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Creating a Natural Dislike for Sin

May 13, 2014 Leave a comment

Bismillah Calligraphy pic image 10Shaykh Husain talks about muscle memory in the following lecture. He talks about how certain sins are naturally displeasing to us and how to create that inclination for all sins. Recognizing that every sin is an impediment in our path towards our Creator is the first step in overcoming our struggle with any sin.

Listen Here: Creating a Natural Dislike for Sin” by Shaykh Husain Abdul Sattar

When we consider sin in Islam, we don’t consider if the sin is big or small; any transgression, big or small, is ultimately a transgression against Allah. We are not just trying to pass this test of life, we’re trying to get an A. Within the spectrum of transgressions against Allah, there are certain transgressions that we feel naturally inclined to avoid. For example, few Muslims struggle with pork. Avoiding pork is something that is easy for nearly all Muslims from all kinds of backgrounds. Allah has made it easy for us to avoid this transgression because it provides a good example. It establishes a goal. Every transgression should actually be this easy to avoid. The way we naturally avoid certain transgressions is the way we should be able to avoid them all. We should pray, “Allah, please make all sins as disgusting to me as much as this one sin disgusts me.”

It would be easier for us to avoid committing a sin if we start to naturally dislike the sin or at least some aspect of it. For example, Allah tells us numerous times in the Quran that the shaytaan is an open enemy; if we inculcate that message, it would become easier to us to avoid the things that shaytaan whispers us towards. Another way to create distance from sinful activity is to recognize that every sin is a step against Allah and that we dislike displeasing Him. The most important thing is our relationship with Allah, and sin just takes us away from Him.

The shariah has placed minimal responsibilities on us (limited prayer, one month of fasting, charity on excess wealth, and a hajj once in our entire lives), but along with our belief in Allah, these minimal things work together to develop closeness with Allah and entrance into eternal paradise. These are not the things we struggle with as Muslims, the issue is avoiding sin. We don’t protect our gaze, we misuse our tongues, we misuse our hands; these seemingly small transgressions are enough to destroy our progress. May Allah سبحانه و تعالى make every sin naturally disgusting to us.

To read more about avoiding sin, please read notes on the lecture Plugging the drain.”

The path is clear

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Plugging the Drain

March 13, 2012 2 comments

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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Signs and Effects of Our Sins

December 18, 2011 1 comment

Listen Here: “Signs and Effects of Our Sins” by Shaykh Zulfiqar Ahmad

This was truly a great lecture that benefited me the way most talks on sins do: It scared me, made me analyze myself, and motivated me to be better.

Shaykh Zulfiqar started the talk by discussing the first sin ever committed by the infamous Iblees, or Satan. He refused to prostrate to Adamعليه السلام  justifying it by claiming his own superiority. In doing so he committed the following sins:

  • Went against the direct command of Allah
  • He tried to present justifications for his sin
  • He did not seek forgiveness from Allah and shut himself completely from His mercy
The person who commits a sin and seeks forgiveness is forgiven by the All Merciful. The worst thing Iblees did was to make justifications and not seek forgiveness. The person with true ilm (knowledge) is he who can refrain himself from sin. There are no small or big sins, “Don’t look at the sin but look at who you are disobeying.”

3 Effects of Sins:

  1. If a person doesn’t seek forgiveness right away, he will experience immediate retribution for his sin in this life. The punishment will be enough so the person comes back to Allah.
  2. The effect of the sin will not be apparent. Allah will let the person keep committing sins and opens the door to every blessing. The person starts believing he is right and then there will be sudden and swift recompense, in this life or the next.
  3. The punishment is delivered but the person does not realize there is any punishment. For example, a person did a sin and Allah keeps him from praying tahajjud prayer. The person will think it’s his own fault that he is not praying, but it’s really because Allah does not want to see his face. Only those closest to Allah get to reap the blessings of tahajjud and Allah prevents that person from being close to Him.
3 Signs of Sinful Heart: 
  1. The person no longer hesitates before committing the sin. He has no worries, no modesty, no qualms. There is nothing in his heart that tries to stop him
  2. He doesn’t have the desire to do good. Allah takes away his love and desire to perform good deeds (like the times when you have high energy and read every prayer in the mosque and recite Quran throughout the day)
  3. He hates getting advice. If a father tells his son he shouldn’t be doing something, the son doesn’t even consider the advice at all but rather worries about who told the father. He is more concerned with how the news was spread or why it was discussed.

