“O you who believe, fear Allah and keep your duty to Him. And let every soul look to what he has sent forth for the morrow—and fear Allah. Indeed, Allah is All-Aware of what you do. And be not like those who forgot Allah, so He made them forget themselves. Those are the faasiqoon.”
—Qur’an (Al-Hashr, 59:18-19)
“Each day, someone is messaging me about how I inspired them or helped them,” the woman told me proudly. This was her way of proving to me that her establishment of an online “progressive community” that reinterpreted the Qur’an until it denied Allah’s definition of marriage, gender and halaal sexuality, was somehow blessed and valid.
“And you really think that has anything to do with truth or falsehood?” I asked, genuinely taken aback by her pride and spiritual ignorance. “I get those same messages,” I told her, “and so does every other public figure, even disbelievers. It’s only a benefit for you if what you’re teaching is actually true in front of Allah. Otherwise, it’s just proof against us, and we’ll have to answer to Allah for all the souls we misguided and harmed in this world.”
Social Influence Isn’t Always a Blessing
Regarding those who use their social influence to misguide others, Allah says what has been translated to mean, “They will bear their own burdens in full on the Day of Resurrection, and also of the burdens of those whom they misled without knowledge. Evil indeed is that which they shall bear” (An-Nahl, 16:25).
People praising you or being inspired by you is not evidence that you’re on the right path. This is a note I wrote in my personal journal as a spiritual reminder to myself.
I wanted to remind my soul that people supporting you or feeling inspired by you proved absolutely nothing about the rightness of the path you were taking. Yes, it is indeed a divine blessing to be gifted with the opportunity to benefit others. However, this worldly blessing ultimately means nothing if you aren’t also a blessing to yourself.
Moreover, being an inspiration or influence to others is not the same as being an actual benefit or blessing to them.
Blessings Are Only for Healthy Souls
The nature of this world is such that each soul is drawn to another based on the spiritual state of their own heart, not by the authenticity of the person’s spiritual path.
Soul connections are a reality for all human beings, irrespective of one’s faith or level of righteousness. A soul that is content in sin feels drawn to another soul that is content in sin, and a soul that finds contentment in worshipping Allah feels drawn to another soul that finds contentment in worshipping Allah.
In each of these respective states, we “inspire” each other and feel connected to each other. In these states, we also feel repelled by those whose “soul vibration” opposes ours. For this reason, a soul that is content in sin recoils against a soul that is repentant to Allah.
However, the existence of emaan (sincere faith) in a sinful heart, or the existence of the fitrah (inherent spiritual state of purity) in a disbelieving heart makes it possible for us to benefit each other by using spiritual reminders that touch the deepest part of ourselves.
Allah discusses these soul-touching reminders in this ayah about how believers should treat the hypocrites: “They (hypocrites) are those whom Allah knows what is in their hearts, so turn aside from them. But admonish them, and speak to them an effective word to reach their inner-selves” (An-Nisaa, 4:63).
Even as we share beneficial reminders to every human soul, it is only the heart of the mu’min (sincere believer) that will consistently benefit from these spiritual reminders. In the heart of the believer, these reminders inspire repentance, self-correction, and purification of the soul. Allah says what has been translated to mean, “And remind, for indeed, the reminder benefits the believers” (Adh-Dhaariyaat, 51:55).
In contrast, those whose hearts have been overcome by spiritual diseases such as contentment in sin or kufr (disbelief) will not necessarily benefit from reminders—even if they recognize them as true. Rather, their hearts find satisfaction and inspiration in words and environments that allow them to feel content in sin. In the heart of the faasiq (evildoer), there is a restless desire to escape self-correction and repentance—until it genuinely sees good as evil and evil as good.
This heart condition makes the faasiq spiritually deaf to beneficial reminders, spiritually “dumb” in comprehending anything that can heal the soul, and spiritually blind to soul-nourishing truth, even if the noor is right in front of their eyes. Allah says what has been translated to mean, “They are deaf, dumb, and blind, so they return not [to the right path]” (Al-Baqarah, 2:18).
For this reason, online communities of fisq—like the “progressive” one that the woman built for professed Muslims who wanted to indulge in LGBTQ lifestyles—will almost always be a source of “refuge” and a “safe space” for ailing souls. Due to the sheer number of human souls running from surrendering to their Creator, these communities will almost always have droves of followers and countless people who are “inspired” by them—often more numerous than communities of souls running toward the forgiveness of their Lord.
But this camaraderie of inspiration is due to the shared states of these people’s ailing hearts, not to the spiritual benefit of the community itself.
Soul Connection Doesn’t Equal Spiritual Benefit
When the woman bragged to me about how many people she was inspiring in her progressive community, she failed to realize that every person has a “soul tribe” in this world. In these soul tribes, we inspire and draw inspiration from each other based upon the spiritual inclination of our hearts, whether toward guidance or misguidance. However, these “inspirational” soul connections do not necessarily involve any spiritual benefit.
In fact, for those whose entire tribe is built on supporting and encouraging sin, what is being interpreted as “inspiration” is merely each person pushing the other deeper and deeper into a spiritual abyss.
In the soul-tribe of spiritual harm, the “inspirational” words of a leader or public figure merely serve as a human channel to aid Iblis (Satan) in doing what he promised, as discussed in Qur’an: “…I shall indeed adorn the path of error for them on earth…” (Al-Hijr, 15:39).
Who Is Your Soul Tribe?
Our Mother ‘Aa’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) said, “I heard the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) saying: ‘Souls are like conscripted soldiers; those whom they recognize, they get along with, and those whom they do not recognize, they will not get along with’” (Sahih Bukhari).
In this prophetic teaching, we learn that our souls are like magnets to one another. Therefore, while we are in this world, we are drawn to kindred souls that are on relatively parallel spiritual paths. In this way, we inspire each other on our respective soul paths—even if that path leads directly to Hellfire.
These stark differences between our worldly soul paths is conveyed in these words from the Qur’an, as proclaimed by a believer at the time of Pharaoh, “And O my people, how is it that I invite you to salvation, while you invite me to the Fire?” (Al-Ghaafir, 40:41).
I remember one day reading an Instagram post by the author Lalah Delia that said something like, “Your tribe is a spiritual message.”
And I thought to myself, SubhaanAllah, how true that is—for better or worse.
In another post she said, “The right people bring your soul medicine.”
And I recognized just how profoundly true that is. The only question is, What type of medicine are you seeking?
Are you seeking medicine to soothe the pangs of guilt so you can feel peaceful while your soul surrenders to the agony of sin and misguidance? Or are you seeking medicine to heal the wounds on your soul, so you can peacefully surrender to the guidance of your Lord?
Even if that “medicine” tastes bitter, and stings as it purifies your spiritual veins from sin.
Because it is only through the medicine of sincere spiritual surrender that you—and your soul tribe—become a blessing to yourself.
Umm Zakiyyah is the internationally acclaimed author of twenty books, including the If I Should Speak trilogy, Muslim Girl, and His Other Wife. In 2019, she launched UZ Soul Gear, a passion project fueled by her love of both art and inspirational reflections. UZSoulGear.com offers apparel, wall décor, and more, aimed at supporting and inspiring the soul-centered lifestyle.
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