Category Archives: Character/Self-improvement/How to Guide

New Year’s Resolution: Become an Upright Young Person

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I was reading Shaykh Uthaymeen (May Allah have mercy on him)’s book Youth’s Problems: Issues that Affect Young People. Never have I read a book of Shaykh Uthaymeen, except that his wisdom, insight, and depth of knowledge amazed me.  In this short booklet, the Shaykh provided a description of an upright young person, and I said to myself, “how wonderful would it be if I could describe myself with this description.” So, I have decided to use Shaykh Uthaymeen’s description of an upright young person as my new year’s resolution for 2015 instead of drafting that of my own.

(If you read the following excerpt carefully, you will notice that even while describing an upright young person, the Shaykh first introduced Islam, and then introduced eeman. The Shaykh has a famous booklet titled The Explanation of the Fundamentals of Islamic Belief. Even in that booklet of Islamic belief, the Shaykh first talked about the five pillars of Islam before talking about eeman. This shows the depth of Shaykh’s understanding and the consistency of his methodology.)

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Upright young people are believers – in every sense of the word. They believe in their religion in such a way that they love it and are convinced by and content with it. They regard embracing it as profit and denial of it as a clear loss.

They sincerely worship Allah alone and follow the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) in their words and deeds because of their belief that he was truly a Messenger of Allah and that he is the leader that should be followed.

They observe salah (obligatory prayer) perfectly to the best of their abilities because they believe in its temporal, eternal, and social benefits and advantages as well as in woeful consequences of its neglect for individuals and nations.

They pay zakah (obligatory fixed alms) fully to those who deserve it because they believe that it satisfies the needs of Islam and Muslims: a reason that makes it one of the pillars of Islam.

They fast in the month of Ramadan and abandon their desires and pleasures, whether in winter or summer, because they believe that it pleases Allah and therefore give what pleases Him preference over their own desires.

They perform the obligatory pilgrimage (Hajj) to the Sacred House of Allah because they love Allah and as a result love His House. They go to places of His mercy and forgiveness and share their experiences with their Muslim brothers and sisters who also visit those places.

They believe that it is Allah who created them as well as the heavens and the earth because they see in the signs of Allah that which leaves no iota of doubt or reluctance in the fact that Allah exists. They see in this universe – vast and marvelous in its shape and order – a decisive proof of the existence, the perfect ability, and the extreme wisdom of its Creator for it is impossible for it to create itself. They know it is also out of the question for it to exist accidentally because it was non-existent before it was created and a thing that is non-existent cannot make another exist because the thing itself is non-existent. They realize it is unfeasible for the universe to exist accidentally because it has a wonderful and symmetrical order that does not change or deviate from the path on which it is destined to move. Allah (subhanau wa t’ala) says:

فَلَن تَجِدَ لِسُنَّتِ اللَّهِ تَبْدِيلًا ۖ وَلَن تَجِدَ لِسُنَّتِ اللَّهِ تَحْوِيلًا

But you will never find in the way of Allah any change, and you will never find in the way of Allah any alteration. [The Noble Quran 35:43]

He also says:

الَّذِي خَلَقَ سَبْعَ سَمَاوَاتٍ طِبَاقًا ۖ مَّا تَرَىٰ فِي خَلْقِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ مِن تَفَاوُتٍ ۖ فَارْجِعِ الْبَصَرَ هَلْ تَرَىٰ مِن فُطُورٍ

ثُمَّ ارْجِعِ الْبَصَرَ كَرَّتَيْنِ يَنقَلِبْ إِلَيْكَ الْبَصَرُ خَاسِئًا وَهُوَ حَسِيرٌ

[And] who created seven heavens in layers. You do not see in the creation of the Most Merciful any inconsistency. So return [your] vision [to the sky]; do you see any breaks? Then return [your] vision twice again. [Your] vision will return to you humbled while it is fatigued. [The Noble Quran 67:3-4]

If it is agreed that this universe possesses such a marvelous and well-arranged order, it is impossible for it to have existed accidentally because whatever accidentally exists will, as a result, be prone to changes and disruption at any moment.

The upright youth believe in Allah’s angels because He speaks about them in His Book and because His Prophet (ﷺ) also spoke about them in the Sunnah. The Qur’an and Sunnah contain many of their descriptions, acts of worship, and the works they carry out that are for the benefit of all creatures, which give us clear-cut evidence of their real existence.

They believe in the Books of Allah which He revealed to His Prophets, that with them they may guide humankind to the straight path, because it is impossible for human intellect to perceive the detailed benefits inherent in acts of worship and human interaction without divine guidance.

They believe that Allah’s Prophets and Messengers were sent to call people to all that is virtuous, enjoin all that is good, and forbid all that is evil so that the human race should have no plea against Allah after the coming of the Messengers. The first of them was Adam and the last of them was Muhammad, may the best of blessings and peace be upon all of them.

They believe in the Last Day: the day people will be resurrected after their deaths in order to be rewarded for their deeds. Whoever does an atom weight of good will see it and whoever does an atom weight of evil will see it [The Noble Quran 99: 7-8], for that is the result of this life. If this were not so, what then is the logical reason behind it if humankind does not have a day in which good-doers will be rewarded for their good deeds day and evil-doers will be compensated for their evil acts?

They believe in predestination, including that it can be good or evil. They accept that everything is in accordance with Allah’s ordainment and predestination, while believing in causes and effects and that prosperity and misery have their respective causes.

These young people practice their religion with total sincerity to Allah, His Messenger, Muslim leaders, and Muslim common folk*. They deal with their fellow Muslims with the straightforwardness and clarity with which they would like to be treated. Treachery, malpractice, crookedness, or hiding facts have place in their dealings.

They call to the way of Allah with clear knowledge and in accordance with the methods explained by Allah in His Book. Allah, the Exalted, says:

ادْعُ إِلَىٰ سَبِيلِ رَبِّكَ بِالْحِكْمَةِ وَالْمَوْعِظَةِ الْحَسَنَةِ ۖ وَجَادِلْهُم بِالَّتِي هِيَ أَحْسَنُ ۚ إِنَّ رَبَّكَ هُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِمَن ضَلَّ عَن سَبِيلِهِ ۖ وَهُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِالْمُهْتَدِينَ

Invite to the way of your Lord with wisdom and good instruction, and argue with them in a way that is best. Indeed, your Lord is most knowing of who has strayed from His way, and He is most knowing of who is [rightly] guided. [The Noble Quran 16:125]

They enjoin all that is good and forbid all that is evil because they believe that the prosperity of communities and nations lies in that which Allah has specified in the glorious Qur’an:

كُنتُمْ خَيْرَ أُمَّةٍ أُخْرِجَتْ لِلنَّاسِ تَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَتَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ وَتُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّهِ ۗ وَلَوْ آمَنَ أَهْلُ الْكِتَابِ لَكَانَ خَيْرًا لَّهُم ۚ مِّنْهُمُ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ وَأَكْثَرُهُمُ الْفَاسِقُونَ

You are the best nation produced [as an example] for mankind. You enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong and believe in Allah . If only the People of the Scripture had believed, it would have been better for them. Among them are believers, but most of them are defiantly disobedient. [The Noble Quran 3:110]

They strive to change all that is evil according to the method recommended by the Prophet (ﷺ) when he said: “Whoever of you sees an evil action let him correct it with his hand, and if he is unable to do that then with his tongue, and if he is unable to do so then with his heart.” (Recorded by Muslim) They speak and accept only the truth because of their understanding that truthfulness leads to righteousness and righteousness leads to paradise, and that a person keeps on telling the truth until he or she becomes a truthful person.

