The Pitfalls of Emotion
By Ibrahim Abu Khalid
Fatimah, a lady from Bani Makhzum, had committed theft. The Quraish became worried, fearing her consequent punishment. To prevent this from occurring, they sent Usama bin Zaid, knowing he was beloved to the Prophet s.a.w, to intercede for her. Allah's Apostle said, "Do youintercede (with me) to violate one of the legal punishment of Allah?" Then he got up and addressed the people, saying, "O people! The nations before you went astray because if a noble person committed theft, they used to leave him, but if a weak person among them committed theft, they used to inflict the legal punishment on him. By Allah, if Fatimah, the daughter of Muhammad committed theft, Muhammad will cut off her hand!"

A lady once told Ibn Abbas that his wife plucked her eyebrows, which incurs the curse of Allah. He told her to see his wife for herself and confirm this. When she returned having seen no signs of such plucking, he remarked "By Allah, if she had done so, I would have divorced her."

These two illustrations are evidence of the qualities the firm Muslim possesses. His choice of right and wrong, of punishment and mercy, does not waver with his own temper and emotions. Rather, his choice is decisive, based on the Criterion which is pure and just and universal. Had it been any other way, Islam could not have withstood the onslaught from its enemies, just as every other religion was ultimately corrupted according to the whims and desires of its followers.

Leaving the heart as the centre of decision leaves its owner vulnerable to the whispering of Shaytan. The effects can bring a person from innovating in Islam to reaching the extent of Kufr, the ultimate phase of steering away from the Commandments of Allah.

The Dangers of the reliance on Emotion and Logic

Emotion can cloud a person's logic, distort his understanding of reality, and leave him indecisive. The dangers are many:

It can make a person declare permissible what Allah has declared impermissible, and vice versa. This is exactly what many leaders of today have done, and thereby left the fold of Islam by legislating by other then Allah's Laws. This is precisely what the other religions have done, and thereby incurred the Wrath of Allah. The source of many innovations come from the desire of the followers of a religion to excel in a matter; for example, the hermits or monks, who thought it superior to abstain from women and the world, yet, as the Prophet s.a.w remarked, they were never ordered to do so. The sects which deviated from Islam are similar, inventing new matters in religion, such as esoterics, unfounded interpretations of the Qur'an, and a distorted view of the Prophet's mission. These also arose initially from a strong passionate desire to get closer to Allah, but because their ways were not supported by clear evidence - only the 'logic' and understanding based on personal opinion - they lost their way, and caused havoc upon the Ummah

The person under the sway of his emotions and feelings of passion and preferring his logic to the clear sources (Qur'an and Sunnah) will always be indecisive, weak in his judgements, and unreliable. The whole purpose for the command of there being two women witnesses is derived from their emotional tendency, which affects their judgement. As such, they are restricted from positions which require critical decision making, such as in the Army and politics, and derive their blessings from raising their children and obeying their husband.

Society in general would be in disarray, with no conformity, nor pure justice. Looking at the model of Western Democracies, we find their constitutions, Laws and regulations are constantly changing. New Laws on crime, family, finance and trade are always reviewed and modified, either according to the whims of a judge who sets a precedent, or a strong minority group with enough political persuasion. Indeed, the example of our Prophet (s.a.w) was a supreme example of justice, whereby he threw aside his own personal feelings, willing to implement the Hadd (Islamic Punishment) on his own daughter if she were to be guilty of a crime, and commanded his Ummah for the same. 

Its Remedy

The remedy lies within following strictly the practice of our righteous predecessors:

Where matters pertaining to religion and its compromise is concerned, we cannot let our hearts move and compassion rise. This is especially true when we see wrongs being committed, and we decide to turn a blind eye thinking this is Hikmah (wisdom). Similarly, we shouldn't be swayed with our passions and ignore the rights of Allah upon us.

We should remove ourselves from any influences which could compromise our ability to think rationally. This is where the wisdom of the prohibition of alcohol becomes apparent. Alcohol distorts a persons thinking and co-ordination, and ability to think rationally. So Muslims should keep away from any thing which can alter our judgement, including drugs and other toxins, including tobacco. Music is also a wicked instrument of the Shaytan, which changes the emotional state of the listener, which brings out various fake emotional desires, ego's and regret. 

We should be aware of the presence of Shaytan, and keep his influence away from us. Through-out the ages, Shaytan has continued to play with people's minds until they fragmented into a multitude of absurd sects based on despicable innovations. Protection from this is to keep Shaytan away though keeping ablution, reciting Ayaatul Kursi, and the recitation of various du'a. Preservation from innovations comes about by sticking firmly to Islam as believed, followed and understood by the Prophet (s.a.w), his companions, and the Tabi'een. Everything else which has no foundation in Islam is a deviation, and people have only adopted it out of their own feelings that it was a good thing.

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