View Full Version : Article: I am a sinner
09-09-2004, 09:25 PM
I am a sinner
Sikander Ziad Hashmi, sunniforum.com
As I headed to university for the very first time, my mind raced through all those years I spent in school and in madrasah. Some were very fond memories of the funny and the good, but unfortunately, many others were not so great.
Thinking back, I remembered instances where I had erred and had chosen the wrong instead of the right.
I regret all those mistakes now and every once in a while, those decisions come back to haunt me.
Many times, when I mention this publicly, people are shocked. “Oh Maulana! What are you saying?! Astaghfirullah!”
Let’s face it. Every living human in this world right now errs, makes mistakes, and commits sins. Yes, even “Maulanas”. Because if we didn’t, we wouldn’t be human beings! We’d be angels.
Angels are the one creation that always obey Allah and do not have the ability to transgress and disobey. Obviously, we are not angels, so we are bound to make mistakes.
Every single one of us, no matter how long the beard, how white the clothes, how loose the jilbaab, how low the gaze, how perfect the salah, how knowledgeable – commits sins and makes mistakes.
It’s especially tough when one is young. There is just so much pressure. Peer pressure, societal pressures, parental pressure – there’s pressure from all over. And it’s not only limited to when we are young. Adults too feel the pressure. I too, even as a “Maulana”, feel the pressure quite often. So many times, I feel I’m compelled to do things that I know are wrong or that I’m not supposed to do.
It boils down to a simple fact. The human being is weak. As such, everyone is bound to make mistakes and sin.
Some of us may be in the bottom deck of the ship and others on the top, but we’re all on the same ship.
As human beings, we can’t be perfect even if wanted to. We are bound to have shortcomings and to make mistakes.
That means we will always make mistakes. For as long as we live, we will continue to err and to make sins.
But does that mean that we should just leave ourselves as we are and continue with our ways? Of course not!
I have a saying I often quote. I think I made it up myself, but perhaps I got it from somewhere.
“Human beings can never be perfect, yet the only way human beings can truly improve is by trying to achieve perfection.”
The very least we can do is try. After all, Allah (SW) knows we are weak and expects us to sin. However, He also wants us to work towards improving ourselves.
We can never stop sinning and making mistakes. But at the very least, we can try our true best to be perfect (even though we know we can’t become perfect beings).
The very first thing is to recognize our wrongs. The key to solving a problem is to first recognize the problem.
One good way of going about this is instead of counting sheep at night, we can replay our entire day and dissect it, picking up things we shouldn’t have done.
Committing a sin while seeing it as something bad is one thing, while committing a sin and not even considering it to be a sin is far worse.
When trying to stop committing a sin, we must try our true best. More often than not, we use the term “try my best” very casually. When dealing with our sins, we must have a strong resolve and we must try our true best.
Lastly, we all know that nothing happens without the will of Allah (SW). For this reason, we must pray and even cry in front of Allah (SW), asking Him to help us in battling our bad habits. If one finds crying to Allah a bit difficult, perhaps doing so in bed at night might make it easier.
My friends, let’s face it. Our birth certificate does not have an expiry date. We do not know when our term in this world is to expire. Nor can we add life or credits to extend our life when it ends. We can’t walk into a store or office and ask for a credit top-up or an extension.
This is our chance to change for the better. Moreover, this is when it counts as well.
Opportunities are usually remembered only after they are lost. This is our chance to set things straight. We all know we have only one life – one that we don’t know when it’ll come to an end.
Let’s seize the opportunity and run with it.
May Allah (SW) give me and all of us the ability to recognize our sins and the will to give our best in trying to correct them as soon as possible. Ameen.
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09-09-2004, 09:43 PM
and not just maulana wise but even if yr like wearing an islamic identiy... it doesnt mean yr perfect u R human wish ppl would understand once in a while..
09-09-2004, 10:51 PM
assalamu alaikum wr wb
Subhan'Allah that was really amazing article....
JazakuAllahkhairun, may Allah reward you for the effort and sharing it with us.
