Do You Deserve Punishment?


http://www.flickr.com/photos/jpellgen/1892822005/in/photostream/By AbdelRahman Mussa

In a tazkiyah (purification) consultation meant to help change major misconceptions held by Muslims today and survey how people perceive Islam and their relationship with Allah, the results were telling. With 16 questions and over 100 applicants, patterns emerged. The answers for two of those questions really stand out. 

The first question:

Do you feel like you deserve difficulty or punishment?

18% said hardly. 72% replied with either often or sometimes.

The second question:

Do you feel undeserving of Allah’s bounties upon you?

15% replied with hardly. 75% replied with often or sometimes.

This really is quite sad and it points to an underlying misunderstanding of our relationship with Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala (exalted is He). In fact, it’s proof that too many people are ignorant of Allah (swt) and what He teaches us about Himself.

Deserving Difficulty

In a hadith qudsi, Allah (swt) says:

“I am as the perception/assumption of My slave.”

Narrated in Sahih Bukhari and Muslim.

This means that if you think that Allah (swt) is Merciful, you will experience that Mercy. If you think that Allah (swt) is only Wrathful, then your outlook on life is dark and you feel that Wrath.

Also, too much of this can lead to depression, which can lead to a total lack of hope, which can lead to kufr (disbelief). Allah (swt) says:

“Despair not of relief from Allah. Indeed, no one despairs of relief from Allah except the disbelieving people.”

(Qur’an 12:87)

This can also be a doorway for Shaytan (Satan) to lead you astray. Hearts come to resent the ones that show them difficulty and punish them. In this case, the perception would be that Allah (swt) is doing that. It would be very dangerous to resent Allah (swt), yet many people do.

You will also resent yourself if you do this because, ultimately, it’s your perception. Deep down you know this. This can then lead you to want to punish yourself more (for doing this to yourself). It therefore becomes a vicious self-perpetuating circle.

If deep down you feel that you deserve difficulty or punishment, then you will do that which is deserving of difficulty and punishment. That’s the primary cause for so many people sinning. They are fulfilling their own self-initiated prophecy.

Undeserving of Allah (swt)’s Bounties:

Don’t get this confused with being thankful or even overwhelmingly thankful for Allah (swt)’s bounties. It’s the exact opposite.

How can you be truly grateful of something that you think you don’t deserve? In fact, you’ll push it away or mistreat it, which is the exact opposite of gratefulness.

Also, since you can’t be satisfied with that which you don’t think you deserve, it means that you’ll continue to want more. You’ll never feel ‘full’. Always that sense of being incomplete, not good enough, wanting to ‘keep up with the Jones’—though ironically, when you get the next thing… you’ll feel like you don’t deserve it!

It’s not that we are deserving of Allah (swt)’s bounties. It is that He has willed it so. We then become grateful. It would be a lack of gratitude to think that you deserve what He has given.

So we don’t deserve and we don’t not deserve. We are, instead, just plainly grateful. It all happens with His Mercy. Same with entering Jannah (Paradise). We must work and attain good deeds, but ultimately we don’t enter jannah because of our deeds.

Poverty vs Grace

Allah (swt) says:

“Satan threatens you with poverty and orders you to immorality, while Allah promises you forgiveness from Him and bounty. And Allah is all-Encompassing and Knowing.”

(Qur’an 2:268)

It’s really interesting that Allah (swt) doesn’t mention the opposite of poverty first. It would make sense that Allah (swt) would respond to Satan’s promise/threat of poverty by reassuring us that He promises grace. Instead, Allah (swt) starts with forgiveness.

There are two reasons for this that are relevant to our discussion here. The first is that when one buys into the premise of poverty and scarcity, they perpetrate sins. They steal, they sell themselves or their children, they lie, they cheat. And so Allah (swt) reassures us against the consequences of believing in poverty (committing sins) and not just against poverty itself. He is indeed the All-Merciful.

Secondly, it is a sin in-and-of-itself to believe Satan. To believe that The Creator and Sustainer is not generous or not able enough to provide for everyone and everything. And so Allah (swt) mentions forgiveness first, so we understand this point clearly.

