“No Sonia you’re so nice. We love you. You’re always so helpful. We can always count on you. You’ve never disappointed us. You’re my rock. How can you say this? You’re so productive. Why would you think you have a bad guy in you? You have not one bad bone in your body. Remember when you were the only person who would help me. Don’t say this. I can’t hear this. You’re shortchanging yourself. I’m so proud of you. You’re the best mom and daughter. I love your marriage. I don’t wanna hear you say it again”.
Yes, the bad guy in me. And in you. And in our parents. And in our spouses. And actually in every person who has a conscience. There’s a bad guy in all of us. And there’s a good guy. But the good guy usually cowers under the bad guy’s gaze. And the bad guy usually triumphantly laughs until it’s not laughing anymore.
The bad guy is the strong guy. It’s the part of us that stops us from being the first voice of change. It’s the predominant streak. It’s the guy who stops us from donating because we don’t have enough for ourselves. It stops us from extending a hand because we need help ourselves. It prevents active engagement with the good guy.
The bad guy is actually the lazy one, the happy one, the strong one and the procrastinating one. That’s the guy who wants us to need him all the time. That’s the guy who works against our emancipation from him.
Now some may ask why the good guy isn’t stronger or just as strong as the bad guy?
Here’s why! Being the good guy is a lackluster life in self-doubt and wallowing in the decisions that it takes out of the goodness of its heart. The good guy isn’t sure if its existence has any positive effect on anyone including himself. The good guy doesn’t have it easy with others either. It is usually made to feel crappy by the bad guy and other people surrounding it.
But the good guy still wins! How? Okay let me start with my own reflections about it.
I believe that Allah wants us to win. He really is always rooting for us. He makes us win in the harshest of situations. And boy! Does he create tests for us! He creates tests that are demanding in emotion and sometimes even physical work. But the way I see it, Allah gives us tests like our teachers challenge us. Some of us are challenged more and some less, depending on how well our teachers think we will do. And when we go over their expectations, no one is prouder of us than them.
So Allah gives us a test and then watches us ace it with smarts and the morals that Quran and Sunnah have taught us. Sometimes we ace it and sometimes we don’t. But if we applied the right principles, then Allah gives us credit anyway. There is always an A for effort in His book.
So that’s the story with the good guy. The good guy’s biggest test is the bad guy. The good guy’s biggest test is the resourcefulness of the bad guy. The reach of the bad guy. The influence of the bad guy. The seemingly smooth operation of the bad guy over our better side.
And then there are tests for the good guy within himself also. Self-doubt, societal pressure, fear of transgression, the feeling of insecurity over celebrating himself too much over an accomplishment in morality. Yes that’s a fear too. The good guy never thinks that it did a good job. Even when he thinks he did a good job he shakes that feeling off and engages in self-doubt again.
Takabbur, the quality that when applied to humans would be translated as arrogance and stuffiness, but when applied to Allah would be grandeur and rightful pride in His creation and His almightiness, is a truly legitimate fear of the good guy. He doesn’t want to engage in it. That makes him lose his points with Allah.
But…… hear me out!!!!!! To be proud of our evolution as good humans is a good thing. Acknowledging our lacking self two years ago versus our more wholesome self now is a good thing. Knowing that we defeated the bad guy on so many occasions and didn’t let him raise his head on many occasions keeps us going forward in our faith and morality. Knowing that the bad guy is vincible is heartening.
Give yourself credit for having the good guy. Never forget the bad guy. The bad guy is running in us like blood runs in our vessels. But the good guy lives in the same heart that our blood occupies too. The good and the bad are existing in the same person, in the same moment. And it takes a lot for the good guy to have a winning streak ever against the bad guy, because the bad guy is so much stronger and inviting.
So each time you choose the right over the easy, be proud of yourself because Allah is proud of you. In that moment Allah celebrates your good guy by awarding you points. So in that moment celebrate your good guy with Allah. In that moment, Allah and you are happy for the same thing.