The Decrease After the Increase Of Eemaan
Abu Uwais Abdullaah Ali
Transcribed by: Umm Hasna Firdous Bint Jabir
Today, beizznillaahi ta'ala and to describing the cure or the remedy for the illness which is "al-khawru ba'dil kawru" or decrease after increase, the changing of the condition of a person from eemaan to Kufr or from taqwa and righteousness to evil-doing and misbehaving regarding the orders of Allaah; or from guidance to going astray. This is upon levels. So if an individual was upon Istiqaama and was upon righteousness and then they go back upon their heels, then one fears for that individual 'sooh al khaatimah' -- an evil or bad ending. This was from the characteristics of the salaf that they would fear a bad ending so therefore they would watch their actions and their behavior. What are some of the reasons behind this matter of backing up after having been steadfast? Of getting misguidance after having guidance? of going astray after one was upon the straight way? of becoming someone who is easy for the individual to commit sins when prior to this it was a hard and very rare or at least a difficult issue for that individual to fall into sin.
Some of the reasons we will mention Insha'Allaah ta'ala are:
The first reason – "Da'h fil eeman." The weakness of an individual's eemaan. And this weakness of eemaan carries with it all types of diseases and all types of other illnesses from "Kaswatul Qalb"- the hardness of the heart, "Wa suhuratul wuqufil Ma'aasi" - and the easiness of falling into sin and laziness when it comes to doing or establishing obediences and worships directed towards Allaah. All obedience and worship is for the purpose of Allaah, done for the pleasure of Allaah. But here laziness regarding those matters and the absence of being affected by the Quraan or by Salah and "Thillaah" – the small amount of Khawf min Allaah - fear from Allaah. This is some of the signs of what? Weakness of eemaan. Which is one of the causes for "al-khawr ba'dil kawr". 'Wa kafratul Jidaal' - a lot of arguing and debate and dissension, this is another reason and another illness and the absence of feeling that one is responsible in front of Allaah for what one does. That one would be asked, questioned in front of Allaah for everything that one does. And other forms of this matter.
Many other reasons that this take place is "Ittiaa'ad"- staying away or being faraway from "Arqatus saalihah" – from righteous companions; "Wa majaaris al ilm"- from the cities of knowledge; "wal inshighaal fiddunya"- and being busy with the Dunya – the material world; "Wa tawlil amal"- a long or wide and expensive hope; 'warti kaabil muharramaat' - falling into that and embarking upon that which is Haraam. So if eemaan because of that becomes weak, you find that the condition of that individual who has that weak eemaan would change. From being someone upright, from being someone righteous to being someone astray, and being someone corrupt, and being someone who is going in the incorrect way.
So first and foremost there must be a treatment for this weakness of eemaan. And that is by being sincere, having 'al-Ikhlaas'- some of the greatest benefits of 'Ikhlaas'- it is of paramount importance that the individual be sincere. That the actions be done for Allaah tabarak wa ta'ala and for Allaah alone.
And to reflect another remedy for weakness of eemaan is to reflect upon the Qura'an, reflect upon the meaning of the Qura'an, contemplate the meaning of the Qura'an - 'wal khawf minallaah'- and to fear Allaah tabarak wa ta'ala. Fearing Allaah tabarak wa ta'ala which is - those who know Allaah fear him the most.
To recall the greatness of Allaah tabarak wa ta'ala, the power of Allaah tabarak wa ta'ala; that Allaah tabarak wa ta'ala if He wanted to destroy the heavens and the earth and all that is between them (its inhabitants or whatever), all creatures, none could stand in His way. When Allaah tabarak wa ta'ala sent destruction to the people of Luth (alaihissalam) and other narrations or Ayaahs or verses that deal with the punishment of other nations, there it is narrated that it did not take Allaah tabarak wa ta'ala to send an army but rather He sent one of His angels and knowing the greatness and the majesty of the creation, one can appreciate the greatness of Allaah tabarak wa ta'ala. And the fact that one of these angels, he has from his earlobe to his shoulder that which someone narrated would take 700 years (some others mentioned other numbers) of flight for this bird to go from the earlobe of this angel to his shoulder. So it did not require when Allaah tabarak wa ta'ala wanted to punish those of the past and in particular the people of Luth He did not send an army but one angel who it is stated lifted the whole valley up on the tip of one of his wings and the inhabitants of the heavens could hear the barking of their dogs, turned it around and smashed them and crushed them. This is the might of Allaah tabarak wa ta'ala and that to other nations He just sent some angel to shout, a "Saihah"- a shouting. one shouting left them in their places in a position of prostration from death.
When one reflects upon the greatness of Allaah tabarak wa ta'ala, we realize that if He willed and He wanted, he could make the air that we breathe, unbreathable, so impossible for us to breathe, or the water that we drink undrinkable, so that we cannot benefit from it and so on and so forth. Thinking about the greatness of Allaah tabarak wa ta'ala and the sheer strength and power of Allaah tabarak wa ta'ala brings about al-khawf - fear of Allaah tabarak wa ta'ala.