Part of poverty is shunning Allah (swt)’s bounties. Part of poverty is believing that you need to be punished. Think about what punishment means: isn’t it the stripping away of bounties? Isn’t it that Allah (swt) removes the bounty of His Mercy from you?

In actuality, the two questions asked above are the opposite sides of the same coin. How would you have answered them?

Spirituality or Depression?

There are people who think that pain is a good thing. They think that their aching heart is a sign of their closeness to Allah (swt). They have taken the path of self-impoverishment as the method for getting closer to Allah (swt).

They believe that hating themselves and feeling that they deserve punishment is a way of repentance. Repentance is the exact opposite. They think they are humbling themselves to Allah (swt) by thinking that they are undeserving  of Allah (swt)’s bounties.

I read and hear famous people say things like: “O Allah (swt), my heart is bursting with pain for you.” Haven’t they heard the ayah (verse):

“Those who have believed and whose hearts are assured by the remembrance of Allah . Unquestionably, by the remembrance of Allah hearts are assured.”

(Qur’an 13:28)

If you’re feeling pain in your heart, this is not tranquility. Don’t think it’s coming from your love to Allah (swt), you’re very wrong. You’re very likely to be sinning as well.

Read these verses:

“O mankind, what has deceived you concerning your Lord, the Generous, Who created you, proportioned you, and balanced you?.”

(Qur’an 82:6-7)

When you think that Allah (swt) needs or wants your pain, you are being lured away from the Most Generous. You have been deceived into thinking that He is not Generous.

And to conclude, Allah (swt) says:

“What would Allah do with your punishment if you are grateful and believe? And ever is Allah Appreciative and Knowing.”

(Qur’an 4:147)

Tazkiyah and austerity is the process of being so full and tranquil on the inside with love for Allah (swt) that you don’t care what worldly good you have or do not have. When difficulty afflicts you, it feels like a breeze on your skin, it doesn’t shake you.

If you’d like your free tazkiyah consultation, please go to www.iPersonalEnrichment.com. the experience itself will change your paradigms insha’Allah (God willing).

Let’s return to the Most Merciful. Do so now. Realize that Allah (swt) is the Most Merciful. Submit your heart to His caring. Decide to shed your pains to be replaced with the tranquility of love for Allah. Decide now. That’s repentance.

 

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37 Comments

  1. Yasmin says:

    Jazakallah khair for this beautiful reminder!

  2. Mariam says:

    Thanks, for the article, it´s a good reminder that our Islam and faith is something that should enrich and fulfil our lives rather than making us feel negatively about ourselves.
    However the way in which you address this issue is not entirely helpful.
    “Don´t think its coming from your love to Allah (swt) you´re very wrong. You´re very likely to be sinning as well.”
    This isn´t necessarily a productive way of encouraging people to feel grateful for Allah´s bounty and could just lead to people feeling guilty about sins they don´t even know they´re committing. Equating pain to sin is not productive, with all this discussion of blessing and bounty and then an accusation of sin, somehow it undermines the whole tone of the argument.
    Nevertheless I appreciate this article and its intention. Thank you.

    • AbdelRahman says:

      Jazakillahu khairan for taking the time out to give nasiha.

      I agree with your sentiments and wish to add a clarification. This is a serious subject because it is to do with our relationship with Allah, how we think of Him.

      I’m advocating that we do not harm and pain ourselves because we don’t have the right to. That it will cause us suffering, not just in this life, but the hereafter also.

      Many people think that they are rewarded for un-enriching themselves. So the point I’m making is that actually, it could very well be a sin (depending on intentions). This should be enough motivation for change – that the intention was misplaced, what was thought good is actually bad.

      The article isn’t a watered down. It’s meant to be real. Allah doesn’t want difficulty or harraj for us.
      That’s real.

      When we disrespect that bounty, that is sinful.
      That’s real.

