you play your game, let others play there game

Q: Asalamualaikum,

Sometimes when listening to an Imam or lecture on a given topic in deen (ex. being negative, Salah, etc) rather than thinking of ourselves, thoughts of how others are that particular way float through our minds.  This may or may not happen to everybody but can you help in identifying the cause and the solution to fixing this incorrect way of thinking.  Is this natural? What does Islam say regarding this? and would this be punishable in the sight of Allah?
Time: Thursday June 3, 2010 at 11:50 pm

A: وعليكم السلام ورحمة الله وبركاته

Whenever we seek change, distractions would come our way. Whenever a person is giving a lecture and we have the opportunity to be present, rather than analyzing it, have this in mind that the lecturer is addressing me because my Creator cares for me and my Creator wants me to hear these words for my benefit.

We all suffer from the following from time to time:

Humans have an ego; this ego never wants us to focus on our spiritual selves. It wants us to focus upon everything but the spiritual self. Little do we realize, focusing on others limits our spiritual progress. It keeps us bogged down on the matters relating mortal beings that are eventually to wither away just like us. Likewise, to focus on others results in the following: we lose the purpose of why we were created and this prevents us from attaining maximum benefit from the given event, e.g. speech, moment, etc. Time is lost, and Allah hates this (based on ayah.) We become deprived from attaining the pleasure of Allah (SWT). We focus on others that may care less for us thus making shaytan happy. We do not move forward in life, in fact we retrogress. Due to the lack of progress we only look for faults in others rather than ourselves which results in befriending other negative entities.

How to fix this problem:

Ask yourself before attending every lecture or gathering of substance: why am I here? What do I want to accomplish? How can I use what is being said in my life?

By contrast, if you want failure, then ask yourself the following: why does his voice have a shrill? Is s/he referring to me? I wonder what her/his personal life may look like? Why his beard is long/short, does he not have a scissor? Is s/he married? Who would marry her/him anyway? Is s/he more qualified than so and so? Did s/he just say that? Mean that? Or did he just sit around a few good scholars and riding a wave? Why does s/he talk that way?

Focusing on others could lead to gradual personal failures in life. Focusing on others makes a person to start finding faults in others and often leads to belittling others. Another downfall would be inclusive of but not limited to one becoming possibly smug concerning personal accomplishments. Continuingly going down this dangerous path could result in personal embarrassment. It could result in an outcome that eventually results in you doing the very things you are accusing others of doing, or worst yet; it could lead to members in your family to do the very thing you despise within others. Thus, be a well wisher, and good would result in you and your family.

Success demands focusing on yourself, not the speaker who may not care two hoots about your existence when s/he is done!

InshaAllah we would not be punished as a result of thoughts flowing through our minds (derived from ayah.) Should these thoughts impede our spiritual growth, then due to these thoughts we would very well be questioned. May Allah (SWT) save us, Ameen.

Allah Certainly Knows Best.

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