Protecting the Mind

We have been gifted the ability to think, our minds are one of the greatest gifts given to us by Allah SWT, that distinguishes us from animals and beings that do not possess this ability. This though comes with responsibility – as this ability means we can distinguish from right and wrong, good and bad, and therefore, we have been ordered not to do anything that ruins the ability of our minds.

We can see the importance given to our mind/ability to think in two ways.

Firstly : Commandments and rules from Allah SWT to stop our minds from being idle and from being corrupt,

And these are commandments protect the mind being ensuring ‘its presence’ , and this happens by ensuring it is always active to do what its been created to do, with part of this to look and contemplate and reflect in all that we see, all that has been created, the miraculous nature and beings and all of the wealth from the earth that is of benefit to us.

Allah SWT repeats the theme on being mindful in the glorious Quran as we are being ordered to contemplate and reflect using our senses in the world around us. The imam referenced Sura Al-Ghashiyah, ayat 17 to 20 which are translated to say:

Then do they not look at the camels – how they are created? And at the sky – how it is raised? And at the mountains – how they are erected? And at the earth – how it is spread out?

Also in Sura Al-A’raf, ayat 185 which is translated to say:

Do they not look into the realm of the heavens and the earth and everything that Allah has created and [think] that perhaps their appointed time has come near? So in what statement hereafter will they believe?

Dear brothers and sisters, we are being told to contemplate and use our intellect to see what this existence is truly about. Unfortunately, ever more we are surrounded by people who are living lives with their eyes shut, not understanding the true purpose of their existence.

These people are following blindly with the masses, either through misguided role models or simply following their own parents who were also misguided. And so, generation after generation, people are stuck to blindly following a path that they have not thought about, given any form of critical thinking to and as a result will be destined to remain misguided.

Allah SWT speaks of this in the Quran also. A stark warning is given in ayat 170 of Sura Baqara to this effect and it is translated to say:

And when it is said to them, “Follow what Allah has revealed,” they say, “Rather, we will follow that which we found our fathers doing.” Even though their fathers understood nothing, nor were they guided?

Dear brothers and sisters, we need to take stock of this reminder and think, are we also guilty of following traditions to some extent over the truth. Are we foolishly telling ourselves that we will not be held to account for the actions that we are carrying out in this life?

We cannot expect to be judged without account, even as Muslims, our responsibility has only begun with the utterance of the shahada aka declaration of faith.

The true struggle begins once we have made this declaration in our heart because every day we are tested in our lives and this test cannot be avoided.

The Prophet SAWS taught us this in one of the hadiths which is translated to say:

The Prophet (ﷺ) said: “There are three people whose actions are not recorded, a sleeping person till he awakes, a child till he is a grown up, and an insane person till he is restored to reason or recovers his sense.”

The second importance given to our mind is to forbid what will damage the mind.

This point is broken down into two, first of which is that what damages the mind physically. We are talking drugs, alcohol, excessive social media, excess in many things that are otherwise lawful. The imam referenced Sura Al-Maidah, ayats 90-92 which are translated to say:

O you who have believed, indeed, intoxicants, gambling, [sacrificing on] stone alters [to other than Allah ], and divining arrows are but defilement from the work of Satan, so avoid it that you may be successful.

Satan only wants to cause between you animosity and hatred through intoxicants and gambling and to avert you from the remembrance of Allah and from prayer. So will you not desist?

Dear brothers and sisters, take stock of where your day goes and what influences your mindset and mood. If there are negative influences in your life then it’s your responsibility to take control and remove them from your life so that their effect is reduced.

The other thing is to protect the mind from psychological harm. What is meant by this is don’t focus on sad news, balance your life with good news and things that bring joy such as charity work and family. Understand that media plays a sinister role in attempting to turn positivity and hope into despair and fear. Just look at their portrayal of Muslims and you can see how effective they can be.

Replace these with times that involve face to face interaction with others. Revive the lost skill of counselling one another through conversation. Again, analyse your life and identify actions which can cause psychological harm and make a concerted effort to remove them from your life. The responsibility of all this lies with each and every one of us for the sake of our mental wellbeing.

Dear brothers and sisters, our mindset is key to our behaviour and our behaviour will be judged upon by Allah SWT. Let us take the time to assess ourselves so that we can protect our minds and in turn our souls from misguidance.

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