They love what is good for their Muslim brothers and sisters because of their belief in the hadith: “None of you truly believes until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.” (Recorded by Bukhari and Muslim)

They are aware of their responsibilities to Allah, the Ummah, and their countries and they always strive for the benefit of the religion, the Islamic nation, and their homelands -far from selfishness and pursuance of personal interests at the expense of other people’s interests.

They strive in the way of Allah with His assistance and because of Him only. They strive with sincerity to Him without intending to be seen or heard by people. They strive while seeking assistance from Allah without self-admiration or depending on their wits and energy alone. They strive in the way of Allah within the framework of His religion without exaggeration or negligence. They strive with their words, hands, and property in accordance with the needs of Islam and Muslims.

They are religious and possess good conduct. They are well-mannered, religiously upright, lenient, magnanimous, noble, good-hearted, extremely patient, and tolerant but decisive. They do not waste opportunities or allow sentiments to overpower their sense of reason and the establishment of peace and order.

The balanced and orderly young people work wisely and silently with perfection and quality. They do not waste any opportunities in their lives but rather utilize them in what is of benefit to them and their Ummah. These young people, though they preserve their religion, conduct, and manners, are nevertheless abstentious from all that negate these virtues, such as kufr (disbelief), atheism, profligacy, disobedience, indecent manners, and bad dealings.

These young people are a pride for this Ummah and the symbol of its life, its prosperity, and its religion. They are those whom we hope Allah will use to repair the Muslims’ damaged condition and illuminate the way for the followers of the right path. They are those who shall attain the bliss of this world and the next, Allah willing.
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*This is a reference to a hadith recorded by Muslim: The Prophet (ﷺ) said: Religion is sincerity. We said: To whom? He said: To Allah and His Book and His Messenger, and to the leaders of the Muslims and their common folk.

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O Allah! Turn me and turn all the Muslim young people into upright young people.

O My Brother! Will You Not Lower Your Gaze?

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(This write-up is a transcription of the poignant story narrated by Shaykh Kamal El-Mekki at the end of his lecture The Forbidden Love)

His name was Tha’laba ibn Abdur Rahman (رضى الله عنه). He was a young man about the age of sixteen. He used to always run errands for the Prophet (ﷺ). He (ﷺ) would send him here and there to do something. One day the Prophet (ﷺ) sent him to do something and he was walking through the city of Madinah. He passed by a house with an open door. He glanced inside and saw a type of curtain that they used (during their time) to cover the shower area. The wind blew that curtain and Tha’laba (رضى الله عنه) saw a Muslim woman inside, who was bathing. And it was as if he glanced for a bit too long, until he saw something. And then he came to his senses. Thereafter, he was overtaken by an extreme feeling of guilt and hypocrisy. He said to himself, “Audhubillah (I seek refuge with Allah)! How can I be of the companions of the Prophet (ﷺ), one who is close to him (ﷺ), who runs his (ﷺ) errands, and be so horrible as to disrespect people’s privacy?” Then he said (to himself), “I disrespected the awarh of the Muslims, Allah will send an ayah and reveal and mention me with the hypocrites.” He feared to return to the Prophet (ﷺ), fearing that the Prophet (ﷺ) would tell him that he is a hypocrite. So he ran away.

The Prophet (ﷺ) waited for him for hours. He (ﷺ) waited from one period to the next. Then he (ﷺ) started to ask about him as the days went by. The Prophet (ﷺ) would ask, “Have you seen Tha’laba?” Days passed. So (one day) he (ﷺ) sent Umar ibn al-Khattaab (رضى الله عنه) and Salman al-Faarisi (رضى الله عنه) to go and look for him in the streets of Madinah. They came back and said, “O Prophet of Allah! We searched for him in the roads, the markets, and the meadows, and we could not find him. Perhaps he will come back.” So the Prophet (ﷺ) waited.

After a while, the Prophet (ﷺ) said, “O Omar! O Salman! Go and look for him in the outskirts of Madinah.” So they went and came to a set of mountains between Makkah and Madinah, where some nomads were herding their goats. The nomads saw that the companions were looking for something. They asked them, “Are you looking for something?” They said, “We are looking for a boy. His description is such and such.” They said, “Perhaps you are looking for al-fatal bakka, the young man who is always crying.”

Omar said, “I do not know about that. We are looking for a boy with such and such description. But what about this young boy you are talking about?” They said, “On the other side of this mountain is a young man, and for forty days we heard nothing from him but crying and istigfaar.

So Omar (رضى الله عنه) asked, “When does he come down?

They said, “When the sun sets, he comes to us. We give him a little bit of milk. He drinks it while he is mixing his tears with it (meaning while he is drinking, he is still crying), and then he goes up to the mountain again while he is crying.”

Then Omar (رضى الله عنه) asked, “How can we see him?” “When the sun sets,” replied the Arabs.

So Omar and Salman (رضى الله عنهمَا) hid, and when the sun set, Tha’laba ibn Abdur Rahman (رضى الله عنه) came down, looking sad and dejected. His head was lowered and tears were running down his face. He had lost a lot of weight. He came to the Arabs and they gave him some milk. He took it and brought it to his mouth, but he began to cry so much that he could not drink. Finally he drank what he could and he turned to go back to the mountain.

Then Omar and Salman (رضى الله عنهمَا) came to him, and when he saw them, he was so scared that he said, “What do you want from me?” They said, “The Prophet (ﷺ) wants you.”

Tha’laba asked, “What does he want from me?” They said, “We do not know.” He said, “Did Allah reveal ayah about me?” They said, “We do not know.” He asked, “Did Allah mentioned me with the hypocrites?” They said, “We do not know.” He said, “People! Please do not embarrass me. Leave me to die alone on the side of this mountain.” So they said, “By Allah! We won’t leave you.”