      The following ayah makes it very clear that depression/despair/being-unhopeful can even lead to disbelief:
      “Despair not of relief from Allah. Indeed, no one despairs of relief from Allah except the disbelieving people.”
      (Qur’an 12:87)

      We have to be real about these things. Watering things down is shying away from the truth. I’m not suggesting that you’re advocating that… I’m only explaining why I wrote it in that fashion.

      Again, jazakillahu khairan.
      Pray that Allah Guides us all to that which is better.

  3. Shao says:

    Salaam. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for such beautiful reminders. I needed them. May I just offer one piece of well meant advice and it is a small one. I have not seen the survey, however, the option ‘hardly’ if that was the only option for a negative response, may have lead many people to shy away from it as it feels like quite a strong response to make especially when asked if they feel deserving of Allah’s bounties. I am sorry if my comment is besides the point. It does not take away from the wonderful advice in this article. Thank you again and may Allah forgive me if I have written this unnecessarily and to any negative effect. JazakAllah Khair

    • AbdelRahman says:

      JazakAllah Khair,

      The three options in the survey are: “hardly, sometimes and often”

      We actually stayed away from using never for the reason you mentioned above. We felt that hardly was a very appropriate response. It’s the opposite of often and sometimes is in the middle of both.

      Your comment is very justified and jazakAllah for your input. I hope this clarifies things and please feel free to add/comment further :-)

  4. Sakina says:

    Jazakallah khayr for the article! I love the style of writing, very succint, eloquent and beautifully put.
    Sometimes I feel that if a person gets something they believe they are undeserving of, they feel more grateful. E.g. like a peasant who for example got a gift sent to him from the king, he is overwhelmed with gratitude and feels exceptionally honoured. On the other hand if the king’s advisors received a gift from him, they would not feel as honoured or special, as they feel they deserve such treatment and take it for granted as part of their job working in the king’s palace. Just a thought

    • AbdelRahman says:

      Jazakillah.

      You’re quite right sister Sakina.

      We are not to feel that we deserve anything from Allah. He Created us and Does as He Wishes.

      What about the peasant that returns the gift to the king and says: “I can’t accept this ?”
      How would the king feel ?

      And to Allah is the highest example.

  5. papanok says:

    JazakaAllaah kul khair for taking the time to write this piece. I haven’t come across an article that talks on this subject, so it is a new thing to investigate into: how we internally react to and think of Allaah during punishments and hardships.

    However, I would just like to point out that quite often the feeling of pain is good for two main reasons. First, is that it makes us acknowledge that whatever difficulty we are in is caused quite often because of our actions. It makes us see our shortcomings and make the connection between our situation and whatever we have done that may have cause Allaah’s displeasure. Without feeling that we deserve punishment then we would end up blaming Allaah all the time and viewing Him as if He is unfair and that we shouldn’t be going through this difficulty astaghfurallaah. And second, feeling pain is a great propeller for a commitment to change. It may not be for all people, but in my humble opinion I believe it is for most wallah a’lam. So in generally, I would say that the feelings of pain and self blame, though to a moderate extent, is beneficial for one’s iman. And Allaah knows best.

    • AbdelRahman says:

      JazakAllah alf khair for your comments, it’s an honour to hear/read your opinion. I’d like to just point out that the article is not about how we react when punishment/tribulation afflicts us.

      It’s about our default beliefs in 2 matters: deserving punishment and undeserving bounties.

      Also, how do you know that you are being punished as opposed to tried – so that you can be elevated ?
      And could it be possible that the punishment due to a sin is in fact not a punishment but a tribulation so that Allah can wipe the sins you just committed ? (it can be either of course – but you don’t know until you’re tried in front of Allah)

      But I’m not talking about any of that. I’m talking about someone who is walking down the street without having done anything and they believe that they ought to be punished… there’s something wrong with that, surely.

      Or someone that just committed a sin… and Allah hides it for him and for a while (maybe until the day of judgement), nothing bad afflicts him… and yet he walks about feeling like he deserves punishment ! Why ?

      Why not instead of all those hours of guilt, why not repent.

