I thought to myself; “He’s insincere.”
Imam Sufyan al-Thawri said:
“I lost out on Qiyam’l-Layl for 5 months because of a sin.
I saw a man crying and I thought to myself; “He’s insincere.”
Subhanallah. This great Imam never ceases to amaze me every single time I read anything about him, rahmatullahi ‘alayhi wa radhyAllahu ‘anhu.
The great leaders of the Salaf were always able to assess their condition on a daily basis and take audit of their actions and indeed lack of action. Imam Sufyan al-Thawri here was extremely concerned as to why he was unable to pray the Tahajjud prayer for five months, finding it extremely difficult to wake up early enough. Upon deep reflection, he was able to trace the reason down to a sin – a SINGLE sin!
He saw a man who was perhaps praying, or lecturing, or teaching and had become “overcome” and was shedding tears, but it didn’t come across as an immediately obvious act of sincerity or perhaps the man’s normal actions and statements didn’t match his current pious state according to al-Thawri’s previous knowledge of him. And so he doubted his sincerity, doubted whether this was all just a bit of a show for the crowd etc.
And take note: this was just a thought! This wasn’t something that he said, or accused the man of privately or publicly, but just a bad thought to himself when he should have just assumed the best of the other person and parked any bad thoughts immediately.
Can you imagine if we were to audit ourselves like that? Forget about how bad and negative we always think of one another, we actually go further every hour and publicly state it too! We are commanded to think the best of one another and instead we consume ourselves thinking the very worst of one another.
If only we could truly appreciate the ‘izzah of the Believer and their rights upon us…
Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’un.
Taken from: Abu Eesa Niamatullah