During the course of life, man is tested in his reactions to the incidents he encounters and in his inner thoughts. During this trial we encounter two alternatives: we either listen to the voice of our divine guide, our conscience, or we conform to the lowest form of our selves, which initially always lead to wrong. Allah draws attention to these two voices in the following verses:
And the self and what proportioned it and inspired it with depravity or taqwa. (Surat ash-Shams: 9-10)
The unregenerate self, which is the lowest form of the human self (nafs) turns to rebellion, evil and disobedience of Allah's commands. It actually obeys evil prompting man to disregard attaining the good pleasure of Allah and to be committed to his own desires. The evil does this stealthily. If a person does not listen to the voice of his conscience, he will simply be deceived by evil whisperings of his self.
However, in every circumstance, the conscience never remains quiet until one breathes his last. Despite the stealthy inculcation of the evil, the conscience commands us to do virtuous and blessed deeds.
Surely this is a matchless system and a great favour Allah grants man. No matter which incident man encounters in life, no matter where he goes or what origin he has, he possesses a guide to the truth. Always keep in mind that you possess a guide to the truth. Never pretend that you don't understand this inner voice.
Furthermore, conscience is not an inspiration peculiar only to believers. It exists in every individual, including disbelievers. However, that believers always comply with the voice of their conscience makes them different. Disbelievers, on the other hand, satisfy their own desires despite what their consciences tell them. Allah draws attention to this subject in a story about Ibrahim. In the Qur'an, Allah relates the following dialog between Ibrahim and his people which occurred after Ibrahim broke the idols, which his people worshipped, except the biggest one:
They said, "Did you this to our gods, Ibrahim?" He said: "No, this one, the biggest of them, did it. Ask them if they are able to speak!" They consulted among themselves and said, "It is you yourselves who are wrongdoers." But then they relapsed back into their disbelief: "You know full well these idols cannot talk." (Surat al-Anbiya: 62-65)
The people who uttered these words were actually the ones who decided to cast Ibrahim to the fire. Even these people, so cruel in attempting to kill a prophet who was assigned the duty of guiding them to the truth, had consciences telling them the truth. Yet as the verse suggests, "they were blind and deaf" (Surat al-Ma'idah: 71), they pretended not to understand the truth.
Like every other man, you have both a conscience and an evil who misleads you. You also hear the voices of your conscience and your evil. If you want to attain the good pleasure of Allah and truthfulness, don't pretend that you don't hear the voice of your conscience.
A person may feel concerned that he is not able to distinguish these two voices. Yet, keep in mind that conscience does not fail to see the truth for a moment; it instantly tells the truth. However, as one hears this voice, the evil immediately tries to mislead the self. The self makes various excuses. The evil strives to thwart one from doing what one's conscience whispers. In other words, encountering an incident, what one initially hears is the voice of the conscience. All the excuses we make against following this voice are the voice of one's self. At the moment you hear this voice of the conscience, don't pretend you don't grasp that this voice, calling you to the good pleasure of Allah, is your conscience.
If one ignores the voice of the conscience, in time, one becomes almost a slave of the self, becoming prone to any kind of wickedness. Since such an attitude is merely an expression of one's own preference, one fails this test, and loses the blessed eternal life - unless Allah wills otherwise - whose loss is eternal deprivation. Man bears the sole responsibility of being a slave of Allah, which can only be achieved by acting by the Book and by following one's conscience. Allah calls the end of those who pretend not to understand this fact 'failure' in the following verse:
He who purifies it has succeeded, he who covers it up has failed. (Surat ash-Shams: 7-8)
Surely almost every one has experienced the inner pain that regret gives. The main cause of this feeling is not following the commands of conscience, which is also a divine warning to man. In some circumstances, this pain is not relieved until one amends one's misdeeds or changes one's flawed preferences; it simply turns into spiritual torture. So, do not pretend you don't grasp it, when you are full of remorse. This is surely a sign of a misdeed you have done; your conscience has already told you what you did wrong and where you did it. Take this chance to compensate for your misdeeds in this world, while there is still a chance. In the Hereafter, the regret you will feel will be unbearable and will remain with you for all eternity, unless it is for the forgiveness of Allah and His mercy.
Even though your self thinks of it as a difficult task or it is unwilling to follow the conscience, don't pretend that you don't grasp your conscience is guiding you to the truth. Be certain that Allah has infinite conscience; if you persist in following the Qur'an and are alert to what your conscience commands, then Allah will bountifully reward you for all your deeds, even for the ones that may seem insignificant to you. Meanwhile, surely those who remain heedless of the Book and about their consciences will not be treated the same in the presence of Allah.