In the early days, flour was milled using stone wheels. Flour was then sifted to remove the little stone chips of the millstone and other impurities that got into flour.
The sieve or sifter was used to separate the good from the bad, the wanted commodity from the unwanted commodity: The good flour was, in this way, separated from the stone or dirt particles. The good flour passed through the sieve and settled in a dish or container. The stone particles or dirt particles remained behind in the sieve.
…Today’s flour goes through modern milling equipment, which removes impurities almost entirely. However, considering the initial methods used to sift flour and separate it, the following analogy came to mind.
People like us are engaged in the khidmat of Deen: We give Bayaans, teach in Madrasahs, write books, etc. – and others benefit.
They settle in the obedience of Allah Ta’ala and they settle in a life that is in conformity with the Sunnah - like how the good flour settles, having fallen through a sieve. They establish their Deen and occupy themselves in good and their end result is, Insha-Allah, Jannah.
And we sometimes just remain in the sieve – like the stone particles or impurities. Despite our knowledge and Khidmat of Deen, our A’maal are so weak. …There is negligence and there is laziness. Sometimes there is no Salaah, no effort to abstain from sins, etc., despite being blessed with a great amount of knowledge of Deen and even propagating the same.
Nafs and shaytaan trap us in sins like Takabbur, Riyaa, Ujub, casting lustful gazes, backbiting, etc. and like that sieve holds the unwanted particles back, we are kept back from any progress, spiritually.
However, Allah Ta’ala, in His Infinite Kindness, has given the human being the capacity of changing from bad to good, from being sinful to becoming righteous and pious. …If we repent for our shortcomings, and improve in our A’maal, then we too will not be held back by the sieve of sins, the sieve of nafs and shaytaan. We will be able to move through the sieve, out of that grip of nafs and shaytaan, and settle in the obedience and pleasure of Allah Ta’ala.
This becomes easy for the one who establishes a relationship with a Shaykh-e-Kaamil. …Even if a person is an Aalim or the person is involved in some service of Deen, he should not remain independent of the guidance and expertise of a Shaykh – because knowledge is not sufficient on this path. The person should humble himself and submit himself to the process of Islaah and Tazkiyyah.
May Allah Ta’ala grant us the Taufeeq. Aameen.