What Lies Do People Deceive Themselves With?
Satan tries to attract people to his path with a variety of deceptive stratagems, blandishments and promises. By making them forget the purpose of creation, he directs people towards worldly advantages and fleeting ambitions. If a person heeds Satan's call and sets his face against the call of our Lord, it becomes impossible for him to see the truth. Allah has told us about the condition of such people in Surat az-Zukhruf:
If someone shuts his eyes to the remembrance of the All-Merciful, We assign him a satan who becomes his bosom friend – they debar them from the path, yet they still think they are guided – so that, when he reaches Us, he says, "If only there was the distance of the two Easts between you and me!" What an evil companion! It will not benefit you today, since you did wrong, that you share equally in the punishment. Can you make the dead hear or guide the blind and those who are patently misguided? (Surat az-Zukhruf: 36-40)
As can be seen from the above verses, Allah describes these people as blind and deaf. Of course, this is not physical blindness and deafness. Allah is pointing out that such people are blind and deaf in the spiritual sense and that they ignore the truth because they do not hear His call to the true path. In short, by failing to follow their intelligence and their consciences, these people ignore Allah's instructions and the Day of Judgment, and they believe they are protecting themselves by doing so. The truth is that they are only fooling themselves.
Let us state from the outset that people who deceive themselves are not some small, exceptional minority amongst those on the face of the Earth. As we are told in the Qur'an, "...But most of them do not know the truth, so they turn away" (Surat al-Anbiya': 24). And again, "many people reject the meeting with their Lord" (Surat ar-Rum: 8).
In order to avoid becoming one of the people in question, you should think for yourself one more time and make an effort to avoid being a self deceiver because deceiving yourself by closing your eyes to the truth while you are in the world brings you not benefit, but great harm in the Hereafter.
Those who say: "It didn't occur to me, I didn't know"
If we compare every moment a person experiences in his life to a frame from a film, we can see that there are trillions of frames. Every one of these trillions represents an opportunity which the person is given. Every moment in life is an opportunity to think about the facts and see the truth before the Day of Judgment arrives. Those who use this blessing to their advantage are the people who can understand the real direction of worldly life by thinking about it. People who do not think and live their lives in error cannot take advantage of this opportunity.
Of course, the concept of thinking means different things to different people. What some people regard as thinking is thinking about the future. For them, making plans for the future and investing in it is what thinking is all about. Others see thinking as an accounting for the past. They spend all their time considering what they have gained and lost in the past. Others believe that it is useful to think only about today and not at all about tomorrow. This is their view of life. They live from day to day and have no definite purpose or path to follow. When they get up in the morning they think about what to have for breakfast and when they are going to work they think about how to get there. They think about who to go out for lunch with, what to cook for their guests in the evening and which shares it will be profitable to buy. The next day they wonder whether they will be able to find tickets for the football match or not, or who they should take to the office party. In short, the minds of most people are continually filled with ordinary, superficial, everyday thoughts.
Millions of people on the face of the Earth live out their lives with these and similar thoughts. For them, what they see is what is real and they are not really interested in thinking about deeper matters and going beyond the mundane. However, what we mean by "thinking" here is deep reflection about the purpose of human life, the proofs of the creation around us, the creative perfection of Allah that is apparent in the universe, about death, the Hereafter and the Day of Judgment. This is where most people are lacking.
Consider this: People are educated for years and become biologists, engineers or doctors, even professors, but they never once think about how they came to be created out of nothing or that they might exist for a definite purpose. They write theses, achieve doctorates, become faculty members or doctors who bring people back to health or lawyers, but they never think at all about why or how they were created or that they are indebted to Allah for their creation. They write books, they take part in TV discussions, they rationalize their opinions and express their views but never once do they allow death and the accounting they will give to Allah to cross their minds. These people are making a grave mistake because death comes to everybody sooner or later and Allah will call everybody to account for their service to Him. Being thoughtless will not do them any good.
Every sane individual has a mind and a conscience capable of thinking about and comprehending the existence of Allah, the purpose of creation and how Allah should be served. The truth is that people who do not think about these matters that are most vital to them are capable of thinking very clearly about other things that affect their worldly lives. For example, on commercial matters they know very well how they should use their money and they think about this at every turn. They can overcome major difficulties in their working lives and manage to come up with detailed responses to every aspect of a problem. When they want something they can make very long-term plans to achieve it and put them into effect step by step. In short, people are capable of thinking very clearly about matters that concern their worldly gains.
