Question: What is Islam’s view of sin? I feel shame and pain from poor choices I have made in my life. I believe the Creator is calling me now. Can I be forgiven while I am still attracted to sin?
The Creator is still calling us. It’s not the Creator is calling me now, the Creator has been calling you since the day that you were born. Never the Creator is not calling you. When you are walking, when you are sitting, when you are sleeping, when you are doing good, when you are doing bad, your Creator is always calling you. Calling you to Himself.
Now you wake up a little bit to answer to answer back to your Creator, Labaik Allah- here I am, at Your service. That is a very Holy call that you are not just supposed to make it during the Hajj time, just to say, ‘Labaik Allah Huma Labaik. Labaik Allah Sharika Laka Labaik…’ you are supposed to have that in your life. The believer must have that, to say, ‘here I am at Your service, O my Lord, here I am at Your service.’ Try doing that when you are waking up. Try doing that everyday to say sincerely to your Lord, ‘Here I am Ya Rabbi, at Your service.’ Do that sincerely for forty days, the skies will open to you. Because you must understand now once you say, ‘here I am at Your service,’ you say, ‘I cannot be sincerely saying that because I’m doing so many wrong things still. I’m doing so many things that’s still in ghaflat. But I want that call to be sincere. Now I must do something. Wrong things that I’m doing, I must run to do something right. I must run to remove all those wrong things.’
Now, in this way, in the way of spirituality, in the way of Tarikat, we don’t like to use the word ‘sin,’ we don’t like to use the word ‘haram’ so much, or ‘bida’at,’ ‘innovation,’ or ‘shirk,’ all those words because we are not scholars. Awliya Allah, they are concentrating on the mercy of Allah to wake us up from our ghaflat, our heedlessness. It is not mercy so that we can be more and more drunk. No. we are not also saying, ‘it’s alright. Everything is okay. Don’t worry about it.’ We must worry. We must worry everyday. Whether sincerely we are saying to our Lord, ‘here I am O my Lord.’ Or sincerely we are saying to our Lord, ‘You are my Lord and I am Your servant.’ So, we don’t like to use the word ‘Sin.’ We say: you do wrong things. There are wrong things out there that is not beloved by Allah. And every wrong things that Allah swt says, ‘this is wrong, O My creature, stay away from it,’ there are some harm in it for you. Not for Allah.
Allah doesn’t need our love. Allah does not need our obedience. Allah does not need our servanthood. Praising Allah is not going to make Him more majestic. If the whole world now drops to sejdah and praising Allah, it’s not going to raise His station. If the whole world now decides to turn away from Allah, Allah does not fall from that station of being Subhana Wa Ta’ala Jala wa’ala. Everything is for us. It is for us. It is for our sake.
Now there are wrong things that you are doing, we are doing wrong things. Yes, Continuously we are doing wrong things. It is a good sign that you are saying, ‘yes, it is a wrong thing and I’m still attracted to that wrong thing.’ You are not being disobedient, you are not being stubborn to say, ‘so what? I don’t care!’ or trying to find a way to say, ‘you know, that wrong, it’s actually right.’ Making your own interpretation and understanding of what is right and wrong, instead of what Allah has brought through His Prophet and through His friends. Because so many people they are doing that. They are taking the Book of Allah, they are taking the Quran, they are taking the Hadiths and they are interpreting according to their ego. What their ego wants, what they think is right and wrong, they are going to interpret according to that. Not according to fourteen hundred years of scholarship and spirituality.
Understand now, in Islam, there are two Angels that are assigned to you: Kiraman and Katibeen. The two secretaries, the two clerks, recording everything down. Angel on the right and angel on the left. The angel on the right records all the good actions, angel on the left records all your bad actions. The angel on the right is in charge of the angel on the left. You do something wrong, the angel on the left is going to ask the angel on the right saying, ‘do I have permission to record this wrong thing that this person has done.’
The angel (on the right) says, ‘wait. Wait until he ask forgiveness or not. Sincerely, he ask forgiveness. If he ask, don’t record. If he doesn’t ask, record it.’
‘How much punishment should I give?’
‘Whatever that he did, that’s it. That is the punishment. Don’t multiply it.’
But whatever good that you do, the angel on the right, he doesn’t have to ask anyone. And according again to your sincerity, whatever good that you are doing can be multiplied from seven, seventy, seventy thousand times.
