"...you deal with Allah as if you are playing with small children...as Ayyub as-Sakhtiyani said: "They try to trick Allah as if they are tricking a young boy."
I often stop at this verse:
قَدۡ جَآءَكُم بَصَآٮِٕرُ مِن رَّبِّكُمۡۖ فَمَنۡ أَبۡصَرَ فَلِنَفۡسِهِۦۖ وَمَنۡ عَمِىَ فَعَلَيۡهَاۚ وَمَآ أَنَا۟ عَلَيۡكُم بِحَفِيظٍ۬
"Verily, proofs have come to you from your Lord, so whosoever sees will do so for his ownself, and whosoever blinds himself will do so to his own harm, and I am not a watcher over you."
and ask myself: 'How can these hypocrites - I seek refuge with Allah from them - have their hearts so blind from seeing, with the Messenger between them, and the light of the Qur'an between them? How can their eyes be so deluded from seeing while the Prophet - this Prophet who receives Revelation - is not given his proper due from them?' And this is for no reason except that the heart is blind, and I seek refuge with Allah.
How can the heart be blind? How is it that the heart can be afflicted with blindness? Because of the abundance of sins. The sins start off small! He emboldens himself in front of Allah with a small sin, which leads him to become even more emboldened, and more emboldened, and Allah lets him be, as the Prophet said: "Verily, Allah leaves the wrongdoer, until He takes him and does not let him go."
Regarding the Children of Israel, He Said:
ذَٲلِكَ بِأَنَّهُمۡ كَانُواْ يَكۡفُرُونَ بِـَٔايَـٰتِ ٱللَّهِ وَيَقۡتُلُونَ ٱلنَّبِيِّـۧنَ بِغَيۡرِ ٱلۡحَقِّۗ ذَٲلِكَ بِمَا عَصَواْ وَّڪَانُواْ يَعۡتَدُونَ
"That was because they used to disbelieve in the signs of Allah, and killed the Prophets wrongfully. That was because they disobeyed and used to transgress the bounds."
It all began with sins and transgression, and ended with the killing of Prophets and disbelief in the signs of Allah.
Because of this, the Messenger of Allah said: "Allah has cursed the thief whose hand is cut off for stealing an egg." And does one have his hand cut off for stealing an egg? The scholars are agreed that one is not to have his hand cut off for stealing less than three dirhams‟ worth, is this not so? Yes! So, how can one have his hand cut off for stealing an egg? Because when he stole the egg, he then stole the chicken. And when he stole the chicken, he then stole a cow. This is how he ends up getting his hand cut off, and such are the sins.
The heart is like glass - do you not see the lamp? The glass lamp, or the windshield of the car…the windshield of the car has wipers and wiper fluid installed for it. So, whenever it becomes dirty, you press the button, and the fluid comes out, and the wipers clean it: "Follow a bad deed with a good deed, and it will wipe it out." However, if you splash into a pit of mud, how can you clean your windshield? If a major sin is drowned out by another major sin, which is itself drowned out by another major sin, the heart will become murky. If the servant commits a sin, it will leave a black spot on his heart, followed by another spot, followed by another spot – until it becomes engulfed in blackness. When the heart becomes black, no light can emanate from it, and none is seen from it, and this is what is meant here:
كَلَّاۖ بَلۡۜ رَانَ عَلَىٰ قُلُوبِہِم مَّا كَانُواْ يَكۡسِبُونَ
"Nay! On their hearts is the covering of sins and evil deeds which they used to earn."
He ends up not being able to visualize things, and one can see nothing from him. He becomes like the lens of a camera: if it is not wiped clean, one can see no pictures from it. Sometimes, he will see things for other than what they are if the dirt and murkiness pile on. So, if they pile on, he will see the good as being bad, and the bad as being good. He has darkened his heart, and has now become unable to distinguish between anything. He has obscured his heart, making it now necessary for his windshield wipers to work continuously, and these wipers will leave the heart clean. However, if the windshield becomes muddy, these wipers will simply spread the mud around. Such a situation requires long term effort, as you would not be able to use the wipers while you are driving. Such a case would require a true and sincere repentance, and a strong return to Allah, and nothing is impossible for you to do.
Many of the people were highway robbers. al-Fudayl bin 'Iyad was a highway robber, and one night, he came up to a house that he wanted to rob, only to find its owner standing up at night in prayer, reciting:
أَلَمۡ يَأۡنِ لِلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوٓاْ أَن تَخۡشَعَ قُلُوبُہُمۡ لِذِڪۡرِ ٱللَّهِ وَمَا نَزَلَ مِنَ ٱلۡحَقِّ وَلَا يَكُونُواْ كَٱلَّذِينَ أُوتُواْ ٱلۡكِتَـٰبَ مِن قَبۡلُ فَطَالَ عَلَيۡہِمُ ٱلۡأَمَدُ فَقَسَتۡ قُلُوبُہُمۡۖ وَكَثِيرٌ۬ مِّنۡہُمۡ فَـٰسِقُونَ
"Has not the time come for the hearts of those who to be affected by Allah's Reminder and that which has been revealed of the truth, lest they become as those who received the Scripture before, and the term was prolonged for them, and their hearts were hardened? And many of them were sinners."
He then said: "Yes, the time has come!" And he repented on the wall of the very house he was about to rob, and became al-Fudayl bin 'Iyad, the greatest of worshippers and ascetics, and from the greatest of scholars and Muhaddithin!
…It is within the person‟s capabilities to repent. However, he must make his repentance true and sincere! As for one disobeying Allah one day, followed by Allah making him taste the pain of his sin, followed by his repentance at the end of the day, and by morning, he returns to the way he was before repenting? No, no, no…it must be a true, sincere repentance, and the true and sincere repentance means that you a) completely detach yourself from the sin, and b) you make the most intense effort to never return to it again, and c) you truly regret what was done, and d) that you sooner or later patch up the rights of others that you violated. Only then will Allah take your repentance into consideration…"
['Fi Dhilal Surat at-Tawbah'; p. 322-324]
(SHEIKH 'ABDULLAH YUSUF 'AZZAM (ASY-SYAHID, INSYAALLAH)