...You are not to blame for any honest mistake you make but only for what your hearts premeditate. Allah is Ever-Forgiving, Most Merciful. (Surat al-Ahzab: 5)
Religion is founded on the basis of fear of Allah. Only those who fear Allah in the way He should can be sincerely devout. That is because, as the Qur'an informs us, sincerity is the disposition of those people who feel a strong fear for Allah, and engage only in deeds with which He would be pleased. Nothing can daunt a sincere believer from his actual goal; he diligently avoids the deeds he would not be able to account for on the Day of Judgment. In one verse of the Qur'an, Allah has drawn attention to this best of approaches:
Who is better: someone who founds his building on fear of Allah and His good pleasure, or someone who founds his building on the brink of a crumbling precipice so that it collapses with him into the Fire of Hell? Allah does not love wrongdoers. (Surat at-Tawba: 109)
The Qur'an describes a believer, not as a person who never commits mistakes, but as someone who does, but immediately repents and asks for Allah's forgiveness. For every moment of his life, a believer who fears Allah seeks to adopt the best manner and behaviour. Though he may falter or make mistakes from time to time; sometimes insignificant, sometimes major the Qur'an gives many mistakes committed by believers. What is important, however, is to resolve not to repeat the mistake, and to sincerely give it up once and for all. As a matter of fact, it is impossible for a person not to err during his lifetime once after he has embraced the religion; the world is a place of trial and preparation. Furthermore, each mistake he commits adds to a believer's awareness of his weaknesses before Allah. Allah has promised to forgive those who sincerely repent for their wrongdoing and make amends for their errors.
Islam affords the greatest ease and liberty. However, because mistakes incur various unfavourable reactions from society, the majority of people conduct themselves in compliance with the criteria laid down by it. In societies of ignorance, people tend not to forgive someone even if that person redresses his mistakes. That mistake becomes permanent scar on that person's reputation. It is these societal mores that urge ignorant people into insincerity. He may seek to exalt himself in the eyes of people through fraudulent means. The opinions of others continually occupy his mind. The only true relief from such distress is to be sincere and honest with Allah, since it is only His religion that dispels those concerns regarding the judgments and opinions of others. It is again His religion that keeps believers away from any attitude that corrupts their sincerity and honesty:
Those who, when they act indecently or wrong themselves, remember Allah and ask forgiveness for their bad actions-for who can forgive bad actions except Allah?-and do not knowingly persist in what they were doing. (Surah Al 'Imran: 135)
As the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) said, "the religion is sincerity and good will." (Muslim) One can be sincere only if he follows his conscience and keeps his mind occupied with the fact that Allah sees him in everything he does. Never forget that conducting yourself according to the opinions and desires of others will deviate you from the truth. Any comportment aimed to earn people's consent will impair one's sincerity. On the other hand, being aware that Allah watches His servants at every moment, and acting in compliance with the laws of the Qur'an, fosters sincerity.
Never forget that fearing nobody but Allah ensures true honesty. Satan leads man to become insincere by whispering to him false fears of public humiliation, or of suffering injustice or harm. This is a grave misconception since what really matters is Allah's good pleasure and forgiveness; it is Allah Who punishes or rewards man, both in this world and beyond. Everyone makes mistakes. Therefore, what really matters is to sincerely ask for forgiveness from Allah, and not to repeat that mistake once it has been recognized. One's attention to seeking redress for his mistakes reveals his sincerity. Since no man is faultless, the most honoured among men is he who is the most sincere and the most honest towards Allah. Allah has stated the following:
Your Lord knows best what is in your selves. If you are true believers, He is Ever-Forgiving to the remorseful. (Surat al-Isra': 25)
Every time a sincere person makes a mistake, he remembers his weakness before Allah and turns to Him, because he knows it is not people who can forgive, but Allah. In other words, when making a mistake, a believer repents with sincerity and doesn't concern himself over what people think. Those who try to please others and concern themselves with their opinions tend to make mistakes more often because of their effort to conceal them. The truth is, however, even if they can deceive others, Allah knows everything. Remember that dishonest and insincere people ultimately inflict the heaviest loss only on their own souls.
Allah imposes no burden on a person greater than he can bear. Furthermore, He has promised to forgive His sincere servants, provided their wrongdoing is committed by mistake. These are glad tidings that Allah gives to believers:
Allah does not impose on any self any more than it can stand. For it is what it has earned; against it, what it has merited. "Our Lord, do not take us to task if we forget or make a mistake! Our Lord, do not place on us a load like the one You placed on those before us! Our Lord, do not place on us a load we have not the strength to bear! And pardon us; and forgive us; and have mercy on us. You are our Master, so help us against the people of the disbelievers." (Surat al-Baqara: 286)
Also remember that it is only Allah to Whom a person must be dedicated with true sincerity. A person may be ignorant; he may also be unknowledgeable of things he must do to please Allah. However, Allah will surely guide to the straight path those who truly desire to turn to Him. What is important is to be sincerely devoted to the Lord. Allah has given the good news that whoever is submissive to Him will not suffer loss:
Those who submit themselves completely to Allah and do good have grasped the Firmest Handhold. The end result of all affairs is with Allah. (Surah Luqman: 22)
So, never ignore the countless reminders you receive, and never forget that the one and only way to attain salvation, both in this world and beyond, is to turn to Allah with a sincere heart.2009-01-25 22:36:26