Ten barriers between Allah and His servant
December 24, 2003.
All praise be to Allah, the Lord of the worlds and Peace and blessings be uponHis Messenger Muhammad.
Following are the ten barriers and veils between man and His Lord:
•Being ignorant of Allah:
Do not you know Allah The Almighty? Whoever knows Allah The Almighty loves Him; whoever does not love Allah, he does not ever know Him; whoever does not know Him, he does not ever love Him. Thus, the Sunnisare really the followers of Allah Who loves them and they love Him. This is because the more you know Allah, the more you love Him.
Shu‘ayb (peace be upon him) the Preacher of the Prophets, told his people:
And ask forgiveness of your Lord and turn to Him in repentance. Verily, my Lord is Most Merciful, Most Loving [Hud: 90].
Allah The Almighty says:
Verily, those who believe [in the Oneness of Allaah and in His Messenger (Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam,)] and work deeds of righteousness, the Most Gracious (Allaah) will bestow love for them (in the hearts of the believers[Mariam : 96].
The most solid barrier is being ignorant of Allah, man is susually an enemy of everything he ignors.
Whoever does not know Allah The Almighty disobeys Him.
Whoever does not know Allah The Almighty hates Him.
Whoever does not know Allah The Almighty worships Satan instead of Him.
Thus, Allah The Almighty commands the people to know first:
So know (O Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) that, Laa ilaaha illallaah (none has the right to be worshipped but Allaah), and ask forgiveness for your sin, and also for (the sin of) believing men and believing women [Muhammad: 19].
The real remedy is to know Allah The Almighty. If you know Him well, then you will know the way to repentance.
•Bid‘ah(innovation in religion):
Whoever brings innovation into religion deviates from the way of Allah The Almighty, as his Bid‘ah acts as a veil that separates him from his Lord until he abandons it. The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Whoever introduces anything into this matter of ours that is not part of it will have it rejected" [Bukhaari and Muslim].
Good deeds are based on two conditions:
Sincerity: it should be done for the sake of Allah The Almighty alone with no partner.
Following-up: A person should follow the Sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh).
Without these two conditions, the deed can not be good and is not to be accepted by Allah The Almighty since He only accepts what is good. Bid‘ah is a barrier that prevents the deed from reaching Allah The Almighty. Accordingly, it prevents the slave from reaching Allah The Almighty. A person who follows Bid‘ah is actually following his own whims and not the way enjoined by Allah. Bid‘ah is regarded as a veil between a person and Allaah The Almighty; because the follower of Bid‘ah innovates matters that are not included in the Shari‘ah (Islamic law). The person who does good deeds paves his way for being accepted by Allah The Almighty; as for the follower of Bid‘ah, he is worse than the disobedient.
•The inward Major Sins:
There are many major sins such as being self-conceited, pride, arrogance, envy, vanity, showing off and hypocrisy. These inward major sins are graver than the outward ones such as adultery, drinking alcohol, and robbery. If these inward major sins afflict the heart, they act as a barrier between the salve and his Lord, because the Path of Allah The Almighty is trodden by hearts [sincerity] not by legs and the sins of heart prevent a person from treading in this Path.
Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allah have mercy upon him) said: "The soul may grip the good deed until a person abuse it and he turns it into a means for oppressing and humiliating others. You may see the slave extremely submissive, however, entirely far from the Path of Allah The Almighty. Thus, beware of this matter!
•Outward Major Sins:
These sins include robbery, drinking alcohol, and so forth.
O brothers, we should understand thoroughly that there is no minor sin along with insistence on committing it, and no major sin along with seeking forgiveness from Allah The Almighty. Insistence in this regard means persistence in disobeying Allah The Almighty and determination to commit the sins again. The sin may be minor, but it becomes majors due to six matters:
1-Insistence and Perseverance:
Example: A man gazes at women. The eye may commit adultery by gazing. Although the adultery of the eyes is less than that of the private parts, the adultery of the eyes becomes a major sin for being accompanied by insistence and perseverance. The person who commits this sin insists on not lowering his gaze and preserves in gazing at a non-Mahram (unmarriageable relative). The sin does not become minor in case of insisting on committing it.
2- Belittling the Sin:
An example: You may tell a smoker: Fear Allah, as smoking is prohibited, you become old. This means that:
First: Gray hair start to appear on your head.
Second: You have a beard.
Third: You are poor.
All of these things should prevent you from smoking. However, he may say: It is a minor sin.
3- To be pleased with the Sin:
Sometimes you find the person who commits a sin feeling happy or pretending to be happy for committing the sin. Feeling happy for committing a sin is worse than committing a sin. You may find a person feeling happy for insulting or shedding the blood of someone, although “Trading insults with a Muslim is evildoing and killing a Muslim is considered Kufr (disbelief)”.
A person may feel happy for seducing a virtuous girl, although Allah The Almighty says:
Verily, those who like that (the crime of) illegal sexual intercourse should be propagated among those who believe, they will have a painful torment in this world and in the Hereafter. And Allah knows and you know not [Al-Noor: 19].
