Topic 1: *Yaqzah – Awakening: The first step in spiritual wayfaring*
The state of repentance is an extremely noble state and it is important that the weak and sinful servant of Allah continually be in such a state before Him.
This state is normally achieved after a form of awakening with regards to one’s actions. The scholars of ethics and spiritual training say that for self-reform and wayfaring on the path of self-struggle, it is important for one to develop a sense of awareness in the beginning, which is known as _Yaqzah_ or the awakening. In order to acquire this state, man must pay attention to his position in existence, and deliberate the nature of the relationship between Allah and himself. Of course, such states are acquired by everyone during their lives and the sense of awareness is created; however, it is important that man benefit from this awareness on the path of servitude. Allah says in a Hadith e Qudsi to Prophet Dawud,
_“Verily, there are breezes for your Lord throughout the days of your life. Beware, and lie in wait for them, and do not refrain (distance yourself) from them.”_
One of the forms of awareness is paying attention to learning the Quran from the teachings of the Imams such that one must benefit from them in the best manner, value his time, and alongside acquiring their teachings, take steps toward self-reform.
*Ayatullah Tahriri*, Commentary on Munajat e Taibeen, pg 31
Topic 2: *Committing sins and abandoning good deeds (‘amal-e-saalih) causes the death of the heart*
If a man does not have any good deeds, he will never reach the ‘good life’ _(hayaat attayyibah)_ [i.e. the good life promised by Allah in the Quran 16:97], and not reaching this _‘good life’_ is the true meaning of death.
Imam Sadiq (a) has said, _“When someone commits a sin, a black spot appears on his heart. If he is awakened and repents (which means returning to Allah and compensating for his actions and seeking forgiveness), this black spot is wiped off. However, if he continues sinning, slowly, blackness will cover the heart and he will never attain salvation.”_
★ The following two examples help explain the point better:
*1.* During the initial days of puberty, a youth sees lying as an ugly act, and if someone lies openly, he would unconsciously react against him. The reason behind this is that man’s Divine Disposition (fitrah) immediately perceives the indecency of lying. However, if one lies himself, the indecency of lying would slowly be lost from the soul.
Perceiving the indecency of lying is a reality and a light (noor) and whenever this reality and light is lost, darkness takes its place, and a heart that is engulfed by the darkness of sins, dies.
*2.* Likewise, if a man with a healthy body happens to consume something unhealthy, his body reacts immediately and tries to eliminate the cause of the harm. As long as the white blood cells (that eliminate the unnecessary materials/elements from our body) are alive, these harmful elements are removed from our body. However, if these harmful elements are high in quantity and if one continues to have such foods, the white blood cells would become weaker in reacting against them, to the extent where it is possible that these cells die, and the danger spreads towards other, previously healthy organs, such as the kidneys or lungs, causing them to fail.
*Sins have a similar effect on the heart and soul,* and can eventually prove to be a deadly poison for the heart.
*Ayatullah Tahriri*, Commentary on Munajat e Taibeen, pg 62-64
Topic 3: *Sin causes good deeds to be nullified (Part 1)*
If someone performs good deeds abundantly, but considers himself unrestricted with regards to committing sins and does not exercise self-control through constant watchfulness of the self _(muraqabah)_, his good deeds would definitely be eliminated by those sins.
It is learnt from the Quran and teachings of the Ahlul Bayt that committing sins destroys the actions that were performed to seek Allah’s proximity, such that it nullifies their effect.
This is just as though someone consumes healthy, nutritious food on one side and at the same time, intakes unhealthy and harmful food. This neutralizes the good effects of the healthy food.
Hence, the first stage of faith in light of the teachings of Ahlul Bayt is the issue of performing the obligations (Wajib) and refraining from forbidden acts (Harãm), with extraordinary emphasis and focus on avoiding the Harãm. In one narration, it is said: _”Faith is not present in one who commits a sin.”_
This means that until one does not seek forgiveness after having committed sins, faith would not enter his heart.
Similarly, Imam Baqir (a) says:
_”How great are the good deeds after sins, and how ugly are the bad deeds after good deeds.”_
The Holy Prophet (s) has also said:
_”Refraining from sins precedes the performance of good deeds.”_
*Ayatullah Tahriri*, Commentary on Munajat e Taibeen, pg 52-54