Ten Steps to Allah. Step 1: Leaving Whim

As we get closer to Ramadan, focusing on what we are seeking through our devotions is ever more crucial. The ultimate aim of any Muslim is to gain the closeness of Allah Most High. Shaykh Faraz Rabbani gives us clear guidelines with 10 key steps on the path to Allah Most High elucidating for us how to get closer to Allah. 

The first article in this series explains the dangers of following a whim and the importance of purpose on the path to God.

Step 1: Leaving Whim

The first step in getting closer to Allah is to leave whim. This is based on a Divine warning and the Prophetic call to leave one’s whim and to leave one’s caprice. Allah Most High tells us in the Qur’an, “Do not follow your whim lest it misguides you from the path to Allah.” [Qur’an, 38:26]

Your whim is when you incline to something and choose to act upon it without consideration of reason and without thinking whether this is pleasing to Allah. It is a choice based on lack of consideration, of benefit, and of the pleasure of Allah. 

In a simplified framework, we can choose in one of three ways. 

  1. We can choose on the basis of our lower urges which are our desires and whims. 
  2. We can choose on the basis of reason which is the consideration of benefit or harm. 
  3. We can choose on the basis of the pleasure of Allah Most High.

The believer’s dignity begins by choosing on the basis of reason and they rise in their honor with Allah if they choose on the basis of the pleasure of Allah. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) gives us a beautiful key to doing this. He tells us that the smart person is the one who restrains himself and who acts for what comes after this life and the incapable person is the one who follows his mere whim and then says he has high hopes of Allah.

The spiritually and religiously smart person is the one who takes himself to account or restrains himself. When you incline towards something, ask yourself the following questions. Is this good? Is this of benefit? Is this pleasing to Allah? 

The vessel for purposeful action is our intention but the first step to change is to restrain our whim and to strive to make purposeful choices. This is why Allah Most High informs us in the Qur’an, “As for the one who is in awe of the station of their Lord, who forbids their lower self from its wayward ways, Paradise is their resting place.” [Qur’an, 79:40-41]

May Allah make us from the people of Paradise and may He grant us to make Paradisical choices. 

The episode can be found on this link Ramadan 2020 Reminders | Episode 20: Ten Steps to Allah – 01 – Leaving Whim | Shaykh Faraz Rabbani – YouTube

About the Author

Shaykh Faraz Rabbani spent ten years studying with some of the leading scholars of recent times, first in Damascus, and then in Amman, Jordan. His teachers include the foremost theologian of recent times in Damascus, the late Shaykh Adib al-Kallas (may Allah have mercy on him), as well as his student Shaykh Hassan al-Hindi, one of the leading Hanafi fuqaha of the present age.

He returned to Canada in 2007, where he founded SeekersGuidance in order to meet the urgent need to spread Islamic knowledge–both online and on the ground–in a reliable, relevant, inspiring, and accessible manner. He is the author of Absolute Essentials of Islam: Faith, Prayer, and the Path of Salvation According to the Hanafi School (White Thread Press, 2004.) Since 2011, Shaykh Faraz has been named one of the 500 most influential Muslims by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Center.