For this reason, unless Allah wills it, excuses such as "I didn't think" or "It didn't cross my mind," will not be accepted in the Hereafter.
Every newborn baby enters the world that Allah has created. Wherever a person looks, he encounters a glorious creation, flawless design and systems planned down to the last detail. A person who thinks about what he encounters can easily understand that all these things were created, but a person who is trapped in everyday life and worldly ambitions puts what he sees down to chance and overlooks the truth. If you show such a person a simple picture and ask, "Did this draw itself by chance?" he will reply, "Of course not, there must be an artist who drew it." But this same person avoids thinking about the extraordinary art that surrounds him in nature and why it was created.
In the same way, people avoid considering that the life of the world is temporary and that their real life is the eternal life which begins with their deaths. They see many people die every day but their own deaths do not cross their minds. They make worldly plans as though they will never die and they make no preparations for the Hereafter.
These people are harming themselves, because it is very easy to think about the purpose of human creation, about the art of Allah that is apparent throughout the universe, about death, the Hereafter and the Day of Judgment. Contrary to what people believe, it is neither confusing nor difficult to think about any of these things. Nor is there any need to carry out lengthy research, receive a comprehensive education or acquire a wide variety of knowledge.
For example, every person with a conscience is drawn towards thinking about Allah's wonderful creation just by virtue of the life sustaining air we breathe every day, the perfect wing structure which enables the birds to fly and the colorful world we see around us. In the same way, it is impossible for a person not to think that one day he will die when he lives in a world where news of death is an everyday occurrence. If a person does not close his ears to the voice of his conscience, does not devote himself to worthless tasks and does not deceive himself with materialistic logic, these deeper reflections will inevitably take root in his mind.
It is necessary, however, for a person to demonstrate willpower in order to think deeply about realities and not fall into error. What should not be forgotten is that everybody has an enemy: Satan. Since Satan does not want people to turn to Allah by reflecting and thereby discerning the truth, he will definitely try to prevent them from doing so. He will start by presenting people with cunning blandishments. Amongst the most effective of these is the lie that they can be exempted from responsibility by not thinking. People who fall for this imagine they can protect themselves by saying, "I didn't know" or "Nobody told me," but they are deceiving themselves.
While people are playing this trick on themselves, Allah, Who is closer to them than their own skin, is aware of everything they do and of their every heedless thought. As a result, a person who avoids seeing his responsibility to Allah is really falling into a trap of his own making. By failing to think, he is only fooling himself. When he goes to the Hereafter, he will see the truths he has been evading and will clearly understand that insincere excuses such as, "I didn't know, it didn't cross my mind, I didn't think about it," are worthless when he is called to account in the presence of Allah.
In a verse of the Qur'an, Allah warns people that the Day of Judgment is, "The Day when the excuses of the wrongdoers will not help them" (Surah Ghafir: 52). We are also informed of this truth in other verses:
On that Day the excuses of those who did wrong will not help them nor will they be able to appease Allah. (Surat ar-Rum: 57)
People who say: "I knew but the time and the conditions were not right"
Allah has sent the Qur'an as a book to guide people. Until the Day of Judgment, all people are held responsible for carrying out the instructions in the Qur'an and fulfilling their duty of worship. Except in the circumstances affirmed by Allah in the Qur'an as exceptional, every human being will give an accounting on the Day of Judgment as to whether or not he performed the religious obligations.
From this point of view, a person who uses a variety of excuses (other than those valid reasons which Allah accepts) for not performing his duty of obedience is deceiving himself. Despite this obvious truth, some people use the circumstances in which they find themselves as an excuse and ignore their responsibility to Allah. They put forward one excuse during their school years, another when they enter working life and yet another when they have children. Since they have no sincere intention of living a religious life, they present various different matters as obstacles to carrying out their duty of worship. Chief amongst these obstacles they present is that the time is not right and conditions not suitable.
In everyday life, people make time for any number of things. Even if they have to make other sacrifices, they will always manage to set aside time, especially when their own benefit is at stake. Moreover, if their circumstances prevent them from carrying out an advantageous task, they are quick to think about the situation and find ways of removing the obstacle. However, people usually do not show the same determination when it comes to observing their acts of worship.