      Also… nowhere in the article is it mentioned that pain is a bad thing. But it is mentioned that self inflicted pain is a bad thing.

      With regards to emotions, there are 2 types (and this is just my classification for the purpose of this subject):
      1- emotions that arise because something external happened, ie. we are humiliated
      2- emotions that arise because we have a particular belief or perception

      This second type… why should we self-inflict pain ?
      It’s like you’re saying that we should hurt ourselves because we hurt ourselves. And my question is: If you want to do that then you are free to do so, but where is the Mercy of Allah in all of this ?

      So, yes… when something happens, good or bad, you can take responsibility to a certain level… but even then you can’t draw a direct correlation between having done sin-x/good-deed-y and this thing that just happened.

      But if you do correlate what just happened with sin-x… then repent, don’t wish for punishment. That’s all I’m trying to say with regards to this

  6. NM says:

    Thanks for sharing this. The author makes some good points with this essay, but I’m not sure feeling pain (even feeling depressed) should be advocated as a sin, kind of takes away from the premise of his argument. I think the stats on depression are like 1 in 10? It’s something that affects more of us than we’d like to admit. And it’s not necessarily due to a lack of faith. Even the Prophet (s) went through periods of depression. It’s human to feel and to feel pain either biologically or in response to situations in our lives. He’s correct in saying that constantly thinking we deserve punishment is detrimental to our well-being, but he seems to also be advocating to be unfeeling. Would you tell someone who just lost their child to brush it off? Would you tell someone who just lost their job and house that they don’t have a right to feel down? Some people are naturally better able to handle depression than others, some are able to learn to be better, that does not necessarily indicate a sign of piety. Also, it is important to remember – feelings do not equal sin. I find this to be a repeated problem with how depression is addressed by “religious scholars” and it’s unproductive as it unnecessarily isolates and guilts the very people these scholars claim to want to help and misdiagnosises the problem as a lack of faith. They also seem to advocate striving for some sort of perpetual nirvana-like state where we are all impervious to the world around us so we never feel pain. But it is the feelings of pain that are, at times, blessing as feeling pain makes us more self-aware and hopefully, more compassionate to others.

    • AbdelRahman says:

      Again, jazakAllah for your comment, I’m honoured to have your insights.

      If you re-read what I wrote:

      “Also, too much of this can lead to depression, which can lead to a total lack of hope, which can lead to kufr (disbelief).”

      1. I mention that “too much of this” – not “any of this”
      2. “can lead” – not “will definitely lead” – in the case of depression, lack of hope and kufr. I didn’t say “definitely will”

      Then I mention this ayah:

      “Despair not of relief from Allah. Indeed, no one despairs of relief from Allah except the disbelieving people.”
      (Qur’an 12:87)

      Do you contend that this is an ayah of the Quran or are you contending what I have extrapolated from it ?
      I have extrapolated that despair of the relief/Mercy of Allah is done by the disbelieving people. And that if a believer does so then this is an act of the disbelievers, so it doesn’t automatically classify the believer as a disbeliever, but it is an act of the disbelievers and as such, it’s quite plausible to say that it is a sin. I’m giving you my train of logic/thought.

      Again, there are two types of emotions (and this is just my classification for the purpose of this subject):
      1- emotions that arise because something external happened, ie. we are humiliated
      2- emotions that arise because we have a particular belief or perception

      I’m only talking about the perceptions and beliefs. Not what you learn or do with pain. Yes, in pain and tribulation – AND also in joy – there are many lessons.

      Prophet Solayman learns out of happiness that Allah is testing him with the gift/bounty that he can hear and understand what the ants are saying (surah Al Naml, verse: 19) — this is an example of learning from joy and not just pain.

      I’m not advocating that we strive for nirvanah, not in this article anyway :-p, but I am advocating that we NOT strive for sadness. Everything that comes from that which Allah Has Decreed is a Blessing of His.

