Today I had the opportunity to listen to the tafseer of Al-Mulk. Right in the start Allah says that He has created life and death so as to test us which of us does Ahsan Amal, the most beautiful deeds. I had thought that I knew what Ahsan amal was: to do something purely for the sake of Allah and to do it on the pattern of the most perfect example of our Prophet (s.a.w) But then I realized that in our efforts to do good deeds we often fail to give equal importance to the bad deeds which we must avoid.
The teacher quoted the saying of Ibn-e-Umar (r.a.), when someone asked him whose amal is the most beautiful; He said that the one who protects himself the most from the haram acts.
I just flied past this statement like in our minds we sometimes don’t give much importance to things which we feel are not applicable to us. So automatically my mind thought that of course I am not indulging in anything haram. After that there was some distraction so I went to the other room and during some talk, I blurted out something about someone which was true but would not have sounded good to the person if I had talked like that in front of him so it meant that it was Gheebat. I felt such a bad taste in my mouth after that… I mean in my heart… Later on when I came back to the lecture I felt so bad about myself that I started writing a lecture to myself:
What is Haram? Something which is extremely hateful in the sight of Allah and He has told us not to do it. If someone does not stop himself from doing such acts then His amal cannot be beautiful or ahsan. He has failed the test of life. Every haram thing is haram even if you are used to it or it is commonly practised in society. It should be just as hateful in our eyes like we hate Alcohol, or zina… Some haram acts have been made easy for us by the devil and the nafs but they also have to avoided like the others. Even if the consequences are not immediately recognizable. Remember that if you want to succeed in the test of life then it is not possible that you keep on doing these despicable things and then you expect that your amal will be beautiful. These two things cannot be combined. and if you try to mix them up then this is what is known as hypocrisy. Therefore cry before Allah and ask him to rid you of these bad habits. And take each step in life with full consciousness that Allah is watching you and recording each and every word and act.
Tip: if you accidentally or intentionally say something bad about someone then try and write it on a paper and try seeing it. You will find it very difficult to face this ugliness. So imagine if your book of deeds/words is being read by others? Maybe through this exercise you will hate this habit so much that you will never return to it again.