Many years ago, I was talking to my friend the DJ. He told me some about a mission trip he took to Africa, and said something to the effect that over there, where people live closer to the land and the natural environment, you more clearly see the hand of God in the world, but here in America, there was a filter over everything that distracted us from Him and masked His presence in the world.
So how do we get around this filter? Well, Allah azza wa jall told us
وَاصْبِرْ نَفْسَكَ مَعَ الَّذِينَ يَدْعُونَ رَبَّهُم بِالْغَدَاةِ وَالْعَشِيِّ يُرِيدُونَ وَجْهَهُ ۖ وَلَا تَعْدُ عَيْنَاكَ عَنْهُمْ تُرِيدُ زِينَةَ الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا ۖ وَلَا تُطِعْ مَنْ أَغْفَلْنَا قَلْبَهُ عَن ذِكْرِنَا وَاتَّبَعَ هَوَاهُ وَكَانَ أَمْرُهُ فُرُطًا
And keep yourself patient [by being] with those who call upon their Lord in the morning and the evening, seeking His countenance. And let not your eyes pass beyond them, desiring adornments of the worldly life, and do not obey one whose heart We have made heedless of Our remembrance and who follows his desire and whose affair is ever [in] neglect.
But here’s the rub: how do we find “those who call upon their Lord… seeking His support?” Religious leaders seem to be a good place to start, yet they’re vulnerable to the “adornments of the worldly life” and following their desires.
We can turn to our brothers and sisters in faith, but if they’re anything like me, they’re also prone to becoming heedless of His remembrance and neglecting affairs. After all, most all of us spend most of our time working in careers that, while (hopefully) halal, are not specifically geared towards seeking Allah’s countenance, and may indeed require us to obey one whose heart has been made heedless,* and everywhere we turn, we’re presented with worldly adornment.
Of course, all this doubt is largely waswasa, the whispers of the devils, and is nothing to worry too much about. Stay close to your brothers and sisters in faith, stay close to those coworkers and colleagues and friends who remind you of God, and don’t worry too much if people you look up to turn out to be deep into some worldly thing, heedless of Allah: all that’s on them. God’s only going to ask you about the things that you do.
And when the devils start their whispering, recite
أعوذ بالله من الشيطان الرجيم
I seek Allah’s refuge from Shaitaan, the Accursed one.
and maybe recite some of Surah al Mu’Minoon
وَقُل رَّبِّ أَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنْ هَمَزَاتِ الشَّيَاطِينِ
وَأَعُوذُ بِكَ رَبِّ أَن يَحْضُرُونِ
And say, “My Lord, I seek refuge in You from the incitements of the devils,
And I seek refuge in You, my Lord, lest they be present with me.”
And above all, Ignore the whispers and just get on with your worship, and may Allah accept it from us, Ameen.
*In the “do not follow one whose heart We have made heedless” I expect that the “follow” means “in religious affairs, in worshiping Allah, rather than following the leadership at whatever corporation we work for, but there’s all sorts of following.