I have a brother who is younger than me, 20 years old. I know that he commits all the sins that Allaah has forbidden, and my father and mother are righteous but they cannot set him straight. I fear for him but every time I try to speak to him he reacts by telling me than he has no aim in life and he wants to die. He always says why should I set myself straight and for whom? What can I do for my only brother?.
I ask Allaah to bless your brother with guidance and righteousness, and to bring him back to the straight path, and to help you to call him and guide him to what is good and to make that count in the balance of your good deeds.
You should note – may Allaah bless you – that there are a number of ways in which you can call your brother and guide him. These include the following:
Firstly: Pray sincerely for your brother to be guided and set aright, and have certain faith that Allaah will respond. Keep on praying for that, and know that Allaah will never let down the one who puts his hope in Him or refuse to answer the one who prays to Him with sincerity.
Secondly: Try to advise him sincerely, seeking to convince him rationally. Encourage him by telling him of the honour and great reward that Allaah has prepared, and warn him by telling him of the punishment and humiliation and severe torment that Allaah has prepared for the sinners. Tell him about the true nature of this life, and that Allaah has only created this universe – with its earth and heaven, seas and rivers, mountains and plains, lowlands and deserts, for you, O man. How can you, O weak creature, compare to these mighty creations which Allaah has subjugated for you, to make your life easier, as Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“He it is Who created for you all that is on earth”
“He it is Who has made the earth subservient to you (i.e. easy for you to walk, to live and to do agriculture on it); so walk in the path thereof and eat of His provision. And to Him will be the Resurrection”
“See you not (O men) that Allaah has subjected for you whatsoever is in the heavens and whatsoever is in the earth, and has completed and perfected His Graces upon you, (both) apparent (i.e. Islamic Monotheism, and the lawful pleasures of this world, including health, good looks) and hidden [i.e. one’s faith in Allaah (of Islamic Monotheism), knowledge, wisdom, guidance for doing righteous deeds, and also the pleasures and delights of the Hereafter in Paradise]?”
Indeed He has preferred you above all these earthly creations, as He says (interpretation of the meaning):
“And indeed We have honoured the Children of Adam, and We have carried them on land and sea, and have provided them with At‑Tayyibaat (lawful good things), and have preferred them above many of those whom We have created with a marked preferment”
If you know this, O weak creature, and that Allaah has created all these great creations and subjugated them for your comfort in this life, then hasten to ask the logical question which occurs to every wise person: Why did Allaah create me then? Your Lord and Creator has clearly answered this question, as He says (interpretation of the meaning):
“And I (Allaah) created not the jinn and mankind except that they should worship Me (Alone)”
So the purpose for which you have been created, O man, is this: To submit yourself truly and sincerely to Allaah, the One, the Only. This is the answer to your question: for whom should I set myself straight? You should set yourself straight for Allaah Who has created you and formed you, Who has given you life, strength and health, and all the blessings that you enjoy. They all come from Him alone, and if He so willed He could take them all away from you in the blink of an eye. Does He not deserve that you should your gratitude for these innumerable blessings by doing what He commands and avoiding what He has forbidden, which is the essence of the worship for which you were created. With regard to your saying why should I set myself straight, Allaah has stated the reason why He created death and life in this world. It is so that you may know the greater reality which, once a man knows it, he cannot have any peace of mind until he attains the pleasure of Allaah and meets Him in Paradise. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Who has created death and life that He may test you which of you is best in deed. And He is the All‑Mighty, the Oft‑Forgiving”
So you should understand this and understand that your Creator is testing you now, in this world, to see what you will do and to recompense you accordingly on the Day when you meet Him – if it is good then you will be rewarded and if it is bad then you will be punished – and you should understand that after death man will never be left neglected, rather he will be recompensed according to his deeds as Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Does man think that he will be left neglected (without being punished or rewarded for the obligatory duties enjoined by his Lord Allaah on him)?”
Based on this, you will notice that Allaah often describes in His Book what He has prepared for His slaves who do good in this world, for in the Hereafter they will have with Him Paradise that is as wide as the heavens and the earth, in which there is what no eye has seen, no ear has heard and it has not entered the heart of man. And He also often describes what He has prepared for those who do evil and neglect His rights over them; it is blazing Fire in which they will neither live nor die, in which He has prepared all kinds of humiliation and torment which would cause a child’s hair to turn white if he heard of them, let alone saw them with his own eyes. We ask Allaah to keep us and you safe from it.
