Ramadan: Recognizing the Traps (9)

May Allah protect us from the accursed Satan and his evil traps, and may He guide us to better in all our affairs.Just to recap…

The Traps

  1. Doubt and Disbelief (in Allah, His Messengers, His Books, His Decree, Angels, the Last Day)
  2. Innovation
  3. Major Sins
  4. Minor Sins
  5. Pursuit of the Disliked
  6. Wasting time on the Permissible
  7. Choosing the Lesser of Two Goods

I don’t know about you, but the devil hits me with many of these on the regular. InshaAllah, I have no doubts and InshaAllah the hodgepodge of Hanafi and Hanbali (primarily) worship activities that I’ve been taught and now perform are acceptable and pleasing to Allah azza wa jall. I’ve so far managed to avoid—since I reverted, at least—the Major sins, but I’m regulary tempted by the minor sins and make taubah daily. I struggle to limit my involvement with the disliked, but I sometimes slip, and I definitely waste too much time on the permissible, at times anyway. And choosing between goods? I could definitely do better. Ya Allah, protect me from the Devil’s traps, make them obvious to me, and alert me to the ones that I’m oblivious to and allow me to extricate myself from any that have ensnared me!

Alhamdulillah, Allah guided me to His beautiful religion, and Alhamdulillah by His Will alone, I’m staying firm, despite all the things going on in the world and in my local community. There are trials everywhere, and may Allah make us all steadfast.

If you recognize that you’ve been caught in one of the traps, say “Audhu Billahi min ash Shatanhir rajeem,” seek forgiveness, and start taking some steps to get out of the trap. InshaAllah He will guide you out of it, and Allah azza wa jall is the best and only guide.

Often, we have a choice between two or more good actions, and oftentimes, the better action is slightly more difficult or less comfortable than the not-quite-so-good action. Sometimes, the better action is just too hard, but I sometimes avoid the better action because of ego or some fear of other than Allah. It’s a mighty struggle with the nafs, and one that I need to call on Allah more often to guide me right. Ya Allah, grant me victory over my desires and allow me to fear only You.

One particular danger of regularly choosing a lesser good over a greater good, is that your heart may harden to the good, in general, and the little devils may be able to influence you to waste more time on the permissible than is wise, and thereby forgo doing good at all. If you, like me, are prone to burning through endless hours on some permissible—but not worshipful or holy—activity, pray “Ya Muqalibal quloob qalbi ala deenik” Oh Turner of Hearts! Keep my heart firmly on Your beautiful religion, and then work to be better. InshaAllah, He will help you find your way to more regular good action.

Getting too deep into the permissible makes it easy to occasionally start venturing into disliked actions, first by accident, and then with more intent, and once we get heavily into disliked actions, there’s a danger that we’ll start thinking that the disliked things are permitted. A brother recently mentioned to me that he knew smoking was bad for his health and made him smell, but that “I’m allowed,” and so he wasn’t going to stop, but Ramadan would be extra difficult for him. 16 or 17 hours without a cigarette is painful. If you’re deep into the disliked, but don’t recognize your actions as disliked, refer to the above, and beg the Turner of Hearts to realign your heart. And if you know that what you’re into is disliked, make dua that Allah grant you the will and strength to extricate yourself. Ya Allah, keep us from slipping into the disliked and keep us aligned on the straight path!

Getting deep into the disliked, and transforming the disliked into permitted—Audhu Billah!—makes it easy to see some of the more attractive minor sins as possibilities, and the slope is getting slippery, now. Seek protection right now: Audhu Billah! The minor sins are easy and not that bad, especially once you’ve replace most of your good deeds with permissible, and most of your permissible deeds with disliked actions. Especially if you have a conscience, you’re likely to try to hide your love of the disliked, and may be so absorbed in yourself that you start to forget some of the rights that your neighbors have over you, and you may start to hide yourself away from your brothers and sisters in faith. If you’re in such a state, remember two things: Allah is always watching; Allah is the Most Merciful. Make dua to the Most Merciful that he grant you an increase in Taqwa: don’t fear the people, fear only Allah. Ya Allah, guide us back to your rope, and fasten us firmly to it!

The biggest danger, by far, is allowing your fear to lead you into worse things. If you’re already avoiding the mosque and the brothers or sisters around keep pushing you this way and that, when some coworkers invite you out for drinks after work, maybe you decide to join them: they don’t judge you, after all. And so you don’t have a drink that first time, you are still a Muslim, but maybe you keep going, and after awhile you begin to wonder what the big deal is. Maybe you wonder what the taste is like, or maybe you remember the taste and long for it. Before you know it, you’re having a few beers after work with the guys, or worse. Audhu Billah! It doesn’t matter what you’ve heard, Allah wants better for you, and He will help you if you seek his guidance.

Allahumma innaka `afuwwun tuhibbul `afwa fa`fu `annee

Oh Allah, you are pardoning, and you love to pardon, so pardon me!

Whatever you do, don’t think that you need to do anything extra to earn Allah’s forgiveness. Sure, you need to seek forgiveness and beg for His mercy, but all you need to do is take some small, concrete steps, and InshaAllah, He will help you. Remember the only thing that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala will not forgive is associating partners with Him and dying upon that mistaken belief, so repent as soon as possible and start trying to obey His commandments and follow His messenger.

As Muslims, we are blessed to have volumes of sayings, descriptions, stories about, and all sorts of other information about the Prophet, and we need to use it. We’re supposed to worship Allah, following the example of the Prophet and the other messengers, but Satan and his buddies want us to change things, and if you’re already committing some major sins, you may think that you need to do something extraordinary to earn Allah’s forgiveness. If you’re tempted to pray extra prayers, fast, whip yourself with chains, beat yourself about the head and face, dance about in a frenzy, or do any other act of worship or repentance, please check the sunnah of the Prophet, peace be upon him, first. Look and see what he did, and if what you want to do doesn’t match up with something he did, sallallahu ʿalayhi wa sallam, trust me, the Prophet knew better: just follow his example. Oh Most Merciful One, guide us to follow the Prophet, sallallahu alayhi wa sallam, and keep us on the path he laid out for us.

Whatever you do, don’t begin to doubt the Mercy of Allah, His capacity to forgive, the example provided by His prophet, sallallahu alayhi wa sallam. Doubt and disbelief in Allah, His messengers, His books, the angels, His decree, and His judgement on the Last Day is a curse and a scourge. If you’re feeling it, please stop reading right now and begin making dua, plead with Allah to guide you and grant you surety. Grab hold of the rope of Allah and don’t let the Devil shake you off. Audhu Billah! Ya Allah forgive us, guide us back to the straight path, and keep us steadfast and firm on Your religion!

I planned to be finished with this series tonight: I fear I’m beginning to waste time on the permissible. But I have at least one more thing to say about all this, so look forward to another tomorrow sometime.

If you’ve enjoyed this, please spread it around. InshaAllah this will benefit someone, somewhere.

May Allah bless you for reading!

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