Delivered by Mowlana Syed Aftab Haider on 16 June 2016 at Ahlul Bait (a.s) Islamic Centre, Ottery, Cape Town

Thus far we have seen how Surah Furqaan analyses the logic of the Mushrikeen and the reasons behind this prejudice.

Another of the major reasons for this prejudice is said to be found within ourselves.

Verse 43 thus says:

أَرَأَيْتَ مَنِ اتَّخَذَ إِلَهَهُ هَوَاهُ أَفَأَنتَ تَكُونُ عَلَيْهِ وَكِيلًا

Have you seen him who takes his low desires for his god? Would you then be a guardian over him?”

They do not overtly worship idols, but actually worship their desires and place idols in front of them as a smoke screen so that it appears that they worshiping the idols.


Allah has given human beings 4 powers that operate within us. These are:

  1. Power of intellect;
  2. Power of imagination;
  3. Power of lust; and
  4. Power of anger

These powers have their own armies and we are like a battlefield wherein these forces are fighting for control.

Lust is a power of desire for eating, drinking, sexual pleasure and all other material enjoyment. This power is an attractive power by nature.

Power of anger is a repulsive power which reacts to danger.

Power of imagination is that power through which you can build mental pictures of things that are around you.

Power of intellect is the highest of these powers which can appreciate values and understand principles.

When all of these base powers are under the control of intellect – then the human being is what Allah describes in Surah al-Tin Verse 4 as:

لَقَدْ خَلَقْنَا الْإِنسَانَ فِي أَحْسَنِ تَقْوِيمٍ

We have indeed created man in the best of moulds,”

But when lust and anger are in control of your intellect then the human being steeps to a very low state.

Verse 5 of Surah al-Tin thus says:

ثُمَّ رَدَدْنَاهُ أَسْفَلَ سَافِلِينَ

Then We render him the lowest of the low”

Desire (a combination of lust and anger) pushes you to over consume and over react. In principle, a human being needs lust, anger and imagination, but when they are in excess or shortage, then its a problem. They must always be in balance and under control of the intellect.

If you don’t have anger at all, then you become timid and even lean towards cowardice.

When your desires are so much in control that they become your god, it’s a serious problem.

When your imagination is out of control, it leans one towards being a fraud.

Thus one may ask “What is Akhlaaq”?

And the answer is that it is the balancing of these powers under the control of one’s intellect.

Prophet (sawa) says: “Under the shadow of the sky, there is no god other than Allah that is more worshiped than the god of desires.”

Drugs, alcoholism, and other social ills like fornication are each a result of worshiping one’s desires. Even when the intellect warns you that something is bad for you, your imagination fools you to rationalise the situation and think you can rectify it afterwards by seeking forgiveness.


The issue of worshiping one’s desires is so serious as it is considered to be the closest to “kufr” from a Quranic perspective. Thus the Quran has numerous references wherein it warns us to never follow such people due to the detrimental consequences that accompany it.

The followings verses from the Quran demonstrate this point.

Surah Kahf Verse 28 says:

وَلاَ تُطِعْ مَنْ أَغْفَلْنَا قَلْبَهُ عَن ذِكْرِنَا وَاتَّبَعَ هَوَاهُ وَكَانَ أَمْرُهُ فُرُطاً

and do not obey him whose heart We have made neglectful of Our remembrance and he follows his own low desires, and his affair has become all excess.”

Surah Taha Verse 16 says:

فَلاَ يَصُدَّنَّكَ عَنْهَا مَن لاَّ يُؤْمِنُ بِهَا وَاتَّبَعَ هَوَاهُ فَتَرْدَي

Therefore let him who believes not in it and follows his own vain desires turn you away from it, lest you perish.”

Surah Qasas Verse 50 says:

وَمَنْ أَضَلُّ مِمَّنِ اتَّبَعَ هَوَاهُ بِغَيْرِ هُدًي مِنَ اللَّهِ

and who is more astray than he who follows his own low desire without any guidance from Allah?”

Surah Sad Verse 26 says:

‌ِ وَلاَ تَتَّبِعِ الْهَوَي فَيُضِلَّكَ عَن سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ

and do not follow (vain) desire for it will mislead you from the way of Allah”

Surah Mu’minoon Verse 71 says that following one’s desires is the source of corruption in this world:

وَلَوِ اتَّبَعَ الْحَقُّ أَهْوَآءَهُمْ لَفَسَدَتِ السَّمَاوَاتُ وَالأَرْضُ وَمَن فِيهِنَّ

And if the Truth had followed their low desires, certainly the heavens and the earth, and whoever therein would have perished!”


From the above mentioned verses and discussion we conclude that being held hostage to one’s desires has far reaching consequences in every sphere of life.

Political leaders can give hours of lectures on justice while it is the most difficult thing to practise due to their worshiping their desires at the same time.

A finance minister who is entrusted with managing the Treasury of country cannot be open to taking bribes and the possibility of corruption as the economy suffers.

A judge in a court cannot judge under the influence of his desires but must be stripped of personal interest and judge fairly.

In a normal family household, when parents are hostage to their desires, that family becomes dysfunctional as divorce and single parent households result.

Thus we see the far reaching effect of following one’s desires and how it destroys your life and even that of your family and your society and country.

Those who can fight their desires are the most powerful people.

Once the Prophet (sawa) observed youth who were competing regarding their physical strength to which the Prophet (sawa) said that “the most powerful person is one who can control his desires.”

Therefore in one of the early battles of Islam, when someone spat in the face of Imam Ali (a.s) whom he was about to kill, Imam Ali (a.s) pulled back at that point. This is because his anger is not out of his personal desire and thus under those circumstances he wanted to ensure that he does not kill his enemy for a reason other than the Pleasure of Allah.

To be continued………