You often meet people around you who present such excuses as, "I want to pray but I can't find the time," "I'm at school and I can't make time for prayers because I have to study," or "This is my summer house, I can't fast here." In the same way, you can also see lots of people who excuse their bad behavior by saying, "I want to be a patient person, but everything happens at once," or "I don't want to get angry but I'm in a very stressful environment."
In reality these people are not approaching the religion of Allah with sincerity because, as we have said before, they are capable of ignoring the time and their circumstances and coming up with all kinds of solutions when they stand to make a material gain, but when the matter in question is the need for them to fulfil their responsibility to Allah, Who created them, they start complaining about difficulties right away.
Let us give a more concrete example to make this easier to understand. If someone receives an offer to set aside one hour a day for a job that pays a lot of money (let us say ten times his monthly salary), then whatever circumstances he is in, he accepts immediately. This person may be preparing for his university examinations or he may have another very important job to do at the same time. Whatever he may be doing, if necessary he sacrifices his sleep or cuts down on his leisure time but he does not put forward lack of time as a problem. Right away he rearranges his entire schedule to fit in with the well-paid work which has to be done. This is an undeniable truth that applies to most people.
If the person does not show the same determination in earning Allah's approval, this is insincerity and lack of conscience. Above all, the return a person will receive for his prayers is Paradise and the eternal mercy of Allah, a reward that cannot be compared with a few extra dollars received for a job of work.
However, most people are bewitched by the property and money they are striving to acquire, the credit cards they carry, the dollars they save and the houses, cars and fine clothes they enjoy, and they direct themselves to worldly pursuits, setting their religion aside and forgetting about the Hereafter. They deceive themselves by saying, "I don't have time," "I'm very busy," "I have work I need to finish," "I have plans for the future," or "I'll do it later," instead of devoting themselves to the worship which will gain a reward for them in the Hereafter. They do not live according to the superior morality Allah teaches, they do not pray, nor do they fast. They do not give to the needy from the things Allah has given them and they waste their lives in the pursuit of worldly gain.
People who deceive themselves in the belief that the excuses they make will be accepted, and so either do not pursue their worship or put it off, are told what they will meet with in the Hereafter in the following terms:
That Day man will be told what he did and failed to do. In fact, man will be clear proof against himself in spite of any excuses he might offer. (Surat al-Qiyama: 13-15)
So be careful. Do not deceive yourself like these people by making excuses in this world that will be meaningless in the Hereafter. As we are told in the above verses, whatever excuses you make, you really have an intelligence that is capable of understanding that they are not acceptable. If you pursue the desires of the self, you will account for this to Allah, our Lord. No work which you have to do is more urgent or more important than this because your eternal salvation is possible only through Allah's mercy.
Those who claim illness and fatigue
Physical discomfort is one of the excuses people put forward for not following the religion. For example, a person who is unwilling to worship Allah claims to be ill when he is really perfectly healthy. He tries to use this to deceive himself and those around him, and fails to fulfil his responsibilities. Such a person should never forget that Allah knows everything. No human act or thought is a secret from Allah. Allah knows every thought that crosses a person's mind, everything he feels in his heart and everything which is hidden in his subconscious. As the Qur'an tells us: "… Allah knows what your hearts contain" (Surah Al 'Imran: 119).
