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Do You Feel Bad When You Commit a Sin?

If you feel bad when you commit a sin, Ibn Al Jawzi said something very powerful about the sick heart versus the dead heart. He said that:

“If you feel bad when you commit a sin, then know that that’s a sign that your heart is still alive because you wouldn’t feel anything if your heart was dead.”

Part of our fitrah is that when we commit that sin, for example backbiting, shouldn’t taste right. You know a person who’s not used to backbiting, when they backbite it tastes bad.

Literally that dead, filthy meat tastes rotten. It just doesn’t have a good taste and you don’t feel right about it. And that’s good. You have to capitalize on that.

A person who is not used to watching Haram, when they see something, it doesn’t feel right, it felt off.

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That’s a sign that your heart is alive. Because if it was dead, you wouldn’t feel it when you committed that sin.

When it comes to the sin, it is important that you don’t lose your fitrah. Don’t let sins become so normalized in your life just because they become normalized in other people’s lives around you.

Know Your Heart

How do you know that your heart is dead, sick, or healthy?

Ibn Al Jawzi said:

“The sick heart cannot taste the sweetness of Ibadah (worship), just like when a person is sick they don’t taste the flavor of their food.”

They know they have to eat to nourish themselves, and to sustain themselves, but the sweetness, the taste of the food is gone by the illness.

Likewise when it comes to the heart, if the heart is sick, the acts of worship cannot be enjoyed. So I have to ask myself what are the stains and locks on my heart that are not allowing my heart to enjoy these acts of worship.

So part of it is training yourself on the new good deeds, and aspiring to another level and your good deeds, and producing that output.

A part of it is asking yourself:

“What is it that’s really holding me back? Because if I’m not tasting the sweetness of it, something is wrong.”

That’s not something that a sheikh or a priest can tell you or diagnose you. You have to have moments of introspection and ask yourself:

“What is it that’s really holding me back from enduring and tasting the sweetness of what I have?”

The video.

About Omar Suleiman
Imam Omar Suleiman is the President of the Yaqeen Institute for Islamic Research and a professor of Islamic Studies at Southern Methodist University. He’s also the resident scholar of the Valley Ranch Islamic Center and Co-Chair of Faith Forward Dallas at Thanks-Giving Square, a multi-faith alliance for peace and justice.