You invest all of your hope and love in another person. You surrender yourself to them and allow them to witness your vulnerabilities, your weaknesses. You are certain that this person is the one. The one you can confide in. The one to whom you can expose your deepest, darkest secrets. The one you can fully and wholeheartedly trust.
And then, one day, the world you have created around them comes crashing down. Something happens that shatters your perfect conception of this person. As you struggle to grasp the pain that has seeped into your heart, you realize that although this person may have been your “everything”, in reality they are nothing. Nothing more than a source of insincerity in your life.
The pain of realizing that someone has been insincere with you is like no other. No one likes to be lied to. To be manipulated and made a fool of. But this is what happens when the reality of a person—or object, fantasy, ideology, etc.—that you’ve put on an undeserved pedestal comes to light. You become the victim.
Now, imagine yourself as the perpetrator—the one guilty of being insincere. We tell ourselves that we could never be such a backstabbing, conniving, dishonest human being; yet, if we look closely enough, we might find ourselves guilty of this very insincerity. And we express this insincerity to the One most deserving of every ounce of sincerity our hearts can muster: Allah, The Most Glorious, The Most High.
We lazily make our way through salah (ritual prayer). We cheat, lie, steal, and backbite. We engage in haram (forbidden) actions with our tongues, eyes, ears, and limbs. We immerse ourselves in this world of fitnah (tribulation), all the while proclaiming our love and devotion to Allah (subhanahu wa ta`ala – exalted is He). And yes, although this love and devotion may be real to a certain extent, sometimes our actions indicate otherwise. As a result, we may experience an internal disconnect: deep down, we feel hypocritical. Many of us are constantly shifting between the two modes of repentance and returning to sin: some of us make our way back onto the path of sincerity towards Allah (swt), while some of us fall deeper and deeper into sin.
But you know what I find to be the most painful aspect of being insincere to Allah (swt)? The fact that because Allah (swt) is Al-Ghani, the One who is completely free of any need, He is not in need of our sincerity; rather, we are in need of Him. Therefore, by being insincere to Him, we only end up hurting ourselves. We end up pushing ourselves over the edge, bringing about depression, agony, self-loathing, guilt, and so on and so forth. Indeed, we become the perpetrator that I spoke of earlier – this time towards ourselves.
Lately, I have found myself questioning my sincerity again and again. I found my religiosity reduced to sharing a quote, ayah (verse), or hadith (tradition attributed to the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, peace be upon him) as opposed to actually extrapolating lessons and depth from it. As carelessly as one might post a silly video of a cat, I found myself regurgitating heavy information (such as verses of the Qur’an, ahadith, etc.) with the simple and thoughtless click of a button. At first, I had deluded myself into thinking it was truly beneficial (and to some extent, I cannot deny that it was), but after a while, I became aware of my own superficiality. My own insincerity. And you know what? I do not want to be that type of Muslim. I would rather be the type who, although from the outside may look like a regular muslimah, is a spiritually strong and sound person on the inside.
Sisters and brothers, do you feel the same pain when you are insincere to Allah (swt)? Do you feel this unsettling, anxiety-inducing, ball of discomfort when you know you’ve transgressed against The Most Merciful, The Most High? I’m sure you all realize what I am talking about. And if you do, here’s some food for thought: maybe our realization of our insincerity to Allah (swt) is a blessing in disguise. Maybe He wants us to realize our faults and turn back to Him with a new, pure, untarnished sincerity. I mean, imagine if we did not feel strange after disobeying Allah (swt). How frightening is it to think that Allah (swt) could have allowed us to be spiritually numb, as countless others who walk the Earth?
So as painful as the act of our insincerity may be towards Him, our repentance and turning back to Him—how ever many times that may be—may be a means of salvation for us. So do not despair at the mercy of Allah (swt) after you have sinned, nor use your insincere actions as an excuse to continue on your spiritually destructive path. Instead, grow from the pains of your insincerity towards Him while never giving up in turning back to Him, so that bi’ithnillah (with the permission of Allah) He may heal and rectify you of all your pains.
And Allah (swt) knows best.