Say No to the destroyers of good deeds
2:266 Would any of you wish to have a garden with date-palms and vines, with rivers flowing underneath, and all kinds of fruits for him therein, while he is stricken with old age, and his children are weak (not able to look after themselves), then it is struck with a fiery whirlwind, so that it is burnt? Thus does Allâh make clear His Ayât (proofs, evidence, verses) to you that you may give thought. Ibn Abbas said, “This is an example set for a deed.”
In the tafsir of Ibn Kathir, we see a hadith in which, Ibn Abbas may Allah be pleased with him said that this ayah is referring to, “a wealthy man who works in Allah’s pleasure and then Allah sends Shaytan to him, and he works in disobedience, until he annuls his good works.” Ibn Kathir states that this Hadith suffices as an explanation for the Ayah:
أَيَوَدُّ أَحَدُكُمْ أَن تَكُونَ لَهُۥ جَنَّةٌ مِّن نَّخِيلٍ وَأَعْنَابٍ تَجْرِى مِن تَحْتِهَا ٱلْأَنْهَـٰرُ لَهُۥ فِيهَا مِن كُلِّ ٱلثَّمَرَٰتِ وَأَصَابَهُ ٱلْكِبَرُ وَلَهُۥ ذُرِّيَّةٌ ضُعَفَآءُ فَأَصَابَهَآ إِعْصَارٌ فِيهِ نَارٌ فَٱحْتَرَقَتْ ۗ كَذَٰلِكَ يُبَيِّنُ ٱللَّهُ لَكُمُ ٱلْـَٔايَـٰتِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَفَكَّرُونَ
… for it explains the example it sets by a person who does good first and then follows it with evil, may Allah save us from this end. So, this man annulled his previous good works with his latter evil works. When he desperately needed the deeds of the former type, there were none.😱
This is such a powerful ayah! May Allah save us from cancelling our good deeds. Aameen.
As seekers of knowledge, students of Qur’an, we really need to guard our deeds, our efforts on this journey of seeking knowledge. Let’s say NO to anything that could destroy what we are learning.
Let’s make du’a that the knowledge benefits us, witnesses for us and leads us to Jannah. 🤲🏽Let’s make du’a that the knowledge we acquire never makes us arrogant and that Allah preserve our niyyah and our Ikhlas (our sincere intentions) for His sake ALONE.🤲🏽
Let’s remember that Shaytan had a lot of knowledge and that knowledge did not benefit him. On the contrary, it led him to be arrogant and cursed.
This is why constantly pausing to think, to remind ourselves of our whys and making du’as will help us to say NO to the things that could destroy our efforts.
Allah Azza Wajal is even calling us to give the above example in ayah 266 some thought.
…Thus does Allâh make clear His Ayât (proofs, evidence, verses) to you that you may give thought.
Say NO to frequent interruptions/context switching
Build some discipline to focus and study by having a few systems in place. In her book, author Juliet Funt mentions a ‘yellow list’, which is a page you can keep on a side so you can jot thoughts/requests that are not time sensitive. The yellow list helps you to be less impulsive and helps you to reduce the ongoing back and forth emails that are distracting. Once your list is full, you can now meet with the person and go over it and save time. Interruption and context switching are so costly. You may think ‘oh I will just message her for one minute,’ but in reality that interruption is costing you far more than one minute because according to some research, it takes about twenty minutes to get back to the ‘flow’ after context switching!
She also gives a few tips on verifying the urgency of an action. We tend to think everything is urgent and because it’s so easy to reach someone with the internet, we don’t take the time to think and ask ourselves ‘is it really urgent?’.
In her book, she also shares a few questions that really helps us be less impulsive and more intentional, here are some that truly resonated with me:
“What really deserves my attention?”
“When is good enough, good enough?”
“Is there anything I can let go of?”
and my favorite one “what meaningful work am I not making time for?”. This last one made me pause! Literally!
Answering these questions for ourselves can, bi idhnillah, help us say no to low value actions.
Say NO to low value actions
Just taking the time to define what are the low value actions you tend to be consumed with and working to minimize it will help you make space for high value actions such as studying your Qur’an.
So dear sis’ what will you say no to this week, so you could say yes to what will truly benefit you in this life and the next?
Go ahead and do some good by sharing this post with anyone you think might benefit. 🤩
Binta Umm Yahya is the owner of Al An 4 U Online Coaching which is an online platform for Qur’an lessons, Islamic studies and Lifecoaching for Muslimas and women interested in Islam. She has an ijazah in teaching Qur’an with Tajwid and has been teaching Qur’an for over 7 years now and is an ongoing student of Qur’an with her husband imam Ahmed Abu Suhailah. She loves reciting, teaching and reflecting on the Qur’an. She is a Certified Master Lifecoach and a NLP Practitioner who absolutely enjoys coaching her sisters in faith to help them gain clarity, focus and understanding of their religion so they live their best life and connect to their Maker. Whenever she is not teaching or coaching, you can find her staring at the sky, reading or journaling with a big cup of tea. 🙂