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Plugging the Drain

Listen Here: “Plugging the Drain” by Shaykh Husain Abdul Sattar

Shaykh Husain makes an extremely applicable metaphor in this lecture that I’m sure I’ll always remember.

He starts by discussing the importance of avoiding sin, because the deen can be simplified into two categories: “the doing of good and the avoiding of bad.” He explained that most Islamic talks are concerned with the avoidance of sin more than earning good deeds because sin is what holds people back.

The metaphor in this lecture is of the heart to a tub or bucket. The heart is a bucket that needs to be filled with good deeds. This is easier to do than avoiding sin because there are many “multipliers” in the deen. For example:

  • 1 prayer in the masjid= 27 times the reward
  • Waiting until sunrise to pray 2 rakat after Fajr= 1 Hajj+Umrah
  • Finding Laylatul-Qadr in Ramadan= reward of 1000 months
  • Running late to class + missing homework, praying that it’s cancelled and it is=Priceless
  • Finding out forgetful eating doesn’t break a fast= Priceless
  • Calculating how much sawaab 10 days in Mecca gets you= Priceless [Sorry, couldn’t help myself, this is NOT part of the lecture]

You cannot find these multipliers in this world. They are a mercy of Allah سبحانه و تعالى‎ that greatly aid our scale of good deeds, and you don’t want to lose them. The metaphor is:

“If you have a bathtub and its empty and I tell you need to fill the bathtub you have to first turn on the faucet. If you turn the faucet on and let the water run, but you don’t close the drain, the water can run and run, but it will not accumulate because the drain is not closed. The drain has to be closed at the same time the water is running. So in the same way, we have all these faucets running, we have salah filling our hearts, zakah filling our hearts, sawm filling our hearts, and hajj and umrah filling our hearts, and yet we don’t close the drain. And what’s the drain? Sin.”

We don’t let our good deeds “build their effect” because we haven’t closed the drain of sin. If you don’t feel like you’re progressing in the deen, the problem is that your heart is leaky and needs to be sealed. Look through your day with a “fine tooth comb” and add to the good deeds and leave the sin. People have massive holes in their hearts because of their sins. Look at every single sin, the ones you commit in public and in private.

You don’t get to put Tahajjud on a to do list and it gets done unless you’re very pious. Praying Tahajjud is the result of avoiding sin and doing good works, after which Allah bestows the gift of Tahajjud upon you.

Good deeds are essentially the foundation, but if we constantly rattle that foundation with backbiting, interest, greed envy, and misuse of the tongue etc., we’re creating cracks in the foundation. With all these cracks you cannot expect to build anything there, this is why we read Tahajjud for a couple of days and fall asleep on the floor the third day. You can’t make something from nothing.

My Thoughts: This was masha’Allah an amazing lecture as usual, I didn’t get to take notes on all of it because literally every single thing was worth writing down. If you actually picture all of your hard-earned good deeds just leaking through the drain, it might be a useful technique that makes you stop and think before committing a sin. Also try to assess how big the drain is in your heart, mine’s looking pretty colossal.

On a side note, in case Shaykh Husain ever reads this by accident and notices how my notes are lacking, I feel I should meagerly justify that I have listened to every one of his lectures (they have shaped my personality in more ways than I know), and the lack of thorough notes can only be attributed to my personal deficiencies and not the passion with which I write them, nor the attention that they quite clearly deserve.

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  1. March 16, 2012 at 6:21 pm

    Subhan’Allah I feel the same way! i think my notes wouldn’t do justice to his amazing lectures masha’Allah. they should be transcribed word to word. jazak’Allah khair for sharing the pointers and your thoughts.
    I don’t know if you listen to maulana omar hussaini (pureway.com) i didn’t see him on your posts. he is amazing too masha’Allah

  2. March 16, 2012 at 11:45 pm

    Yes they should be transcribed! Hopefully my notes encourage people to listen to the lecture themselves. I have listened to Shaykh Omar Hussaini’s lectures, they’re very beneficial and I love his no-nonsense way of speaking, but I haven’t had a chance to put up notes on them unfortunately.

    I’ve almost read all your posts, they’re excellent!

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