On Protecting Our Hearts from Heedlessness

Answered by Sayyidi al-Ḥabīb `Umar bin Hafīẓ (may Allāh preserve him and benefit us by him).

What advice do you have for people who due to work or study spend long periods of the day with non-Muslims who are heedless of Allāh? How can they prevent their hearts from being affected by them?

We have to be with them physically while are hearts are connected to Allāh. We have to know that our work or our studies are of secondary importance to our connection with Allāh and His Messenger and the truth with which he was sent (may Allāh bless him and grant him peace). We should interact with them illuminated by the light of Allāh and His Messenger, displaying the Prophetic character and the beauty and perfection that we have been commanded to display. We should be trustworthy in all our dealings and we must not engage in actions, sayings and customs of non-Muslims that contravene the Sacred Law.

We should also constantly remember Allāh and His Messenger in our hearts while at work or university, and spend time outside of work or studies connecting to Allāh and the pious people through their books or their websites. We should remember that Allāh is the One who changes people’s hearts and at any moment He could make us disbelievers like those around us. He has favoured us by showing us the truth, and we should have concern for those around us.

We should thus call non-Muslims to Allāh, not relying on ourselves but rather on the greatness of Allāh and His Messenger. We should have humility in our hearts while at the same time being in a state of nobility due to our connection to our Lord. Although we may be learning something related to the material world from non-Muslims, in reality we are there to teach them something far greater and more important. The fact that Allāh has ennobled us with lā ilāha ill`Allāh Muḥammad Rasūlulllāh dictates that we are teachers, and on this basis we should interact with them. We should be aware that Allāh has entrusted us with the message, and if they are ready to accept it we should choose the best means of conveying it.