JUSTIFICATION IS THE EXCUSE OF THE WEAK

JUSTIFICATION IS THE EXCUSE OF THE WEAK
Who among us does not make mistakes? Who among us can dare claim that he is infallible? Every human is expected to make mistakes, and this is not in itself a defect, for the Prophet  sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam ( may Allah exalt his mention )  said: “All the sons of Adam constantly commit sins, but the best of those who constantly commit sins are those who are constantly repentant.” [Ibn Majah] The real defect lies in insisting on making the mistake and adhering to falsehood. The mistake becomes even graver when its doer endeavors to justify it in order to make himself and those around him believe that he did not make a mistake at all.

The Definition of Justification

Justification, in the false sense, is the process of fabricating excuses for one’s behavior, thoughts or views, in order to replace the real motives and reasons. It is the process of concealing the reality and truth with a justification that one would accept and approve of, without any reaction or feeling any guilt.

The Evil End of Justification

Justification is an incurable disease that leads to a tragic end, which results in bitter consequences for the doer, as his continuous justification distracts him from correcting himself and reflecting on his defects. Accordingly, he always thinks that he is doing well. If a slave of Allah The Almighty reaches this state, it becomes difficult to reform him and he loses his self-harmony because he is living in a state of internal psychological warfare in which he is both the executioner and the victim. The one who suffers from this disease is a curse on himself and others, as he is extreme in enmity and frequently argues with others. At this point, he is the most detested of creatures in the sight of Allah The Almighty. In this respect the Prophet  sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam ( may Allah exalt his mention )  said: “The most hated person in the sight of Allah is the extremely quarrelsome person.” [Al-Bukhari]

The Quran Vilifies such People:

Such people have existed throughout history. The Quran relates to us the stories of some of them; for instance, Allah The Almighty Says (what means); {And among them is he who says: “Permit me [to remain at home] and do not put me to Fitnah.” Unquestionably, into Fitnah they have fallen. And indeed, Hell will encompass the disbelievers.} [Quran 9:49] Commenting on this verse, Al-Qurtubi  may Allah have mercy upon him said,

Muhammad ibn Is’haq  may Allah have mercy upon him said: “The Messenger of Allah  sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam ( may Allah exalt his mention )  said to Al-Jadd ibn Qays, when he wanted to set out for the Battle of Tabook: “O Jadd, would you like to fight the yellow people [the Romans], so that you could take female captives and servants from them?” Al-Jadd replied, “My people know that I am besotted by women, and I fear that if I see the women of the yellow people, I would fall into Fitnah. So, do not put me in Fitnah but permit me to remain behind, and I will support you with my money.” Thereupon, the Messenger of Allah  sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam ( may Allah exalt his mention )  turned away from him, and said: “I permit you.” Just look at this man, who, when knowing the hardship of traveling to Tabook and the difficulty of confronting and fighting the Romans, wanted to justify his situation and protect himself! He therefore invented a fabricated excuse which was his infatuation by women and his fear that he may be tempted upon seeing them and would then be forced to leave the Muslim army because he would not have the self-restraint to keep himself from them.

Shaykh-ul-Islam Ahmad ibn Taymiyyah  may Allah have mercy upon him commented on this incident, saying, “Since enjoining good, forbidding evil, and Jihad are some of the tests and trials that subject a person to Fitnah, some people began justifying their abandonment of these obligations by seeking safety from Fitnah. Allah The Almighty Says (what means) with regard to the hypocrites: {And among them is he who says: “Permit me [to remain at home] and do not put me to Fitnah.” Unquestionably, into Fitnah they have fallen. And indeed, Hell will encompass the disbelievers.} [Quran 9:49]”

Similarly, another group of people justified their abandonment of Jihad by saying that they could not set out for Jihad in the heat. Therefore, Allah The Almighty Says about them (what means): {And [they] said: “Do not go forth in the heat.” Say: “The fire of Hell is more intensive in heat” – if they would but understand.} [Quran 9:81] Sayyid Qutb  may Allah have mercy upon himsaid in this regard, “It is therefore either fighting in the cause of Allah in the heat for a limited period, or being cast into Hell for a duration that no one knows the length of but Allah.”

