“Stay away from outward sins and inward sins. ” (Quraan)
Sins cause a barrier between a person and His Creator, between a person and the mercy of Allah, between a person and sustenance in abundance, between a person and peace of mind and contentment of the heart, between a person and a peaceful time in the grave, between a person and Jannah (Paradise) etc.
Sins lead a person to the displeasure, anger and wrath of Allah, lead a person to difficulties and hardships, both here and in the hereafter, lead a person to depression and anxiety, lead a person to the punishment of the grave and finally to Jahannam – hell fire (May Allah protect us all – A’meen).
Sins are very tempting, desirous and beautiful in the beginning and at the outset but soon shows its ugly poisonous head, like a snake kept in a beautiful, colourful scented packet very tempting and inviting, but as soon as it is opened and one sees the snake – what a shock, fear, etc sets in.
Hakimul Ummat, Mujaddid-e-Millat, Hadhrat Moulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi (Rahimahullah) has mentioned an eye- opening story illustrating the evil of sins. A married man used to wet his bed every night. His wife asked what is this? You are a grown up, married man. We treat little children with this disease. We stop their liquids early, etc. He explained that shaytaan comes to him in his dreams every night and takes him for a long walk, after which he needs to go to the toilet to urinate. Shaytaan shows him an ultra modern, hygienic toilet wherein he relieves himself. But it is all in his dream and he wets the bed. His wife said, “Shaytaan is such a great friend of yours that he visits you every night and he is the king of the evil Jinnaat. He knows where all the treasures, etc. are kept. Why don’t you ask him to show you all this treasure. You know we are so poor. You can bring us this treasure.” He said “Yes, I never thought of this idea.”
That night shayaan came in his dream again. He told shaytaan what his wife said. Shaytaan said why did you not tell me long ago? Come I will take you right now. He took him and showed him a huge treasure box filled with jewels, diamonds, golds, pearls etc. He rushed to pick it up (all in his dream, in his sleep, in bed). It was so heavy he passed stools and messed the bed (a reality). In the morning his wife asked, “And now what is this?” He explained his dream. She said you rather carry on doing what you were doing before.
Many people remember this story but forget the moral. Moulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi (Rahimahullah) explained that sins are those temptations, the glittering gold and silver etc. in the dreamworld, while the reality is worse than the actual stool in bed. May Allah protect us from all sins. After understanding the reality of sins, it requires just a little effort to abstain from sins.
On one occasion, my Sheikh Hadrat Moulana Hakim Akhtar Saheb (Mudda Zilluhu) was travelling with his Sheikh Hadrat Moulana Abrarul Haq Saheb from Jeddah to Madina Shareef in the summer of Hijaz-e-Muqaddas. The car was very hot and uncomfortable. Moulana Abrarul Haq Saheb asked the driver if he did not put on the air-conditioner. He said it was on, but it seemed as though some window was left open. One window was open. On closing it, the car became cool on which Moulana Abrarul Haq Saheb (Mudda Zilluhu) observed, “See, the air-conditioner was doing its work. Cool air was coming but we did not get the effect. Similarly, the Ummat is doing good deeds and good effects of these are coming (even in the dunya) but we are not experiencing them because our sins are blocking them. Salat, Haj, Umrah etc. are on the increase but our window of sins of the eyes, ears, tongue, heart, etc. are open, letting in the unpleasant hot air which blocks the effect of our good deeds. Therefore, taubah and istighfar are absolutely and continually essential.
Another example of the evil of sins is that of a person who has for example imported some goods which he is going to market at 2000% profit or even more, yet it is such a ‘hot’ item that as soon as it comes into the market, it will all be sold, but his goods are blocked in the customs because some of his paper work is not done. Similarly, our good deeds will give us so much benefit but our sins are blocking those benefits. It comes clearly in the Hadith that for some bandas (servants) of Allah, a huge amount of sustenance is waiting for them right at their heads but only their sins are blocking it. Just remove the sins, make taubah and the sustenance will start flowing.
Sins are like a person day-dreaming. By committing sins of lust, it is like fantasising. By earning haraam for example, is like dreaming of building castles in the air. Like Sheikh Chillie who was asked by somebody to carry his ghee worth R100 to his house for which he will pay him R10. Hecarried the ghee on his head and began day-dreaming that with the R10 I will buy 10 eggs and let them hatch under my neighbour’s hen. I will have 10 hens which will lay 10 eggs. Soon I will have plenty of fowls. Then I will buy goats, sheep, cows, horses etc. Then I will buy land, cultivate it, and have lots of crops etc. Then I will build a house. I will get married. I will have children. They will have children. My grandchildren will come and trouble me and say “Dada Jaan”, “Daadi” is calling for meals and I will say, “Out of here,” shaking his head and saying, “Don’t disturb me” and the ghee falls from his head. The owner becomes angry and says you destroyed my R100 worth of ghee. He said you are worried of your R100. My 3 generations are destroyed.