"Wat-Tawbah minazzunoob" another means of getting away from the illness of weakness of eemaan is making tawbah - returning back to Allaah tabarak wa ta'ala, repenting to Allaah tabarak wa ta'ala, asking Allaah tabarak wa ta'ala for forgiveness, asking Allaah tabarak wa ta'ala to forgive 'tawbah' from zunoob wal Ma'aasi - from sins and ill behaviour and disobedience to Allaah tabarak wa ta'ala and 'wal Khawf min sooril Khaathima" - the fearing of an evil end and to think about death. Yes, to think about death and the Hereafter. Reflection of death changes one's whole world. Reflection of death takes something that seems difficult and makes it easy. Reflection of death makes one watch one's talk, watch one's hands, watch one's step and watch one's movement and behavior when one reflects upon death. That death would come to each and every one of us, there is no doubt about that -- that one day the soul is going to reach the throat and the blood is going to run cold and the heart is going to stop beating and the light that is in the eyes that gives us the ability to have sight is going to be removed and that there is nothing that we can do and when that time approaches and when it happens there is no delay in it, we can't say, 'wait a minute, give me time to say something to my family, give me a moment to straighten up my affairs.' Know, that once the process starts it ends with us, the soul being removed from our body and the occurrence therefore of that is death.
Death, thinking about death and thinking about the Akhira, the Last Day and all that will happen in the Last Day -- from the punishment of the grave and before the punishment of the grave, the tightness of the grave and the darkness of the grave and the answer or questioning test of the two angels and coming out of the grave and being barefooted, naked and uncircumcised and being on the Day of Judgment where all the multitudes will be gathered until there is no room to move. You can't go forward, you can't go backwards, you can't go to the left and you can't go to the right and some people will be upon their faces and the punishment of Allaah tabarak wa ta'ala will be severe. You will see the children's hair turning grey and the women who will have their load dropping their load, you will think that people are drunk but it is not drunkenness but rather the punishment of Allaah tabarak wa ta'ala. Thinking about the Akhira the Hereafter is a means of dealing with weakness of faith.
Another reason why people fall into unrighteousness after they were righteous, weak eemaan after having strong eemaan, misguidance after having being guided is 'al Ittiaad' - being far removed from the atmosphere of eeman. one has to make oneself in 'al-ajwa'ah' or 'al jawil al eemaani' - the atmosphere, the environment of eemaan. one has to make oneself be in an environment of eemaan. Those who are faraway from the environment of eemaan, from 'Majaaris al ilm' - sitting to get knowledge, 'wal masjid'- coming to the Masjid, 'wal Qura'an' - reciting Qura'an, sitting and reciting Qura'an and good companionship or righteous companionship, were good example; 'Al-Qudwa' - righteous examples for individuals, that one can see who are striving for the Hereafter and striving to be righteous; 'Wa Qiyaamul layl' - making Salaah at night, 'Wal Adhkaar' - remembrance of Allaah and other than that when people remove themselves from the environment of eemaan it leads to backing up, it leads to going upon one's heels, falling back upon one's heels, it leads to an individual going in the wrong direction and turning away from what is right. So when a person, Muslim Man, woman or child is removed from righteous brothers or righteous companions or righteous sisters for sisters for a very long period of time for instance traveling or because of their job or something of this nature, they lose the environment of eemaan. And when they lose the environment of eemaan it weakens them. It weakens them and when they are weakened they turn away from that in which they were on or they become weak in their sticking – to what they used to stick to of Deen and if this is not caught by the person it can be a matter or a means of destruction for that individual.
The great Imaam of the Sunnah Al-Hasan al Basree (Rahimahullah) used to say 'Ikhwaanina'- Our Brothers, Aghlaa indanaa min ahlinaa - are more precious and expensive to us than our families, and the wife and the children. Our brothers are 'aghlaa' more precious, more expensive, more dear to us than our family because our family remind us of Dunya – 'We want this, we need this, let's go here, lets go there, well what about this, well what about that' reminding us of Dunya. But our brothers remind us of the Akhira. As we find brothers who are upon the Qura'an & Sunnah, the way of the salafus saalih, who fear Allah tabarak wa ta'ala and the Last Day, hope with the meeting of Allah tabarak wa ta'ala, they remind you of what? Al-Akhira - the Last Day. So upon the Muslim is to guard himself and to make sure that he or she strives against the desires of his self, to make sure that they place themselves in atmospheres of eemaan and this is something that we have the opportunity to do.
