We started in part 1 explaining the psychological and spiritual effect of sins on productivity, and today we’ll dig deeper and answer the question: “I see so many productive people and they commit sins all the time, this link of sins and productivity seems a bit too “theological” to me?”
There are 2 part to this answer:
Firstly, life of a Muslim is truly precious to Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) especially those who sincerely seek Him, and live with one purpose and that is to serve Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala). When such people sin, Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) sends us soft reminders (either through hardship or trials) in order to bring us back to Him.
Therefore, the question is not whether the sin has an effect on you, it’s whether you’re aware of this effect, and conscious of it. The conscious Muslim is the one who feels the effect of sins in his/her life and is thankful to Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) that Allah cares about him/her and is sending him reminders or “soft punishments” so that he would stop what he’s doing and stay from sin. Whether he/she sees this effect in his/her productivity level or intellectual capacity or relationships or provision, he/she should be constantly alert. But for the non-Muslim or for the Muslim who’s so far astray, Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) although is also sending him/her reminders and he’s faced with trials and tribulations, yet he/she is not aware of it.
Secondly, we need to understand that any sins we commit has 3 levels of consequences:
1. Soft reminders are sent from Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) to the person through various means, either through people (perhaps a reminder from a brother/sister, perhaps a ‘random’ e-mail, or a ‘random’ SMS from someone close to you that’s giving you advice so relevant to your situation) or through the Quran by “randomly” reading a page that’s reminding you to stay away from something. This is where the smart and spiritually conscious Muslim should be aware of these ‘cues’ and try his/her best to learn and listen to them carefully.
2. The next level is hardships and trials that the person face. Things that disturb the person and make him/her feel very uncomfortable and stressed. Once more, these hardships and trials are meant to purify the person and get him/her closer to their Lord and as such they should be seen as blessings.
(Here one might ask the question: “I understand that one of the effects of sins is that it causes hardship for the person, but I also understand that sometimes Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) will put someone through a trial so that He elevates this person’s emaan – so how do I know if the hardship I’m facing is a trial or a punishment?” This is an excellent question and one that I asked a Sheikh about and his response was beautiful. He said, “If you feel the pain of this trial in your heart, and you feel that you can’t take it, and you hate it, then know that this is a punishment from Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala). If however you feel at ease with this hardship, your heart is tranquil, you are patient, and you’re completely content with Allah’s decree, then this is a trial to purify you and elevate your emaan, having said that, in either case, you should always seek forgiveness when a trial/hardship hits you and ask for Allah’s mercy.“)
3. The third level of consequence is when the person who is constantly sinning seems to have everything! The car, the house, the money, the positions -they are given so much to the point that they believe that they have special status in this life or even worse that the hereafter doesn’t exist (authobillah), just like the owner of that garden in Surat Al-Kahf said to the person:
“And he went into his garden while in a state (of pride and disbelief) unjust to himself. He said: “I think not that this will ever perish.
“And I think not the Hour will ever come, and if indeed I am brought back to my Lord, (on the Day of Resurrection), I surely shall find better than this when I return to Him.””(Surat Al-Kahf, Verses, 35-36)
However, just when they think they had everything, that’s when Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) takes it away from them.
“So his fruits were encircled (with ruin). And he remained clapping his hands (with sorrow) over what he had spent upon it, while it was all destroyed on its trellises, and he could only say: “Would that I had ascribed no partners to my Lord!”
And he had no group of men to help him against Allah, nor could he defend (or save) himself.” (Surat Al-Kahf, Verses, 42-43)
So in conclusion, when you see someone who’s successful and productive yet they are committing sins day and night, don’t be fooled, their time has not come yet. Either Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) will have mercy on them and guide them OR they’ll go horribly astray with little preparation for the hereafter that their true regret will come when they are close to their deathbeds.
I don’t want to sound morbid or freak you out, I just want to make one clear statement: Sins have effect on us on multiple levels including our productivity, and as productive Muslims who want to please Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala), we should be conscious of this and constantly seek forgiveness from Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) and repent insha Allah.