A person is like a flourmill, which is only useful if it churns wheat in flour. Likewise, a person is useful and worthy in this world only with dhikr. Just like stagnant, standing water becomes a breeding ground for filth, an empty and carefree mind becomes a hive for useless and scorned thoughts.
The shaytan’s first efforts are to make a person neglectful and forgetful of the remembrance of Allah. In war, the first thing victors do is to disarm their prisoners of war. Likewise, the first thing that shaytan does once he overcomes someone is to make him forgetful of Allah . Allah says in the Holy Qur’an:
اسْتَحْوَذَ عَلَيْهِمُ الشَّيْطَانُ فَأَنْسَاهُمْ ذِكْرَ اللَّهِ
The shaytan got the better of them: So he made them forget the remembrance of Allah (58:19)
A hadith tells us that the shaytan says, “I ruined mankind through sin, and mankind ruined me through la ilaha il Allah.”
Sow the seeds of good deeds every moment of your life so that one day you will find a garden. Each second of time is like a piece of gold. Just as grains of sand together form a sand dune, seconds of time form a man’s life. You must have learned in your science class that celestial objects are always in motion, and so this is a sign from nature that we too should always be involved in work and not remain stagnant. Those who merely fill their stomachs are animals, those who do no work are without life, and those who have the habit of hard work are true men.
Only if we work hard in this life will we have peace and comfort in the Hereafter. People should work hard and be ill at ease so that they can be in comfort later. Protect yourself from distracting thoughts, and propel yourself forward in dhikr and suluk [spiritual development] with determination. A man must do one task very well, and not multiple tasks haphazardly. Our masha’ikh [elders] have referred to this as the main route of progress in tasawwuf.