‘I do not absolve myself of weakness, for the inner self is surely prone to enjoin evil, except on whom my Lord has mercy. My Lord is of course Protector (against sins), Ever Merciful’.---(Surah Yusuf, 12:54).
This sublime expression of humility in the declaration of Prophet Yusuf (as) points to a larger truth about moral failings in the human condition: only Divine Grace can help us traverse the flood of base passions. As humans, each one of us has an innate proclivity or inborn weakness to be swayed at times by the attractions and colours of this world. Our bodily urges can and will, at times, eclipse our moral responsibility and injure our spiritual self. Satan can induce us to stumble in moments of frenzy and we might forget or even willfully ignore that God watches over us in all that we do, openly and secretly. Whether we remain within the laws of the permissible- respecting the boundaries of the Shari'ah- or commit transgressions and become liable for sins; the reality is that God knows about it all. Indeed the Lord of the Universe knows about the deep desires and other inner passions that fuel all our actions- good and bad- and especially, our many failings. The Qur’an emphatically declares: “Were it not for God’s Grace upon you and His Mercy, not one of you would ever be pure.” (Surah Al-Nur, 24: 22)