Now I want to tell you wherefrom do Kufr and heresy actually emanate. The Holy Quran tells us that this cursed evil raises its head through three sources:
1. Servitude of ‘Nafs’
The first source is the desires of man’s own Self:
‘And who goes farther astray than he who follows his lust in the place of guidance from Allah. Lo! Allah guides not such oppressors’ (28:50)
It means that the greatest factor to misguide man is his own corporal urges. It is quite impossible for one to become a slave of Allah while he submits himself to his corporal urges. He will constantly be looking out as to which work will fetch him money, which undertaking will bring fame and honour, which pursuits will give him pleasure and gratification, and what will provide him with comfort and ease. In short, he will adopt all those ways which will fulfill these objects, no matter if Allah forbids these activities. And he will never do anything which will not achieve these objects, though Allah may have ordered him to do that thing. So the God of such a person is his own Self and not the Almighty Allah. As such, how can he get the benefit of guidance? This point has been explained in the following verse at another place in the Quran:
‘Have you (O Muhammad SAW) seen him who has taken as his ilah (god) his own desire? Would you then be a Wakil (a disposer of his affairs or a watcher) over him?
Or do you think that most of them hear or understand? They are only like cattle; nay, they are even farther astray from the Path. (i.e. even worse than cattle).’ (25:43,44)
To be a servant of lust is worse than to be cattle is a fact which admits of no doubt. You will never find an animal who will overstep the limits set out by Allah. Every animal eats whatever has been fixed by Allah for it. It performs only those functions which are allotted to each and every animal. But man is such an animal that when he becomes subservient to his lust, he commits such acts as would make Shaitaan shudder.
2. Blind following of forefathers
The above is the first way of being led astray. The second way is to become servile to the customs and usages, beliefs and notions, rites and ceremonies of forefathers and regard these as superior to Allah’s commandments. And when these commandments are cited the transgressor would insist that he will only follow what his forefathers did, and will carry on the usages of his family and tribe. How can one who is suffering from this disease be a servant of Allah? His god is forefathers, family and tribe. What right has he to make the false claim that he is a Muslim? A severe admonition has been given in this respect also in the Quran:
‘And when it is said to them: Follow what Allah has sent down, they say: Nay, We shall follow what we found our fathers following. What! Even though their fathers did not understand anything nor were they guided?’ (2:170)
At another place it is said:
‘And when it is said to them: Come to what Allah has revealed and unto the messenger, they say: Enough for us is that which we found our fathers following. What! Even though their fathers had no knowledge whatsoever, and had no guidance?
O you who believe! Take care of your own selves, [do righteous deeds, fear Allah much (abstain from all kinds of sins and evil deeds which He has forbidden) and love Allah much (perform all kinds of good deeds which He has ordained)]. He who errs cannot injure you if you are rightly guided. Unto Allah you will all return, and He will inform you of what you used to do’ (5:104, 105)
This evil of going astray is such that ignorant people of every age have been afflicted by it. It has always prevented them from accepting the guidance of the messengers of Allah. When Musa (a.s) had invited people towards Allah’s Shari’ah then they had said:
“Have you come to us to turn us away from that upon which we found our fathers and so that you two may have grandeur in the land? And we are not believers in you.” (10:78)
When Ibrahim (a.s) had dissuaded his tribesmen from polytheism, they too had said:
“We found our fathers worshippers of these very gods.” (21:53)
Thus people have put up this same plea against every prophet: “What you say is contrary to the practice of our forefathers and this is why we do not accept it”. So it is said in the Quran:
“And similarly, We did not send before you any warner into a city except that its affluent said, “Indeed, we found our fathers upon a religion, and we are, in their footsteps, following.
[Each warner] said, “Even if I brought you better guidance than that [religion] upon which you found your fathers?” They said, “Indeed we, in that with which you were sent, are disbelievers.”
So we took retribution from them; then see how was the end of the deniers.” (43: 23-25)
After stating all these facts the Almighty Allah says that either follow your forefathers or carry out Our injunctions. Both these things cannot co-exist. If you want to be Muslim you will have to give up all extraneous things and obey what We have commanded.
“And when it is said to them, “Follow what Allah has revealed,” they say, “Rather, we will follow that upon which we found our fathers.” Even if Satan was inviting them to the punishment of the Blaze?
And whoever submits his face to Allah while he is a doer of good – then he has grasped the most trustworthy handhold. And to Allah will be the outcome of [all] matters.
And whoever has disbelieved – let not his disbelief grieve you. To Us is their return, and We will inform them of what they did. Indeed, Allah is Knowing of that within the breasts.” (31: 21-23)
3. Obedience to others than Allah
The third way, as stated in the Quran, is that a man, leaving aside Allah’s commandments, starts obeying orders of others under various concepts, e.g. such and such a person is a big man, so his word will be out-and-out good, or since my livelihood depends on that person, so I should carry out his wishes, of because that person exercises great authority, so he should be obeyed, or because that person will ruin me by his curses or will take me to Paradise with him, so only what he says is correct, or because that particular nation is making great progress, so its methods should be adopted. In such a case the door of Divine guidance is closed to him.
“And if you obey most of those upon the earth, they will mislead you from the way of Allah . They follow not except assumption, and they are not but falsifying.” (6:116)
This means that man can be on the right path only when he has faith in one Allah. How can one find the correct path when he has contrived hundreds and thousands of gods and has naturally to obey sometimes this god and sometimes that god.
Now you have come to know that there are three big reasons of going astray.
First: Servitude of Self
Second: Servitude to the customs of forefathers, family and tribe.
Third: Servitude to the people in general in which are included wealthy persons, rulers of the time, bogus religious leaders, nations gone astray and all other such elements.
These are the three formidable idols who pose as deities. Whoso wants to become a Muslim, he must first break these three idols. Then alone he will become a genuine Muslim. Otherwise, whoever stationed these idols in his heart; it is difficult for him to become a slave of Allah. By offering Salah fifty times a day, by observing fasts for ostentation, and by putting on the face of a Muslim, he may deceive his fellow-beings as also his own self assuming to be a real Muslim, but he cannot deceive Allah.