Diagnosing and Treating Our Sickness of Sinning

Allah Ta’ala declares in the Glorious Qur’aan:
“And do not become like those who forgot about Allah. In consequence, He (Allah Ta’ala) made them forget about themselves. These are the transgressors.” (Surah Hashr, 19)

In this gracious Aayat of the Qur’aan-e-Kareem Allah Ta’ala provides the remedy for our degenerate state. All of us are in a degenerate state; some in a sever condition whilst others are in a lesser state of spiritual relapse.

Our Degenerate State
Our degenerate state is on account of our sin and transgression of the Laws of Allah Ta’ala. Sinning on our part is sometimes intentional and sometimes unintentional. Those who sin intentionally again sometimes do so out of weakness. For example, a person casts evil glances at the opposite sex. This person does so either because his inner passion or his nafs gets the better of him/her, or he/she may do so with total disregard for the Law of Allah Ta’ala which states that a male should not look at a female and a female should not look at a male. The latter, i.e. committing a sin in total disregard for the Law of Allah Ta’ala is a severe case. It is open transgression and rebellion against the Law of Allah Ta’ala. Even worse than that, is the condition of considering sin to be halaal. In other words, considering halaal what is haraam. This is kufr and it is typical of the kuffaar.

We are not addressing kuffaar here. We are speaking to the Mu-mineen, and as a Mu-min a person will consider sin to be sin and haraam, although one may succumb to the temptations of the nafs and indulge in the sin. Nevertheless, we all do commit sin knowingly or unknowingly as none of us are ma’soom or sinless like the Ambiya (Alaihimus Salaam). Since we are all sinners of varying degrees and thus spiritually sick, this Aayat is addressed to us and shows us how to treat ourselves.

The Diagnosis
A sick person should firstly have his sickness diagnosed. The sickness should be ascertained then the treatment can be prescribed. Without knowing the cause of the sickness it is not possible to cure oneself. In exactly the same manner, we should ascertain the cause of our degenerate spiritual state; the cause of our sinning and transgressing the Laws of Allah Ta’ala.

Allah Ta’ala has mentioned in the Aayat cited above the reason for our transgression. He states: “And do not become like those who forgot about Allah.” We are cautioned not to become like those who are forgetful of Allah Ta’ala. Further, Allah Ta’ala states that, “these are the transgressors.” In other words those who forget about Allah Ta’ala are the sinners and transgressors. Forgetting about Allah Ta’ala is the course of sinning.

And becoming forgetful of Allah Ta’ala is so harmful and bad that it leads to a person becoming forgetful of himself. Allah Ta’ala states: “And do not become like those who forgot about Allah. In consequence, He (Allah Ta’ala) made them forget about themselves.”

When a person indulges in sin and vice he forgets about himself. He does not care about himself. He gives in to his base desires and in consequence he loses his self-respect. You may have observed two people arguing. They become abusive. At that time they are trapped in rage and thus totally oblivious of Allah Ta’ala. Now they become abusive and utter filthy and gutter language, no matter who may be around and no matter what the consequences may be. They care not for the consequences of their actions, although they become ashamed afterwards. But in the heat of the moment when they have lost control of their tempers they utter any filthy and vile word, disgracing themselves and bringing shame to their close ones. They forget about Allah Ta’ala and thus they become forgetful about themselves. They harm themselves not realizing what damage they are doing to themselves.

A person indulges in gambling. He is totally oblivious of Allah Ta’ala. In his insane pursuit and greed for money he bets and bets, gambles and gambles to a point where he even bets away his wife. There are cases where people have even betted away their wives and killed their wives through gambling. They lost their mental equilibrium. This is the warning which Allah Ta’ala sounded in the Qur’aan-e-Hakeem; of us becoming forgetful of ourselves and harming ourselves severely by becoming forgetful of Allah Ta’ala.

The Treatment
We have understood the harm and gravity of this condition of becoming forgetful of Allah Ta’ala. This is the diagnosis to our degenerate state. We, therefore, have to seek a cure for this sickness with which we are suffering. Now the treatment for this spiritual sickness will be the opposite. If a person is feeling cold he will be given warmth. If the throat is dry, water will be administered. If a person is tired he will be told to rest. Similarly, since the course of our degenerate state is forgetting about Allah Ta’ala it follows that the remedy is to remember Allah Ta’ala. Remembering is the opposite of forgetting. Thus the cure for our degenerate state is to remember Allah Ta’ala. Insha-Allah, by remembering Allah Ta’ala we will then not become forgetful of ourselves and thus not harm ourselves spiritually and even physically and mundanely.

Hazrat Moulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi (Rahmatullahi alaih) has offered this following wonderful treatment program for our forgetting Allah Ta’ala which results in our sinning and wrongdoing. He says that we may not be able to abandon all the sins we are committing at once. But, by following this simple treatment we will be cured of our sinning Insha-Allah. The treatment is as follows: Take out some time every day and go into solitude. In this solitude spend time making the Zikr of Allah Ta’ala. Direct one’s attention to this Zikr. Do not start thinking about anything other than the Zikr. And the most beneficial of Zikr during this time is a short formula repeated over and over again, such as Laa Ilaaha Illallah, or Allahu Allah.

The effect of this Zikr is that one will develop an aversion for sinning. And even if one sins thereafter, continue the program of Zikr. One will feel ashamed at taking the Sacred Name of Allah and thereafter indulging in sin. This shame will induce one to forsake sin and transgression.

This is a tried and tested remedy. Devote a little time daily, be it five minutes or ten minutes or twenty minutes, and peacefully engage in the verbal remembrance of Allah Ta’ala. You will find your heart becoming attracted to Allah. Your bond and love for Allah Ta’ala will intensify and you will sense a strong aversion for sin, as sin is a barrier of steel between a person and the love of Allah Ta’ala. May Allah Ta’ala grant us all His love which is developed and strengthened through His Zikr and Ibaadat.