So he struggled but they took him back to Madinah. And they took him to his home. He was crying harder than ever. Omar (رضى الله عنه) went and told the Prophet (ﷺ) that they had found Tha’laba ibn Abdur Rahman.

He (ﷺ) asked, “Where did you find him?” Omar (رضى الله عنه) said, “We found him on the side of a mountain. And he is at home now. You can visit him if you like.”

The Prophet (ﷺ) went and entered upon him (Tha’laba). When he saw the Prophet (ﷺ), he was so scared that he screamed out, “O Messenger of Allah! Has Allah revealed ayah about me?” The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “No.” “Has Allah mentioned me with the hypocrites?” The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “No.” Then Tha’laba increased in crying. The Prophet (ﷺ) sat near him. He (ﷺ) took his head and put it on his blessed thigh.

Tha’laba cried and said, “O Prophet of Allah! Remove a head that is full of sins and transgressions. I am lesser and not deserving.”

The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “No.”

Then the Prophet (ﷺ) asked him, “O Thalaba! What do you wish for?” He said, “I wish for the mercy of Allah subhanau wat’ala.”

“And what are you afraid of?” He said, “I am afraid of the punishment of Allah.”

The Prophet (ﷺ) made dua for him while he (Tha’laba) was crying. Tha’laba (رضى الله عنه) said, “Ask forgiveness for me, O Prophet of Allah!”

Suddenly Tha’laba (رضى الله عنه) jolted and (his body) shook. He said to the Prophet (ﷺ), “I feel as though ants are walking between my flesh and my bones.”

The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Do you feel that? That is death and it is coming to you.”

Then Tha’laba kept saying the shahadah and istigfaar until the soul left his body. When he died, the Prophet (ﷺ) washed him, covered him, and led the prayer over him. While they (the companions) were carrying him over to the cemetery, the Prophet (ﷺ) was walking behind his body, but he (ﷺ) was walking on the tip of his toes, as if it was very crowded. Omar (رضى الله عنه) said, “O Messenger of Allah! You are walking on the tip of your toes, but people have given you a lot of room.” He (ﷺ) said, “O Omar! May Allah have mercy of you! By Allah! I do not find a place to put my foot because of how the angels are crowding me over him.”

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O my brothers in faith! Knowing the high standard this companion set for us, will you not lower your gaze? Will you not stop humiliating yourself by looking at something that Allah did not allow us to look at? What will you reply when Allah asks you the following questions on the Day of Judgement?

O My Slave! What had made you careless concerning your Lord, the Most Generous?

O My Slave! What did you do to please Me?

O My Slave! Why did you not fear Me?

O My Slave! How did you receive the call of the Messenger?

O My Slave! You used to look to what was unlawful, although you knew I was watching over you.

O My Slave! You used to listen what was forbidden although you knew I heard what you were listening to.

O My Slave! You used to utter what was unlawful although I was there to listen to you.

Was I not there to see you while you were walking to unlawful places, where sins were committed?

Was I not there to watch your heart and know your evil desires and intentions?

Did you not deny My existence and My Power over you?

Will you not follow the command of Allah, the Mighty and the Most High, where He said:

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Tell the believing men to lower their gaze (from looking at forbidden things), and protect their private parts (from illegal sexual acts, etc.). That is purer for them. Verily, Allah is All-Aware of what they do. [The Noble Quran 24:30]

10 Most Lousy Excuses

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When we enjoin good and forbid evil, it is common to encounter excuses from the ones who we are advising. Excuse is a kind of defense mechanism people use when confronted with the truth. In this article, I have listed ten most common excuses we usually come across while giving Islamic advice, and explained in detail how you can refute each of these excuses.

01. You are being judgmental
“You are being judgmental” is the most common excuse of our time, especially in online discussions. I am not saying here in any way that we never come across as judgmental. Sometimes we do. However, the opposite is also true. Sometimes, as soon as we give advice, ‘do not judge me’ is hurled out, and the recipients of our advice wrongly assume that we were trying to prove ourselves better than them.

Although ‘don’t judge me’ and the other variants of this excuse can be startling for the advice giver, there are many easy rebuttals of this excuse:

First, when someone says “you are being judgmental” to the advice giver, he also ends up judging the intention of the advice giver. May be the advice giver was sincere and did not mean to judge. May be the advice giver has yet to attain some maturity in terms of how to give advice. Why not give the advice giver some benefit of doubt? Why do you immediately judge his intention?

Second, focus on what the advice is about, not on how it is given or who has given it.

02. My heart is pure
I am sure you have heard excuses in the following lines:

“I do not cover my hair but my heart is pure.”
“I am more spiritual than ritualistic.”
“I talk with girls but I keep my heart pure. Mental hijab is far more important than physical hijab.”

The rebuttals of such claims are also very easy:

First, when Allah revealed the laws of Islam, He revealed both the spirit of law and the letter of law. The spirit and the letter of law are not separable. For example, if someone does not fast but claims to have attained the spiritual high like a fasting person, no one would believe him. Everyone knows that the spiritual high of fasting is not attainable without abstaining from food and intimacy. At the same time, if the spirit is not observed, following the letter of law alone does not help much either. For example, if someone fasts, but engages in backbiting or sees lewd things while fasting, he will not benefit from his fasting at all. The Messenger of Allah said, “Whoever does not abandon falsehood in word and action, then Allah Mighty and Majestic has no need that he should leave his food and drink.”[Bukhari]

For those who claim to have pure hearts and spiritual nature, but do not comply with the letter of Sharia, they neither have pure hearts nor possess spirituality. As it has been demonstrated, spirituality cannot be separated from the letter of law. One cannot be achieved without the other. Without spirit, the letter of law becomes meaningless rituals. Without the letter of law, spirituality is nothing but wishful whims and desires. Allah has always coupled belief with good deeds in the Quran:

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But they who believe and do righteous deeds – those are the companions of Paradise; they will abide therein eternally. [The Noble Quran 2:82]

Second, no one can claim to have a purer heart than that of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ). Yet he (ﷺ) was the most meticulous in following the letter of each and every law of Islam.

Third, to cleanse the heart, one needs to do something. We study to pass exams. We sweep the floor to clean our houses. Similarly, to cleanse the heart, one must worship Allah, in the way it has been prescribed and shown by the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ).

Fourth, it is possible to have an inner state that is rebellious to the teachings of Islam, but the outer state or appearance may conceal it. For example, the hypocrites during the time of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) would pray in the mosque, but they had disbelief in their hearts. However, if the inner state is pure and conforms to the teachings of Islam, then it is impossible for the outer state or appearance to contradict the inner state. It is because inner transgression is easy to veil. For example, if someone does not transgress Allah in private, do you think he will disobey Allah in public? Similarly, if the heart obeys Allah, which is a private affair between Allah and the heart alone, then how is it possible for the outer appearance, which is visible to public, to disobey Allah?

