When teaching our children the basic Islamic and moral values and even in day-to-day lives, we tend to emphasise a lot on the bigger vices of society. For example: we all teach our children that it is wrong to steal, living in a Non-Muslim country we are very conscious of eating halal food and staying away from alcohol, and so on. But amidst our battle in staying away from the “bigger” sins and hopes to become a responsible civilian and a good Muslim, we forget to realise and focus on the vices that have become so embedded in us that they are now actually a part of who we are.
We live in a world that applauds the successful, be it religiously successful or even the worldly success and we condemn the ones caught up in greater evils. A child would know that a robber or kidnapper is a criminal, eating pork would be going against the teachings of Allah (SWT) and Muhammad (SAW), but what he and the people of today fail to realise is that they are constantly engulfed in certain sins on a day to day basis. Here are four of the most common ones:
With social media spreading its wings and managing to spy on our daily lives… in fact, no not spying – having open and authorised access to our daily lives, jealousy has to be number one on the list! Ever dream of going to the holiday destination your friend just went to and checked-in on her Facebook? Ever wanted the pretty dress your cousin posed in and posted pictures of on Instagram? Ever wanted that extravagant party that your acquaintance organised?
With the simple options of check-ins, photo posting, and now even the “what are you doing” options, it’s not common to feel the desire for something you don’t already have and ultimately resulting in resentful longing and envy. Abu Huraira (RA) reported Muhammad (SAW) as saying: “Don’t bear aversion against one another and don’t be jealous of one another and be servants of Allah.” (Muslim)
In fact, it was envy that had caused Shaytan to be jealous of Adam (AS) and defy the order of Allah, then who are we mere humans not to fall prey to this sin?
What can be done:
Practically speaking, social media has become a very deep part of our lives and it would be hard to give up looking at our mobile screens and checking what people on our friends list are up to. Still, there are a few things that we could do to avoid jealousy and envy engulfing us:
- Remind yourself that this world is temporary and that the Akhirah is what actually matters.
- Don’t spend too much time looking at one post. Move to the next one on your news feed so that you get distracted and don’t have time to think too deeply about what others have.
- Be ever thankful and aware of what you already have – which brings us to the next point on my list…
Greed / Being unthankful for Allah’s blessings
As noted above, while on one end the social media may give rise to something as distasteful as jealousy and envy, at the other end it may also escalate one’s perceived needs and dissatisfaction. It’s not uncommon to want what others have and forget the blessings that have already been bestowed upon us by Allah (SWT).
When I was sitting in the hospital with my baby thinking about why she always ends up having a blocked nose and disrupting my nights’ sleep when I was startled by a girl screaming in fear. I couldn’t see her face as she was lying down on a stretcher with her back towards me, but from the sounds she was making I judged her to be not older than 12-14 years.
She was screaming and whimpering as if something was scaring her. I clutched my baby close to me for the fear that she may get scared of all the screaming and that’s when the girl’s face came into view. I was shocked to see that she was a grown up woman, perhaps 22 years old. She had just two teeth, her hair was pulled back in two pigtails, and I realised that perhaps she didn’t have the mental capacity of a normal 22-year-old. She was scared of the doctor and was clutching at her sister and calling out to her mother.
In that instant, my world came crumbling down! Here I was whining about my baby not sleeping through the night and here was a family who was taking care of a woman with the mind of a baby. I had so much to be thankful about!
Word to the Wise:
Greed doesn’t necessarily mean wanting something big. It could be related to anything, even something as simple as not being satisfied with what your mother made for dinner tonight and craving for better food options. There are those in this world who stay hungry for days and here we are being ungrateful for the food Allah has given us.
We should be ever thankful for what Allah has bestowed us with, and be cautious about not being dissatisfied with what we don’t have and greedy for what others have.
Believe it or not – we are all victims of this. Mostly it’s women who are considered guilty of gossiping and backbiting but having worked at a male-dominated organisation, I have witnessed males to be more engrossed in this sin. Allah (SWT) has said in the Quran: “…Nor backbite one another; would any of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? You would abhor it.” (Al-Hujurat :12)
And again: “Behold, you received it on your tongues, and said out of your mouths things which you had no knowledge; and you thought it to be a light matter, while it was most serious in the sight of Allah” (An-Noor : 15)
Think! Think! And Think!
Be it a harmless discussion with your mother about a recent visit to a relative’s house, a discussion with your husband about how your day went and all the people you met – be careful and cautious about what you speak. In our eagerness to share our things with our loved ones, we often misrepresent the facts and especially if it is someone you are frank with you end up adding some nasty comments and opinions about the person being talked about.
Sadly we all have a practice to go ahead with the gossiping and backbiting without truly realising that we may be slandering someone else’s image and reputation. The repercussion for that might not be so harmful for us in this world but perhaps for the other person and surely we won’t be spared for it on the Day of Judgement. Allah is All-Hearing, All-Seeing and All-Knowing.
Pride / Arrogance
“Me” is our biggest enemy! It’s not necessary that we have to be the CEO at a multinational or an excruciatingly rich person to feel proud of our status quo or position. Pride can take many forms. You may be a stay at home mum with exceptional cooking skills, I may be good at writing articles…it doesn’t take time for the praises that you receive to fill your head and make you proud about your certain skills or worldly possessions.
Pride has been condoned by our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAW) to such an extent that it is narrated on the authority of ‘Abdullah that Muhammad (SAW) observed: “He who as in his heart the weight of a mustard seed of pride shall not enter Paradise.” (Muslim) Pride is most commonly considered to be an insignificant sin but we tend to forget is that Iblis became Shaytan because of his pride and that Pride and Grandeur are traits attributable to Allah (SWT) alone.
A few simple measures that we could implement in our daily lives are:
- Whenever anyone praises you; take the compliment, feel good about yourself but remind yourself that it is Allah (SWT) that has blessed you with it.
- Always aim for the highest in religion – if your religious feelings and practices are praised, look to those who are better than you and strive for the better.
- Keep thinking about your sins and how Allah has still been merciful to you.
In this fast paced life it is easy to forget about these little vices and to consider them as “petty” however though they may be small as compared to the bigger sins but are nonetheless SINS and considering the number of times we commit them unknowingly in order daily lives, they would carry a lot of weight on the Day of Judgement.
Hina Nafe was born and brought up in Pakistan and is currently a practicing Chartered Accountant at one of the Big Four Firms in New Zealand. Besides accounting and numbers, she enjoys writing and her other writings can be found at http://www.hinasworld.com/, https://www.facebook.com/hinasworld1/ and https://twitter.com/hinasworldtweet