First, we have to make the house - a house of eemaan. Make the Baith – Baith Muslim, make the house, the house of a Muslim. This is a very important factor that I heard over 50 years ago, (from Sheik Abu Bakr Jaabir al Jazairi hafidahullah), the man who had been teaching tawhid and tafseer in the Masjid of the Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) for well over 40 years or more in a series of lectures he did upon the corruption of the society, where he dealt with this issue that the house of a Muslim MUST be the house of a Muslim. The house of a Muslim is not a 'mal ab'- not a playground. The house of a Muslim is not a disco, the house of a Muslim is not a cinema. The house of a Muslim is where you find Qura'an and he used to say Haafidhahullah that what is this zero want by others to hear the voices of those who sing and so on so forth, music and all of this when you have some of the greatest reciters of Qura'an, the likes of, we are talking about their recitation not necessarily their Aqeedah or their Manhaj. When an individual he wants to listen to something, was concerned about the Manhaj he wouldn't listen to anything that had any connection with music - which is the Qura'an of Shaitan. He said we have the best reciters (the likes of Tablaawi, the likes of Abdul Baasit, the likes of Husri). We can go further to those whom we know in the present day other than al-Mishaawi, but al-Hudhaifi and the ai'imma of the various masaajid and others.
The house of the Muslim should have that playing, listening to the recitation of Qura'an. In this Qura'an, the house of the Muslim has in it the Qura'an, has in it the remembrance of Allaah, has in it Sajdah and Rukou, has in it serenity and peace, has in it talking of good. The Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) said that the one who Allaah wants good for, this is from the families -- the husband, wife and children, whom Allaah wants good for, he places between them Rahma. He places between them Mercy - that if there is good in them, they have between them Rahma or Mercy, so that the house becomes after the Masjid a refuge from Fitnah, a refuge from confusion, a refuge from the call to desires, a refuge from that. The house of a Muslim becomes the house of a Muslim. So who is it that comes in our house and say: bring in a television so that you can witness the Kuffar and learn how to act from the Kuffar and learn how to dress from the Kuffar and learn the ill, sick diseases of the Kuffar? Who is it that puts a gun to our head and said bring to your houses those magazines that impress you about the Kuffar.? Who is it that brings any of this and forces us to look down upon the Qura'an and let it collect dust on the shelf, and forces us not to teach our children or take 15 minutes or half an hour of the day to teach them the book of Allaah or the Sunnah of the messenger Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam, or some wisdom of the salafus saalih? I don't think any one is forced. And if you go further who is it that has us hooked up to our houses with these issues such as Satellite dishes and cable and so on and so forth and to witness things that may be even Shaitan would be ashamed of! Who is it?. No one!! So upon the believer is to make, to build, to construct environments of eemaan. This is a very important matter.
The third cause for those who had righteousness then becoming unrighteous, who had a difficulty falling into sins and sins with the exception and then therefore after that their sins become a rule and becomes a habit. And those who had strong eemaan and now they have weak eemaan what is referred to as "al-khawr ba'dil kawr" - another reason is the oppressiveness of the society that we live in. This is not just the societies in the countries of the Kuffar but even in the societies of Muslim countries. Even though the oppression is less, no doubt, but what he refers to here is, he means in general.
First and Foremost he is referring to the Muslims. When I read these words you will understand that. So, if that is the case with Muslims in Muslim circles, then what about the one who is surrounded by the oppressive society? What is meant by 'oppressive', is the push of the society upon an individual who is sticking to his Deen. What about that? The influence of the Kuffar, the influence of those who are evil upon this type of individual. These are the type of societies that we live in; the Muslim who is trying to stick his Deen is that he mixes with individuals who are not concerned whether or not they disobey Allah. In our case, we mix with people who are around people who are not concerned by whether or not they commit Shirk and Kufr, so what about disobedience? In the sense after Kufr and Shirk everything else is light. So you can see that he is referring to the Muslim countries first, but we have to focus also and know that if this is the case there then our condition here is even worse and so we should pay attention to that. So we mix with individuals who are not concerned with the commission of sins :
1) Singing the songs;
2) listening and calling to music;
3) Smoking cigarettes or whatever;
4) Reading dirty magazines or magazines that have no benefit;
5) one whose tongue is not safe from Gheebah - backbiting, cursing, swearing and making fun and mockery of the believers.
So this Muslim who sticks to Deen when he comes to one of these settings or is invited to a Walimah or Aqeeqah or whatever he finds all types of Munkaraat- all types of evil matters and he finds conversation taking place about matters of Dunya. Either about trading or 'Thijaarah", buying and selling or about a person's 'wadiwa' - particular business or position that they have in the business world or about wealth or about the acquiring of properties or money or whatever. And the problems of the Dunya and others in that until it is a matter of placing into the heart based upon the conversations, based upon what people are talking about -- a deep love of Dunya in the heart. A deep love of Dunya in the heart !! So therefore the heart becomes hard, and a person backs up on their sticking to the Deen of Allaah. They back up from being righteous. If this person like this has been oppressed by his environment to this degree, mixing, just mere mixing in this way affects him, if you add to that, that he's also been tested with some wealth, he has got some money to spend, and if you add to that he may be also tested with a wife, or if it is a sister or a brother who has weak eemaan, or children that are like their father, if his weak in his eemaan, or like their mother if she is weak in eemaan, then he will not be able to be fixed and firm upon his Deen and he will leave those matters and leave being righteous and leave being upright. Then if you find that if he mixes with his kith and kin, (he is referring to the Muslim families) then what about the Kuffar, if his family members are Kuffar? And if he mixes with his kith and kin, his neighbours and his peers, he finds words that are distasteful and mockery, open mockery or hidden mockery. And he finds people who try to advise him to be balanced, that you're going to the extreme, your thobe is too far above your ankle, why do u have to let your beard grow that much? See, the type of naseehah he is given. Yes, the Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) said adDeen anNaseehah - but not this type of naseehah. This is the type of naseehah he is given to backup from what he is on. Many of them, or many individuals are tested like this -- backup, fall short and in the end it is possible for that person to lose the Dunya and the Akhira -- to lose this world and the Hereafter. So this is a cause also. And that is why the first issue of being around people who are 'Saalih' – who are righteous and environments that are righteous is of utmost importance because we begin to mix with those who don't mind smoking cigarettes even though it is Haraam, they like to say Makrouh. It is what you hear all the time.