Additionally, claim of possessing a pure heart is a very high level of praise, and even the companions of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) would not dare to shower them with such praise. Omar ibn Al-Khattab (رضى الله عنه) would often ask Hudhayfa ibn Al-Yaman (رضى الله عنه), whom the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) had vouchsafed the names of hypocrites, “Tell me O Hudhayfa! Am I among the hypocrites?” Hudhayfa (رضى الله عنه) would reply, “By Allah! No.” If Omar ibn Al-Khattab (رضى الله عنه) could not ascertain the purity of his heart, even though Shaytan would flee from him seeing his sincerity, how can we so easily claim that we have pure, spiritual hearts? Undoubtedly, such self-praise is the first step towards deviation.

03. I am not married
Last year mashaAllah a young, handsome, unmarried brother from Algeria had joined our company. Since Doha is very close to the holy city of Makkah, and the brother also earns a good salary, I suggested him that he finishes off his obligation of hajj.

“Go for hajj brother.”
“But I am not married.”
“So what? Did Allah make marriage a condition for hajj?”

The young Muslims of our time often harbor a dream where they imagine of reaching a spiritual utopia instantly after getting married. They dream of praying tahajjud, studying Arabic, learning beneficial knowledge, and doing hajj together with their spouse. They dream of waking their spouse for fajr prayer. These dreams are beautiful, but there are two problems when we focus too much on the dream and forget the reality. First, marriage is not a condition for doing acts of worship. We do not need a spouse to do hajj, pray tahajjud or fajr, and learn beneficial knowledge and Arabic. If an act of worship is obligatory, like praying fajr or doing hajj, then neglecting it using the excuse of not having a spouse is sinful. Second, there is a difference between dream and wishful thinking. Dream is something that you work for. Wishful thinking means you wish to get something miraculously without doing any work for it. For anyone who dreams of reaching a spiritual idealism right after marriage but does not prepare himself or herself while he or she is unmarried, that idealism will probably never become a reality. If you have never waked up for fajr, how can you think that marriage will suddenly make waking up for fajr your second nature? Performing any act of worship requires patience and practice, not marriage. Marriage is half of the deen. Half + Half = One. This is a simple equation. Therefore, each spouse must prepare his half or her half prior to marriage.

04. InShaAllah….make dua for me!
This excuse is given by those who procrastinate or who try to shy away from the advice given to them. There is a brother who rarely prays, and sometimes when I see him, I try to gently remind him the importance of prayer. Majority of the time he replies in the following lines:

“InShaAllah brother inShaAllah, make dua for me!”

One day I confronted him.

“Brother, inShaAllah I will make dua for you. But please tell me why you are working here. You didn’t just make dua and say InShaAllah and sit in your house expecting the salary to fall from the heaven, did you?”

The brother laughed it off.

The excuses of ‘Inshallah’ and ‘make dua for me’ have two problematic areas. Whenever someone gives excuses in these lines after you advise them, explain these problem areas:

First, dua alone cannot solve problems unless dua is associated with sincere intention to change, and Allah knows our intentions. If someone is exerting every possible effort for worldly matters, but uses ‘make dua for me’ to excuse him from religious obligations, then the intention to change is missing clearly. In such circumstance, the need for sincere intention should be explained.

Second, the word inShallah (if Allah wills) has some etiquette of usage attached with it. When someone says, “I will do it inShaAllah,” in factual sense, the phrase would mean that he is determined to do it unless Allah decrees otherwise, something that is beyond his control. However, if someone says “I will do it inShaAllah” and means that he will never do it, then it is as if he is using the Decree of Allah to hide his intention to never do it, and it is an abuse of the word inShaAllah. Muslims are not supposed to play with words, let alone religious words. Allah instructed us:

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O you who have believed, fear Allah and speak words of appropriate justice. [The Noble Quran 33:70]

05. Religion is personal matter
Many years ago my father once advised a relative of his to pray. And he answered that religion was his personal affair.

This notion that religious is personal business was invented by secularists, who wanted to seclude religion into personal lives. Unfortunately, many modernist Muslims have picked it up and use it as an excuse to shy away from religious obligations.

If someone says that religion is a personal matter, simply put the following counter questions:

If the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) were here, and gave you the same advice I have given you, would you tell him that religion is personal business?

If the religion was a personal matter, why did the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) go out and spread Islam?

If the religion was personal matter, why did Allah command us to enjoin good and forbid evil?

In a nutshell, statement that religion is personal matter is in complete contrary to Islam. It defeats the whole purpose of Islam. Islam is not a personal matter. It is the deen of Allah, and Allah will make His deen manifest even if the haters do not like it:

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They want to extinguish the light of Allah with their mouths, but Allah will perfect His light, although the disbelievers dislike it. [The Noble Quran 61:8]

06. Brother you are too extreme, I am a moderate Muslim
Some Muslims have unfortunately misunderstood the definition of moderation or the middle path. Shaykh Kamal El Mekki has given a proper definition of the middle way. In one of his lectures, he asked, who is in the middle? Obviously, the answer is the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ). He was not extreme and his noble sunnah is the middle way.

Therefore, when someone accuses you of extremism, judge the accusation in the light of the sunnah of Messenger of Allah (ﷺ), and see if the accusation holds or not.

“Son, why are you growing beards now? You are a young man. We do not want any extremism in our house.”

“What is the problem with shaking hands with non-mahram women? It is not that I am shaking their hands with desire. I think you are being extreme here.”

Let’s analyze these cases in the yardstick of sunnah. Did the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) grow bread? He (ﷺ) did. Therefore, growing beard is not extremism. It is the middle way. Did the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) ever shake hands with non-mahram women? He (ﷺ) did not. Therefore, refusing to shake hands with non-mahram women is not extremism. Rather, it is the middle way. It is the best example.

Muslims should be careful about the label of extremism. Extremism and the middle way have been clearly defined by the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ). If someone agrees with ‘extremism’ as defined by the West, the definition which basically aims to eliminate the laws of Islam all together, he may accuse the examples of Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) as extreme, and we seek refuge with Allah from ever using derogatory terms like ‘extreme’ to label the examples of Messenger of Allah (ﷺ), who left for us the best examples to follow. Allah said:

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There has certainly been for you in the Messenger of Allah an excellent pattern for anyone whose hope is in Allah and the Last Day and [who] remembers Allah often. [The Noble Quran 33:21]

07. Allah is All forgiving, the Most Merciful
This is another of the most common excuses.

“Brother, do not listen to music.”
“Brother, Allah is All Forgiving, Most Merciful.”

That Allah is All Forgiving and the Most Merciful is a factual statement. However, when this factual statement is used as an excuse to shy away from religious obligations, this becomes a statement of arrogance.

Why?

