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SINS AND REPENTANCE.

1)                 MAJOR SINS

2)                 SECOND MAJOR SIN

3)                 PEOPLE BOASTING THEIR SINS

4)                 COMMITTING A SIN OPENLY

5)                 AFFECTS OF A SINFUL PERSON ON FAMILY

6)                 SIN INHERITANCE

7)                 ORIGINAL SIN ANALYSIS

8)                 Sins, repentance and forgiveness

9)                 FORMS OF EXPIATION (KAFFARAHS)

10)               Sins and consequences

11)              FORGIVENESS DESPITE REPEATED SINS

12)             Repentance: When death is certain

13)             EVIL DOER REPENTANCE

14)             LOOKING HARAM THINGS AND REPENTANCE

15)             Suicide: And sacrifice of life

16)             Suicide: How does Islam view suicide?

17)             Souls: Persons who commit suicide or are murdered

18)             MURDER IS ONE OF THE GREATEST OF MAJOR SINS

19)             KILLING BACK IF OTHER FAILS

20)             WHAT IS CONSIDERED ZINA

21)             HOW TO GET RID OF STOLEN GOODS

22)             DOES COMMITING A SIN OPENLY PUT A PERSON BEYOND THE PALE OF ISLAM ?

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1. MAJOR SINS

 

Question:                                                                                                                   

 

What are the major sins? How many are there? Can you enumerate them?

 

Answer:                                                                                                                      

The major sins are those acts which have been forbidden by Allah in the Qur’an and by His Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) in the Sunnah, and which have been made clear by the actions of the first righteous generation of Muslims, the Companions of the Prophet. Allah Almighty says: "If you avoid the major (part) of what you have been forbidden (to do), We will cancel out for you your (other) evil deeds and will admit you (to Paradise) with a noble entry" (An-Nisaa’ 4:31)

In this verse, Allah Almighty has guaranteed the Garden of Paradise to those who avoid the major sins. And Allah Almighty also says: "Those who avoid the greatest of sins and indecencies, and forgive when they are angry" (Ash-Shura 42:37) and "Those who avoid the greatest sins and indecencies, except for oversights, (will find that) surely your Lord is ample in forgiveness…..." (An-Najm 53:32)

The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said: "The five (daily) Prayers, Friday to Friday and Ramadan to Ramadan, make atonement for what has happened since the previous one, as long as major sins have been avoided." It is therefore very important to determine exactly what the greatest vices, technically called "the major sins" (kaba’ir), are in order that Muslims should avoid them.

There is some difference of opinion among scholars in this regard. Some say these major sins are seven, and in support of their position they quote the hadith: "Avoid the seven noxious things: associating anything with Allah, magic, killing one whom Allah has declared inviolate without a just cause, consuming the property of an orphan, devouring riba (interest), turning back when the army advances, and slandering chaste women who are believers but indiscreet" (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

`Abdullah ibn `Abbas said: "Seventy is closer to their number than seven," and indeed that is correct. The above hadith does not limit the major sins to those mentioned in it. Rather, it points to the type of sins which fall into the category of major. These include those crimes which call for a prescribed punishment (hadd), such as theft, fornication or adultery, and murder; those prohibited acts for which a warning of a severe punishment in the Hereafter is given in the Qur'an or the Sunnah; and also those deeds which are cursed by our Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). These are all major sins.

Of course, there is a gradation among them, since some are more serious than others. We see that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) has included shirk (associating someone or something with Allah) among them, and from the text of the Qur'an we know that a person who commits shirk will not be forgiven and will remain in Hell forever. Allah Most High says: "Surely, Allah does not forgive associating anything with Him, and He forgives whatever is other than that to whomever He wills." (An-Nisaa' 4:48)

