Imitation vs. Innovation.
أَفَمَن زُيِّنَ لَهُ سوءُ عَمَلِهِ فَرَآهُ حَسَنًا ۖ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ يُضِلُّ مَن يَشاءُ وَيَهدي مَن يَشاءُ ۖ فَلا تَذهَب نَفسُكَ عَلَيهِم حَسَراتٍ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَليمٌ بِما يَصنَعونَ
“And what of him the evil of whose actions appears fine to him so that he sees them as good? Allah misguides whoever He wills and guides whoever He wills. So do not let yourself waste away out of regret for them. Allah knows what they do.” — Qur’an 35: 8
If it holds true that Allah misguides the one who sees evil actions as good, what does that mean for those (us!) that see/envy their actions? Are we also not seeing something evil as good?
مَن كانَ يُريدُ العِزَّةَ فَلِلَّهِ العِزَّةُ جَميعًا ۚ إِلَيهِ يَصعَدُ الكَلِمُ الطَّيِّبُ وَالعَمَلُ الصّالِحُ يَرفَعُهُ ۚ وَالَّذينَ يَمكُرونَ السَّيِّئَاتِ لَهُم عَذابٌ شَديدٌ ۖ وَمَكرُ أُولٰئِكَ هُوَ يَبورُ
“If anyone wants power, all power belongs to Allah. All good words rise to Him and virtuous deeds elevate them. But people who plot evil deeds will suffer a harsh punishment. The plotting of such people is profitless.” — Qur’an 35: 10
Many of us do not fully own ourselves or the image of ourselves. This no more evident in our inability to see faith and deeds as one. Because of the culture we live in, and its assumptions about the nature of reality, many of us see faith and deeds as separate. A kind of Muslim Cartesian-dualism. The above verse demonstrates their wholeness and yet we think one is sufficient without the other.
وَلا تَزِرُ وازِرَةٌ وِزرَ أُخرىٰ ۚ وَإِن تَدعُ مُثقَلَةٌ إِلىٰ حِملِها لا يُحمَل مِنهُ شَيءٌ وَلَو كانَ ذا قُربىٰ ۗ إِنَّما تُنذِرُ الَّذينَ يَخشَونَ رَبَّهُم بِالغَيبِ وَأَقامُوا الصَّلاةَ ۚ وَمَن تَزَكّىٰ فَإِنَّما يَتَزَكّىٰ لِنَفسِهِ ۚ وَإِلَى اللَّهِ المَصيرُ
“No burden-bearer can bear another’s burden. If someone weighed down calls for help to bear his load, none of it will be borne for him, even by his next of kin. You can only warn those who fear their Lord in the Unseen and establish salat. Whoever is purified, is purified for himself alone. Allah is your final destination.” — Qur’an 35: 18