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Self-Justification: the Whispers of Shaytan

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    Self-Justification: the Whispers of Shaytan

    Salaam Alikum here is a very intresting artcile which i feel applies to a lot of people in 2days societies.

    A Muslim who grows up in Western society learns how to think and act in a way alien to Islam. Although often brought up in a Muslim household some Muslim youth are unfortunately swayed by the rotten fruits of Western society, drugs, alcohol and illicit relationships. They are tempted by these rotten fruits and end up in a downward spiral growing further away from Islam every day.

    Initially the Salah (prayer) is performed now and again, then restricted to Friday and then only to Eid. The degrees to which people go into committing haram differ and everyone knows someone who they perceive as worse than themselves and better than themselves. One of the worst mental diseases that people have is that of self-justification, it is one of the key issues that allows people to drift away from Islam justifying this to themselves every step of the way. Initially they may have the occasional joint, then it becomes a regular habit and they move on to harder substances to increase the high. Even though Muslims feel guilty when committing overtly haram actions like drinking alcohol, taking drugs or engaging in haram relationships with the opposite sex, eventually the guilt wears off and they begin to justify these actions to themselves.

    We must realise that self-justifying an action will not make it Halal and doesnt remove the inevitable reality of standing in front of Allah (Subhanahu Wa Taaala) on the Day of Judgement, with nothing except our deeds. It is the Western concept of individualism that breeds the mentality of pure greed and selfishness where people even steal and backstab their own families to achieve their sick version of enjoyment.

    Types of Self-Justification

    There are different types of excuses or selfjustifications which individuals carry. People normally carry a combination of them. Some of the most common types of self-justifications that people hold are the following:

    "At least Im better than others"

    "I will change in the future"

    "Im not ready for it yet, its too difficult to change"

    "As long as Im pure inside, Allah will forgive me"

    "At least Im better than others"

    The individual who holds this idea looks at the extreme actions of people which they consider as bad" such as stealing from Muslims, rape or eating pork and compare their own actions to them. They feel reassured that they are better than those who undertake those actions. When they commit haram or neglect the Islamic duties (faraid) they think to themselves that at least they are not like others, at least they perform some actions of Islam. If they take drugs they say, "at least I dont drink alcohol". If they have haram relations with the opposite sex they say, "at least I have the intention of marriage". When involving in haram contracts they believe, "at least I dont steal". If they miss the obligatory Salah (prayers) they justify it to themselves by thinking, at least I pray on Friday.

    By extending their logic you could say, at least a homosexual isnt a rapist and at least an alcoholic doesnt eat pork. The problem with this argument is, who defines what type of behaviour is bad and what is good? Allah (Subhanahu Wa Taaala) is the one who defines the good actions from the bad actions. Allah (Subhanahu Wa Taaala) views the Halal actions as good and all the haram actions as evil. So in the sight of Allah (Subhanahu Wa Taaala) missing Salah, being rebellious to your parents, eating pork, rape, socialising with non-related members of the opposite sex, homosexuality, taking intoxicating drugs, drinking alcohol and adultery are all haram and from the munkaraat (evil) actions that lead to the hellfire.

    "I will change in the future"

    This notion is commonly held by many youth. They believe that they will change in the future when they become older, they will settle down, get married, have children, go to Hajj, kiss the black stone and begin practising Islam. This excuse allows them to justify the haram to themselves.

    If it was as simple as that, everyone can act as they please with the hope of changing someday in the future. How many of us know of young people who have died? How many of us know of cases where boyfriend and girlfriend have died in car accidents?

    Muslims and non-Muslims alike can agree that the most definite thing in life is death. If this is the case, how can we act as if we are going to live forever?

    The Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said to Abdullah bin Umar (ra),

    "If you awoke in the morning, do not speak to yourself of the evening, and if you reach the evening, do not speak to yourself of the morning. Take from your life for your death, and from your health for your illness, as you, oh Abdullah, do not know what your name will be tomorrow" [Bukhari].

