The imam began this week with referencing the 25th ayat of Sura Al-Anfal which is translated to say:
And fear a trial which will not strike those who have wronged among you exclusively, and know that Allah is severe in penalty.
Dear brothers and sisters, there are countless reminders at this time of the week in which we speak of the consequences of sin in the next life. After all, the absolute truth of our life, this life, is that we are going to die and we are going to return to our Creator who is going to judge us for the way in which we conducted ourselves in this life.
This is the test that each and every one of us is living, from the moment we mature and are accountable to the moment we breathe our last breath.
However, alongside the implications on our soul in the next life, we are blessed in that there is a feedback loop provided to us in this life. Allah SWT is not silently present in this life, He is very much communicating with us all and we need to understand how to interpret that communication.
From the blessings that we receive, to the duas that are answered and we recognize them being answered, it is often a source of true happiness when we feel the pleasure of Allah SWT in our lives.
Equally so, we need to open our eyes to when we do wrong. Because being fearful of Allah SWT is a good thing but it should not mean that we close our eyes to the warnings being given when we do wrong.
We should be observant enough to see that when we are transgressing against divine instruction, it wont be just in the next life that we will know about it, we will also get indications in this life that we are transgressing.
Today’s reminder is an attempt to identify what those signs may be so that if we are in need of a course correct, then these signs are what we ought to be looking out for.
And so, as we go through these signs, ask yourself, have you experienced these yourself and if so, what is Allah SWT trying to steer you away from?
Remember, Allah SWT is more forgiving and merciful than anyone else and so if these signs are in your life then take it as a positive thing that Allah SWT is attempting to guide you back to the straight path. After all, this is what we plead from Him in every salah, in every rakah as it’s the foundation of our request from Him as recited in Sura Al-Fatihah.
And so, this reminder lists those signs that will enable us to recognize the need to analyse and assess if we are transgressing the path Allah SWT has given us.
- Physically not being happy. This isn’t to be confused with the mental illness of depression as that is a separate medical issue. However, if one isn’t getting pleasure from life then assess if the life you are living is within the limits of your faith.
- Emptiness in the heart. If life feels meaningless and there is a void being felt in the heart, then assess to see if there is enough remembrance of Allah SWT in your worship as well as your actions.
- Barriers to knowledge. This is where there is lack of motivation or things just pop up to prevent this from happening. Ask yourself, is there something that you are doing which is preventing this blessing from happening.
- There is no barakah in time. If time seems to be running away from you then ask yourself if the time you do have is being prioritized in the right way. Ask yourself, in your typical day, where does your focus lie and is it the correct focus?
- Not being able to worship well. From lack of focus to missing prayers despite no dire excuse, if your worship is suffering then remember that even the act of worship is a gift. Look around you and see how many don’t have the gift of knowing about the 5 prayers each day for example and you’ll see that worshipping Allah SWT is one of the best gifts we have as Muslims. If we are sinning then the sign could be our worship suffers as a result.
- Sinning more easily. This point is actually part of the point of our heart being diseased. This has been mentioned in previous reminders but worth mentioning here that if we habitually sin then our heart is no longer at peace, it becomes stained and diseased and the consequence is that sinning becomes easy to do without any feeling of remorse.
The imam mentioned a hadith in relation to this which is translated to say:
The Prophet SAWS said: When the believer commits sin, a black spot appears on his heart. If he repents and gives up that sin and seeks forgiveness, his heart will be polished. But if (the sin) increases, (the black spot) increases.
Dear brothers and sisters, if we are unfortunate to be at this point, the key is repentance and structured worship and remembrance of Allah SWT until it becomes subconscious habit again as this will indicate a heart that is being repaired. Also, by carrying out this treatment, any sinning will feel difficult again as the remorse will return which in turn will motivate to stop sinning insh’Allah.
- And lastly the punishment from Allah in this life. It’s worth pointing out that there is a difference between a punishment and a trial. Remember, they may look the same in effect but the key difference is that one is a result of the action we have taken and the other is an attempt by Allah SWT to elevate us higher in rank in the next life. We are living a test dear brothers and sisters, hence we will get trials in this life. It’s how we react to those trials in this short space of time is what determines our afterlife. We exercise patience for trials. But before we even do that, each trial ought to be a reminder to self-assess. Is there a reminder here for something we are doing wrong? Is it in fact punishment? Hopefully, if our hearts are still able to, we will know if it is something that we are doing wrong. May Allah SWT keep our hearts clean so that we may feel our remorse at our actions.
Dear brothers and sisters, the consequences of sinning are both present in this life and the next. However, by having consequences in this life, we are blessed in that we have signs that are there to help us change, to improve and to prevent reoccurrence of those sins. Let us use today’s reminder to keep looking out for any deviation from the straight path and to course correct when we do.