      Pain does humble and it teaches compassion and I assure you that there is enough of it as is (1st type of emotion as mentioned previously) without you having to create any for yourself by feeling that you deserve punishment :-)

      Also, I’m not going to play semantics, but the year of “sadness” that the prophet Mohamad, peace be upon him, was not self-inflicted. It happened and he dealt with it. As a human he felt things (1st type of emotion) but he didn’t think “this is because of my sins”.

      When his, pbuh, son died, what did he (pbuh) say/feel ?
      He (pbuh) said: “the eyes cry, but the heart is grateful to Allah.”

      That doesn’t sound like depression to me.
      He, pbuh, also didn’t say: “Oh believers, this is good. Write poetry about my sadness and loss”. Never.

      He did say, pbuh, in another hadeeth, in a different occasion:
      “Strange is the way of a believer, if hardship befalls him he is patient and if goodness befalls him, he is grateful”

      That’s a very uplifting message. It’s totally different to: “feel like you deserve to be punished”

      You have a right to feel down but it has consequences of course. But you do have the right.

      Your comment: “He’s correct in saying that constantly thinking we deserve punishment is detrimental to our well-being, but he seems to also be advocating to be unfeeling.”
      … implies that if you don’t feel sad, then you don’t feel. That’s an issue, you know.

      If depression comes from the 1st type of emotion (chemical imbalance for example) then that is different, I’m talking about self inflicted depression. The 1 in 10 figure that you quote includes both types and not just the chemical imbalance type of depression. I’m advocating that we can cut that statistic down.

      That’s a good thing, right ?

      • Anon says:

        Salam,

        I have a question which I hope you can answer:

        But how can one not feel ‘punishment’ if a sin they have committed leads to their humiliation? How are we to see in this case that what Allah has decreed here, the exposure and humiliation, is a Blessing?

        During trials we don’t necessarily hate ourselves when we don’t commit sins that put us in those trials, but when we do commit sins with trials as consequences, we do hate ourselves….

        • Anon says:

          …especially in the case of something like zina for instance, where sitna Maryam alayha asalam wished she had died because of the fear of what people might think of her, and she wasn’t mistaken in any way. So my question essentially is, in the case where one did commit such an act, or something similar that resulted in humiliation, how are they to take that punishment as purification if they should perhaps wish for death instead, for tarnishing their honor, their deen, etc?

          Not looking for an argument, just some insight brother AbdelRahman.

        • Anon says:

          (to clarify below with regard to sitna Maryam, not the fear of what people thought of her but the repercussions for Islam)

        • AbdelRahman says:

          Wa Alaykom Assalam wa Rahmatullah,

          Insha Allah you’re well Anon.

          Sorry for the huge delay… I must have missed your comment or maybe I answered it but not directly.. it’s been a while since I wrote this article and only after receiving notification from ‘soul’ below was i re-prompted to visit this :-)

          If you feel punished, that is different to feeling that you DESERVE punishment. That distinction is important.

          I would also add that the example of sayida Maryam, she didn’t feel punished. She felt that this was such a trial, that she would rather not have been born. This was not a form of punishment at all, nor was it the repercussions of a sin.

          So, if we exclude the example of sayida Maryam, because I don’t think it is appropriate here, and we just ask the questions:

          what is humiliation and must it be painful ?
          And if so, must we hate ourselves for the pain we have caused ourselves ?

          Humiliation is not painful unless you allow it to be the case. Stand up comedians regularly humiliate themselves just to get a laugh. In my opinion, many people humiliate themselves every time they get that particular haircut :-p

          But because society doesn’t judge it badly, they don’t see it as humiliation.

          But then there are people like goths, who are shunned by wider society and yet don’t feel humiliated… so humiliation is about what you think of you, not just about what others think of you.

          … and with the comedian example, humiliation need not always be painful.

          Now… regarding loathing ourselves due to the humiliation that we have inflicted upon ourselves through The Wrath of Allah (I’m assuming the humiliation is a direct consequence of committing a sin many times without repentance)… again, is the humiliation really humiliation or is it Allah rectifying our path, sending us a warning.

