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Warning against Rashness and Risk-Taking

Mar 10, 2016

 

10 Jumaadal Ulaa 1437

 

His Eminence Sheikh Saud al-Shuraim –May Allah protect him– delivered this Friday Khutbah titled “Warning against Rashness and Risk-Taking” in which he talked about the mind which is among the greatest graces Allah bestowed on mankind. He opined that the nemesis of the mind is rashness, risk-taking and venture, and he warned against this perilous behaviour. Then, the Sheikh mentioned some examples of risk-taking, but excluded some risky acts that are not to be admonished, such as the decision by Abu Bakr –May Allah be pleased with him– to fight the apostates which cannot be described as rash or foolhardy.

 

Praise be to Allah! He is the First and the Last, the Manifest and the Hidden Who created everything with infinite precision. We thank Him –May He be glorified– for the bounties and graces He bestowed on us. We cannot praise Him as He praised Himself no matter how hard we try. I bear witness that there is no deity except Allah alone with no partner, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His Servant and Messenger, the Master of earlier and later generations of mankind and the Imam of those renowned for their unique devotion to Allah. He left us on the White Straight Path whose night is as bright as its day; none but the doomed will stray away from it. May Allah’s Salat and Peace be upon him, his pure and noble family, his wives –the Mothers of the believers‒ and may Allah be pleased with his righteous and blessed Companions and the tabi’in (the contemporaries of the Companions of the Prophet [May Allah’s Salat and Peace be upon him] after his death) and upon those who follow in their footsteps until the Day of Judgement!

 

Now then,

O Servants of Allah! Observe taqwa (fear of disobeying Allah), and let it be known to you that this life is nothing but a transient stopover rather than a permanent residence, and that Allah Almighty has entrusted it to you so that He may judge how you would fare therein.

 

“then whosoever becomes pious and righteous, on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.” [Al-A’raf: 35]

 

O Muslims!

Among the greatest gifts that might adorn man in his life are his religion and his mind, with which Allah has honoured him and preferred him by far over much of what He has created . With religion, man sublimates himself above all things that may incur Allah’s wrath including bad manners and trivialities, and with the mind, he protects himself from all that may corrupt his actions and decisions or undermine his sobriety, cautiousness and awareness of the beginnings and consequences of things.

 

It is preordained –O Servants of Allah– that the vexing and annoying vicissitudes of life, the succession of incidents, calamities and the complications thereof can only be resolved ‒after Allah’s granted protection and success‒ by extreme caution and careful thinking about the beginnings and consequences of things and what should and should not be done.

 

The nemesis of all this and the malady that breeds intellectual degeneration and generates nothing but shame, pain and punishment instead of pride, safety, and reward is couched in risky undertakings, rashness and foolhardiness or in putting one’s life on the line. All these actions in fact pivot around one thing: taking random, uncalculated risks –an act denounced by the sagacious and is against patience, caution, wisdom and perspicacity.

 

Yes, O Servants of Allah!

 

It is rashness, fickleness and indifference in thought, politics, information, economy, and social life. As much as excessive eulogy makes one blind to one’s flaws, unfair dispraise changes good deeds into bad ones.

 

Yes, indeed! It is foolhardiness and risk-taking which give precedence to words and actions over the heart and mind, which push man to commit regrettable acts –physical or otherwise– that may be difficult to get rid of in a way that even patching up will be of no avail.

Many a slip-of-a-tongue which needed later long apologies, but they were useless when it was too late. The Prophet ‒May Allah’s Salat and Peace be upon him‒ told the truth when he said: “Never say words today for which you may apologise tomorrow.” [Reported by Ahmad and Ibn Majah]

 

Because of their crossing the borders of reasonableness, risk-taking, rashness, and the like deserve only one thing: dispraise and chiding. It is regrettable to see images of risky and adventurous actions receive such wide-spread attention in the media for no other purpose than breaking a world record or gaining public admiration and fame.

 

How many are those who lost their lives trying to carry out their ambitions by recklessly racing their vehicles at deadly speed or by performing dangerous acrobatics that ultimately proved fatal. Let alone –O servants of Allah– jeopardising other people’s rights, money and business. Many a thoughtless entrepreneur risked people’s money in investments which he knew nothing about, or in business that outweighed his experience, or was beyond his area of specialization. He enticed those who trusted him into believing his promises of quick profits only to see their money evaporate in thin air thanks to his fickleness and rashness. No wonder ‒O Servants of Allah– that risking something unknowingly is tantamount to risking it knowingly.

 

The Prophet ‒May Allah’s Salat and Peace be upon him‒ said: “He who takes people’s money with the intent of giving it back, Allah will give it back for him; he who takes people’s money with the intent of wasting it, Allah will destroy him.” [Reported by Imam Bukhari]

 

O Servants of Allah! Among social illnesses is the family obsession with appearances and show-off. This kind of attitude makes the family take risks in affecting social traditions that entail financial burdens and legal commitments for no other purpose but to make others speak and think highly of it. Look at all those extravagant wedding parties and banquets! Many people fall victims to these traditions which have caused more harm than good. They have led to objectives other than those intended by the hosts, resulting in debts, divorce, and family disputes, not to mention committing the sin of extravagance, squandering, and vanity. Examples are not lacking in this context.

The most ignominious forms of risk-taking –O servants of Allah– are the ones that undermine the dignity and rights of others through unsubstantiated suspicion or accusation of intentions –which are only known to Him Who knows the secret and that which is yet more hidden . They level groundless accusations against others without the least evidence, which proves not only banality and triviality of their tongues but also inconsiderateness towards other Muslims’ rights.

 

Going on behaving thus without restraint or inhibition ‒O servants of Allah‒ would certainly be enough to throw its adherent into fatal immoderation and detested bigotry, which would, in turn, lead him into the trap of delusion and takfir (accusing others of disbelief) through foolhardiness that would render him blind to achieving its conditions and removing its obstructions.

 

How many people have indeed gotten through that lethal door! However, if you ask one of them about the ‘iddah of a divorced woman, or the zakat of seventy camels or ten cows, he would not be able to give an answer. What is even more astonishing is the one who rashes into accusing others of unbelief while, in actual fact, he is ignorant of the conditions of embracing Islam. This is ‒by the everlasting existence of Allah‒ one of the harshest calamities.

 

O Allah! How strange it is when a foolhardy person exposes himself to takfir?! For if his accusing others of unbelief is not right, he himself would incur such a lot. The Prophet ‒May Allah’s Salat and Peace be upon him‒ said: “Whoever says to his brother in Islam: ‘O you kafir (unbeliever), one of them will certainly carry it.” [An agreed-upon hadith]

 

So, fear Allah, O you servants of Allah, and let it be known to you that everything is embellished by the presence of gentleness and marred by its absence. Ask Allah for perseverance (on the Straight Path), for pardon, and for well-being.

 

“O You who Believe! Eat not up your property among yourselves unjustly except it be a trade amongst you, by mutual consent. And do not kill yourselves (nor kill one another). Surely, Allâh is Most Merciful to you (29) And whoever commits that through aggression and injustice, We shall cast him into the Fire, and that is easy for Allâh.” [Al-Nisa’: 29-30]

 

May Allah bless you and me by the Glorious Qur’an and the Noble Sunnah and may He grant us the benefit of the signs, the remembrance and the wisdom they contain! This is what I have said. If it is correct, it is so thanks to Allah, but if it is wrong, it is my own fault and Satan’s. I ask Allah to forgive me, you, and all Muslims, males and females, our sins and wrong-doings. So do ask Him for forgiveness and repent unto Him, for our Lord is indeed All-Forgiving, All-Merciful!

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