Live for Islam
10-09-2004, 04:44 PM
Jazakallahu khair for the brilliant article. :thumbsup:
We all have faults, we all sin, and we all have weaknesses, yet that is between ourselves and Allah (SWT) and NO other person can judge us. We fall all the time, but then we recover and resolve to better ourselves, and no-one besides Allah (SWT) knows what is in a person's heart, and how hard he/she tries to attain perfection. We may never reach perfection, but at least we can say we tried...and we succeeded to a degree.
At the end of the day, no one can look down at another person for their sins. It's about looking at oneself and striving for perfection.
And lastly, in one beautiful Hadith, Rasulullah (SAW) said: "The one who repents from sins is like the one who has no sin." (Bayhaqi) SubhanAllah!
10-09-2004, 09:52 PM
assalamu alaikum wr wb
one of the things though that makes upset is the fact that i have met some people who look down upon others. They look at themselves as these perfect muslims that pray all the prayers on time or so they say at least to you in public but in the privacy of your own house you don't know whether or not they do or not, and they see themselves as higher than you and that you are beneath them. So, whenever they greet you at functions going on they will bring up such issues and say well you know im better than you when it comes to these things or im much more knowledgeable than you regarding this matter, or don't try to out beat me in this prayers competition because im way up here and you're down below. :rolleyes:
A few times these people whom I have known for a bit have come to me and criticized what certain people do and just basically judged them. When I pointed it to them that they don't have the right to criticize or judge the person the person says this is important type of observing, we have the right to have our say and i said no you don't when it comes to hurting someone's feelings its better to say good or keep quiet, yet they feel they have to have the last say or i know more than you and i know what im doing and dont tell me how to be a good muslim. I feel saddened and sometimes out of place when I cannot relate any of my problems with anyone because they make it seem as if I'm the only one with these issues and I have no one to talk to about it, some people nod their head like they understand but others just say oh im sorry you feel that way it's probably because of so and so.
These people see themselves as people that do not sin ever and even if they do they see it as if their sins didn't count as sins and that Allah knows them and knows what's in their heart and will understand and forgive them, whereas everyone else is chopped liver. It upsets me to the core that these people feel as if they have the *rights* to treat their muslim bro or sis like that and get away with it and use the excuse that 'well that's my say ok..deal with it. or im only speaking the truth. dont shoot the messenger.' :(
We all have to know that we all make mistakes and we all have some bad stuff in us and we all have to overlook that and work at becoming good and instead of splitting up between us and causing division and enmity between each other we should work with one another to unite and look at the good in us and give each other the benefit of the doubt.
Yes that sis sinned but alhamdulillah she has repented and has moved on, let it go and that's between her and Allah swt, it's not for us to sit and talk about because that won't solve a thing except cause fitnah as it will cause people to doubt and people to become suspicious and get into the grapevine gossiping which is also a big sin, yet people will not count it as that just as being informative about these matters.
but seriously we all have to admit that we're humans and we're allowed to make mistakes... we should focus on ourselves and not look at pointing faults at others...look at our own and work at our own... despite these ppl feel its for the best that they point out your errors, it's not. it's better to work on yourself than work on others and think of your method as perfect and others as beneath you.
Insha'Allah we can all work with one another and not apart and i hope that no one is offended by what i said and i apologize if i did offend you as this wasn't my intention, just that i face this a lot and found that it fit perfectly into this thread.
12-09-2004, 06:15 AM
Waiyyak, ameen, and jazakumullah-hu-khairan for all the thought-provoking comments. Surely, we must never look down upon anyone, for none of us can offer written guarantees or certificates of entry into paradise. None of us can surely say if we are better than another. Who knows if the person who doesn't look or act religious/pious is in fact dearer to Allah than I am? Who knows which of his/her act(s) Allah may like, and end up granting him/her entry into paradise for it, and which of my act(s) He may dislike, and end up throwing me into hell for it (God forbid)? :confused:
I also remembering hearing from my teacher (it might be a hadith, not sure) that if a person taunts/mocks another for an act which they have already repented for, then the 1st person will not die until he has gone thru the very same situation. Wallahe, I've seen it happen.
May Allah protect us all. Ameen.
15-12-2005, 11:17 AM
Whilst this article is great at identifying the problem with the human condition it appears not to to offer any real solutions to the problem, and surely that's what we are all after? It points out that we all sin, and says that in the face of our sinfulness we still need to strive for perfection, which is true, but while acknowledging that sin is a problem in its words, by talking the way it does it almost makes us feel like sin is OK. The article fails to emphasise that it only provides a suggestion for how to act in the face of this problem rather than giving a solution for the problem.