          The Prophet Yunus, who left his people and was then swallowed by a whale… the fact that we know his story, is that humiliating for him ?
          Or that we know that we are on Earth because of prophet Adam and how the devil tricked him etc.?
          Or Omar knowing that the Muslims know of how he buried his daughter alive… is that humiliating for him ?

          Or do these role models not care what we think of them because they have repented… and if Allah is happy with them, then it doesn’t matter what we think.

          … and isn’t their lack of caring for anyone’s opinion of them, except Allah’s, a sign of their true repentance ?

          So I would suggest that if people have done something wrong, that instead of hating themselves and digging a hole of sorrow and self pity, that they repent (turn back to Allah).

          If there are consequences to deal with, then deal with them… this is the path for your repentance. And do so with your head held up high… because Allah Has Given you the consequences to deal with, so that you can restore the imbalance you have created (as much as possible, through good deeds).

          You mentioned the example of zinah… imagine someone has offspring out of marriage, is that humiliation for them ?
          I’m sure they’d rather that no one knew, but at the same time… isn’t it an opportunity to show Mercy for that new-born and earn Allah’s Forgiveness and Reward through his/her upbringing/nourishment ?

          If Allah had forsaken you, He would not have given you that path (as hard as it may look to start with) and instead a thunderbolt or a tsunami would have taken you.

          Also, does it make sense to inflict pain on yourself for inflicting pain on yourself ?!
          Self hate is inflicting emotional (or physical) pain on yourself.

          I would have thought that the way to stop inflicting pain would be to stop inflicting pain :-)

          I do hope that I’ve answered your question directly and of course, I would be honoured to continue the debate.

          JazakAllah,
          AbdelRahman

  7. DrDonna P.Crichton Harmony RN says:

    The first question:

    Do you feel like you deserve difficulty or punishment?

    18% said hardly. 72% replied with either often or sometimes.

    The second question:

    Do you feel undeserving of Allah’s bounties upon you?

    15% replied with hardly. 75% replied with often or sometimes.

    IN ANSWER TO BOTH QUESTIONS:”Absolutely NOT!”

  8. raheela ahmed says:

    Abdel Rahman thank you for your wise words. It was really enlightening to read , and I will indeed take away a great deal from what I have read.

  9. Mohammed says:

    Salam.

    I had two questions. Firstly, if something bad happens to me I am grateful to Allah because I know he only wants the best and I see it as either a test or punishment for my sins. When I get the feeling it is the latter I don’t resent it because I know I am sinful and if it is Allah’s decision then it is compeltely justified and I actually feel grateful that it is coming in this life and not the next. At the same time I think this may be a test or a blessing in disguise and think Allhualam. Is this way of thinking correct? Am I doing something wrong?

    Secondly, what if a murderer/adulterer/rapist/torturer were to feel this way? If they realised the magnitude of their crime and started repenting, is it wrong for them to think that they deserve punishment? As you said they should not despair of Allah’s mercy and they shouldn’t seek out punishment, but for them to just think that yes they do deserve to be punished for the sin they have committed. Alhumdullilah I am not one of the above but I would like to think that any such person would feel deep remorse and feel as if they deserve to be punished for the torment they have bestowed on others.

  10. AbdelRahman says:

    Wa Alayom Assalam wa Rahmatullah,

    When something happens, the way you have reacted is fine.

    The distinction being time.

    Before something happens, we should not limit Allah’s Mercy and Grace by thinking that He will only forgive us if we are punished… that we are rotten beings that deserve punishment.

    That would not be in the spirit of Islam and the spiritual liberation that Islam showers us with.

    But if a difficulty befalls you, then as you undergo that trial or after you’ve gone through it, you should realise that it is either a test or a purification – as you quite rightly suggested.

    The Prophet Mohamad, peace be upon him, corrected the companions by telling them that they should not ask Allah for trials (such as battling the enemy) and that instead they should ask for His Mercy.

    This didn’t and doesn’t negate the need to act appropriately WHEN/IF a trial does come along.

    So yes, I agree with your first point.

    Second point:
    I believe that regardless of the magnitude of the crime… Allah is Greater (Allahu Akbar) and His Forgiveness and Mercy are Greater than the crime.