The Major Sins

1. Associating anything with Allah

2. Showing disrespect to parents

3. Murder

4. Practicing magic

5. Abandoning salah (ritual Prayer)

6. Not paying zakah

7. Not fasting during the month of Ramadan without excuse

8. Not performing Hajj, while being able to do so

9. Severing relations with relatives

10. Committing adultery

11. Committing sodomy

12. Dealing in riba (interest)

13. Wrongfully consuming the property of an orphan

14. Lying about Allah or His Messenger

15. Running away from the battlefield

16. Deceiving the people that one rules and being unjust to them

17. Being proud and arrogant

18. Bearing false witness

19. Drinking alcohol

20. Gambling

21. Falsely accusing chaste women (i.e. of committing fornication or adultery)

22. Stealing from the spoils of war

23. Stealing

24. Committing highway robbery

25. Making false oath

26. Committing oppression

27. Earning ill-gotten gain.

28. Consuming what is unlawful.

29. Committing suicide

30. Lying frequently

31. Judging unjustly

32. Giving and accepting a bribe

33. Imitating the opposite sex (in dress, behavior, and the like)

34. Allowing one’s wife, daughters, etc. to display their beauty to men or conduct illicit sexual relations

35. Marrying a divorced woman in order to make her lawful for her ex-husband to remarry her after he irrevocably divorced her

36. Not protecting oneself or one's clothes from being contaminated with urine or excrement.

37. Showing off

38. Learning knowledge of the religion for the sake of this world and withholding that knowledge (i.e., not teaching people)

39. Betraying a trust

40. Recounting favors

41. Denying Allah's Decree

42. Listening to people's private conversations

43. Carrying gossip

44. Swearing

45. Breaking contracts

46. Believing in fortune-tellers

47. Behaving badly towards one’s husband

48. Making statues

49. Lamenting, wailing, tearing the clothing, and doing other things of this sort when an affliction falls

50. Treating others wrongfully

51. Treating one’s wife, servant, the weak, and animals badly

52. Offending one's neighbor

53. Offending and abusing Muslims

54. Offending people and having an arrogant attitude toward them

55. Trailing one's garment in pride

56. Wearing silk and gold (this is for men only)

57. Running away from one’s master (this is for slaves)

58. Slaughtering an animal that has been dedicated to anyone other than Allah

59. To knowingly ascribe one's paternity to a man other than one's biological father

60. Arguing and disputing violently

61. Withholding excess water

62. Giving short weight or measure

63. Feeling secure from Allah's Plan

64. Offending pious people

65. Not praying in congregation but praying alone without an excuse

66. Persistently missing Friday Prayer without any excuse

67. Usurping the rights of the heir through bequests (to others)

68. Deceiving and plotting evil

69. Spying for the enemy of the Muslims against Muslim's interest

70. Cursing or insulting any of the Companions of the Prophet

Source: The Major Sins (Al-Kaba’ir) by Muhammad ibn `Uthman Adh-Dhahabi, rendered into English by Mohammad Moinuddin Siddiqui.

Excerpted from: www.islamonline.net

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2. SECOND MAJOR SIN

Question :

After Shirk (association of partners with Allah) is there any specific order in which the sins fall? If so, what is the second major sin?

Answer :

It is well-known that Islam urges every Muslim to be dutiful to his parents, extending to them the kindest treatment possible. Failing to treat one’s parents kindly makes one guilty of disobedience to those parents as well as to Allah, and this may deprive one of a chance of being admitted to Paradise. So it goes without saying that disobedience to parents or mistreating them is the second major sin after polytheism.

This point is further clarified by Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and an Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, as follows:

“The first commandment in Islam as revealed to all prophets is to worship Allah and the second is to treat one’s parents kindly. Accordingly, the first major sin is Shirk (association of partners with Allah), and the second major sin is mistreating one’s parents.

The Prophet (peace and blessings be on him) said:
“Shall I tell you of the three most heinous sins?” He repeated this question three times and then said, “They are: to associate partners with Allah, to mistreat one’s parents, and to bear false testimony.”

In another tradition, the Prophet (peace and blessings be on him) said, “One who mistreats his parents cannot hope to enter Paradise.”

Also, he said,
“The pleasure of Allah is in the pleasure of one’s parents and the wrath of Allah is in the wrath of one’s parents.”

Now, it becomes clear that mistreatment of parents stands as the second major sin of Islam, after Shirk. Yet, a Muslim has to steer clear of all sins, major and minor, so as to gain Allah’s pleasure.

Excerpted, with slight modifications, from: www.islamonline.net

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3. PEOPLE  BOASTING THEIR SINS

Question :

I have two questions: one is regarding the fatwa you just answered about people boasting about their sins. I had posed a certain hadith according to which Allah won't forgive people who boast about their sins but according to the explanation you gave only those people will abide in hell forever who commit shirk. Then how do u explain this hadith?