Sin is a big problem, for Allah the Almighty is pure and holy and totally separate from sin and can not even look upon sin. What Allah sw requires is not that we try not to sin, or even that we regret our sin, but that we do not sin. We were not made to sin, it was never in his plan for us and he does not forget our mistakes, even if he understands them. Repentance is precious, but sin requires more than repentance alone, it requires payment. To say that sin does not require payment is to say that Allah sw is not just or righteous. Who can imagine, let alone desire, a God who does not punish evil and reward good but merely overlooks it whenever he so desires? And we can not use our good works to pay for our sin as some suggest, since those good works were required of us even if we had not sinned.
none of us can offer written guarantees or certificates of entry into paradise. ... Who knows which of his/her act(s) Allah may like, and end up granting him/her entry into paradise for it, and which of my act(s) He may dislike, and end up throwing me into hell for it (God forbid)? :confused:
If what I say above is true and what the article says about the human condition is true then it is my opinion that Allah sw will grant no one entry into paradise based on his/her good acts unless his/her sin is paid for.
I look forward to your responses to this comment on the forum or by email.
16-12-2005, 12:41 AM
salam, that was very good. Guide us on the Straight Path, the Path of those You have blessed. (1:5-6) ameen
01-07-2007, 07:54 AM
Very informative and touching article... Subhan'Allah for the writing and the reflection :)
18-07-2007, 10:43 AM
It is a good reminder. May we all benefit from it.
_purple_panther, hello and I hope this message finds you in good health and spirits. Just wanted to share a few thoughts with you. I saw the article more in the light of serving to remind us that none of us are, or can be, above errors and that though this condition prevails, we must not let this totally frustrate us.
The human tendency to sin can be seen as a test from God. How do we interact with this test? The suggestion in the Islamic tradition is to perform tawba which comprises of basically three elements: i) sense of shame and remorse at having fallen into disobedience to God ii) giving up the sin altogether iii) and making a firm resolve not to commit the sin again. The word itself means "to return", and the scholars in this thread would correct me if I am wrong, Inshallah. While tawba is generally translated as repentance, repentance (as being a psychological state of remorse) is only a part of tawba.
In what I have understood of our tradition, there are two types of sins: i) Major and ii) Minor. As far as minor sins are concerned apart from tawba these are also cleansed by means of various good deeds. For example: a propper wudu (ritual purification) washes minor sins, praising Allah in certain ways cleanses minor sins, each of the five daily prayers also cleanse sins and again Inshallah the scholars and knowledgeable people viewing the thread will be able to clarify and add to the list. Major sins require sincere tawba and crying to Allah in order to be cleansed. And in quite a number of cases they also require kaffara which are actual deeds which are done in expiation. And I mention this because this is relevant to what you said about payment being a requirement along with repentance. So there is such a concept of payment or expiation in the Islamic tradition, in relation to a number of major sins. And in cases where such expiation is not required it is certainly recommended to follow up a bad deed with a good deed, whether it be in terms of supererogatory acts of worship or charity, indeed after performing a sincere tawba. Cleansing of sins for believers also come in forms of worldly afflictions and ultimately through the torment of Hell. For sinners who have otherwise recognized and accepted the authority of Allah and all that He has sent with his Prophets (as) the fire of Hell serves a purgatory function for his/her sins.
To add a bit more, much of the human spiritual struggle in this world would start with identifying actions (in terms of whether they are obligatory, recommended, neutral, disliked or prohibited); thereafter the struggle would continue on with fulfilling the obligations, staying away from the prohibitions, maximizing the recommendations and minimizing the disliked and, in higher stages of spiritual striving, trying to minimize even the merely permissible acts.
With regard to what you mentioned about the sense that the article seems to give us the feeling that committing sins is almost okay, I would like to share my reading of the article. The realization, that everyone sins and that nobody is really free from the tendency to sin, is useful and even necessary in at least two ways.