    Regardless.

    In that particular case, the guilt/remorse/regret would and should lead them to repentance. Then they should move on.

    They have instigated the Wrath of Allah and the punishment that comes with the crime that they committed. But through repentance, they now instigate the Mercy of Allah… and this wipes out what came before.

    The heart needs to be humble in realising that it is at the Mercy of Allah and that the repentance needs to be sincere.

    In the case you mentioned, they would also have to repent to wider society and the family of the victims.

    From the perspective of this life, they deserve whatever rights Allah has given the victim(‘s family) to seek vengeance. But that doesn’t mean that they should think themselves rotten and disgusting.

    A self is not disgusting or rotten unless it chooses to be.

    Take the example of Hind, the companion who before her Islam had payed for Hamza (ra) to be killed… and she ate his liver.

    A heinous crime that caused The Prophet (pbuh) a lot of pain. But when she accepted Islam (this was her repentance)… you did not see her wallowing in guilt… instead, she raced to do good deeds. Deeds that will wipe out her past.

    That’s not the same as the man who she paid to kill Hamza (ra). He also accepted Islam, but it is narrated that he was a drunkard, for he could not tolerate himself for having caused The Messenger, pbuh, so much anguish.

    Can you see how his self loathing led him to drink.
    So a huge sin causes self loathing, which causes another huge sin.

    People then get into a vicious cycle. This benefits not them, nor does it benefit society.

    JazakAllah for your question/comment :-)

  11. papanok says:

    Masha Allaah brother, that last reply was excellent and it cleared out any confusion I initially had of this article. I understand your point better now. Jazaka Allaah kul khair, this article is much needed to remind us that it is never too late to change or hope for the better especially during Ramadan.

  12. soul says:

    i wish you would respond to anon’s questions—i am dealing with someone who is going through a very similar experience as anon pointed out—maybe there is something, that could be of use to this person

  13. AbdelRahman says:

    Soul,

    Done !

  14. Zaynab says:

    Very thought-provoking.

    Gives an interesting and beneficial perspective on the way we should look at things…subhanAllah

    Jazak Allahu khayr.

  15. Muhibullah says:

    As Salamu alykum wa Rahmatullah

    What if someone believes that they are not deserving of forgiveness but have a strong hope that Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala will forgive them despite this? Similarly if they believe that Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala will bless them despite the fact that they do not deserve His blessings?

    Wassalam

  16. AbdelRahman Mussa says:

    Wa Alaykom Assalam wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh,

    Muhibullah.

    Let me quote what I wrote in the article above:

    “It’s not that we are deserving of Allah (swt)’s bounties. It is that He has willed it so. We then become grateful. It would be a lack of gratitude to think that you deserve what He has given.

    So we don’t deserve and we don’t not deserve. We are, instead, just plainly grateful. It all happens with His Mercy. Same with entering Jannah (Paradise). We must work and attain good deeds, but ultimately we don’t enter jannah because of our deeds.”

  17. Kirana says:

    actually i would answer yes to both.

    i would answer that in all honesty i probably deserve difficulty, because i am not as attached to Allah as a righteous slave should be, and perhaps difficulty is the means by which i will learn and be saved. i know i have already learned a few things i may likely not have truly realised without being taught by difficulty, so this is a logical extrapolation, not because of feelings of guilt or whatever. since i think i deserve to be saved (mainly because God thinks so), therefore it also means i deserve difficulty that will be the means of my salvation – even though i dislike it in the short term.

    in all honesty, since i’ve not done nor could ever do anything as a favour to God, i also cannot logically deserve anything He gives to me from among his bounties. there is no possibility of reciprocity or trade. it is as a master gives to His slave. the slave only “deserves” the gift insofar as the master decides he does. he does not objectively deserve it as judged by an impartial observer. the slave also does not have the absolute right to do as he likes with the bounty since it isn’t his by objective right. the slave should not dishonour the master from whom he derives the right to “deserve” the gift, by using it in ways approved by the master. whereas if someone owes me something and pays me my right, it is right for me to do as i like with that repayment regardless of whether my debtor approves or not.

    so, though i would answer yes both times, it doesn’t correlate at all with the mindset the article argues against.

