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Do not Underestimate Small Deeds or Sins

Grandshaykh AbdAllah's Notebook Series, Part 7

Ramadan Series, Vol 16

Shaykh Hisham Kabbani

21 June 2016 Fenton Zawiya, Michigan

Zhuhr Suhbah

Everyone is in need for something to build on top of it. You have the base on which you construct a building, but first you must have the foundation. If the foundation is not strong, the building will collapse and if the foundation is strong the building will go up and up and you can add more and more and more. So everyone is in need for that strong foundation and Allah (swt) has given us one that no one can destroy when He honored us to be Muslim!

There was a story about a man in the time of Sayyidina Musa (a). Sayyidina Musa (a) once went outside the city and as he approached a mountain, he heard a nice voice coming from a cave, so he approached to know what that voice was. The voice got clearer and clearer the closer he approached, and he heard someone praising Allah (swt) and he said to himself, “SubhaanAllah, is there a Believer in the cave? Let me see.” He saw someone sitting, reciting:

الحمد لله اللذي َفَضَّلنْيْ عَلَى كَثِيرٍ مِّمَّنْ خَلَق تَفْضِيلاً

Alhamdulillahi ’Lladhee fadalanee `alaa katheerin mimman khalaqa tafdeelaa.

All praise be to The One that honored me over many of whom He honored.

(Du`a based on Surat al-Israa’, 17:70)

When we repeat a story to make an example, it is accepted in Islam to keep repeating it as every time a different tajalli accompanies it, so now we are reading that story that some of you might have heard before, some might not have, but it is a very good example. He said he heard that person saying in a nice voice, “Praise be to Allah (swt) that He has favored me over many.” He was sitting and then went into sajda and recited, “Praise be to Allah (swt) that He has favored me more than many whom He favored.” Then Sayyidina Musa (a) saw a deer come, raise its leg and the man sucked its milk: Allah sent his rizq.

وَمَا خَلَقْتُ الْجِنَّ وَالْإِنسَ إِلَّا لِيَعْبُدُونِ مَا أُرِيدُ مِنْهُم مِّن رِّزْقٍ وَمَا أُرِيدُ أَن يُطْعِمُون إِنَّ اللَّهَ هُوَ الرَّزَّاقُ ذُو الْقُوَّةِ الْمَتِينُِ

I have only created jinn and men so that they may worship Me. No sustenance do I require of them, nor do I require that they should feed Me. Truly Allah is the Provider, the Possessor of Strength, and the Ever-Steadfast. (Surat adh-Dhariyat, 51:56-58)

Everyone is running to get their rizq, but Allah is saying, “I will provide it, don’t worry about it. We made ins and jinn only to worship, so worship Me and I will provide for you; even in the middle of a stone, I provide the ant or worm their food, I deliver its rizq!” So Allah was providing the rizq to that `abid. When you are a worshipper, Allah will open doors for you when you acknowledge He is the Creator and Sayyidina Muhammad (s) is His Messenger! This is what Allah loves from His servant, even when you do something small, Allah will give something big!

So that man was praising Allah through that verse, Alhamdulillahi ’Lladhee fadalanee `alaa katheerin mimman khalaqa tafdeelaa, praising, and Allah was providing him a deer coming to feed him in the cave and on top of that bringing Sayyidina Musa (a) to see an example of a good servant. Who can do that? Sayyidina Musa (a) entered the cave and saw that man sucking the milk and the deer went and the man sat back after sajda, making that du`a. Sayyidina Musa (a) looked and said, “What is this? That person has no arms, no legs.” Even if he had to go for rizq he could not have walked there, and Allah made a deer come to give him food.

Sayyidina Musa (a) asked, “Yaa akhee, since when have you been here?”

He said, “Since a long time I am here in this cave, worshiping Allah (swt).”

Sayyidina Musa said, “You are saying Allah has favored you over many. What did he favor you with? You have no arms and no legs. Is there something else that a human being needs?”