Because although Allah is All Forgiving and the Most Merciful, can anyone force Allah to show mercy or grant forgiveness? The answer is NO. No one can force Allah to do anything. Allah alone decides whether He will forgive or punish a transgressor. No one can have any say in this regard. Therefore, when someone continually transgresses the limits of Allah, and at the same time consoles him by saying that Allah is All Forgiving and the Most Merciful, his statement implicitly implies that Allah is bound to forgive him, whereas Allah is free from any obligation. And this is how a factual statement becomes a statement of arrogance, and this is how Shaytaan tricks human beings.

Allah has said in the Quran:

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[O Muhammad], inform My servants that it is I who am the Forgiving, the Merciful. And that it is My punishment which is the painful punishment. [The Noble Quran 15:49-50]

Allah also said:

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To Allah belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth. Whether you show what is within yourselves or conceal it, Allah will bring you to account for it. Then He will forgive whom He wills and punish whom He wills, and Allah is over all things competent. [The Noble Quran 2:284]

Like Allah mentioned that He is infinitely merciful, He also mentioned that He is the most severe in punishment. Therefore, for those who only focus on the Mercy of Allah and use the Mercy of Allah as an excuse to commit sins, they only fool themselves by consciously losing sight of Allah’s severe punishment, and by forgetting the fact that no one can force Allah to show mercy and grant forgiveness.

08. Trade off mentality/False consolation
“I do not pray five times a day, but I pray jumuah.”
“I do not cover my hair, but I dress moderately.”

This category of excuses contains elements of trade off mentality and false consolation.

Does jumuah compensate for the five daily prayers? There is no such compensation system in Islam. If you pray jumuah, you will be rewarded, but you would still be a disobedient slave for missing the daily prayers.

Similarly, dressing moderately does not compensate for keeping your hair uncovered. One may have mountains of good deeds, but a sin still remains a sin.

If you use your good deeds as a consolation for your failure in other areas, then know that such consolation is coming from the Shaytaan. If Allah asks you on the Day of Judgment for your certain shortcomings, will you be able to defend yourself by saying, “But at least I did such and such”?

Allah said:
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O you who have believed, enter into Islam completely [and perfectly] and do not follow the footsteps of Satan. Indeed, he is to you a clear enemy. [The Noble Quran 2:208]

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So do you believe in part of the Scripture and disbelieve in part? Then what is the recompense for those who do that among you except disgrace in worldly life; and on the Day of Resurrection they will be sent back to the severest of punishment. And Allah is not unaware of what you do. [The Noble Quran 2:85]

09. Religious people do evil………..
Except for the prophets and the messengers of Allah, no one can immaculately represent the religion in the real life. We live in an imperfect world. Therefore, it is only natural that our practical realization of religious teachings and ideals will fall short of the expected standard. The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said:

“All the sons of Adam are sinners and the best among the sinners are those who repent.” (Ahmad and others)

Since the religious people are also from the progeny of Adam, they are also sinners. They are not angels. However, using the transgressions of religious people to shy away from performing the obligations of religion is nothing but foolish.

“I have seen hijabi sisters with boyfriends.”
“I have seen shaykhs who are womanizers.”

If you do not wear hijab because you found hijabi sisters doing evil things under their veil, simply wear hijab and do not do the evil deeds they do. If you do not pray because you have found some shaykhs to be womanizers, simply pray and do not be a womanizer.

Ask yourself: Before Allah on the Day of Judgment, can you use the transgression of other Muslims as an excuse for your failure to obey the commands of Sharia? If the answer is no, why do you fool yourself with the excuse of ‘religious people do evil things’?

Moreover, your ultimate role model is the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ). Look upto him (ﷺ) and his companions as your role model, and the sins of religious people will not confuse you.

10. This is sunnah only
This is an excuse that should move us.

The hypocrites of Madinah first came up with this excuse. Whenever the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) would command the Muslims to do something, the hypocrites would first ask if the command was from Allah or from the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ). If they found that the command was from the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ), they would abandon the command.

The companions of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) were ever swift in following the sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ). They were actually literal in following the sunnah of the noble Messenger (ﷺ). One day the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) asked his companions to sit down. A companion was at the door of Prophet’s Mosque. As soon has he heard the Prophet (ﷺ)’s command, he sat down. He did not take a step further to sit inside the mosque. He sat down at the door.

Our relationship with the sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) should be emotional. How much we love him, respect him, and cherish him is directly linked with how much we follow his sunnah. Deeply thinking, if you do not follow the sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ), whether you like it or not, you indirectly show arrogance and make a statement that your way is better than the way of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ).

Take the example of eating and drinking with left hand. It is widely prevalent among the Muslims now. The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) never ate or drank with his left hand. Why do some Muslims eat and drink with left hands despite being reminded and ignore the sunnah? Aren’t they refusing to sacrifice their ego to obey the sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) and making a statement that their way is better?

Allah has exhorted numerous times in the Quran to obey His noble Messenger:

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It is not for a believing man or a believing woman, when Allah and His Messenger have decided a matter, that they should [thereafter] have any choice about their affair. And whoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger has certainly strayed into clear error. [The Noble Quran 33:36]

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But no, by your Lord, they will not [truly] believe until they make you, [O Muhammad], judge concerning that over which they dispute among themselves and then find within themselves no discomfort from what you have judged and submit in [full, willing] submission. [The Noble Quran 4:65]

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And whatever the Messenger has given you – take; and what he has forbidden you – refrain from. And fear Allah ; indeed, Allah is severe in penalty. [The Noble Quran 59:7]

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He who obeys the Messenger has obeyed Allah ; but those who turn away – We have not sent you over them as a guardian. [The Noble Quran 4:80]

We also need to think from another perspective. The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) dedicated his life to save us from the Fire of Hell. Whenever he saw someone upon misguidance, out of his genuine fear for what might befall from the punishment of Allah upon that person, he (ﷺ) would be grieved deeply. Allah has recorded His Messenger (ﷺ)’s genuine concern for his nation in the Quran:

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Verily, there has come unto you a Messenger (Muhammad SAW) from amongst yourselves (i.e. whom you know well). It grieves him that you should receive any injury or difficulty. He (Muhammad SAW) is anxious over you (to be rightly guided, to repent to Allah, and beg Him to pardon and forgive your sins, in order that you may enter Paradise and be saved from the punishment of the Hell-fire), for the believers (he SAW is) full of pity, kind, and merciful. [The Noble Quran 9:128]

It is thus fitting that Allah has prepared severe punishment for anyone who puts his ego over obedience to His Messenger (ﷺ):

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And whoever has not believed in Allah and His Messenger – then indeed, We have prepared for the disbelievers a Blaze. [The Noble Quran 48:13]

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And whoever opposes the Messenger after guidance has become clear to him and follows other than the way of the believers – We will give him what he has taken and drive him into Hell, and evil it is as a destination. [The Noble Quran 4:115]

O Allah! Make us among those who accept the truth as soon as it is presented without any excuse. Ameen!