However, although they are given the opportunity to earn Allah's approval and attain Paradise, people who are far removed from the morality of the Qur'an prefer to set aside their worship using illness as their excuse and follow their own selfish desires. In return for this insincerity, they will receive bitter torment in the Hereafter because the excuses they offer for not carrying out Allah's instructions are dishonest. For people who really do have physical ailments, a number of concessions are provided in the Qur'an. For example, fasting is one of the religious duties which Allah has made compulsory. Consequently, people are obliged to carry out this instruction. In the Qur'an, Allah tells us clearly about situations in which people may be exempt from this form of worship:
[Fasting is prescribed] for a specified number of days. But any of you who are ill or on a journey should fast a number of other days. For those who can [scarcely] afford it, making up for it means feeding a poor man. And if someone does good of his own accord, it is better for him. But that you should fast is better for you, if you only knew. (Surat al-Baqara: 184)
As we can see in this verse, Allah recognizes the situation of travellers and sick people, and eases the task of carrying out the duty of fasting. In the verse's continuation, Allah points out where the greatest blessings lie for the believers. In a later verse, Allah tells us of another relaxation of the fasting rule and reminds us that He always wants ease for His servants:
The month of Ramadan is the one in which the Qur'an was sent down as guidance for humanity, with clear signs containing guidance and discrimination. Any of you who are resident for the month should fast it. But any of you who are ill or on a journey should fast a number of other days. Allah desires ease for you; He does not desire difficulty for you. You should complete the number of days and proclaim Allah's greatness for the guidance He has given you so that hopefully you will be thankful. (Surat al-Baqara: 185)
As can be seen from this example, there is always an easy way for those who believe sincerely in Allah because the religion of Allah is extremely simple. Allah does not want any difficulties for people who wish to live by His religion. It is Allah Who knows best what will be difficult for people and how to lighten their load, and in the Qur'an He tells us that He will not impose on anybody beyond the limit of his strength:
Allah desires to make things lighter for you. Man was created weak. (Surat an-Nisa': 28)
We do not impose on any self any more than it can stand. With Us there is a Book which speaks the truth. They will not be wronged. (Surat al-Muminun: 62)
Most people behave very ungratefully in the face of Allah's compassion and blessings. Because of their attachment to worldly ambitions, they continually put forward one circumstance after another as excuses for not worshipping as they should. Of course, in doing so they are only deceiving and harming themselves because as we are told in the Qur'an, Allah is in need of nothing:
If you are ungrateful, Allah is rich beyond need of any of you and He is not pleased with ingratitude in His servants. But if you are grateful, He is pleased with you for that. No burden-bearer can bear another's burden. Then you will return to your Lord and He will inform you of what you did. He knows what the heart contains. (Surat az-Zumar: 7)
Be careful; do not deny your position of servitude to Allah and make excuses. Do not even think about such insincerity. Do not forget that Allah knows an insincere excuse before it even crosses a person's mind, and while you are deceiving yourself, if you suddenly meet with the angel of death, you will never be able to return to the world to worship Allah no matter how much you may want to. In the Qur'an, Allah tells us of the regret that will be felt on the Day of Judgment by healthy and able people who avoided worship:
On the Day when legs are bared and they are called on to prostrate, they will not be able to do so. Their eyes will be downcast, darkened by debasement; for they were called on to prostrate when they were in full possession of their faculties. (Surat al-Qalam: 42-43)
Those who say: "Allah will forgive me anyway"
Most people know of Allah's existence and accept it but they do not praise His might as they should. The matter on which they fall into deception is not Allah's existence but His attributes. For example, they believe quite rightly that Allah is very generous, affectionate and compassionate towards His servants but they do not really take on board his attribute of being the Punisher of resistance to the faith and the One Who torments and curses the deniers.
These people who do not praise Allah as they should either have no fear of Allah at all or very little. In terms of the Hereafter, this is very dangerous for them because a person with no fear of Allah who does not believe that he will be punished for what he does can easily commit all kinds of evil acts. Such people may succumb to the perverse idea, which is in no way related to the truth, that although they commit every sin which Allah condemns, He will forgive them anyway. Satan approaches people from this direction and causes them to imagine that they will be forgiven whatever they do.
If we examine them, people in communities which have abandoned religion act on the basis of a distorted point of view and continually go against Allah's instructions and prohibitions. Those people who do not pray or fast, who do not help and protect the needy, who do not share their property because of meanness, who take unfair advantage of other people, who murder, steal and use the property of others fraudulently and who drive those around them into immorality, are the ones who commit these sins with the idea that Allah will forgive them anyway.