He said, “Yes, there is something better than that. He created me, I am His `abd, servant, and I do what He ordered me to do. I respect the obligations and do them and stop the forbiddens,” as still he had a sound mind and you can sin through your thoughts.

Sayyidina Musa said, “Tell me more, this is not enough to convince me.”

He said, “Yaa Musa! Allah has favored me to be a Muslim! Allah favored me with Islam.”

Sayyidina Ibrahim (a) was the first Muslim, as Allah (swt) told us in Holy Qur’an, he said:

وَأَنَا أَوَّلُ الْمُسْلِمِينَ

I am the first of the Muslims. (Surat al-An’am, 6:163)

He predicted Sayyidina Muhammad (s) will come and said, “I am the first one to believe in the Prophet (s).” Awliyaullah say at that moment, after Sayyidina Ibrahim (a) said:

إِنِّي وَجَّهْتُ وَجْهِيَ لِلَّذِي فَطَرَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ حَنِيفًا وَمَا أَنَا مِنَ الْمُشْرِكِينَ

I have turned my face to Him who created the Heavens and the Earth as a man of pure faith; I am not of the idolaters! (Surat al-An’am, 6:79)

قُلْ إِنَّ صَلَاتِي وَنُسُكِي وَمَحْيَايَ وَمَمَاتِي لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ لَا شَرِيكَ لَهُ ۖ وَبِذَٰلِكَ أُمِرْتُ وَأَنَا أَوَّلُ الْمُسْلِمِينَ

Say: 'My prayer, my ritual sacrifice, my living, my dying all belongs to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds. No partner has He. Thus I have been commanded and I am the first of the Muslims. (Surat al-An’am, 6:162-163)

You see how the mind works, it changes the course. This is ghaflah, heedlessness, which we all have: you recite an ayah and then jump to a different ayah, because the mind is not concentrating well.

So Sayyidina Musa (a) said, “What did He favor you with?”

That man in the cave said, “He favored me with Islam.”

Allah (swt) looks after His servant and gives them what they want, but you have to ask. When you ask in the way of Allah (swt), He will give you:

وَالَّذِينَ جَاهَدُوا فِينَا لَنَهْدِيَنَّهُمْ سُبُلَنَا وَإِنَّ اللَّهَ لَمَعَ الْمُحْسِنِينَ

And those who struggle in Our (Way), We will certainly guide them to our Paths for, verily, Allah is with those who do right. (Surat al-`Ankabut, 29:69)

“Those who struggle in Our Way” fight Shaytan, Iblees, the Cursed One! They overcome the obstacles, as Allah said, “We will guide them to Our ways.” He said subulana, plural, which means “unlimited ways”: there are unlimited ways to Allah (swt). That is why it is said, At-turuq ila ‘Llahi ta`ala `ala `adadi anfasil khalaa’iq, “The ways to Allah (swt) are on the number of breaths of human beings.” Every breath going in and going out (inhaled/exhaled) is `ilm going in and `ilm going out. There is something there that you are declaring to yourself, struggling against your ego.

So coming to the point, we want to say Grandshaykh, may Allah bless his soul, said, “`Amal is like an animal, good or bad: if it is good alhamdullilah we are in Heaven under safety, but if it is bad it means it can bite you at any moment, it follows you like a dog and suddenly attacks. Awliya said, “Don't leave the small good deeds although they are small and don't do sins although they are small, because even the small goodness is a way to Allah (swt), but the small sin is a way to Shaytan.” We don't want to fall into the trap of Shaytan.

Sayyidina Imam al-Ghazali (q) gave an example in a story. One time Allah opened to his heart knowledges he never understood before, because at the beginning of his life he was reluctant to believe, but Allah opened for him because he did something so small but it was so big in the Eyes of Allah (swt). As he was writing an important letter to save an innocent person from being killed (executed by order of the court), a small fly landed on the ink and drank it. Imam Ghazali said to himself, “I am holding this pen and Allah created this fly and myself for a wisdom. We are equal: the fly has its wisdom for being created and I have my wisdom for being created and we are both in need for Allah, Who created us, and both of us are in the time of Ummat an-Nabi (s).” A fly is Allah’s Creation, and in Islam after Prophet (s) came with The Message, we know Allah (swt) will judge even between any animal in Creation and send them to not exist anymore, while the human beings will be judged.