Similarly, sins are just an imagination of enjoyment while their evils are a reality. Like a person who has acquired haraam money (by stealing, fraud, etc.) and dreaming. I will buy a car, house, go on a holiday etc. His friend telephones him on his cellphone and tells him the police have caught up with you. A warrant of arrest has already been issued and they are on your trail to arrest you. That same money that was so dear to him, which he felt and touched now and again to make sure it was safe, he starts throwing it away far, so that there must not be any evidence against him.
In the Ayat mentioned earlier, Allah Ta’ala has first mentioned outward sins. This shows how serious and dangerous they are! Shaytaan deceives many of us by saying the inside, the heart must be right. The outside does not matter. Many say, “My Islam is in my heart, I don’t have to keep a beard and make a show of my Islam.” A woman will say, “My modesty and purdah is in my heart. My heart is clean. I don’t have to make a show of my Islam by wearing a burqah,” etc. and similar other remarks.
A few examples of a few outward sins are mentioned now: A person who does not keep a sunnat beard ( i.e. a fist length on all sides etc.) should consider this example: a plane fall of hajees lands at Johannesburg International airport by a Saudi flight. The captain, pilots etc. all are Muslims who have just performed haj. The captain announces that we have all made haj and have tawakkul in Allah and we do not have to make a show of our Islam. So similarly, our aircraft has got wheels but when landing, we are not going to take them out. We will keep them in our heart. We don’t have to make a show of our wheels.” At that time, all will realise that our philosophy of ‘hiding’ our Islain (beard) is not correct but must be shown outside.
Similarly a royal bird that soars high in the air and wins great prizes, if somebody thinks the inside “steam-power” of the bird is the important thing and the outside does not matter, cuts the wings of the bird – the bird will not fly. It will lose all its value and die in depression. Similar is the case of a sincere conscious Muslim. Also consider, if we are eagerly waiting at Jeddah airport to board the plane to Madina Shareef but because of an outside deficiency, a puncture, the plane is not taking off. One small outside deficiency will cause unsurmountable frustration to the ardent lovers of Nabi(sallallaahu alaiyhi wassallam).
The importance of the outside can further be gauged by the example of a hobo dressed in torn and tattered clothes, no shoes, etc. who forces himself into the first class lounge at a modern international airport, the people are upset and force him out but to no avail. They report him to the person in charge. Following procedure, he asks him for his ticket. On seeing that he has a first class ticket, all have to accept him there. When boarding the plane, he will be turned out, but he forces himself into the first class. Again he is turned away, but when they see his ticket, he is given VIP treatment again. Similarly, his whole joumey will initially go in difficulty and opposition at every stage and will become a luxury and comfort when he proves his inside. Similarly will the journey into the Akhirah be if the outside is not adomed and identified by a’mal and sunnats – by the barkat of imaan, he will eventually be given VIP treatment.
Now let us consider a few examples of purdah (hijab) of women. To protect milk and meat from the cat and money from the crooks, so much precaution is taken. When in fact money, meat and milk cannot fly, so how much more should not the women be protected from the enemy. The evil people will even get tempted by the mere looks or dressing of women. If one hundred thousand rands is stolen but after sometime returned, it will be just as dear to one, but if one’s wife is missing for an hour or two and she cannot explain her absence, the rest of one’s life will be Jahannam.
Valuable treasures, gold, silver etc. are kept in a safe. Nobody objects to it. It is the right thing to do but when women are kept safely in the house or behind the veil, then it is objectionable. Is the value of our women less than milk, meat or money?! The problem is we have forgotten our true values – values of lslam, by the various propaganda machines of the west from kindergarten till university and we have imbibed animal values from magazines etc. to television.
Also it is necessary for a woman to cover herself with a proper purdah that fulfills its purpose and does not in fact serve the opposite purpose, for example, if on a hot day an umbrella is used of such material that intensifies the heat or if on a rainy day an umbrella is used to save oneself from the rain, but instead of the umbrella being in its normal dome shape, if it is made in a funnel shape and all the water falls onto the person, then the purpose of the umbrella will be defeated.
Similarly, if the burqah is of such bright colours, beautified with bead work, lace etc. or the face or eyes are left open, which are the more important things to be covered, then the purpose of the burqah is defeated. We do not have to cover ourselves to fool ourselves that we are covered. Rather, we cover ourselves to see that the command of Allah is fulfilled. Judge Akbar Ilaahabadi said women were asked what has happened to your purdah (veil). Why don’t you wear it any more. They said it has fallen on the brains of our men (so they don’t allow us to wear it).
May Allah save us from the snares of shaytan and propaganda of the enemies and bless us with proper understanding and amal.
(Hazrat Moulana Abdul Hamid Ishaaq Saheb; Principal of Daarul Uloom Azaadville,South Africa)