Giving up Sins: An Easy Prescription
by Hazrat Maulana Yunus Patel Saheb (rahmatullah ‘alayh)
There are many Muslim brothers and sisters throughout the world who, due to various negative influences and bad elements, find themselves ‘de-railed' from Deen. Many others sit on the fence, wanting to enjoy or benefit from both sides of the fence – engaging in sins as well as being practical on specific teachings of Deen. However, deep in their hearts is the desire to get back on track and once again become good, practical Muslims, to jump off the fence and enjoy the green pastures of Islam. So they write, e-mail, phone, and fax, seeking guidance and direction.
The main weakness is indulgence in sins; sometimes, excessive indulgence in those sins. A standard prescription that I give as a reply is as follows. Alhamdulillah, many who followed through with the prescription have found a new life – of peace, happiness, blessings and mercy. On tasting the sweetness that comes with obedience, there is no desire to return to any form of disobedience.
- The bes is to abstain from sins out of Love for Allah Ta'ala. He has granted us so much – He has given us everything, and it is the nature of human beings that we love the person that is kind and generous to us. Then what of Allah Ta'ala, who has provided us with plentiful – with everything? Our sight, hearing, speech, organs that are functioning in such an amazing manner, the limbs – all in our service – for eating, drinking, walking, sitting, etc. The gifts of wealth: clothing, shelter, transport, food, drink, and so many other comforts. We use them all, but do we keep in mind the Generous Benefactor? Do we give thanks for these bounties or show any appreciation to the Giver?
- Developing the conscious awareness that Allah Ta'ala is with us: He is watching us, He is hearing us, He knows all and everything about us; We cannot hide from Him; We cannot conceal our actions from Him. Then should we not feel ashamed that we are disobeying Him in His Presence? Are we not showing ingratitude to the Benefactor when engaging in sins in His Presence?
- Keep in mind that the angels, too, are witnesses to all our actions; the earth is recording our behaviour, and all of it is also noted in our books of deeds – and we are accountable to Allah Ta'ala on the Day of Judgement. Added to this, our actions are also presented to Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), so we should consider whether our actions are a source of joy or grief to him. In this manner, we will develop that shame and modesty, which will make it easy to restrain from Haram.
- Muraqabah is meditating on our actions during the day: We should reflect on our deeds for the day, seek forgiveness for shortcomings, and resolve not to return to those bad deeds. We should also express gratitude for good deeds and make Dua for an increase in them.
- Ponder over the fact that the Angel of Death does not give respite. It must not be that whilst obeying the Nafs in sinful pleasure, the Angel of death visits, and our departure is in disgrace, and our return to Allah Ta'ala is at a time when He is angry. Our death will be an embarrassment to us, our family and the community who will find out that death came in sin. May Allah Ta'ala protect us from death in a state of transgression, but this is very much a reality.
- Death visits – more often, very unexpectedly, and no true Muslim would want to be seized by the Angel of death when Allah Ta'ala is displeased. I often say: We now have instant tea, instant coffee, instant cereal and instant pudding and so many other things on the market are instant – we are also living in times when death is just as instant. So any sin is too much of a risk in the face of the reality of death. The Hadith is explicit: We will be resurrected on the day of Judgement as we have died.
Would any Muslim want to rise on the Day of Judgement in sin for all of humanity to witness what kind of life he led?
- Ponder over the fact that Allah Ta'ala has blessed us with the gift of sight, hearing, health, wealth, and so much else – and has also granted us the gift of respect. However, what He gives, He can also take away. He explicitly stated that ingratitude for His Gifts would draw severe punishment. So is sinning not abuse and ingratitude for the gifts of sight, heart, mind, and limbs?
A little contemplation on the consequences of such behaviour and a little Mujahada (effort) – which entails ‘not doing' and Alhamdulillah, the sicknesses are cured.
Together with this:
- Attend the talks of the learned Scholars of Islam whenever possible or listen to recordings of their lectures and read their books to gain the benefit of the pious, righteous company. Join and participate in the Deeni activities with those who follow the Qur'an and Sunnah. Insha Allah, there will be a great improvement in one's condition by keeping the right company.
- Make an effort to read Salah punctually. Men should make every effort to read their Salah in Jamat (congregation).
- Read good Islamic literature. Abstain from magazines or books that have filthy and indecent contents and pictures.
- Give up television viewing. 0% of the content is Haram. If a person offers a full glass of clean and pure water and mentions that there is just one drop of urine, would any sensible person drink it?
- When the major content of television is Haram, what would we then say? When the gaze, heart and mind are consuming and digesting so much of Haram viewing, what else would be the result except indulgence in the same Haram?
- Lower the gaze from the opposite sex.
- Dress as a Muslim should – Wearing pants above the ankles, and keeping the beard one fist in length must not be considered insignificant actions. These are the teachings of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) which he has emphasized. Although it is permissible to wear a shirt and pants, the dressing of the righteous (i.e. the kurta) has a speciality that benefits in different ways. A person with this appearance will think a hundred times before engaging in open sin when he is being recognized as someone who must be very pious. So this attire and appearance will offer protection, insha Allah. Women, too, should dress modestly as prescribed by Shariah.
- You have won more than half the battle by doing these few things. A little courage, a little effort and a little sacrifice are all that are required.
- Of course, these are just basic aspects of Deen, which everyone can implement immediately and easily. There is a need to fulfil the Obligatory Injunctions such as Salah, Zakah, Fasting in the month of Ramadan, etc. and to fulfil the rights of family, neighbours and others. There is a need to read the Qur'an Sharif regularly, together with some authentic commentary – a little at a time, as well as giving time to studying a book on Islamic Jurisprudence and reading the life and teachings of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), etc. A reading of the books of virtues of actions, such as Salah, Fasting, Haj, Sadaqat, Zikr, etc., by Shaykh Zakariyyah Saheb (rahmatullah ‘alayh), will create enthusiasm in the heart for action.
May Allah Ta'ala grant us His Love and the Love of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) such that it becomes easy to give up all sins and submit to His Obedience. May He protect us all from the mischief of Nafs and Shaytan. May He fill our hearts with love for this beautiful Deen and inspire us to be practical, good Muslims and true role models to our community.
 Sahih Muslim