والله عزَّ وجلَّ هو الرقيب على عباده، الذي يراقب أقوالهم وأفعالهم، وحركاتهم وسكناتهم، وما يجول في قلوبهم وخواطرهم كما قال سبحانه
وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّ اللَّهَ يَعْلَمُ مَا فِي أَنفُسِكُمْ فَاحْذَرُوهُ ۚ وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّ اللَّهَ غَفُورٌ حَلِيمٌ
[Roughly translated]: And Allah ‘azza wajal is watchful over His slaves, the One who watches over their words and their deeds, and their movement and their stillness, and what goes through their hearts and their thoughts, as He (swt) said: “And know that Allah knows what is within yourselves, so beware of Him. And know that Allah is Forgiving and Forbearing.“ (Al-Baqarah:235)
Ponder this ayah, with the preceding idea. This ayah talks about Allah knowing our thoughts. So ask yourself: can the Rabb who can see into our thoughts – something that no man nor machine has yet managed to do – not see our spoken words and our actions, including our most carefully hidden sins?
That is not new information, however. Which Muslim does not know that Allah knows every single thought that goes through our heads, every second? But ponder over the ayah some more.
Allah tells us to not only know that He knows, but take the next logical step and fear Him because of it. Now, that does not seem to be rocket science — but for some reason we tend to ignore the fear part. And so in private, we commit the filthiest of sins that we are ashamed to expose to even our closest friends. What is that if not lack of fear?
So here’s a thought that shook me up. Allah is Ar-Raqeeb – the Watchful – and what He sees goes into an immutable record. No, I am not talking about the register of our deeds. I am talking about something much closer to home. I am talking about our memories.
Think about it: when you commit a sin, even one that no one ever finds out about, where does it get preserved first of all? Even the angels give you time to repent before they write it down – but before that, your own brains records it. And once a memory enters the brain, can you remove it? Try all you want, do what you will, but your brain preserves each memory, whether or not you can consciously recall it.
I find this terrifying – our access to our own memory is restricted: we can read some of it, but we can neither change nor erase it at will. And so we are entirely helpless when it comes to removing the evidence carried by our own bodies against our own selves!
Yes, Allah, the ever watchful, is also the most forgiving, and the most loving. He can forgive our sins. But has He guaranteed that He will? “He will forgive whom He wills and punish whom He wills” (Al-Baqarah:284) – and this is so that we may maintain His fear.
Allah sees all we do – and He remembers. He may forgive, but He may not forgive – so fear Him!