How Does the Conscience Understand That It Has to be Near Allah?
If a man was asked about the most important thing in his life, what would his answer be? Would it be his house, his family, his job, or perhaps his ideals? Whatever the answer, he must not forget that there is a far more important subject which he might have forgotten.
The most important subject in a man's life is to know Allah Who created him and gave him everything he possesses and to toil to draw near to Him. The majority of people spend their lives by ignoring this fact. Ask this question to the first person you meet, or even ask everyone you meet the most important and urgent subjects in their lives. The answers you get will all be related to the life of this world.
Someone who employs his conscience, however, immediately realises the importance of nearness to Allah and looks for ways to draw near. For in the Qur'an, it is commanded:
You who believe! Have taqwa of Allah and seek the means of drawing near to Him, and strive in His way, so that hopefully you will be successful. (Surat al-Ma'ida: 35)
Everything around you is created according to the needs of mankind. Your body works perfectly without any thought from you. The heart does not forget to beat, nor do the nerves fail to transmit the necessary messages to your brain. All kinds of food necessary for your nourishment and survival are naturally present in the world, and the right amount of oxygen you need is present in the atmosphere. You have a muscular and skeletal structure that helps you move smoothly without giving it any thought at all. You can pick up and hold many items and walk or run great distances. In addition to the minimal functions for your survival, you can also feel very distinct senses for which you are given the required consciousness. The flavour of various kinds of food, the touch of fine material, the beauty of a view that you see, or the conversation of a friend can all please you. And you have a Creator with superior power Who has created all of these for you. He created you from nothing, when you were nothing. Had He not willed, you would have remained as nothing. Yet Allah willed and created you in the shape of a human being.
Only a few of the blessings Allah grants people can be mentioned here. To number all the favours of Allah would be impossible, as stated in the verse:
If you tried to number Allah's blessings, you could never count them… (Surat an-Nahl: 18)
Over and above these favours, Allah has promised those who follow His way in the life of this world the most beautiful reward: paradise forever, and every wish fulfilled.
In return for Allah's favours, the most important responsibility on your side is surely to thank Allah for all that He has given to you. In a verse it is said:
Allah brought you out of your mothers' wombs knowing nothing at all, and gave you hearing, sight and hearts so that perhaps you would show thanks. (Surat an-Nahl: 78)
All the blessings given to you throughout your life are from Allah alone:
Any mercy Allah opens up to people, no one can withhold, and any He withholds, no one can afterwards release. He is the Almighty, the All-Wise. Mankind! Remember Allah's blessing to you. Is there any creator other than Allah providing for you from heaven and earth? There is no god but Him. So how have you been perverted? (Surah Fatir: 2-3)
Man's continued existence is only possible through Allah's Will, so it stands to reason that the most important being will be Allah, and the most important subject will be to draw near to Him. However, more frequently than not, people are carried away by the day to day details of life and rarely spare a moment to think about this. They set great store by what other people think of them, and try hard to earn their admiration and respect, rather than thinking of ways to please their Lord and earn His love. Without doubt, this is the greatest ingratitude. Man should know that to earn Allah's pleasure is not only a duty, but also the only way to give himself happiness and peace. Those who forget Allah by looking for other people's pleasure or by getting carried away by other vain objectives, can never find satisfaction and be happy. Allah's pleasure is the greatest joy and happiness in which man's heart will find peace. As stated in the Qur'an, hearts find peace only with the remembrance of Allah:
Allah… guides to Himself all who turn to Him: those who believe and whose hearts find peace in the remembrance of Allah. Only in the remembrance of Allah can the heart find peace. (Surat ar-Ra'd: 28)
People in general are not unaware of Allah and the hereafter, and when pushed will admit that they know this to be true. However, the reason they live far away from Allah is that they are forgetful and need to constantly remind themselves through dhikr (remembrance) and contemplation. One who truly remembers at all times the existence of Allah and the punishment of the hellfire will never grow lazy or heedless. Is there anyone who could stand to account on Judgement Day at the brink of the fire and think of any being but Allah? At such a moment, can the pleasure of someone other than Allah be taken into account? Whose love and friendship would someone in that position like to win most? Will the opinion of a friend or relative bear any importance, or be of any benefit at all?
That possessions and close company have no importance for those who have seen the fire of hell is stated in the verses below:
(On the Day) no good friend will ask about his friend even though they can see each other. An evildoer will wish he could ransom himself from the punishment of that Day, by means of his sons, or his wife, or his brother or his family who sheltered him or everyone else on earth, if that only meant that he could save himself. But no! It is a Raging Blaze. (Surat al-Ma'arij: 10-15)
As we learn from the Qur'an and understand with our conscience, a man should live his entire life for Allah. If you want to lead your entire life in a way pleasing to Allah, it is enough for you to observe the Qur'anic commands, follow the example of the Prophet (SAW), and listen to your conscience when faced with life's events. Your following the voice of your conscience in every event you face, big or small, means your following the good pleasure of Allah. Therefore, by listening to the voice of the good within you, you please Allah in every act you do.
Is everyone's conscience the same?
People who do not strive to please Allah may well perform deeds that seem good to them. They can be inherently considerate, kind people. However, if the good deeds they do are not for the pleasure of Allah, they may not find favour and credit with Allah. These people do goodness not because they truly follow their conscience, but for the sake of personal interests, such as the feeling of satisfaction derived from the reputation of being a 'benevolent' person, or merely a sentimental satisfaction.
In other words, the intention to submit to conscience is more important than the action itself. If a man wants his whole life to be for Allah, he has to act according to this intention. For example, if he does a kind deed he should seek the good pleasure of Allah rather than the favour and appreciation of people, or a personal sense of satisfaction. This will help him to think of Allah continuously, and turn to Him for all his needs. In the Qur'an, Allah praises such people:
Be steadfast in the face of what they say and remember Our slave Dawud, who possessed true strength. He truly turned to his Lord. (Surah Sad: 17)
Allah states in the Qur'an some ways that will serve as a means to draw near to Him:
And the Forerunners, the Forerunners. Those are the ones brought near. (Surat al-Waqi'a: 10-11)
Among the desert Arabs there are some who believe in Allah and the Last Day and regard what they give as something which will bring them nearer to Allah and to the prayers of the Messenger. It does indeed bring them near. Allah will admit them into His mercy. Allah is Ever-Forgiving, Most Merciful. (Surat at-Tawba: 99)
Every conscientious act performed for Allah is a means to draw near to Allah. It should not be forgotten that Allah gives the glad tidings of paradise to those who are near to Him:
But the truth is that if he (the person to die) is one of those brought near, here is solace and sweetness and a Garden of Delight. And if he is one of the companions of the right, 'Peace be upon you!' from the companions of the right. (Surat al-Waqi'a: 88-91)