As one student of knowledge told one of these individuals, who was smoking, he was looking at him and he said "Don't smoke". The smoking individual, then inhaled a big amounts into his mouth and brought it out of his nose and said, "its makrouh yaani." Is it Makhrou? This is the type of mentality that you are dealing with. It is not makrouh it is Haraam. So when you mix with these type of individuals it can be dangerous.
Another issue or reason that people go from being correct or upright to corruption, from being righteous to becoming unrighteous or from being strong in their belief to becoming weak in their belief is Daahf al tarbiyyah Azzaatiyyah' -- their personal tarbiyyah is weak. Their personal education islamically of themselves and cultivation of themselves is weak. Because the Muslims doesn't make sure to watch himself and guard himself and make sure that he cultivates himself and strives against himself, he will fall back upon his heels. There must be times throughout the hours of the day where it is just him and Allaah tabarak wa ta'ala. There must be times where he takes a "Time out" to be by himself focused on Allaah tabarak wa ta'ala, making Dua, making Ibadah, making Tasbih, Tahmeem, wa tahleel, reflecting upon the names and qualities of Allaah and calling upon Allaah. He must have those times throughout the day, where in those times he judges himself, calls himself to account as Umar Ibn Al Khattab (Amirul Mu'mineen), the Farouq of this ummah used to say "call yourself to account before you are called to account".
So the believer takes some time out of the day to look at what he has done of benefit to himself of good deeds and righteousness and whatever and what has he done that is harmful to himself. And therefore make Istighfar - ask Allaah for forgiveness and make Tawbah – repent to Allaah tabarak wa ta'ala. He must also have some time throughout the day, and this something that one of the students of knowledge Sheikh Abu Abdurrahman Hisham Arif Hafidahullah who teaches Tawhid, Sunnah and the Manhaj of the Salaf-us-Saalih at Masjid Baithul Maqdis - Masjidul Aqsa asked the brothers at the last convention of the Qura'an and Sunnah Society : "How many hours do you read a day, some book of knowledge?" and he said 'you must also in your reading also take notes, you must get into the habit of writing. For this is keeping in accordance with the Sunnah that the Prophet Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam established when he said "Keep knowledge through writing - Qayyid ul Ilm fil Kitaab."
So actually physically writing down, and you find that the scholars of the past had books that they called Fawaid - benefits, a daftar if you will (a notebook) for benefit. When you hear something that is beneficial, it does not have to be under any specific title or anything else you write down the benefit. Who said this, who did this, what was this statement, what was that Umar Ibn Al Khattab said what? Wa kaza, wa kaza wa kaza -- you write it down. So there must be that type of Shirh saalih al ilm and even if it was for a small period of time (half an hour of the day) what is done continuously you will see benefit. You will see benefit, you will see yourself grow and reach a level that you didn't think that you were going to reach.
Because as they say 'a journey of a thousand, million miles begins with a footstep'. And little tiny footsteps, you look up and you say how did I get way down here or how did I get way up here? And this is the case with knowledge. So there must be times where an individual uses lil tahseelil ilm wash-shar 'ee to achieve Islaamic knowledge and to teach it and to review it and to present before himself issues that he my not have learnt or knew before -- to learn something new. It is incorrect to be upon the same level of Deen and knowledge that one was 5, 6, 7, 8, 11, 12 years ago. That you find that the brother has not made one move or the sister has not made one move, not learnt one ayah more of Qura'an, not learnt one more hadith, not learnt one more story of the Sahabah. Still can't tell you about the Seerah – the life of the Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) from his birth to his death, they cant tell you that. They don't know the battles that the Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) took part in, don't know who his wife and children, sons and daughters were, don't know who his uncles, aunts and wet-nurses were. What is this? Yet this is Muhammed (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) who is the person we say that we follow and we don't know, (these basic things about him). As a matter of fact it gets worse than that since many individuals may know more about an athletic individual who is into athletics, football and basketball, or maybe even worse than that, who is an entertainer, a singer, an actress or an actor. They many know what these guys like from A-Z, know where they were born, where they went to school, what their achievements up on a football field, or a basketball court, but they wouldn't know anything about Muhammed ibn Abdullah (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam)? And if you asked them about the Prophet's Kunya, they wouldn't know.