35 Reasons of Why You Should Not Commit Sins

SIN

(I have written this whole article in second person. However, the ‘you’ used in this article first and foremost addresses me, the author.)

1. When you commit a sin, you show the audacity to go against Allah, who is Al-Qahhar, the Irresistible. Bilal bin Saad (may Allah have mercy on him) said, “Do not think about how small the sin is, but think about who you have just disobeyed.”

2. By sinning, you do dhulm (oppression) against your own soul. If you self-destruct yourself, who can help you? Didn’t Allah say,

وَمَا لِلظَّالِمِينَ مِنْ أَنصَارٍ

And for the wrongdoers there are no helpers. [The Noble Quran 3:192]

3. When you sin, you use the blessings of Allah to go against Him. Allah has created you. He provides for you. He clothes you. He makes your affair easy for you. He cures you when you are sick. Your existence depends on His blessings and His Mercy. Yet when you sin, you turn your back from all of His favors, and use them to transgress His limits. Can there be any greater ungratefulness than this?

4. Every time you sin, you risk dying in a state of rebellion against Allah. Allah has warned the believers in the following verse:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ حَقَّ تُقَاتِهِ وَلَا تَمُوتُنَّ إِلَّا وَأَنتُم مُّسْلِمُونَ

O you who have believed, fear Allah as He should be feared and do not die except as Muslims [in submission to Him]. [The Noble Quran 3:102]

When you are sinning, you are not submitting to Allah. And thus by sinning, whether you perceive it or not, you dare to meet your Lord in a state of transgression.

5. Whenever you sin, you gather witness against you. These witnesses include the angels, the surrounding where you commit sin, people who witness you sinning, your own limbs, the Quran, the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ), and Allah Himself. How do you think you will defend yourself when Allah shall bring all these witnesses on the Day of Judgment and they will testify against you? Allah said:

الْيَوْمَ نَخْتِمُ عَلَىٰ أَفْوَاهِهِمْ وَتُكَلِّمُنَا أَيْدِيهِمْ وَتَشْهَدُ أَرْجُلُهُم بِمَا كَانُوا يَكْسِبُونَ

That Day, We will seal over their mouths, and their hands will speak to Us, and their feet will testify about what they used to earn. [The Noble Quran 36:65]

When the following verse was recited to the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ), his eyes were full of tears:

فَكَيْفَ إِذَا جِئْنَا مِن كُلِّ أُمَّةٍ بِشَهِيدٍ وَجِئْنَا بِكَ عَلَىٰ هَٰؤُلَاءِ شَهِيدًا

 
So how [will it be] when We bring from every nation a witness and we bring you, [O Muhammad] against these [people] as a witness? [The Noble Quran 4:41]

Wouldn’t it be a sad moment if the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ), having striven so hard to save yourself from the Fire of Hell, has to testify against you on the Day of Judgment because of your sins?

6. This life is a gift from Allah. Allah has given you this gift so that you can use it and build a memorable legacy with Him and earn His pleasure through your actions. When you commit sins, you build a legacy that you will not want to be presented with on the Day of Judgment. Allah said in the Quran:

وَوُضِعَ الْكِتَابُ فَتَرَى الْمُجْرِمِينَ مُشْفِقِينَ مِمَّا فِيهِ وَيَقُولُونَ يَا وَيْلَتَنَا مَالِ هَٰذَا الْكِتَابِ لَا يُغَادِرُ صَغِيرَةً وَلَا كَبِيرَةً إِلَّا أَحْصَاهَا ۚ وَوَجَدُوا مَا عَمِلُوا حَاضِرًا ۗ وَلَا يَظْلِمُ رَبُّكَ أَحَدًا

And the record [of deeds] will be placed [open], and you will see the criminals fearful of that within it, and they will say, “Oh, woe to us! What is this book that leaves nothing small or great except that it has enumerated it?” And they will find what they did present [before them]. And your Lord does injustice to no one.   [The Noble Quran 18:49]

7. Sin will harden your heart. The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) described this process of hardening of heart in this saying: “Verily, when the believer commits a sin, a black spot appears upon his heart. If he repents and abandons the sin and seeks forgiveness, his heart will be polished; but if he increases in sin, the blackness increases. That is the covering which Allah has mentioned in his Book:

كَلَّا ۖ بَلْ ۜ رَانَ عَلَىٰ قُلُوبِهِم مَّا كَانُوا يَكْسِبُونَ

No! Rather, the stain has covered their hearts of that which they were earning. [The Noble Quran 83:14] [Sunan Ibn Majah]

The softness of the heart is achieved through remembering Allah and learning beneficial knowledge, namely the Quran and the Sunnah. Allah described them as the life giver of heart:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اسْتَجِيبُوا لِلَّهِ وَلِلرَّسُولِ إِذَا دَعَاكُمْ لِمَا يُحْيِيكُمْ

O you who have believed, respond to Allah and to the Messenger when he calls you to that which gives you life. [The Noble Quran 8:24]

 

When you commit sins, the black spots accumulated over the heart blocks the way to its life givers, and the heart loses its softness. The more you sin, the more black spots you will have on your heart, and the more black spots you have over your heart, the bigger will be your audacity to go against Allah.

8. Sin weakens your power to repent. This is the outcome of hardening of heart. A boy once kissed a girl and he came to his shaykh crying. The shaykh advised him and he repented to Allah. Unfortunately, he continued in his sin, and later he came to the shaykh to know if he had to make ghusl because he had committed zina. This time he was not crying. Such was the hardening of his heart, and such fragile his power to repent and feel remorseful had become.

Also, the ability to repent comes from AllahIf Allah wills, He may snatch your ability to repent. Therefore, every time you commit a sin, you put yourself in the risk of dying of without repenting.

9. Sin distorts your firah (innate natural disposition). An example of it is the widespread proliferation of homosexuality. Allah put in the fitrah of human beings that opposite sexes will attract each other. However, the sin of homosexuality has been practiced so overzealously that people have lost their natural disposition, and now actually believes that homosexuality is natural.

10. Sin, if not repented from, is followed by regret, often in this world and definitely in the next world.

11. Sin prevents you from doing further acts of obedience. A man came to Hasan Al-Basri (May Allah have mercy on him) and said, “I heard you say that if you commit sins, then Allah prevents you from things. I do all the sins that you can think of and don’t do many good deeds. I have a beautiful wife and beautiful kids and a lot of money and land and am successful. Allah did not prevent me from anything. How is it that you say that because of sins Allah prevents you?” Al-Basri asked, “Do you pray qiyam al-layl? Do you enjoy your dua? Do you enjoy your salah? That is enough prevention that He prevented you from communicating with Him.”

