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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

They Pray & Fast but are Sinful & Say: "Allah is Merciful" - Sheikh Khâlid Husayn

People who commit sinful deeds have many different ways of looking at their sins. When we wish to call them to what is right and have them give up their sinful ways, we must understand their way of thinking and approach them accordingly

One group of people who need a special approach are those primarily young people who appear to exhibit extremely contradictory behavior. On the one hand, they are regular in their prayers, observant of their fasts, and uphold their religious duties admirably. However, when it comes to the sinful and licentious behavior that Allah has forbidden them, they have no qualms about indulging in the most serious of sinful acts. It is not like they fall weak and sin, and then feel bad about it. They show a complete indifference to their bad behavior.

Many people who behave like this, if you ask them why they do so, they turn to you and say: "Allah is forgiving and merciful". They see themselves as religious, and do not realize that their fasts and their prayers do not give them license to indulge in sin. How do we answer such people? Aside from the general prescription that we should call them to the truth with wisdom and beautiful preaching, showing them respect and avoiding harshness – what exactly can we say that will show them the error of their ways?

People who exhibit such behavior are operating under a serious misunderstanding. They misunderstand the verses of the Qur'ân that speak about Allah's mercy. It is their misunderstanding that makes it easy for them to disobey Allah in what He forbids them.

They need to be brought to understand that just like Allah is most forgiving and most merciful, he is also severe in punishment. One of the best verses to call their attention to in this regard is where

Allah says: "Inform My servants that I am the Forgiving and Merciful, and that truly My punishment will be a painful one." [Sûrah al-Hijr: 49-50]

Then, when they justify to us their sinful behavior by saying "Allah is Most Merciful" we can tell them:

"Indeed He is, just as He is the Most Severe in Punishment. Do you have some guarantee that Allah is going to forgive all of your sins?

Know that Allah warns us in the Qur'ân against thinking that we have such a guarantee.

He says: "What! Do they then feel secure from Allah's plan? But none feels secure from Allah's plan except the people who are doomed to fail." [Sûrah al-A`râf: 99]

They need to know that although Allah is Most Merciful, His Mercy is not equally applicable to everyone. Allah says: "My mercy extends to all things, and I shall ordain it for those who do right, and practice regular charity, and those who believe in Our signs." [Sûrah al-A`râf: 156]

Allah's mercy is for those who fear Him. Those who are pious and God-fearing are the one's who will surely benefit from it. The Arabic word for piety – taqwâ – derives from the word wiqâyah, which means "a protective barrier". This is because a pious person is like someone who puts up a barrier between himself and what Allah has prohibited. Such a person fulfills his religious obligations and stays away from religious proscriptions.

As for those who commit major sins and licentious deeds with full abandon, and then brush it off by saying "Allah is merciful." – they are projecting their own wishful thinking onto the meaning of Allah's mercy.

The eminent scholar al-Hasan al-Basrî once commented: "There are some people who project their own hopes upon Allah. They say: 'We merely have a good opinion about Allah.' Though they commit the most atrocious of deeds and eschew noble conduct. If they really had a good opinion about Allah, they would be equally good in their conduct."

These people should take heed of what the Prophet's Companion Ibn Mas`ûd said: "The most wanton person is the one who sees his sins to be like a fly that alights upon his nose that he can just brush away. Would that it were true. The believer, on the other hand, sees his sins to be like a mountain about to fall down on him. Therefore, he is scared and takes stock of himself."

A Muslim should always be in a state of both hope and fear. He should never let his fear overwhelm him and make him despair of Allah's mercy. He should never become so overwhelmed by hope that he disregards the consequences of his bad deeds. He needs to have the hope for Allah's reward and forgiveness that will inspire him to do good and to repent for his sins. He needs to have the fear of Allah's punishment and wrath that will inspire them to shun evil and be conscious of his duties.

The people who use Allah's mercy as an excuse to commit sins should fear being addressed by the following verses of the Qur'ân: "Do those who plan evil (deeds) feel secure that Allah will not cause the earth to swallow them or that punishment may not overtake them from whence they do not perceive? Or that He will not seize them in their going to and fro so that there be no escape for them?" [Sûrah al-Nahl: 45-46]

The Prophet (peace be upon him) warned his Companions against committing even the most minor of sins. He said to them: "Avoid even the most trivial of sins, for they can gather up upon a man until they destroy him." [Musnad Ahmad (2808)]

In one narration it is related that the Prophet (peace be upon him) then said: "Indeed, the most trivial sins, when they are taken up by someone, they lead to his ruin." [Musnad Ahmad (22302)]

Trivial sins are those that people generally pay little regard to, so they do not seek to avoid them. However, we are warned that if someone commits them excessively, they will be his ruin. How, then, should we think the effects will be of trivializing major sins? We ask Allah to protect us and guide us.

By Sheikh Khâlid Husayn


2 comments:

erin said...

Asalaam alaikum,
Subhan'Allah I have encountered exactly this attitude among Muslim students at my University... they don't wake up for fajr, take girlfriend/boyfriends, etc. when they know it is haram and when I asked them about it they said "Allah is Merciful." May Allah guide them to the straight path ameen... Jazaki Allah khair for the post, very relevant :)

S.E.A. NiQaBi said...

wa'alaikumsalam, sorry for the late reply :) subhanallah, it is sad to see such attitudes exist. ameen to your du'as & wa jazaki for visiting :)