There have been times, when we wanted to indulge into something truly terrible. Whether it was watching an adult film behind closed doors, lying to our parents about something we should not have done or simply defying our well-defined boundaries as an impulsive and rebellious act.
This is followed by feelings of guilt, a sense of shame, anger, self justifications or even tears. An awkward feeling nags us and the fear of being exposed haunts us. If this describes you, say – Alhumdulillah!
Allah (swt) has granted everyone with Fitrah or in more popular terms – conscience. Oxford dictionary describes the word ‘conscience’ as a person’s sense of what is right and wrong, especially in his own actions or motives. Allah (swt) states: “… Our Lord is He Who gave to each thing its form and nature, then guided it aright.” (Ta-Ha 20:50).
The conscience implanted within us is our barometer for right and wrong. This barometer apprehends us before we are about to commit an evil act. At times it keeps nagging us, while committing an undesirable act. Our conscience denies us rest even after we have perpetrated evil. It continues to prick us, till either we ask Allah’s (swt) forgiveness or willingly shut all doors to guidance.
It is similar to a limb, which experiences an anguish of pain when pricked or burnt. Similarly, Allah (swt) has created us to recognize evil and repel it. This is a natural instinct. No amount of self-persuasion, media campaigns, peer pressure, etc., can lead us to believe that evil is good for us and Satan is a sincere friend. Those of us, who try to delude themselves, are only kidding themselves. Deep inside they know that once the delusion is over, they will be left with regrets.
The fuel that ignites a conscience to life includes many things, such as reciting and reflecting upon the Quran, reading about the life of the Prophet (sa) and his companions, spending time with friends of noble mannerisms, serving those in need and hastening to do good. In general, the more one stays close to an environment conducive to goodness, the easier it is for him to enjoin good and forbid evil, thus keeping his conscience alive.
Conversely, reading and viewing lewd material, spending time in the company of morally corrupt companions, staying away from Allah (swt) and His counsel and ignoring one’s conscience’s reprimands ultimately kills the sense of right and wrong. Allah forbid that one should reach the stage, when nothing bothers him. His future is jeopardized.
About such people, Allah (swt) states: “Whoever disbelieved in Allah after his belief, except him who is forced thereto and whose heart is at rest with faith but such as open their breasts to disbelief, on them is wrath from Allah, and theirs will be a great torment. That is because they loved and preferred the life of this world over that of the Hereafter. And Allah guides not the people who disbelieve. They are those upon whose hearts, hearing (ears) and sight (eyes) Allah has set a seal. And they are the heedless! No doubt in the Hereafter they will be the losers.” (An-Nahl 16:106-109)
Having a throbbing conscience full of life has uncountable advantages. One may be about to indulge in something sinful, when suddenly he feels he is turned around and consequently saved from evil. Who does that for us? It is Allah (swt). Similarly, at times we avoid the voice of conscience and step into forbidden territory only to abort our actions midway, realizing the unpleasant outcome. Who puts those thought into our minds? It is Allah (swt) Who grants us the strength to fight against our whims and desires and steers us back to the right path.
Once, someone told me, how she went out on a date with her fiancé and wanted to find a private place for some romance, but wherever they went, their plans got busted. Finally, they drove back home and had to settle down for a chat in the girl’s drawing room under her parent’s vigilant eyes. Today, she thanks Allah (swt) for foiling her plans. It saved her self-respect and dignity.
Another person, who had given up watching movies, was once tempted to go to the theater to watch one of the most hyped block busters. She made plans, but suddenly something came up. By the time she remembered, the show was over. She instantly realized that Allah (swt) didn’t want her to give in to her vain desires. She didn’t go to the theater ever again.
Countless episodes happen to people every day: they wanted to listen to music – the power went out; they wanted to fight with a classmate – she didn’t turn up in college that day; they wanted to gossip on the cell – the balance finished; they wanted to go on a shopping spree – the car was not available. Yes, these are all different ways of Allah (swt) saving us from wasting our lives in frivolous activities. We just need to understand, why our plans got busted.
On the contrary, Allah (swt) also provides us with countless opportunities to do good. For example, the Adhan call, which we hear five times a day, reminds us of prayers, the poor people on the road relieve us of our responsibility of Zakah, a missing servant helps us share our mom’s work load without her asking us, a sick friend gives us the chance to get photocopied class work to his / her house, etc.
So the next time one of your plans get busted, just say: “Alhumdulillah! Allah (swt) loves me and He wants to guide me.”
“He whom Allah guides, he is the rightly guided; but he whom He sends astray, for him you will find no Wali (guiding friend) to lead him (to the right path).” (Al-Kahf 18:17)