Sayyidina Imam al-Ghazali (q) said, “Let that fly quench its thirst for Allah’s and Prophet's sake.” At that moment when, he was looking into the matter of a man’s innocence and found the fly drinking the ink, he was suddenly so happy that he began sending salawaat on Prophet, “As-salaatu was-salaamu `alayka yaa Sayyidee, yaa Rasoolullah, yaa Rahmatan li ‘l-`Aalameen,” waiting for that fly to drink and move. When it finished, he continued writing the appeal and Allah (swt) opened for him knowledge that he could never write before, and he was able to write the pre-eminent work, Ihya `Uloom ad-Deen, one of his most important books.

What Grandshaykh (q) meant to say is, never belittle any good `amal: even if it is small do it and if it is even a little bit bad stop it, because Awliya say the small sins are a great danger because they are the door to the big sins. For example, first your eyes see a lady or the lady sees a man (non-mahram), first it is a nazhara, looking, but when you let that look continue, then ibtisaama, a smile, which indicates you are now ready to follow Shaytan, and when the other partner smiles they are ready to follow Shaytan, fa maw`idun, then you meet, liqaa, and Allah knows what will happen. However, if you close the door from the beginning, as the Prophet (s) said, “Look where you put your footsteps, don't look around, look down.”

قُل لِّلْمُؤْمِنِينَ يَغُضُّوا مِنْ أَبْصَارِهِمْ

Tell the Believers to lower their gaze. (Surat an-Nur, 24:30)

If you look around further, that will take you from a small sin to a bigger sin, from one level to a higher level, until you reach kabaa’ir, the big sins. The door is the small sins and if you say it is not important, “I will look, never mind, I will ask for forgiveness later,” Allah will forgive inshaa-Allah if you don't go beyond looking, but we know these days it is the looking, then smiling, then dating, then you know what will happen, it is finished! So we have to be careful as the saghaa’ir, small sins, will lead us to bad `amal and we will lose our way and Shaytan will win us over!

He said, “The job of Iblees is to train you to commit small sins, not kabaa’ir; he wants you to think that they are okay. You look at haraam once and a second time and you keep looking,and he encourages you to keep looking until it becomes a habit, and when it is a habit you don't see any sin in it, you make excuses, so you look at everything, and leave small sins for big sins. What happened to Iblees? After 2,000 years of worshipping and making sajda in every Paradise and universe--and Awliya say he didn't leave a handspan without making full of sajda there, but when Allah created Adam (a), He ordered Iblees to make sajda, he and his crazy companions, the shayateen, refused. That's why they refuse everything in dunya. But angels made sajda. He was complaining and Allah (swt) cursed him and threw all his `ibaadah away, in some sayings they say it was 2,000 years of worship, others say, there was not a handspan left without sajda. All of that gone away after disobeying Allah one time!

How many times are we disobeying? We are disobeying a lot, but Allah is Ghafoorun Raheem, He honored Ummat an-Nabi (s) with maghfirah, forgiveness, and now we are in the ten days of maghfirah, forgiveness in Ramadan. The first ten days were mercy, these ten days are maghfirah, and then the last ten days is freedom from Hellfire.

We have to pay attention to what we are doing: don't follow small sins and Allah will make you not to follow big sins. When Allah ordered Iblees to make sajda, he was full of arrogance, thinking, “Who is that creature I have to make sajda to?” Look at his arrogance and pride. When people come and say, “We are proud of you,” they are increasing arrogance and the sin of pride in your heart, and Allah doesn’t like anyone who is proud of himself as Pride if only for Allah, Al-kibriyyaa’u li ‘Llahi `azza wa jall.

May Allah (swt) forgive us and bless us.

Bi hurmati ‘l-habeeb, bi hurmati ‘l-Fatihah.


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