Answer :

Let us first mention the hadith you referred to in your earlier question sent to 'Ask the Scholar' as well as here:

Abu Hurayrah said: I heard Allah’s Messenger saying. "All the sins of my followers will be forgiven except those of the Mujahirin (those who commit a sin openly or disclose their sins to the people). An example of such disclosure is that a person commits a sin at night and though Allah screens it from the public, then he comes in the morning, and says, ‘O so-and-so, I did such-and-such (evil) deed yesterday,’ though he spent his night screened by his Lord (none knowing about his sin) and in the morning he removes Allah’s screen from himself." (Reported by Muslim)

We have already stated in the earlier answer that the above hadith was said in a certain context; which is to warn those who publicly boast about their sins in which they did in private. Those are the Mujahirin referred to in the hadith. Islam warns Muslims who commit sins in private not to publicly boast about their sins after Allah has covered their sins. This state of affairs is known in Islamic Fiqh as satr which refers to the fact that one should not uncover the satr granted to him by Allah. We are human beings who commit mistakes and sin day and night, but we have to refrain from boasting with our sins as it maybe that the sin committed in private is likely to be forgiven in private. When we go about boasting with our wrongdoings in public and tell others about our mistakes ostentatiously then how can Allah forgive us? This is the core message of the Prophetic hadith, and hence it has no relation with abiding in the Hellfire. The fact that a certain group of people boast with sins doesn't automatically mean that they will abide in the Hellfire forever. This is the concept stressed in the earlier answer and we stress it here.

Excerpted from: www.islamonline.net

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4. COMMITTING A SIN OPENLY

Question :  

Is it kufr to commit a sin openly and discuss about sinful activities such as movies, songs etc? Does this rule apply to both major as well as minor sins? Please pay attention to this question, as a number of our brothers and sisters who have newly inclined towards Islam are facing this problem.

Answer:  Praise be to Allah.

One of the things concerning which there can be no doubt is the fact that committing acts of disobedience and major sins openly is sin upon sin which may lead a person to kufr at the time of committing that sin openly, because he takes the prohibition on that lightly and is proud of what he is doing. There is no difference between major and minor sins with regard to this ruling.  

It was narrated that Abu Hurayrah said: I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) say: “All of my ummah may be forgiven except those who commit sin openly. It is a kind of committing sin openly if a man does something at night, then morning comes and Allah has concealed his sin, but he says, ‘O So and so, I did such and such last night,’ when his Lord has concealed him (his action) all night but in the morning he reveals that which Allah had concealed for him.”   Narrated by Bukhaari, 5721; Muslim, 2990 

Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allah have mercy on him) said:  

… There is a third type of immoral, promiscuous evildoer, who speaks of zina with pride (Allah forbid), and speaks of how he traveled to such and such a land, and committed immoral actions and adultery with a number of women, and so on, and he boasts about that. 

This person should be asked to repent; if he repents all well and good, otherwise he should be executed, because if a person boasts about committing zina, this implies that he regards zina as being permissible (Allah forbid), and whoever regards zina as permissible is a kaafir. 

Sharh Riyaadh al-Saaliheen, 1/116 

Undoubtedly there are varying degrees of disobedience, and the level of sin varies according to the person’s state of mind whilst committing the sin and afterwards. The one who conceals his sin is not like one who commits sin openly. The one who regrets it afterwards is not like one who boasts about it. 

Ibn al-Qayyim said: 

In conclusion, evil actions vary according to their consequences. Those who have boyfriends or girlfriends commit a less serious sin than those who commit immoral actions with anyone; the one who commits sin in secret is doing something less serious than one who commits sin openly and broadcasts it. The one who keeps quiet about it commits a less serious sin than one who tells people about it. Such a one is far removed from the forgiveness of Allah, as the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “All of my ummah may be forgiven except those who commit sin openly…” 

Ighaathat al-Lahfaan, 2/147 

The basic principle is that the Muslim should follow his sin with repentance and seeking forgiveness; he should regret what he has done and resolve never to go back to it. He should not follow it with boasting and speaking openly about it. 