Attention, your pleasure with the sin is graver than committing a sin.
•To belittle Allah's Concealment of the Faults:
`Abdullah ibn `Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, said: "O guilty, do not feel secure from the bad consequences, which are graver than the sin itself. Your lack of shyness of those who are on your right and left hand (Angels), while being sinful, is graver than committing a sin itself. Your laughter, while being sinful, without being aware of what Allah The Almighty will do with you is graver than committing a sin. Your happiness about committing a certain sin is worse than committing it. Your sadness for not committing a certain sin is graver than committing it. Your fear of the wind if it moves the concealment of your door, while committing sins, instead of fearing Allah The Almighty is graver than committing a sin.
•Committing sins openly:
A person may commit a sin, and Allah The Almighty conceals it. However, he speaks openly about this sin and
The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said:
“All of my Ummah (nation) may be forgiven except those who commit sins openly. It is a kind of committing sin openly if a man does something at night, then morning comes and Allah has concealed his sin, but he says, ‘O So and so, I did such and such last night,’ when his Lord has concealed him (his action) all night but in the morning he reveals that which Allah had concealed for him."
•To be a leader that is followed:
A manager of a factory, school, or a faculty, or a celebrity may smoke cigarettes, and the people led by him may imitate him. Then, he may addict drugs, and the others imitate him.
Also, a girl may wear tight trousers and the other girls imitate her, turning her act to a general attitude.
This may be the case if you are one of the leaders, and the following Hadith applies to you:
“And whoever starts something bad in Islam and others do it after him, there will be recorded for him a burden of sin equal to that of those who do it, without that detracting from their burden in the slightest.’”
[Related by Muslim]
5- The Barrier of the Minor Sins Doers:
The minor sins aggravate and there are many minor sins that led its doer to bad end at death (I seek refuge with Allah from this).
The believer considers the sin he commits - whatever minor it is - as a major sin because he remembers that Allah The Almighty is watching him. Also, he does not belittle any Ma‘ruf (good deeds) because he regards it a virtue and blessing from Allah The Almighty. He continues to adopt this behavior until he gets rid of belittling the sin and disdaining the acts of worship. He turns to his Lord, the Ever Forgiver, the Ever-Merciful, the One Who accepts repentance, and the Ever-Generous in repentance. Then, this barrier disappears.
6- The Barrier of Shirk (Associating partners with Allah The Almighty:
This is one of the gravest barriers which is cleared away by monotheism and worshipping Allah The Almighty alone. The real meaning of Shirk is the heart's clinging to any entity other than Allah The Almighty either in worship, love, emotional significances, or apparent acts. Allah The Almighty disdains Shirk, and regards the Mushriks (one who associates partners with Allah) as the most abominable creatures.
There are many kinds of Shirk, and the most dangerous of which is the hidden one due to its disappearance and danger. Allah The Almighty says about the Mushrik:
“And on the Day when We shall gather them all together, We shall say to those who joined partners in worship (with Us): "Where are your partners (false deities) whom you used to assert (as partners in worship with Allah)?” [Al-An‘ama: 24]
O Brothers, strive in monotheism and supplicate Allah The Almighty to protect you from Shirk and ask refuge with Him from it. "O Allaah, I ask refuge with You from associating anything I know in Your Divinity, and I ask Your forgiveness for the sins I do not know".
To remove this barrier, follow Isti‘adhah(saying: "A‘udhu-Billahi mina Al-Shaytan –ir-Rajim [I seek refuge with Allah from the accursed Satan]), sincerity and truthful repentance to Allah The Almighty.
•The Barrier of Excessiveness in Permissible Things:
A person's stomach may act as a barrier between him and Allah The Almighty. Food and drink may be bought from lawfully earned money, but the Prophet (pbuh) said:
“The son of Adam does not fill any vessel worse than his stomach”[Related by At-Tirmithi]. If the stomach is full, the mind and senses stop working. A person's love for excessive appearance such as exaggerated clothes may act as a veil between him and Allah The Almighty. The Prophet (pbuh) said:
“Perish the slave of the dinar and the slave of the dirham and the slave of fine clothing”[Related by Al-Bukhari]. The Prophet called the person indicated in the Hadith as a slave and there is a barrier between him and Allah The Almighty.
When you tell someone: Shorten your garment, as the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said:
“Whatever part of the lower garment comes beneath the ankles is in the Fire” [Related by Al-Bukhaari]. He says: I am ashamed to wear a short garment. Why do I do that? Am I too poor to afford for food?
I mean that customs, habits, and permissible things can act as a veil between the slave and Allah The Almighty. Sleeping too much can act as a barrier between the slave and Allah The Almighty. Although sleeping is permissible, but sleeping to the extent that prevents you from worshipping Allah The Almighty at night or offering Fajr (Dawn) Prayer or sleeping from the Fajr Prayer to the ‘Asr (Afternoon) Prayer, missing the Zhuhr (Noon) Prayer may act as a veil between the slave and Allah The Almighty. Also, attaching too much attention to marriage may act as a barrier between the slave and Allah The Almighty. Thus, exaggeration in attaching too much importance to the permissible things may act as a great veil between the slave and Allah The Almighty. We ask Allah The Almighty not to make a barrier between us and Him.