The truth is that people who think in such a way have fallen into a great error because although Allah is the One Who accepts repentance and forgives those who repent, at the same time, He is the One Who, with eternal justice, repays everything which is done in the manner it deserves. Of course, those who do evil as well as those who do good will receive the repayment they deserve on the Day of Judgment. The Qur'an tells us this truth:
Or do those who perpetrate evil deeds suppose that We will make them like those who believe and do right actions, so that their lives and deaths will be the same? How bad their judgment is! Allah created the heavens and Earth with truth so that every self might be repaid for what it earned and they will not be wronged. (Surat al-Jathiyya: 21-22)
Fear a Day when you will be returned to Allah. Then every self will be paid in full for what it earned. They will not be wronged. (Surat al-Baqara: 281)
However, we should point out that naturally, any person can make mistakes during his life and may feel remorse for the wrong things he has done and the mistakes he has made because man is prone to error. Nobody can claim to be perfect. Because of this, while he is in the world a person can repent to Allah in order to be forgiven. Until death, Allah allows everybody the opportunity for repentance; but the Qur'an tells us what kind of repentance is sincere and will be accepted. In the following verses, Allah tells us that sincerity is a condition of repentance:
Allah only accepts the repentance of those who do evil in ignorance and then quickly repent after doing it. Allah turns towards such people. Allah is All-Knowing, All-Wise. There is no repentance for people who persist in doing evil until death comes to them and who then say, "Now I repent," nor for people who die unbelievers. We have prepared for them a painful punishment. (Surat an-Nisa': 17-18)
Since this is the case, when a person falls into error he should not regard it as unimportant and think, "Never mind, I'll be forgiven anyway," he should sincerely turn towards our Lord and repent his mistake with the determination to put it right. What is important is for a person to be a sincere and honest servant of Allah. Only in this way can he hope for Allah's forgiveness. Those who do not take refuge in Allah and do not ask for forgiveness, who think that Allah will forgive them anyway, will meet with results which they do not at all expect.
Be careful and do not risk making the mistake, with which Allah will not be pleased, of thinking that He will forgive you whatever happens. Otherwise you will be placing your eternal life in a grave danger of your own making.
Those who think they are going to Paradise whatever happens
In communities that have abandoned a religious way of life, another of the matters on which people deceive themselves is the idea that they have the right to enter the Garden. Although the great majority of these people accept that there is life after death, since they do not lead religious lives, they have the false belief that they will definitely go to Paradise. How people arrive at such an opinion we do not know, but when comparing themselves with others, most of them see only their good points and so they think that they are good people in general and that as a result they have a right to enter Paradise. What is most surprising is that these people form the concept of "goodness" not according to the Qur'an but according to their own ignorant criteria. They choose not the way of life and the morality which Allah will approve but the lifestyle and morality approved by the society in which they live, and as a result of their misguided standards they fool themselves into imagining that they are bound for Paradise.
There is no doubt, of course, that hoping that Allah will grant one admission to Paradise is a good thing, and wanting this is something to be encouraged. However, the most important indication that such a desire is sincere is when a person behaves consistently with entry into Paradise, displaying fear of Allah and seeking refuge in Him throughout his life. Living a life which Allah will not approve and not fulfilling your obligations to Him while still claiming that you will go to Paradise, is not only extremely insincere but also pure self-deception.
According to this thinking, a person can neglect his obligations to Allah and waste countless opportunities on his own selfish desires and passions, and then automatically take his place amongst the sincere and right acting believers, sharing with them all the bounties which Allah has prepared for them in Paradise. This kind of reasoning shows that the person knows nothing about the Qur'an at all. Someone who understands the truths contained in the verses of the Qur'an knows very well that it is impossible to be saved on the basis of such misconceptions which arise out of people's susceptibility to self-deception.
When someone becomes aware of and reflects on the Fire as it is described in the Qur'an, he cannot bring himself to contemplate spending even a single moment there. He fights strenuously not only against going to the Fire but against going anywhere near it because Hell is a place filled with unimaginable suffering, pain and torment. As described in the Qur'an, the torment of Hell is so violent as to make people wish they no longer existed:
When they are flung into a narrow place in it, shackled together in chains, they will cry out there for destruction. (Surat al-Furqan: 13)
They will call out, "Malik, let your Lord put an end to us!" He will say, "You will stay the way you are." (Surat az-Zukhruf: 77)
People who do not praise Allah and recognize His attributes as they should cannot appreciate the horror of the Fire which He has prepared for unbelievers. This brings about in them a heedlessness. So much so that instead of acting on the basis of fear of Hell and the desire to escape it they are prepared to contemplate going to Hell for a time for certain acts they have committed. This point of view is very widespread in society. People who transgress Allah's commands and prohibitions in favor of their own selfish desires and passions hold the belief that they will serve out their punishment in Hell and then go on to Paradise. They think that they can do whatever they want in the life of the world and that they will then be punished in Hell for a while before being forgiven. In fact, there is no guarantee of such a thing for anybody, unless Allah wills it.
