By Amreen Pathan
In this ripe old age of social media, 24/7 connectivity and culture of exhibitionism, there lurks a darker and dirtier evil.
It hides under a used and abused misunderstanding of ‘only Allah can judge me.’
What exactly is this transgression?
The one of making known your transgressions.
It is one thing to sin.
But to publicly announce them? That is another playing field altogether.
Abu Hurayra reported: The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said: “Everyone from my nation will be forgiven except those who sin in public. Among them is a man who commits an evil deed in the night that Allah has hidden for him, then in the morning, he says, ‘O people, I have committed this sin! His Lord has hidden it during the night but in the morning, he reveals what Allah has hidden.’ [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
There is a story that I love to hear and hear again.
Every occasion that I have come across it, it has never failed to overwhelm me with the love of and for our Creator.
The story is reported by Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri (RA) in which the Prophet of Allah said:
“Among the Children of Israel, there was a man who killed 99 people. Then he went out and came to a monk and asked him, ‘Can I repent?’ He [the monk] replied, ‘no’ so the man killed him. He continued asked this question and so a man said to me, ‘Go to such and such a town [to find your repentance].’
But death caught up with this man, so he inclined his chest towards the town as he was dying.
The Angels of mercy and the Angels of Punishment disputed concerning him. [Who should commandeer his soul?]
Allah (SWT) inspired the [good] town to come closer to this man, and the [evil] town to move away from him. Then Allah (SWT) said, ‘Measure the distance between them.’
The angels found that he was closer to the good town by a hand-span and so he was forgiven.’ [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
What does this story tell us?
This story speaks of the unbound forgiveness of Allah. It demonstrates the eagerness of Allah to forgive. It highlights the unmatched mercy of Allah.
It is a story of love, forgiveness and hope.
There are countless verses of the Qur’an, traditions of the Prophet, and stories from the past about Allah’s willingness to forgive.
Yet an individual, who announces their sin, narrows their opportunity to be forgiven by al-Ghafoor: The Ever-Forgiving.
After your Creator, only you know your darkest, deepest self.
What is your darkest, deepest secret?
Consider this darkest, deepest secret of yours laid bare in front of a mass of people.
What feelings will engulf you?
We have all heard and used the idiom of wanting the ground to swallow us up. I cannot imagine a better phrase to encapsulate the experience of our deepest, darkest secret laid bare.
It is a great mercy of Allah (SWT) then that he veils our secrets from our families, friends and communities.
So what messages do we convey by publicly announcing our sins?
1. Allah in His Mercy has veiled our sins. Our unveiling them denotes a direct defiance to Allah (though one we cannot hope to win).
2. There is an assumed boastfulness in announcing how we have transgressed. Taking pride in such matters implies a lack of belief in the true nature of the evil of the sin.
3. In a world led by ‘influencers’ and those easily influenced, who is to say who will not be influenced by our sins? To commit a sin is one thing, to encourage others is another.
Abu Huraira (RA) reported: The Messenger of Allah (PBUH), said, ‘Whoever calls to guidance will have a reward similar to those who follow him, without detracting from their rewards at all. Whoever calls to misguidance will have sin upon him similar to those who follow him, without detracting from their sins at all.’ [Muslim]
Ask yourself: are my scales of wrongdoing so empty that I can shoulder the wrongdoings of others?
4. One-way sins spread in society is because they become normalised. When a sin is repeatedly mentioned and acted upon in public, the fear of committing that sin vanishes. In fact, the people who do not deign to carry out that transgression are considered extreme or narrow-minded. I have seen too many sad examples of this on Social Media under the guise of live and let live.
5. A fear of being caught and subsequent humiliation is what prevents an individual from committing a sin. When exposing sins becomes a normality, then the shame and humiliation is not forthcoming anymore. This encourages not only further open sinning but also a lack of regret and repentance.
Now the transgression is no more.
I am by no means sinless. May Allah forgive me. Yet I find myself more and more bothered by this blatant celebration of sinning. It makes me question the esteem by which we hold our faith and the accountability of our actions.
I wonder, how long till we utterly forget our right from wrong and wrong from right?
May Allah in His Infinite Mercy conceal our sins both in this world and in the Hereafter.
#Unveiled #HideYourSins #MercyofAllah