Does a Believer Justify Himself?:

In the previous examples there were some cases which might not be stated by those who form the cream of Muslim society. However, reality proves that even some truthful believers might be afflicted by justification, as Allah The Almighty Says (what means): {And We have certainly diversified in this Quran for the people from every [kind of] example; but man has ever been, most of anything, [prone to] dispute.} [Quran 18:54] Some scholars of Tafseer (Quranic exegesis) commented on this verse by mentioning what was narrated in Saheeh Muslim, that ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib  may Allah be pleased with himnarrated that the Messenger of Allah  sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam ( may Allah exalt his mention )  came one night to him and his wife Fatimah  may Allah be pleased with her and said: “Do you not observe [late-night Tahajjud] prayer?” ‘Ali  may Allah be pleased with him replied, “O Messenger of Allah, indeed our souls are in the Hands of Allah and when He wants to awaken us, He does so.” The Messenger of Allah sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam ( may Allah exalt his mention )  set off when he said this to him. He was slapping his hand on his thigh while going while saying (what means):{but man has ever been, most of anything, [prone to] dispute}.Ibn ‘Aashoor  may Allah have mercy upon him said, what the Prophet  sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam ( may Allah exalt his mention )  meant here was that it would have been more appropriate for ‘Ali  may Allah be pleased with him to praise Allah The Almighty and thank the Messenger of Allah  sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam ( may Allah exalt his mention )  for waking him up to pray Tahajjud, be keen on repeating this act, be pleased with the rebuke of the Prophet  sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam ( may Allah exalt his mention )  and not counter these words with others in order to justify his sleeping! This is the cause of the Prophet’s astonishment at the words of ‘Ali  may Allah be pleased with him.

Some Causes of Justification:

The main obstacle in justification is the absence of frankness with one’s self, as we fail to talk to ourselves about our own reality. This is because, from a very early age, we were taught to elevate ourselves to high moral levels and sublime traits that are often difficult to attain. Therefore, we try to conceal our reality in a framework of lies about oneself that were set by the methods of our early upbringing. [Qiraa’ah fi mushkilat at-tufoolah]

Justification might also be due to arrogance that has affected the heart, and this results in making it difficult to apologize or appearing to be in a state of weakness according to the thoughts of such an arrogant person. Love and inclination to this worldly life is another cause of justification, and perhaps this reason specifically is what leads many people to do what Allah The Almighty has prohibited, and people then justify their actions with false excuses. For instance, the person who consumes Riba (interest), claims that he is compelled to do so; however, if one looks at his case, he would not find him compelled at all. He might not even be in any kind of a need. There are many similar violations of the Sharee‘ah nowadays, and those who commit such violations try to justify them.

Is There Treatment?

Undoubtedly, truthfulness with one’s self is the clear and easy way in order not to indulge in the confusion that comes about due to justification. Reckoning one’s self for negligence and acknowledging its mistakes protects it from a foul final stage of life and leads us to not accumulate our mistakes. In fact, being truthful with one’s self is one of the highest and hardest degrees of truthfulness.

Let us contemplate the story of the great Companion, Ka‘b ibn Malik  may Allah be pleased with him when Allah The Almighty saved him by virtue of his truthfulness. He sat before the Prophet  sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam ( may Allah exalt his mention )  and said, “O Messenger of Allah, if I had been in front of anyone other than you of the people of the worldly life, I would have thought of an excuse to avoid his dissatisfaction. But by Allah, I had no excuse.” Consequently, Allah The Almighty accepted his repentance, excused him and turned to him. On the other hand, those who lie and invent weak and false excuses, are exposed by Allah The Almighty.

One of the most important means of treatment is the reading of the biographies of the people who fell into this malady. When justification dominated the Children of Isra’eel, they used trickery and various methods to violate the ruling of Allah The Almighty and caught fish on the Sabbath. Consequently, Allah The Almighty transformed them into apes and pigs. Allah The Almighty Says (what means): {And you had already known about those who transgressed among you concerning the Sabbath, and We said to them: “Be apes, despised.”} [Quran 2:65] When one contemplates this punishment for the one who dares to violate the limits that Allah The Almighty has set, undoubtedly, he will think many times before doing such an act when knowing its evil end.

We supplicate to Allah The Almighty to guide us to the best manners and to ward off from us the worst of manners, as He is the most Gracious and Noble.

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