The Fire is a place of eternal torment and any person who does not live according to Allah's commands may be condemned to this torment for eternity. People who imagine that after a time they will be released from the Fire and do not fear Allah as they should are people who do not consider or understand His justice. In fact, Allah speaks of people who act on this superstitious belief and what they will suffer in the Qur'an:
They say, "The Fire will only touch us for a number of days." Say, "Have you made a contract with Allah – then Allah will not break His contract – or are you rather saying about Allah what you do not know?" No indeed! Those who accumulate bad actions and are surrounded by their mistakes, such people are the Companions of the Fire, remaining in it timelessly, for ever; whereas those who believe and do right actions, such people are the Companions of the Garden, remaining in it timelessly, for ever. (Surat al-Baqara: 80-82)
Also the following:
That is because they say, "The Fire will only touch us for a number of days." Their inventions have deluded them in their religion. (Surah Al 'Imran: 24)
As the above verses relate, only Allah knows who will suffer what torment and how long a person will remain in the Fire. The hopelessness and helplessness which will be experienced by people who say during their lives, "I'll serve my time and come out," and deceive themselves with their own arrogant and erroneous mentality, is described by Allah in the following verses:
… He will say, "The Fire is your home. You will be in it timelessly, for ever, except as Allah wills. Your Lord is All-Wise, All-Knowing." (Surat al-An'am: 128)
But as for those who are deviators, their refuge is the Fire. Every time that they want to get out, they are put straight back into it again and they are told, "Taste the punishment of the Fire, which you denied." (Surat as-Sajda: 20)
They will want to get out of the Fire but they will not be able to. They will have an everlasting punishment. (Surat al-Ma'ida: 37)
If you do not want to be one of the people referred to in the above verses, think again about this subject and whatever you do, do not give way to the unfounded belief that you will go to Paradise whatever happens or that you will serve out your punishment and be released from Hell. Judge yourself not according to groundless criteria but according to the verses of the Qur'an. In the Qur'an, Allah tells us in detail what kind of person you should be in order to deserve Paradise. Do not forget that nobody's entry into Paradise is guaranteed. On the contrary, everybody is being tested in the life of the world and everyone is in danger of going to Hell. The Qur'an points out to us that even Allah's most sincere and conscientious prophets prayed to Him on this matter:
[Yusuf said,] "My Lord, You have granted power to me on Earth and taught me the true meaning of events. Originator of the heavens and Earth, You are my friend in this world and the next. So take me as a Muslim at my death and join me to the people who are righteous." (Surah Yusuf: 101)
In this situation, nobody should deceive himself – nobody will be able to enter the gates of Paradise so long as he does not bow down and deliver himself to Allah and does not earn the approval of our Lord. In a verse of the Qur'an, Allah shows us that this is impossible with the following very clear example:
As for those who deny Our signs and are arrogant regarding them, the Gates of Heaven will not be opened for them, and they will not enter the Garden until a camel goes through a needle's eye. That is how We repay the evildoers. (Surat al-A'raf: 40)
People who say: "I was just doing the same as everybody else"
In a number of matters in which people fall into error, collective psychology has a great influence. Especially in communities which lack religion, "following the herd" comes to be the norm even when it is mistaken or bad. Even though he knows in his conscience what is right, under the influence of crowd psychology a person silences his conscience with the incorrect idea that so many people can't be wrong and so goes along with the majority. In fact, the majority view is no yardstick on any matter. The only guide by which people can separate right from wrong is the Qur'an, which was sent down for this purpose. Those who accept and conform to criteria other than those of the Qur'an fall into very grave errors. In the Qur'an, Allah warns us very clearly on the matter of going along with the majority:
If you obeyed most of those on Earth, they would misguide you from Allah's way. They follow nothing but conjecture. They are only guessing. (Surat al-An'am: 116)
Underlying the principle of conforming to the majority is the bankrupt idea that if everybody is agreed on something it is essential to go along with it. That is, a person is afraid of being criticized or condemned or isolated by others if he does not abandon what he knows to be right to go along with the majority. This is a mentality which is very widespread amongst all people, whether they are young or old. There are people who, solely for this reason, fail to observe their obligations of worship and ignore the approval of Allah throughout their lives for the sake of the approval of the majority. A person does not have to calculate what others think and then act accordingly. With the Qur'an Allah frees people from dependence of all types. A person is accountable only to Allah and will be called to account only as to whether or not he believed in and conformed to the Qur'an.