•The Barrier of Negligence towards Allah The Almighty:
Negligence towards Allah The Almighty may dominate the heart when a person keeps away from Allah The Almighty. In this way, he follows his desires, supports Satan, and forgets Allah The Almighty. Allah The Almighty says:
And obey not him whose heart We have made heedless of Our Remembrance, and who follows his own lusts, and whose affair (deeds) has been lost [Al-Kahf: 28].
This veil disappears only when the heart is enlightened in three ways:
•The light of noticing the Graces of Allah The Almighty secretly and openly until the heart is dominated by the love of Allah The Almighty, as the hearts innately love kin treatment.
•The light of recognizing the sin a person committed. Accordingly, he disdains his own self, which leads to his downfall, recognizes Allah's Perfection, submits to and worships Him, praising Him and asking for His Great Pleasure.
•The light of alertness to a person's age, causing him to realize that the age passes and to work hard to obey Allah The Almighty for the rest of his life.
When he pays attention to these matters, his heart becomes alert and enlightened, and he hurries to obey Allah The Almighty. Consequently, the barrier disappears and the heart of the slave becomes enlightened by the Light of Allah The Almighty.
•The Barrier of Habits, Traditions, and Customs:
Many people submit to their habits. You may ask a person: Why do you smoke? He says: It is a bad habit, as I do not enjoy smoking and it is not necessary to me. However, when I become angry, I lit a cigarette and I become relaxed shortly.
When he submits to the cigarette, it acts as a veil between him and Allah The Almighty. Thus, the first way to reach the Pleasure of Allah The Almighty is to get rid of these habits. You should not adopt a certain bad habit, because it may prevent you from walking on the Path of Allah The Almighty. You should be free from slavery to anything except Allah The Almighty.
The Sheikh of Islam, Ibn Taymiyyah (may Allah have mercy upon him) said: "His submission to Allah is not valid as long as it is not completely to Allah The Almighty". Thus, slavery should be sincerely to Allah The Almighty, so that you may be accepted by Him.
10- The Barrier of the Committed People who Neglect the Main Objective:
This is the barrier of the committed people who consider only their deeds. Consequently, their deeds act as a barrier between them and Allah The Almighty. A person should not consider only his deeds, but he should consider Allah's Graces and the defects of his own self and deeds. He should contemplate at the Blessings and Graces of Allah, Who granted him success and try to find out the defects of his deeds, which are not performed as required. These defects may make the deeds unaccepted by Allah The Almighty. Thus, the heart's clinging to and satisfaction of a person's deeds in a way that distracts him from his Lord act as a veil between him and Allah The Almighty. The slave's satisfaction with his acts of worship and obedience to Allah The Almighty proves having positive thoughts about his worship and his ignorance of the reality of his worship, and of that which Allah The Almighty deserves. Ignorance of a person's own self, attributes, defects, and of the defects of his deeds, and ignorance of his Lord and His rights lead to his satisfaction with his acts of worship. Moreover, this results in conceit, arrogance, and that which is graver than the apparent major sins. Thus, satisfaction with a person's deeds and acts of worship is a kind of frivolity and foolishness.
When you are satisfied with yourself and your deeds, you should know that He is not pleased with you. Whoever knows that his own self contains defects and your deeds are liable to defects and shortages, how can he be satisfied with his own self and deeds.
The more you glorify Allah The Almighty and belittle yourself and the value of your deeds to gain the Pleasure of Allah The Almighty, the more you consider the real Divinity and slavery, know Allah The Almighty and yourself, realize that the efforts exerted for fear of Allah's Punishment are much less than that which Allah deserves. However, He accepts them and rewards you out of His Generosity and Blessing.
At this moment, you deny your might and power, understand that there is neither might nor power except with Allah The Almighty. Consequently, the veil disappears.
These are the ten barriers and veils separating the slave from Allah The Almighty, each of which is thicker than the other.
O salve, do you see the number of the barriers that separate you from Allah Glorified and Exalted be He?
Tell me: How can you get rid of them?
You should be sincere and truthful to Allah The Almighty to remove the veil between you and Allah The Almighty, as no one but Allah The Almighty will remove this barrier.
Ibn Al-Qayyim said: "These are the ten veils separating the heart of the slave from Allah The Almighty, preventing a person from treading in the Path of Allah The Almighty. These veils stem from four elements: self, Satan, life, and desires.
The barriers cannot disappear as long as its origins and bases still exist in the heart. These elements should be plucked out of the heart so that the veils between you and Allah The Almighty vanish.
May Allah The Almighty grant us success in our sayings and deeds and accept our deeds!
Peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his Family, and Companions.
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