I was surprised, I was amazed and we live in a time of amazement. I was amazed, we went to the Masjid and I gave a Khutbah called "Be like Mustafa" (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam). Be like Mustafa, walk like Mustafa, talk like Mustafa, dress like Mustafa, act like Mustafa. After the Khutbah, after salah, there were a young group of children saying "Who is Mustafa". Not knowing who is Mustafa? It is one of the names of the Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) and that was about whom I was referring to. But if you ask them about Michael Jordan, or you ask them about Pokemon, or you ask them about any of the filth that has come out of the minds of the Kuffar that they have constructed and placed, they know about them.
Where is the Tarbiyyah? There is no Tarbiyyah at all in the majority of cases. Let's not fool ourselves. If your child wants to be more like that Mushrik, like that Kafir, dress like him, talk like him, walk like him, be like him and does not know anything about those that you say are the best generations and you make intisaad or connect yourself to the salaf-us saalih, there is no Tarbiyyah whatsoever. You can't claim to say Tarbiyyah. He should want to wear his thobe to the calf because Ibn Umar wore it that way, to the shin of the leg, because Abdul Masood was like that; he should want to die on a battlefield and be killed because Sa'ad Ibn Abi Waqas was like that; Abu Bar Ibn Jarar was like that, because most of the salafs were like that. He should want to leave home and seek knowledge because Imaam Shafi was like that, Imaam Ahmed was like that. If this is not happening, if there is not a connection, an emotional tie on the level of the Salaf, and want to follow the salaf, -- there is no Tarbiyah. It is not a matter that we need more Tarbiyyah but we need to establish some Tarbiyyah .
When it becomes a situation where in the hearts there is a love for the Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) and his companions, and you know when someone loves someone. For when someone loves someone they want to follow him, especially among the youth, when they like someone they want to dress like him. Look at the Fitnah that took place when that Kafir, May Allah guide him to Islam, that feminine individual called Michael Jackson his effect, the ideas on those who are living in Saudia. I've seen it myself, can you imagine someone in the city of Muhammed (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) Medina, can you imagine someone who is living in Haramain, wants to move his hands, and wear his hair and have a jacket on like Michael Jackson. This is the absence of Tarbiyyah and we don't have to go that far. We can come to our own neighbourhoods, we can look in our own Masjids -- to the right, to the left and look to how individuals act and we can see whether or not if there is any importance placed on following the way of the Salafus Saalih -- in reality not just in talk. So it is important that there be this matter of obtaining knowledge and a reflection and of learning new matters and of review and there should be a times where we use the Tabliqi bidhi term 'sacrifice for dawah.' But the True Dawah not the innovative Dawah, the Dawah tul Kitab us-Sunnah, the Dawahtud Tawhid, there must be times where we have an individual effort of trying to give somebody Dawah -- of the good that Allaah tabarak wa ta'ala has given us. Knowing the hadith of the Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) when he said : 'if Allaah guides upon your hands one individual, it is better for you than the red camels.' – which was the most expensive property amongst the Arabs.
There should be dawah and there should be times for the remembrance of Allaah. Yes, times for the remembrance of Allaah, like recitation of Quraan. All of these for what? So that one can guide oneself and preserve oneself, and make sure one is sticking to the Deen of Allaah tabarak wa ta'ala.
Another reason for "al-khawr ba'dil kawr" - misguidance after having guidance, decrease after having increase, unrighteousness after having being righteous, belittling the sins – they look at sins as light, istihaadat az zunoob -- (they try to figure out if it is a Major sin 'Kabair' or a minor sin 'as-Saghaair')?
The salafs used to say : 'don't look whether the sins are major or minor but look at the greatness of the one who you are disobeying.' Don't look at whether the sin is major or minor when they split that into that Major or Minor it wasn't for the purpose for an individual to take it lightly, just like when they slit Bid'ah up into Mukaffarah – (Bi'dah that makes you a Disbeliever) or Bid'ah Mufasikah – (Bi'dah that makes you a Faasiq); it wasn't for the point that it is easy. Qullu Bid'ahthin Dalaalah - every Bid'ah is going astray. Similarly, all Haraam actions must be avoided. As a matter of fact it is understood that many fires are lit by the smallest pieces of wood and that pebble after pebble after pebble you have a mountain there, and the believer sees sin as related by Mujaahid in Bukhari : "As if a mountain was ready to fall upon him and a Hypocrite sees this sin as a fly all he has to do is use his hand to shoosh it away".
Looking at matters as seemingly light is another reason why people backup after they were going forward becoming unrighteousness after having being righteous. Abdallah Ibn Mubarak (the great Imam from the Aimma of the Salaf) used to say in a piece of poetry "I saw that sins kill the heart" and the person who commits sins inherits humiliation if he continues upon those sins. And that leaving sins gives life to the heart. And the best thing that you can do for yourself is to disobey it. The best thing that you can do for yourself is to disobey yourself.