    The Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said,

    "The clever one is he who disciplined himself and worked for what is after death, and the feeble one is he who followed his desires, then made (vain) prayers to Allah."

    Allah (Subhanahu Wa Taaala) said,

    "Say: The Death from which you flee will truly overtake you: then will you be sent back to the Knower of all things secret and open: and He will tell you (the truth of) the things that you did!" [TMQ Al-Jumua: 8].

    Besides the inevitable reality of death, do we believe that Allah (Subhanahu Wa Taaala) will accept our good deeds in the future whilst we committed haram during our youth? Do we think that performing Salah and avoiding the evil temptations in our old age when it is easier to do so will grant us Jannah?

    * * * *

    "Until, when death comes to one of them, he says: "O my Lord! Send me back (to life), in order that I may do good in that which I have left behind!" - No! It is but a word that he speaks; and behind them is a Partition until the Day they are raised up. Then when the Trumpet is blown, there will be no more kinship among them that day, nor will they ask of one another! Then those whose scales (of good deeds) are heavy, they are the successful. And those whose scales (of good deeds) are light, they are those who lose their own selves; in Hell will they abide" [TMQ Al-Muminun: 99-103].

    "Im not ready for it yet, its too difficult to change"

    The true meaning behind this excuse is that people dont want to leave the haram theyre committing. They have got so used to their lifestyle that they cant perceive it any other way. The thought of waking up for Fajr Salah, having to continuously study Islam or not chilling with the opposite sex is too much for them. There are obvious contradictions in their behaviour; many of them will spend a lot of time on things they enjoy whether its playing computer games, physical training, sports or looking good. In reality these people are lazy when it comes to Islam, they may spend so much effort in fitting in with the crowd and keeping up with the latest trend yet they are not willing to spend effort in staying away from the fire of hell and attempting to gain Jannah (paradise) and the pleasure of Allah (Subhanahu Wa Taaala).

    We need to realise that in order to become Islamic personalities we have to live our life according to the objective that Allah (Subhanahu Wa Taaala) has set for us. Why is it that many work hard when it comes to their exams, yet pay little attention to the true exam of life? Allah (Subhanahu Wa Taaala) didnt create us for play.

    Life is not all about ease and acting like spoilt teenagers who have everything done for them. All of us have the capacity to become Islamic personalities, Islam wasnt revealed for angels, it was revealed for human beings. Allah (Subhanahu Wa Taaala) says:

    "Allah does not place a burden upon a person except that which he is capable of" [TMQ al-Baqarah: 282]

    How can one then argue that following Islam is too difficult? Whoever believes this should look at the example of converts to Islam who completely transform their behaviour and may even face hardship from their families. If they can change why cant we? If we look to the example of many of the Sahabah (ra) they used to be the worst of people and then became the best of people. Take the example of Umar ibn al-Khattab (ra), he was a man that wanted to kill the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) and who had even buried his two daughters alive. When he embraced Islam he became the best of people. Ibn Abbas (ra) said that the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said: "There is no Angel in the heaven that does not respect Umar and there is no Shaytan on the earth but that he is afraid of Umar."

    Umar (ra) was neither Prophet nor angel; he was a person like us. This type of complete transformation of personalities is not restricted to the companions of the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). There are many examples from Muslims in our own communities in the West who used to be notorious criminals, drug dealers and alcoholics and who became active Islamic personalities working for the return of Islam when they received the Islamic Dawah.

    Abu Hurairah narrated that the Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said:

    "People are like mines of silver and gold; the best of them in the days of Ignorance (jahilliyah) are the best of them in Islam when they attain knowledge" [Muslim].

    This Hadith (narration) means that no matter how far away from Islam we are, we all have the potential to become the best of people.

