Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Modesty and Shame by Nouman Ali Khan

Assalamualaikum wrt.,

I feel like sharing a very good article from Bro Nouman Ali Khan. This pertinent reminder can also be enjoyed from this beautiful video lecture:


وَالَّذِينَ إِذَا فَعَلُوا فَاحِشَةً أَوْ ظَلَمُوا أَنفُسَهُمْ ذَكَرُوا اللَّهَ فَاسْتَغْفَرُوا لِذُنُوبِهِمْ وَمَن يَغْفِرُ الذُّنُوبَ إِلَّا اللَّهُ وَلَمْ يُصِرُّوا عَلَىٰ مَا فَعَلُوا وَهُمْ يَعْلَمُونَ
“And those who, when they have committed Fahisha (shameless acts) or wronged themselves with evil, remember Allah and ask forgiveness for their sins; – and none can forgive sins but Allah – and do not persist in what (wrong) they have done, while they know.” [Aal-Imran, 3:135]

Assalamu alaikum Qur’an Weekly – yet another reminder for you folks and myself, in regards to the wretched evil of shamelessness.

This is something that the Prophet salla Allahu alayhi wasallam feared the most for his followers, and particularly – I just want to be very realistic with you – I’ll share some advice from the Qur’an in regards to this ayah from Aal Imran with you. But before I do:

Look, we’re living in a time where you are constantly exposed to shamelessness. And you’re exposed to it so much, you’re desensitized to it. So when you see something lewd and vulgar – the first time when you do have your shame in tact, you get disturbed. But if you see it over and over and over again – you don’t even know what the big deal is. Why are people making such a big deal about it? And so you become desensitized, and then you start questioning, “Why does Allah make such a big deal of it? Why is it that it’s such an evil?”

Understand that when you see something corrupt, like something shameless, something lewd – something your eyes should not be exposed to… or you hear something your ears should not be exposed to… and you don’t find a problem with it anymore – it’s an indication that you’ve got aserious problem in your heart. Because your heart is not disturbed by sin anymore. Your heart is not disturbed by evil anymore.

That’s a problem. That’s a very deep, spiritual problem. And if you have that problem, then the rest of your iman, the rest of your faith – you will not be able to concentrate in your prayer, you’re not going to be able to cry when you ask Allah. Those things will disappear from your life. Because you have allowed for shamelessness to take over – to take over your life.

And today, you’re watching this and you have accounts on facebook, you have friends on facebook who have absolutely lewd and shameless pictures. I opened my account on facebook to try to get in touch with some of my cousins from abroad, and then people just want to be my friend – I don’t even check the account anymore. Because I’m scared, if I say “Yes, I want to be your friend” what picture I’m going to see. I’m terrified of that.

Why? Simply because we’ve opened the door, and we don’t feel like there’s a problem – not even a little bit. So this: whether it’s stuff you’re watching on the internet, stuff you see on TV, the kinds of things you say, the kinds of words you use (words can also be shameless), the kinds of language you use that’s shameless – these sorts of things, we’ve become desensitized to, and the more we become desensitized to it, the more spiritually we become bankrupt.

Now Allah says, in this ayah – He says:

وَالَّذِينَ إِذَا فَعَلُوا فَاحِشَةً
“And as for those who whenever they do an act of shamelessness” –

They look at something, they go somewhere, they do something, they’re with someone that theyshouldn’t have been with, they do something they shouldn’t have done – any form of shamelessness. “Fahishatan” implies any of it – the slightest bit of it, and the worst of it, any of it.

ذَكَرُوا اللَّهَ
“They immediately remembered Allah.”

They immediately remembered Allah.

Imagine you’re doing something shameless, your mother walks in on you. Your sister walks in on you. Your brother walks in on you. Your father walks in on you. Your friends see you do something. How humiliated would you be? How embarrassed would you be? How sorry would you feel? You would feel like scum. You would absolutely feel like scum. But now Allah is saying, “You want to save yourself from becoming shameless?” If you do fall into that act, and it’s inevitable that you will – it’s fine that it’s going to happen, but if it does happen, your remedy for protecting you from next time “thakaroo Allah” – immediately, they remembered Allah. Not even “thumma thakaroo Allah” or “fa thakaroo Allah” – immediately they remembered Allah. Immediately.

