Today I would like to talk about sinning and then losing hope in the Mercy of Allah and thinking that you will go to hell for ever. This all centres around controlling your nafs.
There is no need for you to be annoyed and frustrated about going to hell forever. Life as a believer is extremely simple. If you do a good deed, Allāh will reward you and if you do a bad deed then you make Tawbah. The Ḥadīth are very clear on the matter that Allāh will continue to meet us with oceans of Mercy when we have plunged into sin provided we seek repentance, even if one were to commit the same sin 100 times a day. Our objective in this life is not to be an angel. Our objective is to recognize Allāh . The art of leading a life as a believer is to learn to see the greatness of Allāh reflected in our lives. When we do a good deed, we can praise Allāh . When we do a bad deed, we use that as a platform of getting closer to Allāh . We do this by realizing that despite all the pious actions that we have done so far, that we are not perfect. Perfection only lies with Allāh . We are his creation and we are bound to make mistakes.
The reality of the matter is that our “Nafs” is constantly trying to make small compromises with our pious intentions. Most of the cases, it is merely pretending to comply to your wishes of piety. In reality, it will allow you to be pious for a while, to then interupt that piety in a sudden burst of unbridled passion. Once the sin has been committed, it then allows you to take control over the matter again for you to seek repentance. However, we should never be fooled into thinking that our “Nafs” has come into our ultimate control. Now that it is satiated in passion, it doesn’t mind to allow you to make resolute promises of upholding and maintaining your integrity as a believer.
However, our “Nafs” from the onset is not intending to maintain a status quo with ourselves. In the beginning it will merely give the impression that it has relented to your control. In reality, it is always seeking and exploring avenues to consume it’s carnal desires. Slowly but firmly, you will notice that your “Nafs” always is trying to pull you closer to its side. What starts of as a small compromise with your pious intentions, eventually leads to a demand of an unbridled consumation of carnal desires. In the beginning it will allow you to be pious for 6 months to then eventually demand a weekly treat. We have to understand that constantly in our life we are engaging ourselves with a business deal with our “Nafs”, in which our “Nafs” always wants to have the better end of the deal, either today, either tomorrow.
One of the strategies that “Nafs” eventually tends to employ against us is to secure for itself a a position of control of venting its carnal desires, through the medium of blame. In the beginning it will allow you to be pious for a few months etc. But eventually, it wants to come to a position in which it can now engage in sin on a daily basis. After a while when it realizes that the main obstacle for it to achieve this is your belief in Allāh , it will then start to make feeble excuses. It will start to bombard you with excuses such as:
“You have tried everything so far, but you constantly fail. Obviously, Allāh is just being cruel to you.”
“If Allāh wanted, he could make you pious. You have tried so much until now, so if even now Allāh is not answering you, then why should you bother to turn to him?”
Eventually, our “Nafs” will try to convince us to leave our belief in Allāh , altogether, so that there is absolutely no issue for it to engage in sin. It will use the strategy of levying blame unto Allāh , so that it can come out of your control.
I trust that if you reflect deeply on your urges and your mental dialogues with yourself, you will start to notice a pattern of how “Nafs” is always trying to get the better end of the deal. The reality of piety is to be aware of these various onslaughts by keeping track of your personal history with your “Nafs” and by being aware of where your “Nafs” is taking you towards.
As you can see, there is a deeper reality to our tendency to sin than it may appear. It is not a matter of doing a certain sin due to which you now are forsaken from the Mercy of Allāh , doomed to hell for eternity. This notion is nothing but a feeble excuse by “Nafs” and “Shaytaan” to put you in the illusion that you have no control over your deeds. In reality, you have everything in your hands to be in complete control. That control has been granted to you as a birth right by Allāh . You already attained that control the moment you came to an age of understanding. You are therefore not required to still seek that control by commiting shirk and disbelief.
I understand that you may feel baffled over the difficulty of the tests that you experience. The underlying reason for these various tests is for you to understand as an individual how far you have progressed in your piety and what areas you need to focus on. As such, instead of looking at sin as a blatant failure on your part, you may also look at sin as an indication that there are certain critical areas that you need to look into to improve your relationship with Allāh . In this sense, you can regard your “Nafs” as an instrument that provides you with feedback about your relationship with Allāh . Commiting of sin in reality is nothing but an expression of an internal imbalance that is existent within us. It is a manifestation of our inner reality that tells us that something is not right. There is an imbalance present in our hearts that serves as an impediment in our relationship with Allāh .
One of the effective ways of gaining an upperhand over one’s “Nafs” is going out in the path of Allāh . Also, sit in the gatherings of the pious and take their advices on daily dhikr etc.