Firstly, for the person who has just learnt of the prohibitions and has accepted them to be so, but at the same time finds it to be a difficult exercise against ones ego or carnality, it is useful (and indeed a mercy) to realize that:
i) it is a universal struggle (one can identify oneself with ones fellow human beings in this struggle)
ii) the door to tawba is open hence initial failure is not a permanent closing of the doors of Mercy.
So, while there is nothing to say that to sin is okay, (because the definition of the term sin, excludes such possibility) in the universality of the struggle against sinful provocations and in the hope of being forgiven following sincere tawba does one find motivation to actually continue on with the struggle and gain higher levels of piety and love for God.
While it is easy to say that one accepts and loves God, in the persistence of ones struggle to fulfill the command and pleasure of God can ones love for God be manifested and experienced. And indeed, through such struggle, just like the baby learns to walk, by falling but not giving up, does the human being learn to walk the path towards Allah.
Secondly, even for the ones who are in apparent harmony with Divine commandments and prohibitions, the realization that one is prone to sin is at least important and more ideally a matter of absolutely necessity. This is because to think that one is beyond sin is the door to a graver sin, that of arrogance. And this is a major sin. And this is where this article is most useful. Because it serves to remind those of us that think we are doing okay spiritually speaking, that perhaps we are not doing so fine. Often one would find oneself quite satisfied with staying away from major and apparent sins, but everyday we would fall into some minor or hidden sins. Some of the hidden sins like ostentation are major sins. So it is very important to realize that we are not free from sins, to really be in our place and to maintain humbleness. It is not useful to consider oneself humble, for such realization may often be a source of hidden pride or consciousness of superiority. It is more useful to realize that one is a sinner. But again the realization is not enough, hence the reminder of the author to keep on repenting and struggling. But more a person attains closeness to God, more clearly does one see ones fault, and more readily does he/she confess to ones sins. That is why the more pious and saintly people usually think very low of themselves, they cry a lot before God in privacy, for they are much closer to realizing how small we are in the Grand Scheme of Things.
So from what I could understand, the article, rather than suggesting that it is okay to commit sins, suggests that nobody is free from sins, and as such we need to be aware of our failures and keep on striving against sins. And as I tried to share, this awareness of sin and the possibility of repentance is a useful means for humankind to reach God.
As to some of the other things that you mentioned. I am in full agreement with you that Allah is Pure and Holy and free of All blemish, and of course He does not like sins, He does not like disobedience. But He is also Ar-Rahman, the All-Merciful, and there is a lot of discussion, on the nature of this all encompassing Mercy. I heard in a lecture that the root of the Arabic Rahma, r-h-m, means womb, and as such it signifies a loving, encompassing and protective type of Mercy. And also that the nature of Mercy is that it expands like the womb of the mother. So in this light, and also in the light of the fact that Allah has said "My mercy outstrips my wrath", in is perhaps not impertinent for a believer to hope for Allah's mercy. However Allah is the most Just so he deals justly with His servants, so if somebody wronged somebody in some way Allah does not forgive the perpetrator unless the victim forgives him/her. But any personal acts of disobedience, (except outright rejection and association of other deities to Allah) though subject to punishment, may be forgiven by Allah swt, and we sure hope for such Mercy because we are filled with sins. There is also the concept that nobody enters Paradise through their good deeds, not even the Prophets (as), and it is only through Allah's Mercy. And this is true because the bounties and favours of Allah upon us are innumerable, we cannot put a number to them. So no matter how much good deeds we do, we can never repay Allah. And one can discuss more Divine qualities along this line such as, Allah is not in any sort of need of anything, while we are in need of Allah for our existence and indeed everything. So Allah really doesn't need our good deeds, but rather we need them to get close to Allah, to attain His pleasure.
I guess you can say that we are not made to sin, in the sense that Allah says that He has not created jinn and mankind except to worship Him. And indeed to sin is antithetical to worshiping Him. But I believe it can be safely said that it is part of Allah's design that He has created in us the capability to sin, as a means to test who among us are more righteous.
