The State of Al-Ghaflah (Heedlessness or Negligence)

A common disease that we find among many Muslims today is the disease of Al-Ghaflah. Al-Ghaflah is the Arabic word for heedlessness or negligence, in the Islamic context it is the sin of forgetting Allah and the purpose behind one’s existence and one’s duty to Allah, and simultaneously forgetting one’s eventual abode. This phenomenon is becoming more and more widespread among many Muslims as they move further and further away from their Deen, and indulge themselves deeper into the Dunya and what it has to offer. They get taken away by the fast-paced society they live in today and become forever lost in it as the Dunya pulls them deeper into their state of Ghaflah. Allah has described such people in the Qur’an as having insight into the affairs of the Dunya while being completely heedless and negligent of the affairs of the Akhirah:

“They know what is apparent of the worldly life, and of the Hereafter they are Ghafilun (heedless).” [Ar-Room 30:7]

Allah also describes such people as being in a worse state than animals when He says:

“And surely, We have created many of the jinn and mankind for Hell. They have hearts with which they do not understand, they have eyes with which they do not see, and they have ears with which they do not hear. They are like cattle, rather they are more astray. It is they who are the Ghafilun (the heedless ones).” [Al-A’raf 7:179]

As the Hour draws nearer and the Day of Judgment closes in, these people remain lost in their state of Ghaflah unprepared for the reality that is about to befall them. Allah says:

“Draws near for mankind their reckoning, while they turn away in Ghaflah (heedlessness).” [Al-Anbiya’ 21:1]

The only thing that wakes up these people is the Angel of Death when he pays them a visit to take away their souls. Allah says:

“And the intoxication of death will come in truth, that is what you were trying to avoid. And the horn will be blown, that is the Day of which warning had been given. And every soul will come forth, with it an angel to drive it and an angel to bear witness. It will be said: Indeed you were in Ghaflah (heedless) of this, now We have removed from you your covering, and sharp is your sight this Day.” [Qaaf 50:19-22]

O Muslims! Wake up from this state of Ghaflah that you are in, and beware of being from among the Ghafilun, for Allah has warned us from being amongst them when He said:

“And be not of the Ghafilun (the heedless ones).” [Al-A’raf 7:205]

And Allah says:

“And warn them of the Day of Regret, when the matter will be concluded, while now they are in a state of Ghaflah (heedlessness), and they do not believe.” [Maryam 19:39]

So let us take the steps to cure ourselves of the disease of Ghaflah. The following are some of the means that help in curing this disease:

1. At-Tawbah or repenting to Allah from the sins of the past. Allah says:

“The repentance accepted by Allah is only for those who do wrong in ignorance and heedlessness and then repent soon after, it is they whom Allah will forgive, and Allah is ever Knowing and Wise. But repentance is not accepted of those who continue to do evil deeds up until when death comes to one of them, he says: “now I repent,” nor of those who die while they are disbelievers.” [An-Nisaa’ 4:17,18]

2. Constantly reminding oneself of death before it approaches and becomes too late to turn back. Allah says:

“Until when death comes to one of them, he says: “my Lord send me back, so that I may do righteousness in that which I have left behind.” No! It is but a word that he speaks, and behind them is a barrier until the Day they are resurrected.” [Al-Mu’minun 23:99,100]

3. Constantly remembering Allah through Adh-Dhikr (the remembrance of Allah) which is of two types:

a) The Dhikr of the heart: to remember the greatness of Allah, His Ayat (signs), and His favours upon you.
b) The Dhikr of the tongue: to remember Allah by way of certain Adhkar (supplications) which have been mentioned in the Qur’an and Sunnah.

The Prophet (SAW) said: “The example of the one who remembers his Lord, in comparison to the one who does not remember his Lord, is that of a living creature compared to a dead one.” [Bukhari]

4. Taking a righteous companion that constantly reminds one of his duty to Allah, and reminds one of the Hereafter.

The Prophet (SAW) said: “Every individual is upon the religion of his companion, so let him look to whom he accompanies.” [Ahmad and Bayhaqi]

5. Staying away from Haram types of amusements and games that busy one from the remembrance of Allah and the Hereafter.

6. Staying away from places that harden the heart and bring about the state of Ghaflah, such as amusement parks and nightclubs, and substituting these with places that soften the heart and bring about the remembrance of Allah and the Hereafter, such as the Masajid and the circles of Dhikr and knowledge.

So let us take heed of these points and implement them in our lives so that we may avoid being raised on the Day of Resurrection along with the heedless ones.

Toronto, Canada
21st of Jumada Al-Akhir 1428