  18. An Agnostic says:

    I am not of your faith, but I wish peace upon you. Thank you for this article. I believe no one is deserving of punishment, and we must be grateful for the gift of life and the force(s) that Maje it possible. I say this not to challenge Islam and the message of your Prophet (as you say, may peace be upon him), but I comment here to say that these teachings are universal and can help believers and all others, Godwilling. Again, thank you for your time and insight.

  19. sarah k says:

    salam alaykom,

    i am going to say something blunt, but its because i care.

    i dont think we should philosophise on issues like that which are made quite straightforward by Allah alone. this is because i think faith doesnt require much logic as much as ot requires logically reaching the conclusion that Allah exist and he is one then taking what he said abt himself from his book and submitting with heart and

    going deeply with our own analysis could lead to confusions which are avoidable if we directed ppl to what quraan and sunnah say and we ourselves submit to them without furthee analysis. because each case is different and ppl hav different commitment to Allah’s deen so the heart feels differently depending on every person.

    i think the article wanted tohighlight theextent of Allahs mercy and addresses ppl who had reached a point if despaire from Allah’s mercy. which is a v important topic and i advise the author that if he sees scope of da’wah for himself in that field then he can try to speak to many ppl of knowledge on how to address this issue .

    the sunnah addresses this, in its general sense if i understood correctly by hadith of the prophet :

    one should not undetmine themselves but one should say myself has been incomplete.

    or as he said it from what i remember : la yu7akkiranna imri2in nafsah bal falyakul nakusat nafsy

    one should not b harsh on themselves when they do mistakes. but also one should realise that if it wasnt for Allahs mercy and forgiveness,.none of us would reach his bounties or his heaven

  20. Sister says:

    I think the problem is that a lot of parents scare their kids into doing good deeds and staying away from bad deeds…punishment is emphasized way more than mercy so you grow up thinking that you can’t really make mistakes. Same thing with a lot of speakers who always talk about hell and sins although I must say the younger speakers these days definitely convey a more balanced message.
    I was listening to a lecture and the speaker was talking about how there was a man who kept losing his kids while they were young and he finally got a son who lived past childhood and ended up dying in his teens. The man got so angry at Allah and he ended up dying in the midst of his anger. The speaker indicated that this is because Allah(swt) wanted to expose that he wasn’t truly patient. I mean this isn’t even a hadith just a story so it bothered me that this assumption was made. Allah(swt) is al Rahman and al Raheem He doesn’t seek to trap people or make them fail subhanallah. Stories like this don’t really help people feel good about themselves…it instills too much guilt and the wrong kind of ideas about Allah(swt).

  21. AbdelRahman says:

    Assalamu Alaykom wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh,

    I totally agree with you and I’ll add that we need to move past emotional rhetoric. We need to be able to talk about fear and mercy, but also be pragmatic about our journey and endeavour to go to jannah.

    The fabricated stories that are told by some are a waste of time and cause much harm as you suggested, and there’s no need for them. The Quran and The Sunnah are more than enough and it’s blasphemous for anyone to suggest that we need to fabricate something, as if The Quran and Sunnah aren’t complete somehow.

  22. anonymous says:

    Can you please make duaa for me, im only a 17 year old girl but always feel depression, sadness, and axiety that im always sinning, when i know im not. i have a overthinking ocd problem, please prey that i become the old happy me again! Insha Allah, thank you brother (:

    • AbdelRahman says:

      may Allah (swt) relieve you of any pain,
      physical, emotional or any other type.

      I think the newsletter at iPersonalEnrichment.com
      will help you somewhat insha Allah :-)

      Jazakillah,

  23. Umar Saeed says:

    Thanks for sharing this valuable information. May Allah help us to live our lives according to the teachings of the Holy Quran and Sunnah so that we can be successful in both here in this world and hereafter. Thanks

  24. Tazneen says:

    Excellent

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