The fact is that everybody knows this truth very well but many people deceive themselves by putting forward the excuse of going along with the majority and thinking that they can deceive those around them. However, when they enter the Hereafter they will find that the large community of people they went along with cannot save them just as they cannot save themselves. Allah tells us about the state of such people in the Qur'an:
No indeed! If he does not desist, We will grab him by the forelock, a lying, sinful forelock. Let him call his attendants; We will call the Guards of Hell! No indeed! Do not obey him, but prostrate and draw near. (Surat al-'Alaq: 15-19)
A person in this position has ignored the approval of Allah in order to fit in with those around him and has never considered that he will come face to face with the Day of Judgment. Now he will go to the Fire along with the irreligious majority to whom he attached great importance and for whose approval he neglected Allah. This being the case, do not deceive yourself and distance yourself from the faith by making the excuse of going along with the majority. Never abandon what you know from the Qur'an to be right, and live by what is right even if you do so alone. Do not forget that the determination you show in gaining Allah's approval will be the means for you to live eternally in the shelter of His great mercy.
Those who say: "I am following scientific progress"
Another of the factors which drive people to neglect their religion is the existence of scientists who fall into the error of rejecting Allah and the Day of Judgment.
The age in which we live is one in which science has made major advances and in which, from the scientific point of view, we are encountering things which have never previously been experienced in history. With the opportunities provided by science and technology, we are observing the order and design in the universe, realizing the flawlessness of the systems created by Allah, getting to know more closely a large number of truths about the way living creatures were created and discovering the miracles of the Qur'an one by one.
However, there are also people who use science for their own worldly benefit and try to use it to support their opposition to religion. These people present themselves as scientists but they use science not to research and discover the facts but to bolster their own ideologies. They ignore the flawless creation in the universe and living things and their miraculous characteristics, and put forward the false claim that everything came into existence by itself and by chance. Their purpose is to reject the existence of Allah and make their communities reject it too. By this means they want to create communities made up of separate individuals in which nobody feels responsibility for anybody else and in which immorality of every type becomes widespread.
The vast majority of people are easily influenced by those scientists who are merely determined to spread their own ideas. Scientists are regarded as those best qualified to make the best assessments on every subject. This is however a wrong assumption. Of course, there are valuable scientists who use science for its true purpose and whose knowledge we can benefit from on a great many matters. However, in scientific circles there are people outside this category who pervert and conceal the facts and mislead others for their own worldly advantage. For this reason, scientists, like everybody else, should not be judged solely according to their scientific credentials or the number of their qualifications, but according to whether they use the knowledge they possess in accordance with the purpose of their creation, and live in the manner which Allah approves. This is the correct approach for a person who believes in Allah.
As we said earlier, Allah states in the Qur'an that conformity to the majority is harmful and that it is the majority which persists in its resistance to the faith. Since this is the case, a person should not accept the word of others without investigating and learning the details, and should reach the correct conclusion by relying on his own intelligence and conscience. In the following verse of the Qur'an, Allah points this out to us: "Do not pursue what you have no knowledge of. Hearing, sight and hearts will all be questioned" (Surat al-Isra': 36). So accepting and following the word of others right away is nothing but self-deception.
A person is responsible for conforming to what is right as Allah instructs and for advising others to do so. This is the truth, and putting forward excuses in an attempt to deceive yourself and those around you can bring no benefit in the Hereafter. In the Qur'an, Allah warns us that there will always be people who invite others to unbelief and make promises on this matter, and points out that such people and those who follow them will meet with suffering:
Those who disbelieve say to those who believe, "Follow our way and we will bear the weight of your mistakes." They will not bear the weight of a single one of their mistakes. Truly they are liars. They will bear their own burdens and other burdens together with their own. On the Day of Resurrection they will be questioned about what they invented. (Surat al-'Ankabut: 12-13)