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“Rejecting gifts from God”: The worries of a Medical Student

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Below is an extract from an upcoming book of Moulana’s called letters of the seekers.

QUESTION

Asalamu alaikum. I am a 6th year medical student in university. I read a couple of books and saw some lectures on YouTube and I finally understood the reason why we are created. But even after reaching the conclusion that God creating us is a gift and eventually he will reward the righteous ones, I still can’t feel a desire to be rewarded with paradise. I don’t live a sinful life because I just don’t want to, not because of the fear of punishment. I don’t want to do anything at all and I don’t want to exist.

I politely reject his gift of being tested on earth and then rewarded in paradise. It is okay to reject someone’s gift without offending them, right? Some time ago I carried on living because I wanted him to be proud of me when I finally see him. But lately, even that desire vanished like giving up on trying to impress a parent or competing for someone’s approval. I can’t stop thinking about death and I want to put an end to my useless existence. I would greatly appreciate it if you could reply with an answer to my thinking problem. Thank you. 

ANSWER

Waalaikumsalaam, May Allah make you successful in your studies, use you to benefit mankind and bless you with the best of both worlds, Aameen. Alhamdulillah, at least you were blessed to realise the reason we have been created. Many people go through life without this realisation ever dawning upon them.

You seem to be a person who looks at things very realistically, so let us analyse your thinking problem in the same way.

1. You don’t feel the desire to be rewarded and neither do you fear hell. However, at the same time you don’t live a sinful life. Regarding this challenge, already half your battle is won as you don’t live a sinful life. Now all we have to do is find the motivation to be righteous for the pleasure of Allah, which we will address later on.

2. You don’t want to exist. Regarding this, there isn’t any choice. You do already exist and the only way to put an end to this existence is suicide, which is not even an option. Allah has warned us of a severe punishment for the one who commits suicide. Now on the one hand you may not fear this, but why chance it and why choose punishment for yourself, when you could save yourself from it?

3. It is ok to refuse a gift in a nice way. However this isn’t about refusing a gift. This is about the rules that the Almighty has laid down. We will be rewarded or punished in accordance to our compliance or non compliance of His commands and rules.

4. You have given up on trying to make Allah proud of you, just like one who loses the drive of trying to impress a parent. This can also be remedied, just like many disobedient, uncaring children drastically changed their lives, becoming the most obedient and caring children.

5. You say you can’t stop thinking about death. This is a very good thing. Nabi Muhammad ﷺ has exhorted us to think of death often, as this will assist us in giving up impermissible deeds.

Now you may be thinking; why should I live a righteous life and be rewarded if I do, or subjected to punishment if I don’t, when I never opted for all of this? Let’s look at your situation by means of 2 examples:

Example 1 – A doctor is employed by a hospital and has to see to the patients. One day, if the doctor just loses motivation to see to the patients and he neglects his duties, he will definitely face some disciplinary action or hearing. Now if he says to them, you can keep your salary but I just don’t feel like working anymore, the hospital will dismiss him. He will then face the difficulties of unemployment.

Now at this stage, he cannot argue that why am I being reprimanded or penalised for how I feel, because his unemployment is due to his own fault. On the other hand, if the doctor very diligently continues his duties even though he lacks motivation, not only will he continue receiving his salary and perks, he may also get a promotion and enjoy even more benefits. Now despite him not really enjoying what he is doing, he is still receiving benefits.

In the same way, we humans go through different phases and emotions in our lives. We will not be taken to task for this as long as whatever the situation is, we comply with what our Allah wants of us. We are the creation of our Creator therefore, we are not in a position to question His authority or question His rules. He will make the rules and our function is to comply. As long as we comply we will be fine.

Example 2 – You wake up one night and find yourself in a cave. You didn’t ask for this but you are there. In front of you is a paper with some information and guidelines. It reads that further in the cave, there are some dangerous creatures that have already perceived your presence here, and are advancing towards you. Your only route to salvation is to immediately make your way to the entrance of the cave. Once you reach the outside, you will be taken to safety.

Now you can sit there and argue that why should I move? I never asked to be here in the first place. I would like to just sit here or be nonexistent. Who wants to be taken to safety? I politely refuse this offer of being taken to safety. Now you yourself will agree that at this point, these arguments are futile and if you go on like this, it will lead to your destruction once those creatures reach you. Now even though you may not fear those creatures and what they could do to you, it is still a foolish choice to remain there, when there is a way to save yourself and be protected.

Bring this example to our lives. We find ourselves in this cave called “Planet Earth” and we are being told by our Allah that death is on its way to us. However, if we follow certain commands and abstain from certain prohibitions, our Allah will take us to the hereafter with safety and bless us with eternal bliss. On the other hand if we fail to comply, we will be punished. Now the choice is ours. We can either argue or try to rationalise, or we can accept, comply and work towards our salvation.

You are an intelligent person and I am confident that with Allah’s help, you will make the correct choice. In order to motivate yourself try to listen to more talks on deen. Read some good Islamic Literature and keep good company. Try and pray to Allah daily. Speak to Allah and ask Him to remove all the negativity and guide you to Him. Please pray for me as well. I hope that there will be some benefit in this correspondence. If ever there is anything else, please feel free to correspond.

May Allah bless you and your family with the best of both worlds, Aameen. Please remember me in your duas.

(Maulana) Dawood Seedat (حفظه الله)

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