فَاسْتَغْفَرُوا لِذُنُوبِهِمْ
“And immediately they asked Allah to forgive their sins.

وَمَن يَغْفِرُ الذُّنُوبَ إِلَّا اللَّهُ
“Who’s going to forgive your sins if not Allah, anyway?”

See, when you do something shameless, you feel really bad about yourself. When you feel bad about yourself, shaytaan comes and says, “How are you going to talk to Allah now? What face are you going to show Him? First you do this, and now you think you’re going to pray to Allah? You hypocrite.” And so you say “Yeah, I shouldn’t talk to Allah, I’m scum.” And you become distanced from Allah. And shaytaan succeeds.

When you do something evil, especially an act of shamelessness, something that’s humiliating – you go and ask Allah azza wa jall to forgive, immediately.

And Allah puts a condition. You know, you could become addicted to that. “Yeah, I mess up, I watch this really terrible stuff, and then I ask Allah to forgive me. Ah, I’m pretty sure I’m going to do this next week again….” Allah says:

وَلَمْ يُصِرُّوا عَلَىٰ مَا فَعَلُوا وَهُمْ يَعْلَمُونَ
“They didn’t insist upon what they did.”

In other words, when you apologize to Allah, when you’ve begged Allah that you should ward yourself off from this shamelessness, then you knew in your mind – you’ve made a commitment in your mind, in your heart, that you’re not going to come back to it. If you do come back to it – we’re human beings, it might happen. But in your heart, there’s not even the slightest bit of a doubt that you’re abandoning this forever. You’re abandoning it forever. You can’t give up.

And maybe you’ve tried before, and you’ve failed. You gave it up, then you went back to it. You gave it up, then you went back to it. You gave it up, and you went back to it. So you start saying to yourself, “Yeah, I’ve done this enough times. Probably I’ll be back to it.” No – you’ve already failed. No matter how many times you’ve failed, you cannot have that attitude. That attitude alone means you are notsorry before Allah. You’re not sorry before Allah.

So those are just some things about the way we have to pray for getting out of the cycle of shamelessness.

Just a little bit of additional advice – practical advice, practically what can you do in addition to the prayer? One of the things you can do is: Don’t be alone. Just don’t be alone. Be with good company. If you have free time, when do you usually you end up in shameless activity? When you’re by yourself. So don’t be by yourself. If you have a laptop or a computer in your room and that leads you to problems – don’t keep it in your room. Or keep the door open. And if you’re going to be with company that leads you into shameless behavior, if you know you’re going to go somewhere where you’re going to see things that are inappropriate – try to change that scene. Try to get out of that scene.

Spend – especially if you’re in college, you have like four, five hour gaps in between classes and you’re doing whatever, in that time – why don’t you just go to the masjid, sit there and study? It’s asafe place, you can’t really mess up there, all that much. Hopefully they don’t have WiFi, right?

But the idea is: save yourself from putting yourself in situations where you know you fall into that stuff. There are certain places in your house or in your environment, in your world – when you’re in those places, you end up doing bad things, right? It just happens every time you’re in that room, or in that place, you end up doing bad things. Then you should be smart enough to know that and get away from that place. Don’t be there by yourself. Don’t be there alone.

This is something you have to teach yourself to do, because I tell you: if you’re not able to ward yourself off from shamelessness… and this is a problem for married people and non-married people, but I’m specifically talking to those of you who are not married. When you do get married, you will have messed up married lives. You’ll have messed up married lives. You will have no respect for your spouse. Because you have no respect for shame. Marriage is an act that shows respect for shame. But you’ve already lost all of that respect because of your addiction to… whatever. Right – you’ve lost all that respect.

So you will have ruined – you will have ruined your family life – you’re not going to be able to be a good husband, or a good wife, or a good parent for that matter. So you’ve ruined your entire life over this addiction. Get out of it while you can.

May Allah azza wa jall make us able to get rid of our addictions. May Allah allow us to have the gift of good company that keeps us from these shameless activities. I’m not even saying do religious activities. You can just find a healthy alternative. Play sports. Play some basketball, ping pong, whatever it is. But just don’t go into that specific thing. Save yourself from that – before you do good, at least do no harm. At least do that much.

May Allah azza wa jall protect all of us, especially our youth. I pray, sincerely, for all of you, and the protection of your own iman, and the iman of your family.

Barak Allahu lee wa lakum, wa assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh.

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