Sayyidi wa sanadi Mufti Mohammad Taqi Usmani (Allah bless him with a long, healthy and productive life, Amin!) spoke briefly about the common problem of the slips of a sincere seeker on this path (sulook).
Below is a discussion on this issue from that discourse and teaching of our pious predecessors,
It is often a case that a sincere salik has been trying his best effort and also making supplications to Allah to keep him firm on pious actions and save him from involvement in sinful. But after weeks or months of being successful a dreadful moment comes and he fails and falls into sinful.
On realization of his mistake he is perplexed and disheartened. Thoughts like, ‘this path is not for me’, ‘I’m a failure’, ‘Divine help did not come’, ‘all the effort and supplications went wasted’, etc. plague his mind.
An individual can be so dejected, especially after multiple such episodes that he abandons all the effort and becomes totally heedless. May Allah save us all from this calamity. Amin!
However, a salik consults his Shaikh. He is instructed to repent, reaffirm his determination and move forwards. Moreover, it is emphasized not to ruminate and go into a root cause analysis of the incident.
A sincere salik must trust his Shaikh. As a result this slip becomes a stepping stone for further progress.
There are many lessons learned from the mistakes of the sincere seekers. They are mentioned below. However, they should not be used for rationalization of sinful activities. This discussion is about those who are sincere in their intention and effort but rarely slip. They include,
- Their remorse is more genuine, intense and sustained and it leads to immediate repentance
- The resulting repentance is more sincere
- It leads to increased connection with Allah
- There is increased reliance on Allah and being His slave (abdiyet)
- They appreciate (shukr) the blessing of Allah in giving them an opportunity to acknowledge their mistake and repent
- They appreciate (shukr) the blessing of Allah in the form of the Shaikh’s guidance who encourages them and pulls them out from depths of despair
- They see the flimsiness of their own effort and actions so they trust in Allah
- They become aware of their true self and are not delusional of self piety (ujub)
- They do not look down upon other fellows or consider themselves to be better (kibr)
- Their reaffirming of determination and enthusiasm to move forwards is much more
- Their effort in doing good actions and avoiding sinful is increased (or at least not decreased than before)
- Their supplications asking Allah for assistance are increased and become more heartfelt leading to further increase in connection with Allah
- They become more aware and experienced of detecting the hidden traps and deception of nafs and Satan and work to avoid them
- They excessively seek refuge (istiaza) in Allah from all that leads to Allah’s displeasure
And many others.
These are the mistakes that sometimes outweigh pious deeds!
(Ramadhan 1434, post-dhuhr talks, paraphrased)