While I was depressed watching the news about Muslims and thinking of the afflictions that befell them, I heard a voice inside me saying “It is you who delay Muslims’ victory. You are the principal cause of all the afflictions that Muslims suffer from.”

I wondered, “How come this while I am an ordinary person and do not have any power over my nation? Had I given the Muslims any order or counsel, they would have never abided by it …”

The voice interrupted me: “It is your sins and faults, it is your defying Allah’s orders, your negligence of duties, and your keenness to run after temptations that delays victory.”

I replied, “What did I do so that you blame me for delaying Muslims’ victory?”

The voice said, “Oh you! By Allah! Should I numerate your faults? It would take a long a time. For instance, do you observe the Fajr Prayer in congregation?”

I answered, “Sometimes I do, and sometimes I miss it …”

The voice interrupted me again: “See the contradiction! You claim you can fight against your enemy in Allah’s cause. How can you say so while you cannot resist yourself in a simple matter that would not cost you blood or money? You are not able to make yourself stick to observing in congregation two rak`ahs prescribed by Almighty Allah. You, likewise, neglect offering the regular sunnah Prayers, and disregard reciting the Qur’an regularly. You forget saying the morning and evening adhakr. You do not lower your gaze, nor do you obey your parents or observe your ties of kinship.”

The voice continued, “You call for applying Allah’s Law in your country. How do you call for this, while you do not abide by it yourself or enjoin your family to do so? You do not observe your duties towards your family. You do not guide them to the right path or care whether the money you spend on them is lawful or illicit. You, in fact, fall under the category that Allah describes in His Book as those who [love wealth with abounding love] (Al-Fajr 89:20). All this has entailed Almighty Allah’s punishment on you …”

I interrupted, “What does all this have to do with delaying victory? Would the nation’s victory be delayed only because of the faults of one among billions of people?”

The voice replied, “Certainly, yes. There are millions like you in the Muslim world. All follow the same wrong path, neglecting their duties and falling into sins, thinking that victory will come because there are other people in the nation who are righteous. But the bitter truth is that almost all are the same. Do you not know that when the Companions of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) would ask Allah for victory and it did not come at once, they would then realize that there was someone in the army who had committed a sin? Compare this to the condition of the nation nowadays when all, old or young, ordinary or influential, are falling into sins! Is this not enough to bring about all what Muslims suffer around the globe?”

Tears began to flow down my face. I had never thought that I, the man who dearly loves Allah and His Messenger as well as Islam and Muslims, would ever be a cause to Muslims’ defeat or share in this way in shedding rivers of innocent Muslim blood in many places in the world!

It was very easy for me to place the blame on the governments, rulers, and kings of the Muslim countries in this respect, but to ever think of my faults and sins as a cause to Muslims’ suffering, this had never occurred to me. I had not meditated upon Almighty Allah’s words: [Lo! Allah changeth not the condition of a folk until they (first) change that which is in their hearts] (Ar-Ra`d 13:11).

I addressed the voice: “Any way, I praise Almighty Allah that He gave me a self-reproaching soul (like you). What counsel do you give me?”

The voice said, “Take the initiative. Observe your duties, be keen on performing the prescribed Prayers on time, pay zakah, and beware of showing ingratitude to your parents. Get closer to Almighty Allah by offering additional acts of worship. Never lose a chance, even if little, in this regard. Remember that it is a kind of charity (sadaqah) to smile upon your fellow Muslims. Do not call for something while your acts indicate the contrary. For instance, do not call for applying Sharia unless you are a living example of abiding by its teachings at home and work. Likewise, do not call for jihad while you are not able to resist your inner weakness. In the same manner, do not blame others for what you are responsible for.

Reform yourself and set a good example for others wherever you go. If you are used to criticizing others’ behavior, stop it now, for critics are many. After you abide by all this, you can sincerely ask Allah for help and granting Muslims victory. Then you will be one of the believers about whom Almighty Allah says [O ye who believe! If ye help Allah, He will help you and will make your foothold firm] (Muhammad 47:7). Bear in mind that every sin you commit and every duty you neglect would be a proof against you in the case of the innocent Muslim blood shed in many places in the world.”

Upon this I lifted my head up towards Heaven in repentance and wiped my tears saying “O Allah! I ask You for forgiveness.”

I made up my mind to have a new beginning and I started by offering two rak`ahs for Allah’s sake in the midst of night. May Allah help me stick to this path.

By Abdel-Karim Al-Katib