Many years ago my doctor advised me to watch my diet because I needed to lose weight… my immediate response came in the form of an instant protest… “ Oh but really I eat very little already!!”
He didn’t argue with me as one might expect; rather he offered me another simple advice…” okay then we just need to make a record of how little you eat… so from now on you will just make a note of what you eat… maintain this for the next few day and then we can decide how we need to proceed”
To my amazement when I started writing everything down I was faced with a reality which I had never seen before…that I really was eating too much… why couldn’t I detect my over-eating before? Because like most people I was also reluctant to put the blame on myself… in other words we don’t like to face the fact that the reason for our troubles is our own self.
The other reason for our self-deception is that we get used to our routine actions so much that we stop noticing… and if we don’t notice and we don’t analyse then how can we hope to have an accurate idea of exactly what we are doing? And so when we don’t know what we need to correct then how will we ever correct it?
All of these thoughts came to me when I was writing and thinking about the topic of taubah and I realized that taubah is not just a way to come closer to Allah rather it is a tool through which we are forced to look deeper into our actions and to analyse what we are doing wrong…
Because if we don’t even know our mistakes then what are we seeking forgiveness for?
And if I just pick one topic and that is gheebat… or backbiting… what will be the standard response? Most of us would say something like: “Oh yes we should not do it but really I don’t do it that much”
So what about maintaining a record for how much we talk about other people and their various shortcomings?
I did this exercise myself and I was horrified to see the result… I really thought that I was above and beyond this utterly unforgivable activity yet when I started putting black dots on a piece of paper that I hung up on my dressing mirror… I realized that there were enough to make me look so bad to Allah… especially when I got ready to go somewhere and I would check in the mirror to see if I looked alright, my eyes would go immediately to the black spots and I thought that if Allah put a spot on my face for everytime I spoke badly about someone, then what would I look like? And would I still dare to speak like that?
So maybe for the first time in my life I specially made wudhu and prayed just to seek forgiveness and do taubah for this habit… may Allah forgive us all and make us brave enough to face our reality before it comes before us on the day of judgement… ameen