Ahmad (8792) and al-Tirmidhi (3334) narrated that Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “If the believer commits a sin, a black spot appears on his heart. If he repents, gives it up and seeks forgiveness, his heart is cleansed, but if he does more then (that spot) increases until it covers his heart. That is the raan (covering of sin) which Allah mentioned in the Qur’aan: 

“Nay! But on their hearts is the Raan (covering of sins and evil deeds) which they used to earn”  (Al-Mutaffafeen 83:14) 

Classed as hasan by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Tirmidhi, 2654 

There remains one issue that was mentioned in the question, which is the committing of sin openly by those who are new in Islam. Those people are still unaware of the rulings of Islam, so they are excused if they do not know the shar’i rulings, but they should be taught. So strive to teach them, and show them this answer. 

May Allah help us to do that which He loves and which pleases Him. 

And Allah knows best.

Excerpted, with some modifications, from: http://islamqa.com/en/

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4. COMMITTING A SIN OPENLY

Question :  

Is it kufr to commit a sin openly and discuss about sinful activities such as movies, songs etc? Does this rule apply to both major as well as minor sins? Please pay attention to this question, as a number of our brothers and sisters who have newly inclined towards Islam are facing this problem.

Answer:  Praise be to Allah.

One of the things concerning which there can be no doubt is the fact that committing acts of disobedience and major sins openly is sin upon sin which may lead a person to kufr at the time of committing that sin openly, because he takes the prohibition on that lightly and is proud of what he is doing. There is no difference between major and minor sins with regard to this ruling.  

It was narrated that Abu Hurayrah said: I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) say: “All of my ummah may be forgiven except those who commit sin openly. It is a kind of committing sin openly if a man does something at night, then morning comes and Allah has concealed his sin, but he says, ‘O So and so, I did such and such last night,’ when his Lord has concealed him (his action) all night but in the morning he reveals that which Allah had concealed for him.”   Narrated by Bukhaari, 5721; Muslim, 2990 

Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allah have mercy on him) said:  

… There is a third type of immoral, promiscuous evildoer, who speaks of zina with pride (Allah forbid), and speaks of how he traveled to such and such a land, and committed immoral actions and adultery with a number of women, and so on, and he boasts about that. 

This person should be asked to repent; if he repents all well and good, otherwise he should be executed, because if a person boasts about committing zina, this implies that he regards zina as being permissible (Allah forbid), and whoever regards zina as permissible is a kaafir. 

Sharh Riyaadh al-Saaliheen, 1/116 

Undoubtedly there are varying degrees of disobedience, and the level of sin varies according to the person’s state of mind whilst committing the sin and afterwards. The one who conceals his sin is not like one who commits sin openly. The one who regrets it afterwards is not like one who boasts about it. 

Ibn al-Qayyim said: 

In conclusion, evil actions vary according to their consequences. Those who have boyfriends or girlfriends commit a less serious sin than those who commit immoral actions with anyone; the one who commits sin in secret is doing something less serious than one who commits sin openly and broadcasts it. The one who keeps quiet about it commits a less serious sin than one who tells people about it. Such a one is far removed from the forgiveness of Allah, as the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “All of my ummah may be forgiven except those who commit sin openly…” 

Ighaathat al-Lahfaan, 2/147 

The basic principle is that the Muslim should follow his sin with repentance and seeking forgiveness; he should regret what he has done and resolve never to go back to it. He should not follow it with boasting and speaking openly about it. 

Ahmad (8792) and al-Tirmidhi (3334) narrated that Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “If the believer commits a sin, a black spot appears on his heart. If he repents, gives it up and seeks forgiveness, his heart is cleansed, but if he does more then (that spot) increases until it covers his heart. That is the raan (covering of sin) which Allah mentioned in the Qur’aan: 

“Nay! But on their hearts is the Raan (covering of sins and evil deeds) which they used to earn”  (Al-Mutaffafeen 83:14) 

Classed as hasan by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Tirmidhi, 2654 

There remains one issue that was mentioned in the question, which is the committing of sin openly by those who are new in Islam. Those people are still unaware of the rulings of Islam, so they are excused if they do not know the shar’i rulings, but they should be taught. So strive to teach them, and show them this answer. 

May Allah help us to do that which He loves and which pleases Him. 

And Allah knows best.

Excerpted, with some modifications, from: http://islamqa.com/en/

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5. AFFECTS OF A SINFUL PERSON ON FAMILY

Question :      

Can the major or minor sins of one person have an affect on the family members like if one of the parents or son/daughter. If they keep on committing the sin what is the affect on the family? Can they be faced with trials? I read that the sins committed by parents brings trial on the children. Is it true?

