Posted by: Dawud Israel | July 15, 2008

Why aren’t we going anywhere?

Abu Hurayrah reported that the Prophet SAAWS said:
Hujibati an-narru bil shahawat, wa hujibati al-jannatu bil makarihi
Hellfire is surrounded by passions and desires while Jannah is surrounded by adversities
-reported by Bukhari and Muslim

There are a few things that really matter in regards to change and Islamic development but they tend to dismiss them because they are not earth-shattering–they are simple and effective when put in action but otherwise, are not as impressive as people assume with whatever criteria they have.

One of them is to implement every hadith and ayah the instant you learn it. It is not enough to learn and dismiss. It is not rare to find brothers and sisters who have not gone anywhere and are doing the same thing they were doing years ago. They have probably been pushing the gas pedal but been pushing the brake equally as hard.

People will learn an ayah and then take the reminder but not contemplate on it. If you see that you aren’t improving after this process–than chances are you are doing something wrong and that is what I am trying to say. What is the point of learning a hadith about not sinning and then sinning?

The reminder whether it is an ayah or hadith is like a seed. You can’t just toss the seed around carelessly. You have to plant it in the right spot in the right time and this requires a great deal of thought. Don’t plant it where there are already trees of good deeds growing. And don’t plant it somewhere where there is infertile ground and it is hard to nourish it. Plant it in a place where it will compete with the weeds of sin and take their soil, sun and water. After that you have to have some patience and wait for the rains to make it grow into something great. Just like Allah says in the Quran, He will bring the living from the dead and these seeds will grown. These good deed seeds will become you garden or quite literally the Quranic word for garden–your Jannah.

Contemplate what your weaknesses are. I mean, really stop and think about what you are doing wrong, how it happened you developed this and what other mistakes are you making that you have not noticed or ignored. Did you happen to notice that right before you get lazy to perform your salaah it is because you ate too much? Or because your eyes are tired from the TV or computer?

The conquering the sin is another issue. The classic analogy is the best explanation of this:
If you put a frog in boiling hot water it will jump out. But if you put it in cold water, and slowly turn up the heat–it will kill itself gladly without knowing.

People have an idea that sin and any sort of evil is going to come at them and they are smart enough to run. The boiling hot water is something anyone can run from and is not how shaytaan works his evil magic contrary to what many think. Shaytaan does everything gradually–he gradually introduces one sin after another, even starting with some permissible things. At first it’s a nasheed and then a song, and then a dance club. Look at this hadith and you will see the wisdom in staying away from certain permissible deeds like “Islamic songs”:

Wabisah bin Mabad (ra) came to Rasulullah SAAWS and before he could ask the Prophet SAAWS, the Prophet SAAWS asked him, “Have you come to ask me about piety?” to which he said, “Yes.”
The Prophet SAAWS replied:
“Astafti qalbak, al-Birru at- ma’anut ilayhil an-nafsu, wa at’ma’ana ilayhil qalbu, wa’l ithmu ma haka fi nafsi, wa tarad-dada fi sadri, wa’n aftayka nafsu wa aftayk
Ask your heart about it. Piety is that which contents the soul and comforts the heart. And sin is that which causes doubts and perturbs the heart, even if people pronounce it lawful and give you verdicts on such matters over and over again.
-reported by Ahmad and ad-Darmi

The same heart that identified that Islam is the truth can be a reference point for certain matters within the deen. Sins themselves are like a fire. You will put your hand near a sin and either two things will happen. If you are not used to the sin and still maintain that purity, you will pull your hand away from the fire instantly–you will jump back from the sin very quickly and stay away. You may try and get used to the heat slowly until you can tolerate it but even this is difficult for the pure. But if you are like others who have gotten used to the sin and have scalded and burnt their hands they will not move their hands back but take pleasure in watching the flames dance on their hands as they burn their hands black. And people have a tendency to let fire hypnotize them and the effect of a sin is similar. When they will stay away from sin, that will heal and they may realize it.

The Prophet once said, “halaka al-mutanata’oon” three times meaning: Ruined are those who make their religion difficult.
-reported by Muslim

In short, the deen is really simple. It is pretty clear that you should avoid sins and do good and it’s so easy if you think about it. So don’t make it difficult–avoid it as much as you can and put in all your energy to do so. Don’t motivate yourself to commit sins. Doing good isn’t difficult, but as easy as you can make it out to be, Insha Allah.

Subhana kallahumma wa bihamdika ash-haduana la illaha illa ant astaghfiruka wa atubu ilayk, Ameen.


  1. An excellent piece of life changing material, MashAllah!

    The other thing is that when a person is addicted to a certain sin, like music, or cigarettes, or even pornography (May Allah protect us from all evils), it’s not as simple as saying; “you need to stop”.

    You really need a plan, and I don’t want to write a comment the size of a self-help book, but it’s extremely important that you have a real plan, and the way you make that plan is by research.

    If you really want to stop sinning, or if you really want to acquire the habit of good deeds, like praying tahajjud, you HAVE to have a plan, and that written plan is the difference between a person wanting to do something, and a person COMMITTED to do something.

    So how do you research? Learn about your subconscious minds, learn about goals, goal making skills, and how to change what you attribute pain and pleasure to. Research all of the people who have acquired good habits, or have discarded bad ones, and implement what they did with their daily lives. Try out these methods, and see which ones work for you and don’t work for you. You’ll notice that no matter how many people you see who have succeeded, their techniques are essentially the same.

    A good site to start off with is

    I cannot stress how important a plan is. In fact I DARE YOU, to take 5 minutes right now, and write down the top 10 things you want to do tomorrow, and by what time (to the minute) you want to accomplish them (If you aim small, you miss small – Mel Gibson in that Patriot movie – :D).

    It could be like praying right after the prayer time starts, or praying tahajjud, or going for a a mile jog/walk. I GUARANTEE that you’ll be more successful then you were before!

  2. Starting a plan is essential.
    One thing that I tried to highlight is that…it will always come back to the fact you have to avoid the evil–there is really no way around it.

  3. Salam Aleykoum
    Just wanted to say, May Allah subhana wa ta’ala reward you for this one, cuz you really made me think about myself, and want I can do to become a better person.

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