There is a new anti-smoking medicine out there. I first tried it during a business trip in Scotland. It works as follows: you gurgle with it before you smoke, it washes out and purifies your taste buds such that if you try to pop in a cigarette in the next 24 hours, you cannot help but cringe at the unbearably bitter taste of the toxins contained therein.
Now, whether you can actually taste them or not, these toxins are always there when you smoke, doing their number on your lungs, blood, skin, teeth, hair, etc. Smokers may think they are better of not tasting the toxins; but then again, if they could always taste them, they would realize the reality of what they are getting into, the reality of feeding on poison. Who would continue to smoke if the act of smoking itself was an unbearable experience and not a seemingly pleasant and rewarding one? Who would smoke if the act of smoking actually felt as repulsive as its effect?
The only reason people smoke is because smoking is a treacherous, two-faced friend, like drugs and alcohol, it gives you a false feeling of pleasure and comfort while stabbing you in the back. But what if you could see right through the treachery?
Things are not very different with sin for which faith, not punishment, is the only medicine, the only purifier, the only deterrent.
Faith – the state of being in a deep conscious peace with God – washes out your eyes, and you begin to see sin for the bitter-tasting, harmful, and painful toxin that it is to your soul. Whether you actually taste it or not, sin is poisonous to your soul, no less than toxins are poisonous to your body, doing its number on you by wreaking confusion, sadness, anger, unhappiness, and depression.
You may not like being able to taste and confront the staying bitter effect of sin on your mind and soul, and may prefer to enjoy its instant gratification instead. But that’s the point, if you could actually taste sin and if the taste instantly horrified rather than gratified you, would you not have an easier time resisting the urge?
As you purify your soul by averting sin, you begin to feel a new and uniquely comforting sense of bliss. Blessings and success follow in your life in things big and small. The Holy Qur’an explains in 91:9 that God inspired every soul with a capacity for good and evil, he/she or who purifies his/her soul, succeeds, and he who contaminates it, fails.
This process is not magical or supernatural. In a way, the relationship between sin and the polluting of the soul is as logical and scientific as that between smoking and the polluting of the body, if only we understood that science. But at least understand this: just as a magic fairy does not come and slap you with cancer as punishment for smoking, likewise a magic fairy does not sap away your inner peace as a punishment for sin. Toxins naturally cause cancer, and sin naturally depletes your inner peace. Both the domains of the body and the soul are self-containing and self-sustaining systems. God created the balance that keeps them and everything else in check. The Holy Qur’an states in 55:7-9, “He has set up the Balance. In order that you may not transgress (in the) balance. And observe the weight with equity and do not make the balance deficient.”
Resisting faith is the biggest injustice - the greatest imbalance - a soul could inflict on itself.
Often Christian preachers ask you to pray for God “to come in to your life.” In fact, he is always in your life, sustaining you when you acknowledge him and sustaining you when you deny him. Such is his mercy. Pray that you remove the blinders from your eyes so that you can sense it with clarity, much like how that mouth wash cleans out the taste buds. You will then realize it, embrace it, and celebrate it. That you are never alone. That he who loves you most and who has power over all things can be your confidante and ally through thick and thin rewarding you with the greatest gift of all that no one or thing can ever take away from you: inner peace.