Answer :         

In Islam, responsibility for actions is individual and everyone will be asked about his or her own actions and deeds. But at the same time, good deeds have a blessed effect on friends, family, and people around the person. In the Qur'an and in the authentic Sunnah there are lots of verses and hadiths telling us if we need to protect our children we have to keep doing good deeds.

Allah says: Let those (disposing of an estate) have the same fear in their minds as they would have for their own if they had left a helpless family behind; let them fear Allah, and speak words of appropriate (comfort)” (An-Nisa’ 4:9)

The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: "Whoever wishes his age be expanded, his children be blessed, let him or her keep good relations with his/her relatives.”

On the other hand, sins have gloomy effect on children and family as sinners will live an unstable life and that will effect their children. This does not mean Allah will hold children accountable for their parents' deeds but all the family would suffer from the bad effects of sins.

Therefore, I advise children to admonish their sinful parents and educate them about Islam. Let children keep making du'a' to their parents.

Excerpted, with slight modifications, from: www.islamonline.net

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6. SIN INEHRITANCE

Question:

My parents say that if I commit sin it would have an affect on the entire family. It does not seem correct to me, if God for bid my mom or dad commit a sin will all the children be affected by it?

Answer: Praise be to Allah. 

No person will be punished for the sins of another. Each person will be brought to account for his own sins. Allah says :

“....And no bearer of burdens shall bear another’s burden....” [Faatir 35:18]

But if the father or mother commits a sin, this may be a cause of making the family members follow their example. 

Majmoo’ Fataawa al-Shaykh Ibn Baaz, 2/610

But the consequences of the sins committed by the sinner may go beyond him to affect his family, as a punishment for him and a test for his family. Allah tests man with disasters in order to expiate for his sins, and Allah may test people with blessings. Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“....We shall make a trial of you with evil and with good.... [Al-Anbiya’ 21:35]

And Allah knows best.

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7. ORIGINAL SIN ANALYSIS

Question :                                                                                                  

Is there acknowledgement of Original Sin in Islam? How is that invented and for what?

 

Answer :                                                                                                     
 

First of all, it is necessary to understand what we mean by “sin”. This is important, because different religious communities have different perceptions about sin.

 
Sin is a concept used primarily in the Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) describing a transgression against the will of God, which calls for repentance and at times penance.


Judaism regards the breaking of the commandments or the Jewish Law to be a sin. The Jews believe that all people sin at various points in their lives, and hold that the divine justice is tempered with divine mercy.

According to them, a state of sin does not condemn a person to damnation; only one or two truly grievous sins lead to anything like the Christian idea of hell. Their liturgy of “the Days of Awe” states that prayer, repentance and charity are the means of atonement for sin.

As for Protestant Christians use the term ‘sin’ primarily to refer to what they see as “humanity's inherently sinful nature”. This is while the Catholics mostly use the word for actual instances of sin, calling “the sinful nature of humans” as “concupiscence”, in the sense of ‘an innate tendency of human beings to do evil’.

 

Most denominations of Christianity hold the belief that the sin of Adam and Eve's disobedience to God is passed on to their descendants and thus the whole of mankind is accursed with that Original Sin, from which no salvation is possible unless one believes in the atoning death on the cross of the Son of God.


As for the Islamic view of sin, it is similar to the Jewish view. In fact, the religion of Islam is the natural culmination of the progressive revelation of God from the very first prophet to the last one, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Consequently, Islam believes in all prophets of God, from Adam to Muhammad, including Abraham, Moses and Jesus (peace be upon them all).


According to the Islamic creed, the original religion taught by all these prophets is and was always Islam, which is the peaceful submission to the One and Only God. Thus, the concept of sin as taught by all prophets of God ought to be the same.


The closeness between Judaism and Islam in this regard is obvious; but in Christianity we find a great difference, which results from the influence of Saul of Tarsus, who is later known as St Paul. Paul introduced into Christianity the ideas of ‘God becoming man’ and ‘God dying for the sins of man’. Such concepts are entirely alien to the Semitic religious tradition and considered ‘pagan’, according to the Islamic view.


In Islam, a sin is an act against the will of Allah. We have the ability to abide by His will and this is the meaning of the word Islam. Still we have the ability to ignore His will or deliberately oppose it; due to the fact that God has given us freedom - though within limits).