    "As long as Im pure from inside, Allah will forgive me"

    The fact that someone has this delusion proves that they are not pure from inside because they carry this corrupt notion, which contradicts Islam. Being pure inside not only means believing in Islam, it also means practising it. What is the point of the Quran and the Sunnah of the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) if Allah (Subhanahu Wa Taaala) is going to enter everyone into Paradise (Jannah) without accounting them for their deeds? Believing in this idea allows people to gamble their life away. It will be too late to change on the Day of Judgement, when everyone will be worried about themselves to the extent that the Prophets of Allah like Adam (as), Musa (as) and Isa (as) will be worried about themselves. When the earth will narrate the actions that we performed on it and our own body will speak to Allah (Subhanahu Wa Taaala) about what we did whilst alive. Every single action small or large will be accounted on that day.


    "So whosoever does good equal to the weight of an atom, shall see it. And whosoever does evil equal to the weight of an atom, shall see it" [TMQ Al-Zalzalah: 7].

    The forgiveness of Allah (Subhanahu Wa Taaala) is not achieved with false prayers, whilst continuing to disobey His commands. Allah (Subhanahu Wa Taaala) says,

    "Of no effect is the repentance of those who continue to do evil deeds, until death faces one of them, and he says: Now I repent nor of those who die while they are disbelievers. For them have we prepared a painful torment" [TMQ An-Nisa: 18]

    Self-Justifications: Whispers of Shaytan

    Even though many dont realise it, using self-justifications to follow our own desires instead of following the commands of Allah (Subhanahu Wa Taaala) is directly following the footsteps of Shaytan. As Allah (Subhanahu Wa Taaala) said:

    "Did I not enjoin on you O you children of Adam that you should not worship Shaytan; for that he was to you an enemy avowed?" [TMQ Ya-Seen: 60]

    "O you who believe! Follow not the footsteps of the Shaytan (devil)" [TMQ An-Nur: 21].

    How can we be believers in Islam if we abandon its rules and follow the Shaytan instead?

    The Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said,

    "No one of has real Iman (belief) until his desires conform to what I came with"

    We must avoid the whispers of Shaytan. So every time we feel lazy in praying the Salah, we should know that this is from the Shaytan. Every time we are about to answer back in a rebellious way to our parents, we should know this is from the Shaytan. Every time we get the temptation of committing haram with the opposite sex, we should know that this is from Shaytan. Every time we are about to neglect our duty to Allah (Subhanahu Wa Taaala) or perform an action that will anger Him (Subhanahu Wa Taaala), we should know that this is from the Shaytan. The Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said,

    "Shaytan reaches everywhere in the human body as blood reaches in it"

    "Shaytan only seeks to breed animosity and spite among you by means of intoxicants and gambling and to keep you from the remembrance of Allah and from Salah (prayer); will you not then desist?" [TMQ Al-Maidah: 91]

    We should seek refuge from these whispers of Shaytan as Allah (Subhanahu Wa Taaala) taught us in the Quran:

    * * * * *

    "Say: I seek refuge with the Lord of Mankind. The King of mankind. The God of mankind. From the evil of the sneaking whisperer. Who whispers in the breasts of mankind. From amongst the Jinn and the men" [TMQ An-Nas: 1-6]

    Many of the youth would not undertake some of their haram actions in front of their parents due to embarrassment or fear, then how can they perform these actions whilst Allah (Subhanahu Wa Taaala) sees everything they do? We should fear Allah (Subhanahu Wa Taaala) and be embarrassed in front of Him (Subhanahu Wa Taaala).

    It was reported in the Sahih (authenticated) narration of when Jibreel (as) asked the Messenger (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) about Ihsan (perfection), he (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said,

    "To worship Allah as if you see him, and if you do not see him, then he surely sees you".

    Be true to yourself

    Self-justifications allow people to continue living their lives like animals, even though they know deep down that the path they are following is incorrect. Even after all the late night parties, relationships, drugs, fast cars, music and alcohol many feel an inevitable uneasiness or discontent. This feeling doesnt easily go away, some learn to live with it while it eats away at their conscience while others decide to use their mind and start thinking about Islam; the only thinking mans belief that provides tranquillity.

    Abdul-Hamid Jassat & Forid Miah

    Source: Khilafah Magazine July 2002 Edition

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