12. Sin may deprive you of or reduce your beneficial Islamic knowledge. Imam Ash-Shafi’i said that once he complained to Wakee’ that he was not able to memorize and retain as much as he wished to. Wakee’ said to him, “Abandon disobedience of Allah. Knowledge is light and the light of Allah is not given to those who are disobedient. Allah said in the Quran:

وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ ۖ وَيُعَلِّمُكُمُ اللَّهُ ۗ

And fear Allah. And Allah teaches you. [The Noble Quran 2:282]

If you sin, it means you are lacking in taqwa, and if you are lacking in taqwa, Allah will not bless you with knowledge either.

13. Sin decreases or deprives you of your provision. In the Musnad of Imam Ahmad it is narrated that Thawbaan (رضى الله عنه) said: The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “A man may be deprived of provision because of a sin that he commits.” [The hadeeth has been classed as hasan by Shaykh Albani (May Allah have mercy upon him)]

14. Sin will decrease the radiance of you face. ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbaas (رضى الله عنه) said, “Good deeds produce radiance on the face and light in the heart, increase provision, physical strength, and the love of others. Bad deeds produce ‘blackness’ in the face, darkness in the heart, physical weakness, inadequate provision and the hatred of others.”

15. When you sin, you obey Shaitaan, the cursed creature who wishes nothing but to drag you to the fire of Hell, and you disobey Allah, the Most Merciful who wishes for you maghfirah and paradise. Yet, the promise of Allah is true and the promise Shaitaan is false, and Shaitaan will desert you on the Day of Judgment:

وَقَالَ الشَّيْطَانُ لَمَّا قُضِيَ الْأَمْرُ إِنَّ اللَّهَ وَعَدَكُمْ وَعْدَ الْحَقِّ وَوَعَدتُّكُمْ فَأَخْلَفْتُكُمْ ۖ وَمَا كَانَ لِيَ عَلَيْكُم مِّن سُلْطَانٍ إِلَّا أَن دَعَوْتُكُمْ فَاسْتَجَبْتُمْ لِي ۖ فَلَا تَلُومُونِي وَلُومُوا أَنفُسَكُم ۖ مَّا أَنَا بِمُصْرِخِكُمْ وَمَا أَنتُم بِمُصْرِخِيَّ ۖ إِنِّي كَفَرْتُ بِمَا أَشْرَكْتُمُونِ مِن قَبْلُ ۗ إِنَّ الظَّالِمِينَ لَهُمْ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ

And Satan will say when the matter has been concluded, “Indeed, Allah had promised you the promise of truth. And I promised you, but I betrayed you. But I had no authority over you except that I invited you, and you responded to me. So do not blame me; but blame yourselves. I cannot be called to your aid, nor can you be called to my aid. Indeed, I deny your association of me [with Allah] before. Indeed, for the wrongdoers is a painful punishment.” [The Noble Quran 14:22]

16. Sin is a cause of rejection of your dua.

17. Sinning means you are careless and you are not sincere regarding your covenant with Allah. A sincere believer never wavers regarding his covenant with Allah. Allah said about them:

مِّنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ رِجَالٌ صَدَقُوا مَا عَاهَدُوا اللَّهَ عَلَيْهِ ۖ فَمِنْهُم مَّن قَضَىٰ نَحْبَهُ وَمِنْهُم مَّن يَنتَظِرُ ۖ وَمَا بَدَّلُوا تَبْدِيلًا

Among the believers are men who have been true to their covenant with Allah, of them some have fulfilled their obligations, and some of them are still waiting, but they have never changed [i.e.they never proved treacherous to their covenant which they concluded with Allah] in the least. [The Noble Quran 33:23]

18. Committing sin means you have not fully submitted. How can you have submitted to the will of Allah when you are giving preference to you own desire over the will of Allah?

19. Sinning means you have lack of patience. Compared to eternity, this worldly life of 60-70 years is nothing. Allah wants to see your patience for this negligible amount of time. The moment you sin, you record a failure in this test of patience.

20. When you commit sins, you lose the sweetness of faith. When your imaan is high, you feel a sense of peace and satisfaction when you do good deeds. However, as soon as you commit a sin, your imaan suffers and you feel alienated from Allah. Consequently, you do not feel the sweetness from your worship anymore.

21. Sin makes you obsessed with worldly life and it makes you forget the hereafter.

22. If you commit sin, you will inevitably lose the khushoo of your salah.

23. By sinning, you will lose the taste of halal. For example, the men who do not lower their gaze from haram things will not find tranquility with their wives.

24. By sinning, you may gain a temporary worldly pleasure but you will lose your inner happiness and tranquility.

25. Sin is a waste of time and resources.

26. Sin may cause the barkah (blessing) to be lifted from your resources. For example, money earned though illegal means do not have any barakah.

27. Allah makes the affairs of the sinners difficult, whereas for those who fear Him, He makes a way out for them. He said:

وَمَن يَتَّقِ اللَّهَ يَجْعَل لَّهُ مَخْرَجًا

 
And whosoever fears Allah and keeps his duty to Him, He will make a way for him to get out (from every difficulty). [The Noble Quran 65:2]

28. Sin weakens your will power to stay away from sin. Committing the sin first time is difficult. Because when you approach towards the sin, you receive a great resistance from your imaan. Once you commit the sin, the power of your resistance decreases. If you do not repent, it will continue to weaken your will power, and finally it may reach a point where you may not feel any repugnance towards sin. At that stage, committing sins become habitual. Abdullah ibn Mas’ud (رضى الله عنه) said, “The believer sees his sins as if he is sitting at the foot of a mountain fearing that it might fall on him, while the sinner sees his sins as a fly that lands on his nose, he just waves it away.

29. In Islam, good character begins with Allah. He is the most deserving of your good conduct. You show good character with Allah by fulfilling His obligations, staying away from His prohibitions, and remaining pleased with His decree. When you commit a sin, you violate the rights of Allah, and in the process, you show bad character with Him.

30. When you commit a sin, you either consciously or non-consciously forget the fact that Allah is ever watchful of you and your actions. If you willfully choose to forget that Allah is watching over you, and this mostly happens when sins are committed secretly, your heart will become filled with hypocrisy. Isn’t it hypocritical that your fear and shame of people are more than that of Allah? Isn’t it hypocritical that you save your best face for people but you reserve the worst for Allah?

31. Sin will lower your self-esteem and confidence. Being Muslims, we believe that our sense of self-worth comes from obeying Allah and His Messenger (ﷺ). Everything that Allah and His Messenger (ﷺ) commanded or prohibited is in complete harmony with our fitrah and the laws that Allah has subjugated this universe to. When you disobey Allah and His Messenger (ﷺ), you go against your fitrah and the universal laws of Allah, and the natural consequence of it is loss of self-worth and confidence.

