Check yourself before your wreck yourself

What do you think of when you see a sister who isn’t wearing hijab? How about a brother who is laughing with a whole lot of girls?

Ever look down on them? Think you are better than them? It’s really easy to be self righteous. It’s even easier to fall prey to this attitude if you sport the ‘righteous’ look.

But let’s ask ourselves this question: has Allah written us amongst His righteous servants? Or is that a title we have only given ourselves?

Check this:

Today I was sitting at the dawah table on my campus and a female student, dressed in typical jeans and a shirt approached it. I was decked out in my hijab, and I really had no idea what she was thinking as she made the move to speak to me. She asked if she could have a Qur’an, and of course, I was happy to give one to her. Then she said, “Can I ask you a question?” “Sure,” I answered. The question sounded kind of deep, so I invited her to sit next to me on the empty chair. She took up the offer.

“Please don’t judge me,” she began. Allah! I had a feeling this was a sister. SubhanAllah, the courage it must have taken for her to come and speak to me, considering that we were dressed so differently from each other.

After reassuring her, how could I judge her? She began—

She told me that she became involved in a relationship for the first time in her life with a brother. Her intention was for long term, but she felt so terrible doing it. She told me when she is with the brother, she feels horrible, even though she is supposed to feel good. She told me that she knows that this is such a big sin, that she wants to stop, but that it is just so, so hard. And she asked me: Can Allah forgive me?

Allah… subhanAllah.

While this girl was speaking, I was looking at her thinking: look at the jihad she is going through for Allah. She hates what she is doing, she asks Allah to forgive her, but it is so hard for her to leave the sin. Her desire to repent became so intense that she came to a girl she has never met before, who could easily judge her, and poured out her heart. And, the part that just hits me now as I write this, she was so desperate, she wanted to know: Can Allah forgive her? Could HE (subhanahu wa ta’ala) really forgive such a sin?

I told her, Allah is Ghafooro Raheem! He will forgive ANYTHING. Even if a person commits zina (which she Alhamdullilah has not done, and may Allah protect her and us all from falling into it) Allah will forgive this person if they repent and leave it. I kept telling her about Allah’s Mercy, about how He is so, so happy to turn and accept the repentance of His Slaves.

We kept talking about how Allah ‘Azza wa Jal must be pleased with her struggle- that she is making jihad everyday (she was like: YEAH!)… we looked at the Hadith Qudsi that talks about the servant who keeps sinning, and keeps going back to his Lord, and, what I loved so much from this conversation—we looked at WHAT dua? The same dua that was posted on the site below: sayyidul istighfar. We read the meaning together, about upholding this covenant, about how we are trying, ya Rabana, but we keep falling into error. She loved it subhanAllah.

I told her to keep strong with her salah. Because of course, Allah is Forgiving, but He is also strong in punishment, and we have to be careful not to do things that make us eligible to be punished. After some time we departed and I’m still in wonderment. I wasn’t supposed to be at the dawah table at that time, we were looking for a brother to sit there, but none were available, so we pushed back what we had planned to do and Allah destined for me to be there. How He knows, while we know not.

While the sister and I were sitting and talking, another female student walked up to the dawah table. She was intensely unclothed, and she came up and asked for a copy of the Qur’an. “I’m Muslim,” she told me. ALLAHU AKBAR. Look at the good in the Muslims. Look at how badly the Muslims desire, seek, need Allah. That the woman who comes to the dawah table could be wearing practically nothing, but she is willing to admit that she is Muslim. Before she left she asked me, “Does Ramadan start on the 13th?” SubhanAllah, how the people are seeking this Month of Mercy.

The lessons from these experiences were beyond words for me…but right now, I want you to go back to your original answer when I first posed the question. What would you be thinking of a Muslim brother or sister who has a girlfriend or boyfriend? Or who is wearing basically nothing?

Yes, they may be outwardly sinning, but perhaps internally they are struggling and fighting every time they commit the sin, and are continually seeking to turn back to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. Perhaps in some people’s eyes, these people are ‘sinners.’ But perhaps in the Sight of Allah, they are more beloved to Him because of their struggle, than of us who can easily fall into feeling arrogant about our Islamic activism, our Islamic appearance, or our ‘hard-core’ connection with the Rabil’alameen. We need to be careful. Are we really connected? Am I really connected?

And don’t get me wrong: the struggle of those who are trying to stay straight, to dress properly, to please Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala is a weighty, honorable and noble one. May Allah make us amongst those He uses to spread His Deen, those whom He guides and keeps guided, and those who wear the dress that please Him, both externally and internally.

But for those of us who might have ‘been there’ and left it, and then feel arrogant that we’re no longer involved in the “ways of the sinners,” and perhaps even might feel better than others because we’re so pure and special, then my advice to myself is what Umar radi Allahu anhu used to say: used to say, “Take account of yourselves before you are audited.”

Put in our language it is what I’ve heard Ustadh Suhaib say numerous times:

Check yourself before you wreck yourself.”

May Allah help us and guide us to perpetually, continually, sincerely, and endlessly please Him, and may He make it easy for all of us to eagerly and continually turn back to Him, and leave whatever sins we are committing and replace them with good works for His Sake. Ameen

The author would also appreciate if you all could give some advice on how we can humble ourselves [in our hearts] and renew our sincerity for His Sake.

–please note: the article was written in 2007 so the Ramadan date is not the same.

3 Responses to “Check yourself before your wreck yourself”

  1. zfnd Says:

    wonderful reminder

  2. Abu AbdurRahman Says:

    SUBHANALLAH…. True that we should not judge the book by its cover.

  3. Patience and Perfection – a contradiction « Shellyza Says:

    […] A Muslim’s blog…. […]

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