As all of us know, there isn’t just one type of student. Some people work hard and succeed. Some work hard and fail, but keep trying their best. Others try just hard enough to pass. And then there are those who don’t study much, thinking that they’ll just get lucky on exam day, so they fail.
I have never met someone who works hard to study but realizes that they will not get 100% on every exam that they take, and then gives up and turns in blank exams or doesn’t even show up on test day. Because school isn’t all-or-nothing; every point and assignment counts when you’re trying to get a passing grade.
Our religion is the same way, but Shaytan doesn’t want us to know that. He tries convincing us that if we’re not worshiping Allah in a perfect way, then we might as well not bother trying at all. So if someone isn’t praying all 5 prayers or isn’t praying at all, when they finally do stand up to offer a prayer, he will make them think, “Who am I kidding? I never pray when I’m supposed to. Why would God accept my prayer now?” Or if a woman is thinking of wearing the hijab but doesn’t cover up perfectly or sins in certain ways, he will make her feel like there’s no point in wearing it. These are only a few examples, but the concept applies to pretty much everything that we do as Muslims.
Shaytan tries convincing us that if we’re not worshiping Allah in a perfect way, then we might as well not bother trying at all.
The Prophet (saws) said, “Allah the Exalted said: ‘If my servant intends to do a good deed and he does not do it (because he is not able to), then it is recorded for him as a good deed. If he does it, then it is recorded as ten good deeds and multiplied up to seven hundred times. If my servant intends to do a bad deed and he does not do it, then it is not recorded for him. If he does it, then it is recorded as a single bad deed.'” [Narrated in Sahih Bukhari]
This Hadith Qudsi shows the mercy of Allah, because good deeds count up to 7,000 times more than bad deeds. We’re really left with no reason to think that because of our bad deeds, our good deeds don’t matter. Allah (swt) says, “Indeed, good deeds wipe away bad deeds. That is a reminder for those who remember.” [Qur’an 11:114]
Society expects perfection, but Allah does not.
If Shaytan (or our own mind) is trying to convince us that there’s no point in trying to do a certain act of worship because we’re not good enough, or because we’re sinners, we need to remind ourselves that Allah’s mercy is greater than any good or bad that we could ever do. The Prophet (saws) said, “All children of Adam are sinners, and the best of those who sin are those who repent.” [Narrated in at-Tirmidhi]
ALL of us commit sins. Nobody is perfect, and we don’t know which of us is closest to Allah. All that He expects from us is a sincere effort, and honest repentance when we fail.
Society expects perfection, but Allah does not. If we can just keep that in mind, it will be much easier for us to get close to God and do the things that He loves.