Allah (SWT) is ever Knowing, Wise (4:17). Moreover, Allah (SWT) also promises to replace their evil deeds with good ones (25:70), if after repenting they do righteous deeds.
Allah (SWT) continues to assure His (SWT) slaves about His (SWT) favours and benevolence, His (SWT) ٰ guidance and direction towards the right path and promise of forgiveness for any transgression to get on the straight path again to fulfil the purpose of life on earth. The Qur’an Hakim is full of wisdom, advice, guidance and light for the believers to choose the right path, to reach the ultimate goal with the help of the Creator (SWT) and His (SWT) Messenger (SAW).
However, Allah’s (SWT) mercy and clemency are both conditional and unqualified, because Allah (SWT) says:
Say: “My servants, you who have transgressed against yourselves, do not despair of the mercy of Allah. Truly Allah forgives all wrong actions. He is the Ever-Forgiving, the Most Merciful” (39:53).
Allah Almighty gives way and respite, to the wrongdoers for a specified time to get on to the right path, Allah (SWT) says: And if Allah were to impose blame on the people for what they have earned, He would not leave upon the earth any creature. But He defers them for a specified term. And when their time comes, then indeed Allah has ever been, of His servants, Seeing. — (Qur’an 35:45)
Thirdly, Tawwakal, without adopting precautionary measures
iii) Tawwakal: This concept is exquisitely explained in the famous hadith of the camel: Anas bin Malik narrated that a man asked: “O Messenger of Allah! Shall I tie the camel and rely (upon Allah), or leave it loose and rely (upon Allah)?” The Prophets (SAW) said: “Tie it and rely (upon Allah). “Believers should trust only in Allah” (3:122), Who (SWT). is incomparable but after all the efforts and endeavours. Unfortunately, the complacent mindset entails refraining from any effort: this is a misconception.
At-Tawakkul on Allah (SWT) without a doubt is a condition of Imaan; and put all your trust (in Allah), if you truly are believers, (5:23).
And whoever puts all his trust in Allah, He will be enough for him. (65:3)
Put your trust in the living Allah who never dies, and celebrate His praise (Quran 25:58).
In Sura al-Asr Allah (SWT) has sworn by the Time (a significant entity – depicting past, present and future) to emphasise the point that man is in absolute loss, except those people who possess the following four qualities, including individuals, families, communities and societies.
By the time! Lo! Man is in a state of loss; save those who have faith and do righteous deeds, and counsel each other to hold on to truth and counsel each other to be steadfast.
1.Having Firm Faith: believing by the heart, expression by the tongue, and action of the limbs.
2.Doing righteous deeds as commanded by Allah (SWT) and His (SWT). Messenger (SAW). Firm faith precedes any righteous deed, to qualify as a good deed.
3.Encouraging one another to the truth to good deeds.
4.Encouraging one another to be patient and steadfast.
On one hand, the Sura (al-Asr) cautions human beings lest they transgress, fail and lose out but on the other hand, reminds again (and again in the Qur’an generally) to acquire the above-mentioned four qualities and related traits to be successful both in this life and hereafter.
Allah’s (SWT) respite, assurance and promises should not be misconstrued to continue perpetuating any inaction and wrong-doing, refrain from amending and not staying on the straight path.
Amal-e-Salehat (good deeds) as advocated in Surah al-Asr, above is the only route to Falah (Success). So we should guard against complacent mind-set. Allah (SWT) says:
Allah has promised those who believe and do good deeds: For them, there is forgiveness and a great reward (5:9).
There is no doubt that Allah (SWT) “…Certainly, Allah loves those who put their trust (in Him)” (3:159).
But not holding the balance between “trust in Allah” and the “adoption of precautionary measures”, is symptomatic of a complacent mind-set, which should be overcome to become steadfast. There is a need to identify the ‘blind-spot’ and strive to build an anti-complacent mindset.

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