As to the idea that sins require payment and that good deeds can't pay it off because we were supposed to do good deeds anyway, I shared a little bit about the idea of kaffara or expiation and recommended acts of worship to pay for deeds. I also mentioned about typed of deeds, obligatory, recommended, permissible, disliked and prohibited. So in terms of obligatory deeds, these are the ones that we need to do anyway, but in Divine Mercy and Benevolence we are also rewarded for them. We don't deserve anything, we came from nothing anyway. We believe that God created us from nothing. It is also a part of our belief in one way or the other that bad deeds chisel off the rewards that we got from the good deeds. I wish I could elaborate on that, but I have been writing for so long that I have become tired and slow. The recommended good deeds can help us gain back the rewards lost at least I guess, but essentially the awareness of the negative effect of sins, as you have mentioned is very useful, and indeed most pious people think like that. They don't even want to go near sin. They hate sins, and they are very afraid to sin. In a way taking away from our good deeds is a punishment, and when sins reach a level where our good deed balance is in deficit we are in very bad shape. But we hope for Allah's Mercy in all cases. Also it is useful and important to realize that while more recommended good deeds can replenish the good deeds that were eaten by the sins, if there were no sins to begin with then the balance of good deeds would have been heavier.
As to the idea that if sins did not require repayment Allah would be unjust, I want to say that sins do indeed require repayment in some way or the other as I have tried to share from what I have learnt, but if Allah choses to forgive somebody considering other good deeds that that person did, it cannot take away from Allah's justice or righteousness, because firstly He is the owner of everything and He has the right to do as he pleases, unlike human beings, and secondly and more importantly from our perspective, forgiveness is a manifestation of Mercy and Benevolence which does not necessarily take away from His Justice and Righteousness. And it is all His to give and His to take into account, but one thing that we can be sure about is that He will not punish us more than we deserve, or hold us accountable for more than we did, and that is where his Righteousness and Justice is most relevant to us.
I guess I shared most of what I wanted to share with you. No doubt it could have been more organized, especially near the end. But I hope you will find some benefit in this discussion. And I look forward to your response as well. I want to thank Maulana Hashmi for his beautiful reminder and _purple_panther whose post elicited me to share some of my thoughts. I hope and pray Allah grants all of us here success and guidance in its truest and most permanent essence.
I hope to be forgiven and corrected for any errors that I have made in writing this response.
18-07-2007, 06:57 PM
SubhanAllah, this article is exactly what i needed. :\
19-09-2007, 02:22 AM
I have joined this forum with the sole purpose of gaining hidayat and raising my mayar in front of allah. I do request you help me in becoming a true follower of Islam which I feel I lack as of now. Does anybody here know where I can get in touch with the tablighi activities in toronto canada.
Shukran and I await your replies
to gain mayar in front of Allah (SWT) isn't it better to join a tariqa and purify the souland become spiritually clean?
07-01-2008, 06:39 AM
May Allah swt forgive us :(
22-03-2008, 02:20 PM
23-03-2008, 05:36 PM
May we all be guided & remain guided and be protect from the evil temptations of shaitaan. Inshallah
04-05-2008, 07:12 PM
Ime new at islam forum.
i wanted to know if anyone could help me
i wanted to start a new thread but ime not able to
could anyone tell me why not??
and how i go about opening a thread
20-05-2008, 02:40 AM
Well 1st you need to get into one of the sections, like this particular one (General sunniforum articles)... search the top left corner of the page and you will see a button 'new thread'. Click on that and that's it.
20-11-2008, 03:04 PM
This is really good, subhanallah, may Allah forgives us all.
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27-11-2008, 05:11 AM
Subhan Allah, really really great article, jazak allah khair for sharing this. Please keep writing them.
27-11-2008, 06:13 AM
If we were only not to blame others, and see everything happens we are part of it.
Then the world would have been more peaceful.
19-03-2010, 10:29 AM
Masha Allah! I have also joined for almost the same reason. :-)
Brother in Islam
19-05-2010, 11:11 AM
18-06-2010, 11:23 PM
Ameen, Good thread. I like your quote
“Human beings can never be perfect, yet the only way human beings can truly improve is by trying to achieve perfection
15-07-2010, 12:03 PM
25-08-2010, 12:57 AM
May we all be guided & remain guided and be protect from the evil temptations of shaitaan. Inshallah
06-09-2011, 09:23 AM
Really informative, it increases my knowledge & interest as well.
10-09-2012, 12:21 PM
If we were only not to blame others, and see everything happens we are part of it.
Then the world would have been more peaceful.
I agreed with what you have said, and such is the beauty of thinking.
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