If you cannot stop yourself from committing a sin, then beg Allah to stop you. Turn yourself over to Him and constantly seek forgiveness. NEVER make justifications for your sins! It’s common for us to reason our way out of a sin (“I don’t really need that much, but I have have a wife and kids to feed so I had no choice but to do it).

My thoughts: Effect #3 is scary, if Allah punishes you by preventing you from being close to Him, then I cannot fathom a worse consequence. In this scenario, you don’t even realize what’s going on and you’ve lost the greatest pleasure of this world while thinking you still have it. I was listening to this lecture on my way home and I thought to myself that if Allah ever had to punish me in some way, let it happen immediately in this life so I can go back to being close to Allah. And readers, I kid you not, my CAR BROKE DOWN. If I had a bed at that point, I would hide under it. [Update: I was told not to think this way, and I never do, it was just an odd passing thought. But we should always pray for forgiveness and pardon rather than retribution from the All-Merciful and Ever-Forgiving]

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The Bacteria of Sin

October 4, 2011 2 comments

Listen Here: “The Bacteria of Sin” by Shaykh Khalid Abdul Sattar

There are two types of impurities: Najaasa Haqiqi which is the physical impurity (like playing football in the rain) and Najaasa Huqmi which is the invisible impurity that exists in the soul.

If you compare water and milk, you’ll see that water can be left out for days and nothing happens to it but if milk is left out even for a few hours it can go bad. Water has no bacteria versus milk that has bacteria that can multiply and take over. This is the same with our hearts, Allah سبحانه و تعالى‎ gave us our pure hearts and all we have to do is keep it. Minor sins just wash away with “Astaghfirullah” but consistent small sins begin to grow, they’re like injected bacteria, and soon just like you cannot call bad milk, milk anymore, similarly you cannot call the heart, heart, anymore.

Allah سبحانه و تعالى‎ gave 12-13 years for us to learn how to be human without incurring any sin. He is ever merciful and simply forgives our sins by our asking. He gave us our pure hearts and told us how to take care of it and protect it, through the shariah and sunnah. But we consistently neglect our hearts, and they start going bad from the inside and don’t realize it because we can’t physically see it (Just like how an apple goes bad, from the inside).

We have to constantly seek Allah’s forgiveness. Sending the salawat on the Prophet صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم also adds a layer of protection from sin. Anyone who makes a firm intention to turn towards Allah سبحانه و تعالى‎, then all the doors will be open to him and Allah سبحانه و تعالى‎ will protect him from falling into sin. Subhan’Allah!

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Detriment to the Eyes

June 14, 2011 Leave a comment

I don’t know where I heard this story but its worth hearing (/reading). There were two teenage type boys and they wanted to go see a movie. They went to their father to seek permission and the father inquired about the movie, the boys said that the movie was just a regular movie, it may have one or two inappropriate scenes but it will be over quick and they will just look away. So the father replied no. The boys actually kept asking until one time the father didn’t give a response. The boys figured that this was a good sign since he said no before. The boys went to their room and soon the father bought brownies for them, they smelled good and they looked good. The boys were surprised and started to take some, then the father said, “Before you eat these brownies, know that I added a miniscule amount of feces to them.” The boys were shocked and asked why. The father replied,”These brownies are much like your movie, even a small amount of impurity in them will ruin everything.”

Subhan’Allah just like these brownies would be a detriment to the taste buds, so too are movies/tv a detriment to the eyes. There are practically no movies/tv shows that are appropriate to watch for the respectable Muslim. And even if there is such a program, how then can we rationalize staring at the opposite gender for hours?

Even if you cancel your cable service, the internet is really the main issue these days. It poses a constant temptation as everything is free and easily accessible. I’ve heard Shaykh Husain tell us to seriously watch our internet usage in multiple lectures, and he did it very sternly. His reasons definitely included watching things, but also because we tend to waste great amounts of time on it. He recommended very minimal usage or leaving it altogether.

I’ve learned that breaking a habit is a lot harder than starting one. So instead of trying to break a habit of watching television, it’s best to implement different habits in place of it. Try knitting? No seriously. It’s so hard that attempting it will likely send you into a deep depression that will kill your desire to watch anything.