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There are 2 factors that determine how far you get on your path to Allah سبحانه و تعالى ; doing good deeds and avoiding bad deeds. If you look at our daily lives the good deeds are not usually the problem. The question that arises is ‘If we are doing good deeds, why are we not experiencing progress in our development?’ or ‘Why are we moving backwards?’ It only leaves the second part of the equation i.e. we do not avoid bad deeds.

There are 2 factors to avoiding bad deeds. Firstly, one has to realize that the deed is bad. Allah سبحانه و تعالى  has placed a veil on the hearts as concerns their deeds. The way that can open up to one is by spending time in reflection and solitude. The second aspect is to actually avoid the bad deeds.

وَقُلْنَا يَا آدَمُ اسْكُنْ أَنْتَ وَزَوْجُكَ الْجَنَّةَ وَكُلاَ مِنْهَا رَغَدًا حَيْثُ شِئْتُمَا وَلاَ تَقْرَبَا هَذِهِ الشَّجَرَةَ فَتَكُونَا مِنْ الظَّالِمِينَ

And We said: “O Adam! Dwell you and your wife in the Paradise and eat both of you freely with pleasure and delight of things therein as wherever you will, but come not near this tree or you both will be of the Zalimoon (wrong-doers).” (Surah al-Baqarah, verse 35)

When Allah سبحانه و تعالى  placed Aadam ( عليه السلام ) and his mate in jannah, He told them to eat from whatever you want and enjoy but the only thing they have to do is not to approach this tree. If they did, they would be from among the wrongdoers.

If you look at the tafseer of this ayah, approaching the tree was not the problem for Aadam ( عليه السلام ) and his mate. The problem was actually interacting and partaking of the tree. But Allah سبحانه و تعالى  gave them a tremendous amount of wisdom by commanding them not to approach the tree. Because if they would approach the tree, they would end up going down the slippery slope and taking from the tree. In this aayah, Allah سبحانه و تعالى lays down a very beautiful principle by telling you to avoid those things which Allah سبحانه و تعالى  wants you to avoid i.e. you got to stay out of the environment of sin.

This helps to highlight so many principles within the sharia, for example a man talking to a woman. The reason why it was prohibited upon us by Allah سبحانه و تعالى and the prophet (ﷺ) is because it leads to the next deed. Once you talk to someone, then you want to spend time with them and eventually it becomes a type of zinaa.

The sharia closes the door to the slippery slope so that you can avoid the sin completely.

The sharia closes the door to the slippery slope so that you can avoid the sin completely.

(The above is a summary of the talk given by Shaykh Husain Abdul Sattar. The audio of the talk can be downloaded from HERE. To listen to more talks of Shaykh Husain Abdul Sattar, please visit sacredlearning.org)

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