Perhaps in the eyes of the people you are the perfect spouse, parent or friend and you may even get compliments about how wonderful you are however, but in the inside you know that everything is not as ‘wonderful’ as people may think.
We dislike and feel embarrassed to confess our faults and sins to people. We experience discomfort when we think that revealing our shortcomings are likely to undermine the image of ourselves that we seek to project to others.
Let’s be honest. Do you think people would have the same impression of you if they were to watch you all day indoors? Or maybe worse, what if they were able to know the bad feelings or thoughts you may have in your heart? No one can live among people and society without the “Sitr” of Allah.
Ibn Qayyim said:
“Know if people are impressed with you, in reality they are impressed with the beauty of Allah’s covering of your sins”
Indeed, Allah conceals your faults a great deal because He is As Sitteer الستير. Linguistically, As-Sitteer comes from the root word ‘sitr’ ستر meaning ‘to conceal’. Just as Allah conceals our sins He also commands us to conceal them.
Aboo Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: I heard the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) saying:
“All of my ummah (nation of followers) will be excused, except for the mujaahireen (those who make their sins known). And verily it is a kind of mujaaharah (exposing one’s sins) that a man does something (sinful) at night, and then in the morning, when Allaah has screened his sin for him, he says, ‘Hey So-and-So! I did such-and-such last night…’ And the night passed with His Lord screening him, and he wakes up casting aside the screen of Allaah from himself.”(1)
Allah As Sitteer, and out of His Sitr and His mercy, prohibits us from exposing our own sins as well as the faults of other people (unless you have to disclose it for a legislated reason, i.e to avoid a major harm) to protect our honour. This is because rather than exposing you, Allah loves that you run to Him to confess and ask Him for forgiveness in secret. The feeling of confessing your sins to Allah is a unique experience. With Allah you feel a soothing feeling that you are able to speak everything out to Allah without the need of having anyone else in between; this pure and genuine connection that makes your heart alive and it fills it with joy, love and hope. You know that Allah will forgive you, excuse your weaknesses and will not deprive you from His love as long as you repent. This is because your relationship with Allah is not like the one you have with people. With Allah the doors are always open because He will never ever reject a sincere heart who wants to start a fresh page again.
If you want to love Allah and enjoy your servitude to your Lord, then you need to know Him. Many of us feel away from Allah at times, unable to see and ponder about the manifestations of His Names and Attributes in each situation. Pondering about Allah’s attribute of As Sitr ستر and acting upon the correct understanding of this name will help you to build a stronger relationship with Allah and make you realise the Mercy, Perfection and Greatness of His religion.
(1)(Imaam al-Bukhaaree in his Saheeh (6069), Book of Manners, Chapter: The Muslim’s Screening of Himself)