A Muslim faces several challenges when s/he starts exerting efforts on the path of Allah. Perhaps the greatest challenge is to get rid of nafs and shaitan when they make consecutive attacks on an individual in the guise of piety, like and love for Islam, sacrifices, and hardships on Allah’s path.
While progressing on Allah’s path, an individual may speed up with certain mindsets and beliefs which later proves wrong. This often gets neglected and ignored in the first place, however, the individual might continue with the wrong mindset and belief although his efforts are contrary to the Quran and Sunnah.
One common case, where people get entangled and entrapped, is an innovation. People just like to accept something which fills their mind with some charm or illusion. Therefore, worships that attract them outwardly are often more acceptable and adorable than worships that are less attractive; the former is often a Bid’at or innovation (its result is destruction) and the latter is often the genuine way i.e. Sunnah way (this is the righteous path of accomplishing actions).
In today’s digitalized world of information bombardment, when like other knowledge Islamic knowledge (although not easy to ascertain the right and wrong easily by all) is also easily available in the web, several people have developed their own way of understanding of following the Quran and Sunnah after self study and so on. They ‘use’ their intellect whatever ‘knowledge’ or ‘information’ they come across the virtual media. They ignore the fact of their capabilities and competency. The criteria to understand and finally accept and reject beliefs and actions are finally their conclusion based on self-learning, self-analysis, and experiences. If they are tried to be guided or warned that they should not take any risk regarding established beliefs and actions prescribed by Shariah i.e. the teachings of Islam, they just pose their logic and explanations. In a word, they have a self-sufficient or self-reliant way of knowing and doing all about Islam. They do not have any queries and confusion regarding their way of life although they just lead a carefree life! It is not that these people do not study and practice Islam. They do it simply in their own way!
The consequences of just inferring serious matters pertaining to beliefs and actions of Shariah, the laws of the Quran and Hadith ‘in a self-learning way’ leads to a great deal of misguidance. Outwardly, a person may be found embellished with and profound in a vast knowledge of Islam but only because s/he is a self-learner Islam, his/her path has deviated far from the Sirat-e-Mustaqim. Such an individual has certainly put his Imaan (faith) and good deeds to a lot of risks. Moreover, his followers are on the same track. When people undertake their own path of learning and applying Islam, issues arise in his individual, family, and social life, which never gets solved without purifying oneself from such wrongful concepts and exertions.
Treading the path of Deen all by one own-self leads to the following detrimental effects:
• The individual often declines the truth, this makes him arrogant
• The individual becomes quite satisfied and complacent with his level of understanding
• His practices of Islamic values and beliefs are risked to change according to his will and wishes in various situations; he is always controlled by his desires and shaitan
• He becomes a bad-example or model of deviation
• His heart loathes the pious and sincere people of knowledge
• The gravest of all is that he risks his Imaan before death (because often such a person rejects faith in the most severe trial moment, Allah’s ultimate-favor is not for the people who haughtily live a carefree life!)
The solution to such wrongful steps is to receive Taleem and Tarbiyat under a qualified and competent individual; usually an Alim (a pious scholar). If we have very little time due to our busyness at work etc., we should at least regularly attend a religious talk in our locality. We should continuously consult practicing pious people like the Imam of our nearby Masjid.
Only a few simple rightful steps inshaAllah is sufficient to save Imaan, even if a lot of worship is not possible. On the other hand, a lot of self-learning without guidance only leads to doubt, confusion, wrong practices, and distorted faith. May Allah save us from this wicked pitfall of shaitan! Aameen.