The self wants many things, the self wants temporary satisfaction at the cost of destruction and punishment that it can't bear. The self wants ease and relaxation and a fulfillment of desires on the spot, 'ASAP', as they say, want it now, instantly -- (as soon as possible). This is how the self is, that's why he says Khairun linafsika - it is better for yourself to disobey it. And you'll find every time you disobey yourself you come out better. Every time you disobey your desires you come out better. I was planning, I started to do it but I disobeyed, You come out better. And the best thing you can do for yourself is to disobey it. So the sins, and belittling them, 'al-israaru' continuing upon the sin, it is of the most important reasons or causes why a person goes bad.
Look into it clearly, look with some clarity, be meticulous in your analysis of it and you find that many individuals who have backed up, they have no problem sinning, it's a light thing. They listen to some music and they say : 'I am listening to some music is it a Kabirah? Is it a major sin? I thought that it was okay among scholars.'… and all this foolishness. It is a matter that is disobedience to Allaah tabarak wa ta'ala and major or minor one should avoid it. Out of respect for Allaah, like in Suratun Nuh, "Would you not have respect for Allaah?" So this is an important matter, some of us respect the creation, and can see and understand that, I won't step on Islaam, I respect it, I won't do this, I respect him. But this is Allaah tabarak wa ta'ala's sanctuary, those things that he has forbidden. So where is the respect from not falling into that?
Ibn Qayyim, Sheikhul Islaam (Rahimahullah) said "From the punishment of the sin is that it weakens ones strength or the heart in its connection in its journey to Allaah." We explained before that we are in this world journeying to Allaah. This is a journey and it is just as the Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) described Maali wad Dunya, what is meant by the Dunya? Except like a traveller who slept under a tree, just a relaxation, got up and moved on." It's a journey to Allaah, and it's a journey back to our country, and our country is the Jannah, because our father Adam (alai wa sallam) came from there. No matter how many generations or how many people go somewhere else, you come from the country of your father. So you return to that.
But as Ibn Qayyim Rahimahullah says : we have been oppressed and imprisoned by our enemy, taken prisoners of war by Iblis, now if we break from that and break from disobedience to Allaah and come to obedience to Allaah in our journey to Allaah tabarak wa ta'ala and having Ikhlas, khawf, having Taqwa having hope, having trust, and having submission and so on and so forth of the levels of the journey, then we will eventually get back to our country, no doubt about that.
For Allaah tabarak wa ta'ala has explained the Siraat, the path. We've got the map, we've got the directions, we know the Zaad al Maad - the provision for the Hereafter, we got the provisions, it is just a matter of staying upon the path and continuing our journey. The sins are blocks and obstacles and they cause weakness in this journey, weakness in the journey of the heart to the Hereafter and obstacles and they may even cut one off from the path. The sin would be similar to a highway robber coming to you and taking your provision and kicking you off the road and leaving you in the middle of the desert. The sin would be similar to a mountain being in your way, and you cant move it and you can't get a around it. So it weakens it. He says this obstacle cuts off ones path of sin or weakens one, that it doesn't do worse than that, which is to turn a person all the way around and send him travelling in a totally different direction. So the sin is a veil, and veils of darkness that stop an individual from achieving or continuing on his journey and they can turn around his search. The heart travels to Allaah tabarak wa ta'ala upon this journey with the strength that Allaah blesses it with. So if the heart becomes sick from sins and it becomes weak, this strength is gone and therefore what is the situation with its ability to continue the journey? Its ability to continue the journey is very weak. So this is Ibn Qayyim's point, even though I said in a very articulate way, you can see that that's the case. Belittling sins have results, disastrous, dangerous results upon individuals who belittles or looks down or thinks sins are light.
The First or one of the results rather is that it makes a person increase in sin. It is like a call that says, 'what is this is light, let me do some more let me fall into it some more, let me acquire some more', and it is that which takes a person far away from the path of Tawbah. Tawbah was something close when the sin was first committed or when it was the matter of understanding the greatness of sin or how harmful it is but when it is made lighter, tawbah is something far away from the mind of the individual. And it calls an individual to have absence of avoiding the people of sin. It means to say, because the individual is involved in sin, has no problem with other individuals involved in sin. I am involved in sin, he's involved in sin, so therefore they start to hang out with other sinners, the bad crowd, the bad guys, the bad people, the type of fellows you don't want to be around. Talk to them, sit with them , mix with them. Sins could also cause an individual many times, of course based upon this, to stay away from the people who are righteous. I don't want to be around the brothers who are righteous, I don't want to see right now the brothers who have Taqwa. This alone is one of the biggest or greatest means of a person going astray after once before they were upon the straight path.
