Salamu alaykom wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
A dear brother and good friend emailed me a very good question. I thought I’d share it to spread the benefit. May Allah reward him:
“It’s extremely difficult to detach oneself from dunya whilst seeking aakhirah, unless you have strong imaan, which is difficult to attain.
Can it be that if one makes a decision solely for aakhira without having strong imaan, that they burn themselves out and thus ruining the decision they had made, therefore making matters even worse than before.
i.e should one act on a whim which is for dunya but not haram, then try to overcome it, because its difficult to know if you have overcome it beforehand?
…hope i made sense…”
So there are a few question or assumptions in this question, lets tackle them one by one:
Is it difficult to detach oneself from dunya ?
It’s as difficult as you make it. That’s not a cop-out answer by the way.
You see, some people will make the decision that it WOULD be nice to detach from dunya without having actually made the decision TO detach. But they kid themselves that they did make that decision and then they wonder why they still have difficulties.
Some reverts, for example, will sacrifice everything – cold turkey – without any ‘side effects’ what-so-ever. Others will make the decision that it would be nice, then act like they’ve made THE decision – they burn out as the brother described it.
There are a few ways in which people try to detach from dunya:
Theory 1: leaving it physically, so they go to monasteries or caves and they ‘meditate’.
This isn’t really detaching from dunya. It’s removing oneself from it.
It’s escaping the stimulus of dunya.
When they return, guess what ? Same old dunya ! AND Same old person !
Theory 2: staying with it physically but cutting it out completely
This is much closer to detachment than the first type
They won’t physically escape their surroundings, but they’ll reject dunya
A lot of homeless people fit into this category – though not all
This is where they shun everything whilst being within society
They only buy or own what they need – the bear minimum
Theory 3: where they are in society, they acquire dunya but it isn’t in their hearts
so they don’t escape civilisation to go to the mountains
and they don’t shun materialism whilst remaining in civilisation also
instead… they see life for what it is. A tool for the acquirement of akhirah
This one is as per the sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh)
Do you need strong Iman to be able to do so ?
I know of people that have detached from dunya that are not even Muslims ! And it’s important to note that whether you’re attached or not is not the sign of ultimate success: Islam, Iman and Ihsan are. (bear minimum being Islam)
It does help to know that there is something infinitely better coming though.
Can one burn themselves out if they over stretch ?
OK… well, now here’s where it gets interesting:
If you follow detachment theory 1 – it’s a game of will power, it’s a little easier because once you’re out there, you get used to it, you’ve got other ‘monks’ with you etc.
If you follow detachment theory 2 – it’s also a game of will power and it’s significantly harder than theory 1 because the stimulus is still present.
If you follow detachment theory 3 – the way of the sunnah, then you detach bit by bit. And it’s true detachment.
Theory 1 and 2 are a rejection of dunya… they are not a detachment from it.
Theory 3 is the only real way of detaching – actually detaching dunya from your heart. With theory 3, a person could be bribed, you could attempt to seduce them, to entice them… it wouldn’t work !
If theory 3 is done properly, releasing one whim at a time, then you will not burn out – EVER. insha Allah. The reason being, each time you detach, you become more free. You have more power to carry on.
With theories 1 and 2, with each thing you resist from dunya, you build up the temptations, you build up the ‘enemies’ that could potentially kill you whilst you’re not looking or at a moment of weakness.
Is it better to take it one step at a time, than to just make one big monumental decision ?
Both. You need to make the monumental decision that you want to be free. Then… one step at a time, you need to release your whims as you go along.
You won’t be able to release them unless you’ve taken the monumental decision, because you need a driver, an aim, an objective.
I hope this clarifies and explains things insha Allah :-)
NOW… to take this even further:
This question is one that almost everyone that hopes to tread this path asks themselves. If not outright, then a nagging feelings unsettles them. So lets analyse what whims this question represents.
Firstly, there’s a whim for security. You’re afraid of failure. It’s a threat. You’re also afraid of your own nafs – the possible back-lash !
Secondly, there’s a whim for control. You haven’t mastered your nafs enough to know how to control it. One of the things that I teach in “Whims-I-Kill Pro” is that you need to test your nafs after you release. YOU find out if you have released the whim, you don’t leave it to chance only then to be disappointed. That would be a lack of control.
Thirdly, you still want to approve of dunya.” It’s not all that bad, if it’s not haram, then surely I can dabble in it a little. It’s not so bad !”
Ironically, once you’ve detached from dunya… you will approve of it even more. You will know it for what it is worth. Up until then, it will continue to disappoint you – which is the opposite of approval.
There’s more to say, but that’s enough for now :-)
I thought that I should share this question because we are only a couple of daysishs away from the month of Ramadan. The month where, if you want to take that monumental decision, well that’s the best time !