32. When you sin, you step into the geerah of Allah. The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “There is none having a greater sense of gheera than Allah. And for that He has forbidden the doing of evil actions.” (Bukhari) Allah loves the believers and He is protective of them. To protect them from Hell Fire and His Wrath, he made forbidden upon them transgressing His limits. When you transgress the limits of Allah, you step into the gheerah of Allah and expose yourself to His Wrath and His Punishment.

33. Sin is a cause of being afflicted with trials and tribulations. Allah said in the Quran:

وَمَا أَصَابَكُم مِّن مُّصِيبَةٍ فَبِمَا كَسَبَتْ أَيْدِيكُمْ وَيَعْفُو عَن كَثِيرٍ

And whatever strikes you of disaster – it is for what your hands have earned; but He pardons much. [The Noble Quran 42:30]

34. Sin decreases your imaan.

35. Continuous sinning may lead you to rationalization of sin, which may ultimately lead you to kufr. Naturally a Muslim who has faith left in his heart will feel remorse after committing a sin. However, if he gets addicted to the sin, and if his imaan becomes weak to the extent that he cannot defeat his nafs any longer, Shaitaan may whisper him to question why the act he is committing is sin. If he falls in this trap and rationalizes his sin, and believes and regards the acts that Allah and His Messenger (ﷺ) have declared sinful as otherwise, he will expel himself from the fold of Islam.

Comfort With a Lie or Get Hurt with a Truth?

In surah Al-Asr, Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala (exalted is He) said:

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By time,
Indeed, mankind is in loss,
Except for those who have believed and done righteous deeds and advised each other to truth and advised each other to patience. [The Noble Quran 103:1-3]

This surah specifies that everyone is immersed in loss, except for the ones who possess the four qualities: believing in everything that Allah and His Messenger ﷺ (Peace be upon him) told us to believe in, doing righteous deeds, advising each other to truth, and advising each other to patience. Advising to truth means advising people to do good and abandon evil, and advising to patience means doing good deeds and staying away from sins and the very act of advising each other itself require a great deal of patience.

An interesting fact here is that Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala (exalted is He) has placed ‘and’ between the four qualities of success. It means that one must possess all four of these qualities to be successful. If a Muslim misses out just one of them, according to this surah, he or she is considered among those who are immersed in loss.

A sad reality of our time is that many practicing Muslims take the first two qualities mentioned in surah Al-Asr seriously but remain indifferent regarding the other two, either unknowingly or knowingly. For those who unknowingly abandon the obligation of enjoining good and forbidding evil, actually do not know the importance of enjoining good and forbidding evil.

Books and treatise have been written about the importance of enjoining good and forbidding evil, but here I would like to mention two reasons about why enjoining good and forbidding evil is of paramount importance.

First, enjoining good and forbidding evil is one of the defining characteristics of the ummah of the Messenger of Allah ﷺ (Peace be upon him). Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala (exalted is He) said:

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You are the best nation produced [as an example] for mankind. You enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong and believe in Allah. [The Noble Quran 3:110]

Second, enjoining good and forbidding evil is the means to prevent a society from making desire worshipping the norm. To understand this concept, we need to define freedom. What is freedom? According to Islam, freedom means to free oneself from the slavery of everything by submitting one’s own will to the Will of Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala (exalted is He). This submission hands a human being down the true freedom. On the other hand, the definition of freedom according to the predominant materialistic view is that one is entitled to do whatever he or she pleases without any restriction or resistance from anyone, as long as whatever he or she does do not harm other people.

An example will illustrate the difference between these two concepts of freedom. If a brother is not keeping his garment above his ankles despite knowing the ruling regarding this matter for example, Islamically he will be considered as someone who is not truly free as he did not submit his desire of keeping his garment above the ankles to the requirement of sharia, and thus to bring him out of the slavery of his own desire, he must be advised. Such advice will not be given if freedom is understood from the materialistic point of view. When enjoining good and forbidding evil is abandoned, people start acting as they please, and consequently, the worship of Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala (exalted is He)  fades gradually and desire worship replaces it. Therefore, to ensure that people truly remain free by worshipping Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala (exalted is He), we must enjoin good and forbid evil.

For those who know the importance of enjoining good and forbidding evil but still shrink back from this obligation, they do so because of any of the following three obstacles:

Obstacle 1: They are simply too shy to enjoin good and forbid evil.

Obstacle 2: Even before giving advice, they start thinking about the reaction their advice will bring about from the people they should advise.

Obstacle 3: They are not sure about how to broach the subject and start a conversation.

As for the first obstacle, this can be overcome with practice. It is natural to feel shy when you begin giving dawah. I remember when I first started speaking in English, which was not my first language, I would feel very shy. However, I kept speaking as my situation forced me, and my shyness withered away with time. Same will happen if we simply take the first step and keep enjoining good and forbidding evil. With time, we will become comfortable with this practice.

As for the second obstacle, we need to remember that worries about how people would react if they are advised come from the Shaytaan. To overcome this obstacle, we should simply have the intention of advising them for the sake of Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala (exalted is He) and proceed by putting our trust on Him.

Regarding the third obstacle, there is no hard and fast answer. If we want to advise someone, how do we broach the subject? It depends on the situation. Depending on when we are advising, who we are advising, where we are advising, and what we are advising about, we should determine our tactics of how we should broach the subject and give our advice.

While browsing my facebook page, I came across the following picture. The picture includes a quote and it came to my mind (of course by the will of Allah) that this quote is something that can be used to break the ice before enjoining good and forbidding evil in many situations.

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Here is how it worked out when I first give it a trial.

I was coming from masjid when I saw a teenage brother of 16-17 years listening to music. I approached him and started the following conversation:

Me: Assalamualikum brother. How are you?
He: Waalikumussalam. I am doing well. How are things with you?
Me: Alhamdulillah good. You know brother; I was browsing my facebook page when I came across a profound quote. I want to share it with you.
He: Go ahead.
Me: The quote said, “Hurt me with the truth but never comfort me with a lie.”
He: Good quote.
Me: Have you actually grasped what I said?
He: I did. It is better to be hurt by the truth than to be comforted by a lie.
Me: So, get ready. I am now going to hurt you with the truth.
He: OK. Go ahead.

Then I gently explained to him the evils of music and why music is not allowed in Islam.

Therefore from now on, remember this quote. If you see an opportunity to enjoin good and forbid evil but struggle about how you should approach and start a conversation, this quote may help you.

May Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala (exalted is He) make enjoining good and forbidding evil easy for us.

How well do you know the companions (رضى الله عنه) of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ)? Part 4

Here are the links to the first three installments of this quiz: Part 1Part 2, Part 3. This is the final and concluding part.