Another issue of the issues or reasons of "al-khawr ba'dil kawr" - unrighteousness after being righteous, being corrupt after having being one who was upright is al-ghuroor – being delusioned or having Self delusion, self delusion 'wal ijaab' - astonishment or amazement with oneself. This you find among many of those who believe that they are sticking to the Kitab as-Sunnah, who believe that they are righteous, they have this ghuroor, and they have this ijaab and everyone can understand the difference between illusion and a delusion. Illusion is when you see something and you know its not real, delusion is that you believe that something be real when it's not. So they believe that they have this righteousness, this greatness sometimes they call this 'the holier than thou attitude, and this ujoo – this astonishment with oneself, is that you find this a lot, he said no doubt that's in the cities of knowledge, being around righteous people, show that a person has some good within him. But if this self delusion and astonishment enters upon a person, it has the effect of making this person feel they are perfect or that they are more complete than others. Therefore he doesn't feel the need to increase his effort. I'm doing well, I'm doing fine, I'm righteous, no need to do anymore, I attend circles of knowledge, those are the people who don't. I'm in the Masjid other people aren't. So this type of ghuroor or amazement, so therefore this individual doesn't try to do more khair, doesn't try to do more righteous actions.
When a person becomes astonished with oneself there comes away from his heart the fear of a bad ending. And he feels safe from being lead astray after having guidance, and this is a sign from the weakness of his self and it is one of the means of a person turning away and going the wrong direction, and getting misguided after having guidance. And when one becomes amazed and astonished with oneself he begins to become busy with the faults of others and he doesn't try to deal with the faults of himself. And because the self needs to be dealt with so therefore this ghuroor must be dealt with, this ghuroor -- this self delusion, this amazement, I'm more righteous, I'm more good, I'm on Istiqaamah, I have more Ilm and safety from Dalalah. How can one feel safe from Dalaalah -- being lead astray? There are two matters and both of them are kufr :
1) one of them is to lose hope in the Mercy of Allaah – to give up
2) The other, is to feel safe from the plotting of Allaah. To feel safe from Allaah tabarak wa ta'ala punishing one for ones misdeeds. Safe !!! That is also Kufr. It is Kufr, so this has to be understood also. This has to be dealt with. How do you deal with?
Many righteous matters or morals that one must obtain is by doing the opposite of it. If one finds himself selfish, it is for him to become generous; If one finds Himself arrogant it is for him to be humble. Similarly, in this way he has to have humility, he has to have fear, and he has to work on the correction of his faults before starting with anyone else. Work on his faults before starting on his wife; work upon his faults before starting on his children; work upon his faults before starting on this brother and that brother, this community and that community. "Islaah" - start with oneself first and Tawbah – repenting to Allaah tabarak wa ta'ala.
I'll try to wrap it up. Another reason why people go astray after having been upon guidance, going from Sunnah to Bi'dah or from righteousness to sins is their companions 'as-Sadeeq wa saahib' -- their companions. The people you sit with has this effect, has an affect upon the person's path and behaviour. There is no doubt about that. If the friend that one is with looks at bad films or looks at bad magazines or listens to music and that will have an effect upon the one who is a companion with him. These type of mukhalafaat - or matters that are disobedient comes in between two companions and the companion doesn't forbid it but rather he lets that slide, lets this one slide and pretty soon it has an effect upon him. Has an effect upon him.
And therefore you could have a companion also, but of course this is lesser of an evil than that, one who is short in his Ibadah -- he is short in his worship so he stops doing Sunnan - he doesn't do Sunnah Raatiba, he stops doing Sunnah raatiba. This is the effect of what? Companionship !! And it can go to such a level that if your friend backs up and if your companion backs up, you back up. So therefore, you must choose a righteous companion. The one who will help one be upon obedience to Allaah tabarak wa ta'ala. Like it says in the Hadith 'Ar Rajlu ala deeni khaleeli' the man is upon the Deen of his friend, so look to who you befriend".
There are many other reasons that lead to this misguidance after having being guidance, weak eemaan after having strong eemaan, and sometimes as we say Bid'ah after having being on Sunnah, Kufr and shirk after having being on eemaan and Tawhid. one of it is having weakness in ones strength or sticking and not having the patience to deal with the difficulty. The one upon the Deen of Allaah tabarak wa ta'ala will be tested and there will be storms of fitnah, the fitnah of desires and the Fitnah of doubt. There will be good days, there will be happy days, there will be nicest situations, there will be circumstances that are difficult. This requires a person with strength and steadfastness and sticking and patience to deal with those type of matters.
Another matter is 'Taw al amal" -- having this view point that your going to live along time, when death is closer than the shoe laces!
"Wal-Ghuloo" -- being extreme is another reason with some people. You find them extreme over night. Overnight his thobe's to his ankle, over night he is on Sunnah, over night he has books of Aqeedah, over night, over night, over night he is so hard upon the people and extreme and the next day or two days later or a year later he doesn't have a beard, he doesn't even come to Masjid. 'Ghuloo' - extreme. And be shadeed upon himself, placing upon ones shoulder what one cannot bear, more than one cannot bear, forgetting the fact that Allaah tabarak wa ta'ala does not place a burden upon a soul more than he can bear. Some of us make the Deen hard, some of us that make it extreme. The prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) would not have the choice between two matters both of them being Halaal except he would chose the what? the easier. We act as if we can better than Mustafa (alaihi wa sallam). "I want the hardest." This is not the way and this leads to a person backing up because the self can only take so much, so therefore after a year of this extremism one comes to a point of saying, 'what am I doing?' -- and backs up from everything.
