We must constantly be on alert against the sins that feed the lower-self.
Sins are like poisonous honey. It tastes sweet at first, but then it gives pain. Illicit indulgence and enjoyments, like poisonous honey, have seeming pleasure. But the result of the illicit is pain, torture, vanishing (of pleasure) and finally a slap.
Sins are like fire. If it is not extinguished and suppressed, even a single sin might cause a big destruction, like the fire of a single match causing big fires and damage. Even a single sin must not be underestimated. It must be immediately suppressed and extinguished with repentance and regret; and must be wiped away.
Sins are spiritual viruses. Just as a virus infects a computer and breaks its system and settings, sins disturb the peace and balance of human. A sinner does not feel good. He feels a burden in his spirit and at his heart. Sins comfort the lower self; but they bore the spirit.
Sins are the food of our biggest enemy, the lower self. They strengthen the lower self and what’s more it is insatiable. If a person is insistent on sinning, he has already fallen into trap. The lower self rules such a person and captivates him with its desires.
Sins are our spiritual wounds and illnesses in the life. Every sin we commit and every doubt cast into our minds inflict wounds in our hearts and spirit. Sins also prevent us from taking the pleasure of worship. Just as an ill person cannot find pleasure in eating baklava or honey, similarly, if a person cannot take pleasure from worship or prayer or good deeds, that means he is spiritually wounded and ill. Such a person must be treated spiritually, first of all. He must sincerely pray to Allah (swt) in order to enter His Divine Presence. And he must be spiritually cleaned with repentance.
Sins can be constant illnesses in the eternal life, hereafter (Allah forbid!). To be patient with the misfortunes, troubles, calamities and ill health befalling us in this world, and to be thankful will make those sins to be forgiven (inshaallah). To be afflicted with these kinds of troubles is a test. It is a spiritual surgery. In this way, Allah (swt) treats the eternal diseases, the sins, and enables us to go to hereafter sinless. There is, in this case, mercy and compassion of Allah (swt) in everything that befalls us.
Sins are like black dots that appear on our hearts which are in fact created taintless and is like a clean slate. Those black dots cover the whole heart so much so that the heart hardens till the light of faith is finally gone.
Sins mean crossing the line of halal (permissible). However, the sphere of halal is wide; falling into haram (illicit) is unnecessary. Moreover, sins damage the social life. They put the safety of life, property and honour of people into danger. Islam takes precautions and draws boundaries to provide security. The boundaries and lines drawn by Islam like halal and illicit and good deeds and sins aim to achieve peace and happiness in society.
What is more dangerous than a sin is the continuation of it. Imam Bediuzzaman Said Nursi makes the following observation: “Sins- especially the continuation of it, consist a seed of disbelief. In every sin, there is a path to disbelief. For instance, a person who commits a shameful sin in secret cannot stand the existence of angels. He wants to deny their existence even with the weakest evidence. A door of worst destruction and disaster is opened before him.”
Yes, sins, Allah forbid, mislead people to disbelief. For instance, not everyone that makes a loss goes bankrupt; but the way to bankruptcy is through making loss. In the same way, not everybody that commits sin becomes a disbeliever; but the way to disbelief is through sins.
To be insistent on sin is the most dangerous situation for a person. A person who commits sin continuously addicts himself. Then he starts to wish that his conduct were not a sin. This wish, in time, turns into a belief. That is, he starts to believe that his illicit conduct is not a sin. Finally, he denies the punishment and the prison (i.e. Hell), and loses his faith. The best solution, however, is to get away from the sin by repenting; and taking refuge in Allah (swt) and asking Him to be forgiven.
A sinner finds solace in his bad social circle. Yet “consolation, which means to be together with everyone at the time of calamity, cannot be found beyond the grave.” Bad social circle and friends accompany someone till the grave. Then man is all alone. He is alone with his conducts and deeds. Sins and illicit things, however, turn into suffering of the grave which is extremely unpleasant. Death cannot be killed and the door of grave cannot be closed. Therefore, the best thing is to be prepared for death and life in the grave, always and every moment. We should not forget that “every person is at the age of death.”
A sinful person indulges himself in amusement, alcohol and intoxication. Such a person resembles an ostrich. The ostrich sees the hunter. It cannot fly and escape. So, it buries its head in the sand so that the hunter cannot see it. However, its huge body is outside. Just like this, a sinful person buries his head in the sand of heedlessness so that the death cannot see him. But the reality of death is as real as the life itself; when the hour comes; it just takes us off, not one second sooner or later, to the world of spirits.
Patience in refraining from sins and resisting the illicit desires of the lower self are kinds of worship. Sinning means that the lower self defeats the will (iradah). However, “our will must be strong as much as our heart must be soft.” We must struggle against the lower self in order that it cannot defeat the mind, heart and spirit. The word of our Prophet (saw) points out this matter: The biggest jihad is the struggle against the lower self.
Being alone, idleness and not making use of the time are open invitations to the sins. Because, in these cases person is alone with his lower self. After all, our lower self, who is strong and cunning like a wolf, always looks for a way to lure us into the Satan’s trap and tries to catch us off guard. Therefore, if a person does not find something to occupy himself, the lower self and Satan find a thing for him to do and ruin that person spiritually and physically. For this very reason, we must always keep saying the prayer of our Prophet (saw): “O Allah! Don’t leave me to myself even for the blink of an eye.”