We do Good deeds in Public but Evil deeds in private?
Rasulallah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said:
“Keep away from prohibited things and you will be the best of worshippers.” (Recorded by Ahmad and al-Tirmidhi)
In such concise words, our Prophet (sallaAllahu alayhe wasallam) taught us that worship is not only in bringing forth good deeds, but also in abstaining from that which is prohibited. Extra prayers, fasting and charity are praiseworthy, but inclusive in worship is to be able to place boundaries between yourself and that which is haram.
This is of particular importance to those sins that we may have become desensitized to (especially in the West), and as a result are prone to falling into them regularly.
To establish our personal level of ubudiyyah (worship) to Allah (subhanahu wata’ala), we should turn to our situation in cases where a sin is of easy access to us (e.g. sinful/wasteful websites or TV programmes, free-mixing at work, haram income and expenditure, back-biting, etc). The examples are many, and each of us can relate, on a personal level, which of the haram actions we are prone to slipping into.
In a hadeeth narrated by Thawban (RA), the Prophet (sallaAllahu alayhe wasallam) warned against this when he described the situation of those who fall into the prohibited when they are far from the eyes of others. He (sallaAllahu alayhe wasallam) said:
“I certainly know people of my ummah who will come on the Day of Resurrection with good deeds like the mountains of Tihaamah, but Allah will make them like scattered dust.” Thawbaan said: ‘O Messenger of Allaah, describe them to us and tell us more, so that we will not become of them unknowingly.’ He said: “They are your brothers and from your race, worshipping at night as you do (i.e. pray tahajjud), but they will be people who, when they are alone, transgress the sacred limits of Allah.” (Ibn Majah).
Do we want to be of those who spend our lives doing good deeds but on the day of judgement they will be of no avail because of the fact that we trangressed the limits set by Allah when in private.
So while we undergo sincere efforts to increase our good deeds in public (e.g. at the masjid), we should also pay heed to those evil deeds we do when out of the public eye (i.e. in private or with friends), whether they are actions of the heart, tongue or limbs, which bar us from reaching this status. This is particularly to those ones which come about in daily life, such as evil, vain talk or letting our gazes roam. Let us become more aware of our actions and work on building a barrier that stands between us and Allah’s prohibitions, thus serving as a step in the path of earning this title of the “best of worshippers.”
So let us forget the past now but LEARN from it. Whatever bad deeds we have done or are currently doing in private then let us make FULL effort to eradicate these evils from our lives lest our good deeds become scattered like dust on the day of judgement and by then we would be in eternal regret.
Let us concentrate in eradicating the most major ones first and then work our way upto the minor ones. Surely Allah knows what we are doing in private so are we not ashamed? Are we not aware that he sees us or have we become blind?
This life is our one chance to please Allah and gain lofty status in the hereafter so let us not waste it and let us achieve the high status in the hereafter that we can ALL achieve if we REALLY want to.
And Allah knows best in all matters