“…like a (sown) seed which sends forth its shoot, then makes it strong, it then becomes thick, and it stands straight on its stem, delighting the sowers that He may enrage the disbelievers with them. (Al-Fath 48:29)

In this last Ayat of Surah Al-Fath, Allah (swt) provides us with this description of the Prophet’s (sa) companions and the believers using the analogy of a seed transforming into a healthy plant. As we read, we find ourselves visualizing seeds sprouting, emerging from the soil, the stems gaining strength, until they stand tall, making the sower proud. The analogy helps us visualize our own seed-like journey from a humble Nutfah, with our latent potential, to a firm, confident believer, who is reaching his or her potential.

We aspire to this ideal, but often overlook the fact that without tender care, protection, and nourishment, growth remains stunted. Rasulullah (sa) informed us that “the strong believer is better and more beloved to Allah (swt) than the weak believer, while there is good in both. Strive for what benefits you, seek Allah’s (swt) assistance, and do not feel helpless.” (Ibn Majah) This points to a proactive approach in our growth.

A major setback to our growth potential is our sins. As practicing Muslims, we may think we are doing fine, as long as we don’t indulge in any major act of disobedience to Allah (swt). We seldom reflect on all the subtle ways in which we sin on a daily basis and the noticeable accumulative affect that this has on all the domains of our lives: spiritual, mental, economic, individual, and collective. Below we focus on the psycho-spiritual aspects of sinning.

 Silencing of the Inner Compass

Allah (swt) has gifted us with an inner compass. He has inspired our inner-self to distinguish “what is wrong for him and what is right for him.” (Ash-Shams 91:8). The Prophet (sa) said: “Sin is what wavers in your heart and which you do not want people to know about.” (Muslim) Hence, a healthy heart recognizes sinful conduct, going into a state of spiritual agitation every time we act against the soul.

A person mindful of Allah (swt) responds by repenting and returning into Allah’s (swt) obedience. Rasulullah (sa) told us: “All the sons of Adam are sinners, but the best of sinners are those who repent often.” (At-Tirmidhi) However, as the scholar Hamza Yusuf points out, people tend to submerge themselves in sinful distractions to cover up this agitation and thus become cut-off from the essential nature of their hearts.

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