Abu Hurairah (رضي الله عنه) narrated that the Messenger of Allaah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said:
“Allaah, the Exalted says: ‘I am as my slave thinks of me, and I am with him when he remembers Me. If he remembers Me inwardly, I will remember him inwardly, and if he remembers Me in an assembly, I will remember him in a better assembly (i.e., in the assembly of angels).” [Bukhari and Muslim]
We are all slaves of Allaah, willingly and unwillingly. It is He who gives us our sustenance, causes us to live and causes us to die. So it is no surprise when the slave sees that his affairs have been so perfectly handled that he would remember Allaah. It is not strange that the helpless would be grateful to the one he is constantly reliant upon. What is incredible however, is that the Lord of the Worlds, the One who is free of all need would remember he who sincerely remembers Him.
“Therefore remember Me (by praying, glorifying, etc.). I will remember you, and be grateful to Me (for My countless Favours on you) and never be ungrateful to Me.” [Surat al Baqarah: 152]
It is when we are forgotten (neglected and left to our own desires NOT excluded from the knowledge and ability of Allaah) that we are destroyed.
“And it will be said: ‘This Day We will forget you as you forgot the Meeting of this Day of yours. And your abode is the Fire, and there is none to help you.'” [Surat Al-Jathiyah: 34]
How miserable then is the case of the one who is heedless. He does not remember Allaah, therefore he is accordingly forgotten. He indulges in every sin, follows every whim and sees himself as self sufficient. He is so corrupted that, the thought of doing righteous deeds does not even enter his mind. The Angel that accompanies him withdraws from the vileness of his behaviour and the Shaytan (devil) gets closer to him for his evil.
“And whosoever turns away (blinds himself) from the remembrance of the Most Beneficent (Allaah) (i.e. this Qur’aan and worship of Allaah), We appoint for him Shaytan (Satan – devil) to be a Qarin (an intimate companion) to him.” [Surat Az-Zukhruf: 36]
He is lost in a world of vain desires and amusements, while thinking he is successful. When he is reminded of the eternal (the afterlife, paradise and hellfire), he is not affected. The Qur’aan, the speech of Allaah about which Allaah said…
“And if there had been a Qur’aan with which mountains could be moved (from their places), or the earth could be cloven asunder, or the dead could be made to speak (it would not have been other than this Qur’aan). But the decision of all things is certainly with Allaah…” [Surat Ar-Ra’d:31]
…does not affect him, and he is as Allaah described him:
“Have you seen him who takes his own lust (vain desires) as his ilah (god), and Allah knowing (him as such), left him astray, and sealed his hearing and his heart, and put a cover on his sight. Who then will guide him after Allah? Will you not then remember?” [Surat Al-Jathiyah: 23]
He has lost the ability to do good, because of his persistence in evil. He is punished in this world and the punishment of the Hereafter is greater. Ibn al Qayyim (رحمه الله) said:
“The slave is not afflicted with a punishment greater than the hardening of the heart and being distant from Allaah. For the Fire was created to melt the hardened heart.The most distant heart from Allaah is the heart which is hardened. If the heart becomes hardened, the eyes become dry.”
We seek refuge in Allaah from a hardened heart, the inability to do righteous deeds and eyes that do not weep in fear and hope of Him. May the Salaah and Salaam be upon the final Messenger, his family, his companions and those that follow them in goodness till the Day of Resurrection.