After knowing all this, is it befitting for you to dare to go against His commands or to live for any purpose other than that for which you have been created? By Allaah the poet spoke the truth when he said:
If when we die we are abandoned, then death would be the end of every living thing
But when we die we will be resurrected and asked after that about everything.
Undoubtedly the anxiety and worry that you are feeling make you wish for death; that is because you have lost the sense of this noble, divinely-ordained goal. The greatest and most enjoyable thing in this universe is to be a true slave of Allaah. So beware of turning away from your Lord and becoming far away from Him, for you will return to Him even if you live a very long life, as Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“O man! Verily, you are returning towards your Lord with your deeds and actions (good or bad), a sure returning, and you will meet (the results of your deeds which you did).”
Beware lest you meet Him having turned away from Him, and the following words apply to you (interpretation of the meaning):
“But whosoever turns away from My Reminder (i.e. neither believes in this Qur’aan nor acts on its teachings) verily, for him is a life of hardship, and We shall raise him up blind on the Day of Resurrection.
125. He will say: ‘O my Lord! Why have you raised me up blind, while I had sight (before).’
126. (Allaah) will say: ‘Like this: Our Ayaat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) came unto you, but you disregarded them (i.e. you left them, did not think deeply in them, and you turned away from them), and so this Day, you will be neglected (in the Hell‑fire, away from Allaah’s Mercy).’
127. And thus do We requite him who transgresses beyond bounds [i.e. commits the great sins and disobeys his Lord (Allaah) and believes not in His Messengers, and His revealed Books, like this Qur’aan], and believes not in the Ayaat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) of his Lord; and the torment of the Hereafter is far more severe and more lasting”
So hasten to repent sincerely, and you will find a Lord Who is generous and rejoices over His slave when he repents, and is pleased with him when he repents. Indeed He bestows such love and mercy upon him that has never crossed anyone’s mind. So what are you waiting for? Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“So flee to Allaah (from His Torment to His Mercy – Islamic Monotheism). Verily, I (Muhammad) am a plain warner to you from Him”
Once you have understood this, then note – may Allaah help you to do that which pleases Him – that this great blessing, salvation from that painful torment and success in this great test can only be attained by means of hard work and difficulty which requires patience, perseverance and longsuffering. But it is a hardship that will quickly pass and suffering that will soon end, to be followed by eternal bliss and everlasting pleasure. What is a little hardship and pain when compared with eternal delight and everlasting joy.
We ask Allaah to bless us all with His bounty and His Paradise…
In conclusion, I would like to leave you with these great verses from the Book of Allaah, which He revealed to His slave Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) to be a healing for the hearts of the believers and a remedy for their ills, so read them and ponder their meaning, so that Allaah may make them a balm and a healing for the anxiety and distress that you are suffering.
Our Lord said (interpretation of the meaning):
“Verily, those who say: ‘Our Lord is Allaah (Alone),’ and then they stand firm, on them the angels will descend (at the time of their death) (saying): ‘Fear not, nor grieve! But receive the glad tidings of Paradise which you have been promised!
31. ‘We have been your friends in the life of this world and are (so) in the Hereafter. Therein you shall have (all) that your inner‑selves desire, and therein you shall have (all) for which you ask.
32. ‘An entertainment from (Allaah), the Oft‑Forgiving, Most Merciful’”
“Verily, those who say: ‘Our Lord is (only) Allaah,’ and thereafter stand firm (on the Islamic Faith of Monotheism), on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.
14. Such shall be the dwellers of Paradise, abiding therein (forever) -a reward for what they used to do”
“O you who believe! Fear Allaah and keep your duty to Him. And let every person look to what he has sent forth for the morrow, and fear Allaah. Verily, Allaah is All‑Aware of what you do.
19. And be not like those who forgot Allaah (i.e. became disobedient to Allaah), and He caused them to forget their ownselves (let them to forget to do righteous deeds). Those are the Faasiqoon (rebellious, disobedient to Allaah).
20. Not equal are the dwellers of the Fire and the dwellers of the Paradise. It is the dwellers of Paradise that will be successful”
And there are many other verses which explain this great truth clearly. So you must turn to the Book of Allaah, in which you will find all that is good, and keep away from everything that is bad and evil.
I ask Allaah to open your heart to goodness and to make you steadfast in adhering to it until you meet Him; and to keep evil away from you, for He is All-Hearing, Ever-Near. And Allaah knows best.