I WANT TO BE A BETTER MUSLIM … BUT TOO WEAK AND I’M NOT READY
2. Find a good environment
To ease your journey to becoming a better Muslim, seek good company or a good environment.
According to Hadith compiled by Bukhari, there was a man who had murdered ninety nine people. He felt remorse and went to a learned man and told him about his past, explaining that he wished to repent and become a better person. He asked if Allah would forgive him.
Unfortunately, the scholar was not happy with what he had learnt, and said that the man would not be pardoned. “Then I may as well kill you, too,” said the man, and killed the scholar.
He then found another learned person and told him that he had killed a hundred people. He asked if Allah would forgive him if he repented. The wise man replied that he would indeed be pardoned and counselled him to repent as soon as possible, but in addition, also advised that he should avoid the company of wicked people and mix with good people, for bad company leads one into sin.
The man sincerely implored Allah to pardon him. Then, implementing the advice to shun the bad company, he set off to find a community where righteous people lived.
On the way, he died. The angels of punishment and of mercy both came to claim his soul. The angels of punishment said that as a sinful person he rightfully belonged to them, but the angels of mercy argued that he repented and had resolved to become a good man. He was on his way to a place where righteous people lived, but his moment of death came. A great debate ensued, and another angel was to arbitrate.
After hearing both sides he gave this verdict: “Measure the ground. If the spot where he died is closer to the good people, then he belongs to the angels of mercy, but if it is nearer to the wicked people, he will be given to the angels of punishment.”
They measured the ground and he was found to be closer to the city of the good people. That penitent servant was handed over to the angels of mercy.
There is a lot to take away from the above hadith – not least that even a serial killer is able to seek repentance. However, repentance has to be followed by reform. To do this, you have to seek and be in good company. The advice of the second learned man was to emigrate to the land of goodness: to move to a purer environment so that his spiritual rehabilitation can start. No one who wants to be in a state of goodness can be good in the wrong company, because habits rub off on each other and can set you back.
You have to emigrate from the bad and head towards the good. Even if you cannot move away physically, disassociate or reduce yourself from these people the best you can and try to spend more time with people who are beneficial for your journey to Islam.
You can be alone and still be in bad company depending on the kind of material you are reading or watching, what you watch on your phone or TV screens, and how you spend your free time. Hence, be careful even when you are alone. Seek out people and things which can revive your soul and keep you away from evil acts. The more you distance yourself from the bad and make yourself closer to the good, the more strength and goodness you will absorb from your new surroundings.
3. Reach out to Allah
The third is to remember Allah constantly by performing zikrullah, if possible, out loud. The ability of zikrullah to empower you and conquer your inner demons cannot be overstated. Increase your “conversations” with Allah by admitting your own needy status. Engage in supplications or du’a. Additionally, spend money on the path of Allah by giving abundantly in charity and supporting good deeds. Find good quality charity organisations and activities that you can busy yourself with, and spend generously, whether with money, time or energy, for the sake of Allah.
Humility, the remembrance of Allah and charity are all acts beloved to Allah. Even if you feel that a lifestyle change is beyond you at this point in time, focus on these three actions first. If you want Allah’s help, precede it by doing the things that Allah loves.
The power of humility cannot be underestimated. Recall the reaction of Adam AS, who, after having eaten from the forbidden tree, admitted his disobedience and sought Allah’s forgiveness and guidance. Contrast this against Shaitan, who blamed Allah for his own disobedience and refused to humble himself to Allah.
Allah knows what we love, what we hate, what inspires us and what demotivates us. He is the one who crafted you to be the person you are today. Yet there is still a mental and emotional block within us, mostly because we are scared that the journey of Islam might entail losing something that we love. We are afraid that if we find Islam, we will lose our happiness – the happiness that is derived from the love of Allah’s creation and the one that is derived from being noticed by Allah’s creation. We are afraid that if we redefine ourselves as better Muslims, we will be faced with alienation or rejection from the things that we place our emotional dependence upon.
Many of these insecurities are unfounded. We misapply our understanding of happiness, believing it to come from the objects of our desire rather than from Allah. If we seek Allah and ally ourselves to Him, Allah will be there for us. We may think that certain things give us identity and security, but as our Creator, He knows best how to give us happiness in this world and the next. Our challenge is to trust Him in arranging our life affairs, and from there ride it out in the life that He planned for us. There is not a single person in this world, who, having become better Muslims, ended up unhappier than their previous states – for a true Muslim has the inherent ability to feel genuine peace, self confidence, happiness and tranquility even if he owns nothing in this world. This feeling is indescribable.
If you say that you want to be a better Muslim, it means that you are ready. Whatever it is that you have done in the past, Allah has put it in your heart that it is time for a change. He is telling you that you are ready, now. If you trust in Allah and take the next steps towards Him, you will be amazed by how wonderful that journey back to Him will be.