Also 'am-Muraad al Quloob' - the illnesses of the heart , 'wa afaatul Lisaan' - and the mistakes of the tongue. And illnesses of the heart are many 'Riya'—to be seen, 'Kibr' - pride so on and so forth, or sicknesses of the tongue like 'Gheebah' -- backbiting, 'Nameemah' - slander so on and so forth, lying and cursing and all of this. These are also means that lead to what? a person being unrighteous after they were righteous.
Another reason he says is 'Da'fash sha'khsiyyah' -- that the person within himself has a weak personality. And therefore finds himself always following other personalities. So if he has a weakness in personalities, and his Islamic personality is weak, he finds himself following other personalities. This will also eventually lead a person turning away after they were straight, or being misguided after they had guidance.
There are many reasons. We must mention some of the remedies to make it balanced Insha'allaah.
Most important issue he says is:
'Al-Ikhlas' - sincerity and 'was-Sidq' - truthfulness with Allaah. This is the best means of achieving 'Istiqaamah' - uprightness and Salah.
Ibn Qayyim (Rahimullah) says, "One finds difficulty to leave that which one is used to and what is ones habit - what one leaves for other than Allaah. But the one who leaves matters of disobedience and sins and those things that are wrong for Allaah and leave them truthfully, sincerely for Allaah, he only finds difficulty in the beginning of leaving it , and this is how Allaah tests him to see if he is truthful or not or he is lying. He wants to leave his sin that he's being doing, saying that I am sincere to Allaah, Allaah tabarak wa ta'ala may give him the opportunity and test him. He'll find some difficulty at first, and this is to see if he is truthful. If he is truthful he will fight himself, he'll fight his desires, he'll strive to go against it and if he is lying that won't be the case. He says he will find difficulty, but the one who is patient upon this difficulty 'kaleelan' – a little, Allaah tabarak wa ta'ala will place, in place of that desire or for that sin, a sweetness and a love, and a deliciousness for that which is right, that which is good".
An this has been narrated in many Ahadith that he who leaves looking at that which is Haraam, Allaah tabarak wa ta'ala will give him (some of the Hadith says) courage and Allaah tabarak wa ta'ala will give him strength and that's what you find, those who have the most courage and the most strength is those who turn their eyes, keep their eyes away from that which Allaah tabarak wa ta'ala has forbidden. He who leaves something for Allaah, Allaah will give him better than that.
'Man taraka shai'in lillaah' --- Allaah gives him better than that all the time. Leave this sin, Allaah will give a righteous deed better than that --- of course it's not the sin itself, (righteousness is better) -- but what he means is that Allaah will replace it with something that you could not have imagined, something that you could not have imagined, but he has to be what Sabr - Patience, it has to be a willing to go through the examination and the test.
The second matter as mentioned before is 'al-khawf min sural khaatimah' - fear of a bad ending. The Mumin-as- Sadiq the true believer must fear a bad ending and stay away from anything that will lead to that. Did you not hear what Yusuf (alai salaam) said, "Oh Alaah, cause me to die as a Muslim and place me with the righteous," and all the Prophets of Allaah were making dua like that. They were making dua for what? for a good ending, that they die upon Islaam.
As-Sufyaan athawri (Rahimullaah), that great Imam, that great Sheikh of Islam, cried one night, cried one night all the way till morning, (you think our crying is something?) He did not cry for 15 minutes or half hour, cried all the way from night till morning. When he was asked, "Why are you crying or why did you cry?" He said, "I cried from having an evil end from the fear from having an evil end." This is why he cried and called Imaam Barbahaari, the one who is the Sheikh-al-Sunnah (radiallaahu anhu) who said "You must know that it is a must upon the servant that he has with him 'as-Shafaqah abadan' - a mercy and a fear connected at all times because he doesn't know upon what he would die, he doesn't know how his life would end and he doesn't know in what condition he would meet Allaah tabarak wa ta'ala. Therefore, he should be doing what? Every deed of good he can, every deed of good he can.
Another help in this regard is to continuously do the righteous action, don't start one action, a righteous action and then stop, i.e. start Qiyamul Layl or Tahajjud and then stop, start memorizing the Quraan and then stop, verily the deeds most loved by Allaah are those which are done regularly, (continuously) even if they are a small amount. Also taking certain times to hear admonition 'Maw'idah', the Hereafter, the grave, --- not everyday --- that's not the way of the Salafus Saalih, but every so often. As Ibn Masud said, that the Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) used to choose times to give us 'Maw'idah' because if you do it everyday fearing that we become bored with it. And there are other means of making sure, or hoping, because no one can make sure except Allaah, but hoping that one will be upon Istiqaamah. This is just some that we were able to mention in this sitting. We hope that it benefits us and it benefits all who listen, we ask Allaah tabarak wa ta'ala to make it sincerely for His face not having in it any Riya or summ'ah, verily Allaah is able to do all that. Wassallaahu ala nabi ina Muhammad wa'ala as-haabihee ajma een.