Bismillah wa -Alhamdulillah wa Salaatu wa Salaam ‘alaa Rasulillah ‘amma ba’d.
“So, when they forgot (the warning) with which they had been reminded, We opened to them the gates of every (pleasant) thing, until in the midst of their enjoyment in that which they were given, all of a sudden, We took them to punishment, and lo! They were plunged into destruction with deep regrets and sorrows.” [al-An’aam 6:44]
When the people of Eemaan hear this verse their skin trembles out of fear because they are living and enjoying the blessings of Allah and they do not know if they have truly thanked Allah for those blessings. So we fear that this aayah might apply to us for not giving thanks for those blessings bestowed upon us.
Istidraaj refers to when Allah continuously bestows blessings upon a person in order to lead them further into sins due to them not being thankful. Allah performs this action to whomever He wants, whenever He wants and the worse type is that which incurs Allah’s anger. This is when the person does something to incur the anger of Allah, despite the fact that He is the One Who brought him to life and He is the One who will cause him to die.
The greatest type of Istidraaj is a person falling into shirk, which is without doubt the greatest of all sins. Allah continuously pours out blessings upon His servant to the extent that he cannot enumerate them, yet he takes these blessings and uses them for the purpose of other than pleasing Allah.
“So, when they forgot (the warning) with which they had been reminded” – evidence that Allah has established the burden of proof and clarified the message to the creation but some were caused to forget the message due to their own sins.
Allah punishes His servant with whatever He wishes and He has a great wisdom in doing that. The greatest punishment is causing the heart of the servant to be negligent and forgetful of the remembrance of its Lord.
Allah pours out His blessings upon His servants and despite that many of them are forgetful of these blessings and they do not remember their Lord so they live in a state of heedlessness, just like an animal. O my blessed brother, you should know that if a person falls into a state such as this, he has fallen into the greatest and worst type of Istidraaj.
How does a Muslim know if the blessings he is enjoying is actually Istidraaj? The answer: If a person uses the blessings of Allah to worship and be obedient to Him and to do what is permissible, then he is giving thanks for the blessings of Allah. However, if he uses these blessings for other than worshipping Allah and they distract him from the remembrance of his Lord, then he should know that these blessings are Istidraaj.
We ask Allah Al-‘Adheem, Rabbul ‘Arsh al-‘Adheem not to make us of those who use His blessings to incur His anger by way of Istidraaj.
Excerpts from the tele-lecture delivered by Shaykh Muhammad ‘Awaaji al-Muhjari
…May Allah give us a better understanding & guide us to accept the truth