Islam maintains your privacy. Islam maintains the secret connection that you have to Allah swt. In other religion, maybe they say, even if you think about doing something wrong, you have the sin of that. That is wrong. That is not in Islam. Because now, whatever that inclines to wrong, it is not our spirit, it is our ego. Whatever you think that you want to do but you didn’t do it, no record is going to be made. That is secret between you and Allah swt. You may have intentions but you didn’t do anything according to those intentions but you ask for forgiveness, nothing is going to be recorded. I know in some other faith, traditions, even if you think about doing something wrong, it’s the same as doing that wrong thing and you must be punished for it. SubhanaAllah, what a religion of love that is. But in Islam, that’s why we began with, BismillahirRahmanirRahim, in the name of Allah the most Merciful, the most Compassionate.
In Islam, if you think of a good action that you want to do, if you make intention, just an intention to do good, that will be recorded as if you have done that action. And according to the sincerity, that can be multiplied too. You haven’t even done anything yet, it is recorded as something that is a good action. Now you are doing wrong things, you ask for tauba, forgiveness, asking Allah to forgive you, that you are weak, your nafs is strong. Not blaming Allah, saying to Allah, ‘why you give me this nafs?’ but being humble and saying, ‘You know what You are doing. You are my Lord. You are my Creator. You have given it to me, now my responsibility is to fight against to my ego and I know that more I fight against to my ego, more my spirit will rise higher, more power and more spirit I will have.’ And if you are sincerely saying tauba, Allah swt will forgive you. And not only that, all the wrong things that you have done, He will turn that into good actions and He will reward you for it.
This is not an excuse for anyone in Islam also to say, ‘well, I can do anything wrong. I just ask for forgivness and everything will….’ No, no, no. Now, the manners come. You know that you have done something wrong, and you are still attracted to that wrong thing, continuously you must fight. Don’t blame anyone. Don’t blame your Lord. Just say astarghfirullah. Astaghfirullah al-azim wa atubu ilaih. And you cannot be stubborn, you cannot be arrogant. You feel attracted, say astaghfirullah. Fight. Which is why to fight against to your nafs, this is called the greatest struggle. It’s not a small struggle, medium, big struggle, it is the greatest struggle.
You are incline to doing wrong things, different people they have different inclinations. You must fight against it. You must distract, you must fight, you must move away, you must do whatever you can to remove yourself from the tyranny of your ego. It will be difficult for some time, later it will be easy. Later it will become easier. You may go up and down, but if you are surrounding yourself by those ones who are doing the same thing, fighting against to their ego, you will find support. If you are surrounding yourself by people who are doing those wrong things and you are the only one who’s fighting it, and all those wrong things, the people who are doing it don’t consider them to be wrong, that is a very silly thing to be surrounded by. You don’t surround yourself by people that are sick to get well. You must move away. From some time, you may even be in seclusion. You may even be in rehab where you cut connection with everyone. You must not like that wrong actions. You must ask Allah swt for help, He will send it to you.
What we were saying in the khutbah today? Maybe that is the test that is for you. And what is the khutbah saying, that part that someone has a strong faith is when the test that is given to him is also very difficult. If your faith is very little, your test is going to be very light. And in another Hadiths e-Sharif, Holy Prophet (asw) is saying, ‘if Allah does not love His servant, He will not even give that servant a toothache. That’s why we are seeing so many bad people, they have no suffering in their lives. That is a sign that Allah’s love is not reaching to them. Don’t say, ‘Allah pulls away His love,’ no. His love is not reaching to them because they put up that barricade that has become so difficult to penetrate. Their heart, they are suffocated and has become dead.
Surround yourself by good ones, by those who remember Allah. By those who are fighting. Have a guide. That time you’ll be able to navigate through this greatest struggle, easier. If you don’t have a guide, like what we said yesterday, a journey of one year is going to take you a hundred years. Because this is the greatest struggle and you need the greatest of the help. May Allah make it easy, Al-Fatiha. Amin.
Sheykh Lokman Efendi Hz,
Khalifah of Shaykh AbdulKerim el-Kibrisi el-Rabbani (qs)
OSMANLI DERGAHI- New York
13 Rajab 1436H
May 2, 2015