Sloth, typified by not wanting to do anything, weariness and apathy; these moral negativities are all too widespread in our modern era.
Sloth is a severe behavioral defect, even though many people regard minor laziness as harmless. Most people are in fact aware of this. However, since they fail to appreciate its adverse effects, they are unable to grasp the true nature of the danger it presents.
Sloth literally numbs people
The great majority of people imagine that physical and mental sloth will bestow agreeable lives upon them. This is a grave error however, because sloth literally numbs a person and makes him forget the reason for his presence in this world.
Sloth must not be understood in purely physical terms; it is a disease needing to be purged both physically and mentally. For example, intellectual laziness, which typically appears as such traits as not thinking deeply about matters, always choosing the easy path and preferring copying others over finding novelties, is a deep-rooted disorder in the human soul.
The harm of intellectual laziness
The adverse effects of intellectual laziness frequently emerge when someone does not use his conscience and intelligence. This will soon affect his will, and sloth will eventually dominate his entire lifestyle. Since that person will be unable to demonstrate any will or determination on any matter, he will possess numerous moral defects because one can only be a virtuous person and behave well by demonstrating determination.
Slothful people’s state of mind means that they eventually cannot even be bothered to do what needs to be done on matters concerning themselves, such as going to the doctor when they are sick, not striving to succeed in anything and preferring to remain as they are rather than trying to improve themselves in any area (culture, manners, morals etc.).
If a person suffers from severe sloth in thought or will, it is impossible for him to live by the moral values revealed in the Qur’an because Qur’anic values require zeal, determination and a powerful will. Even if he has no physical work, a Muslim’s mind will always be full of goodness and a desire to serve Islamic values. He will always be looking for something that will benefit believers. He will always strive to propagate the religious values revealed by God, to warn people to support the truth and to command goodness and enjoin evil. It is impossible for such a person to engage in idleness of either mind or body.
People who contract the illness of sloth do things in the manner they are always used to doing them. They never look for a better or more appropriate way of doing them; they simply imitate what they have seen. The solutions they find to problems also reflect their intellectual laziness. They are unable to produce new solutions since they never reflect on many issues. Such people suffer much harm in their daily lives. However, there are even more important matters, which failure to reflect upon will inflict grave and eternal disappointment on them.
Failure to reflect on the reason for one’s creation in the world and ignoring the fact that death is inescapable - and that the Day of Reckoning will eventually follow it - represents the source of that disappointment. Almighty God calls on us to reflect on these important truths in the Qur’an:
“Those are the people who have lost their own selves. What they invented has abandoned them.
Without question they will be the greatest losers in the hereafter.
As for those who have faith and do right actions and humble themselves before their Lord, they are the Companions of the Garden remaining in it timelessly, for ever.
The likeness of the two groups is that of the blind and deaf and the seeing and hearing. Are they the same as one another? So will you not pay heed?”
(Surah Hud, 21-24)
The false comfort of laziness does not substitute for a clear conscience
God informs in the Qur’an the morals of believers with the following verse, “So when you have finished, work on,”
(Surat Al-Inshirah, 7). True serenity is not with laziness, but by working on earning the good pleasure of God and the false comfort that comes out of laziness is never a substitute for a clear conscience.
Therefore one should be very vigilant against all the whisperings from satan or heeding his lower self. The conscience of a true Muslim always prevails over the lower self. This moral attribute of Muslims is mentioned in a verse in the Qur’an:
“And among the people there are some who give up everything, desiring the good pleasure of God. God is Ever-Gentle with His slaves.”
(Surat Al-Baqara, 207)
That is why by God’s leave, it will be a great asset to be hardworking, reasoning and putting into practice what one thinks, and being continually productive for one’s own benefit as well as the benefit of others.
Adnan Oktar's piece on Islam Today Magazine