Islam is our conscious and peaceful submission to the will of Allah. The purpose of our existence as human beings is to worship and serve Allah – or to fulfill His will. And, a solid foundation of worshipping Allah is to show gratitude to Him for the great gifts He has granted us. Following this will bring us the greatest benefits in this life and the next. It is in trying to do this that our intentions are purified and it is by our intentions that we are judged.


In contrast to the Christian teaching that human nature is basically evil (owing to the Original Sin), Islam teaches that it is essentially good. There are many elements to Human nature and each one has the potential to bring benefits. So there is no "Original Sin" in Islam. It is that when Man contradicts God’s commandments or His will, he commits sins.


Adam committed such a sin, which led to his expulsion from the Garden of Eden. But Adam repented and prayed to God for forgiveness, which God granted him, as mentioned in the following in Surah 2, verse 37:

“Then Adam received from his Lord Words . And his Lord pardoned him (accepted his repentance). Verily, He is the One Who forgives (accepts repentance), the Most Merciful” (Al-Baqarah 2:37)

This means that unlike Christianity, which teaches that all the children of Adam are sinful for Adam’s sin, Islam teaches that all humans are innocent by birth and they become sinful only when they consciously commit a sin. Islam regards the concept of “original sin” and the need for atonement by God Himself - via dying on the Cross - as a pure invention of those who came after Jesus Christ, declaring themselves as Christians.

Another important point to bear in mind about the Islamic concept of sin is that one man’s sin cannot be transferred to another; nor can the reward due to a person be transferred either. Every individual is responsible only for his or her actions, for God is never unjust. This is made clear in the following in Surah 17, verse 15:

“Who receiveth guidance, receiveth it for his own benefit: who goeth astray doth so to his own loss. No bearer of burdens can bear the burden of another: nor would We punish until We had sent a messenger [to give warning]”  (Al-Isra’ 17:15)

Every individual is an independent person who is responsible for his or her actions alone. There is no need for salvation from sin, for there is no original burden. One's success in the Hereafter lies in his living a righteous life in this world. Each has to build his/her own Heaven, avoiding the misery of Hell. Faith is important, but faith alone without deeds will be fruitless.

And, Allah knows best.

Excerpted, with slight modifications, from: www.readingislam.com

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8. Sins, repentance and forgiveness

Question :

If a person committed too many sins, including some of the cardinal ones such as stealing, cheating, gambling, & adultery, will he ever be forgiven by God? If he wants to become a good person, what compensations he has to make?

Answer :

What would stop him from being forgiven? This is the short answer to your question based on a similar reply that occurs in a Hadith which is directly related to your question. I will give you the Hadith first and then speak about your question in more detail. The Hadith explains that God's mercy is available to human beings at all times, no matter how grave the sins they have committed. It gives this message in a symbolic story.

The Hadith speaks of a man who had killed ninety nine people. He then began to think of his position and feared God's punishment. So he resolved to mend his ways and to seek God's forgiveness, if that was at all possible. He began to inquire about a priest or a learned man who could help him achieve his purpose. He was guided to an old priest whom people considered to be the most learned on earth. He went to him and knocked on his door. The old man opened the door and inquired what he wanted. The man said: "I have killed ninety-nine people and I want to repent. Can I have my repentance accepted?"

The old man said: "How do you think your repentance could be accepted after having killed ninety-nine people?" That answer filled the man with despair and he killed the priest on the spot. The man was not to be deterred. Something within him urged him to try again. He began to ask again about the most learned person. People told him of another priest who was highly respected among them. He went to him and knocked on his door.

An old man with a long white beard appeared and asked his purpose. The man said: "I have killed one hundred people and I want to repent. Do you think my repentance would be accepted?" The old man said: "What could stop you for having your repentance accepted It certainly will if God knows that your repentance is genuine and sincere." The old man talked to his visitor for a while and then suggested to him that he had a better chance of making his repentance sincere if he lived in a town where the people were good and religious. He also told him that if he were to continue to live in a city where he committed all those killing, he was bound to have all sorts of diversions which might take him away from his purpose of genuine repentance.

The man left and took his way directly toward the town recommended by the priest. While on his way, the man was taken ill and died. A group of the angels of mercy and a group of the angels of punishment arrived at the spot where his body lay, each wanted to take him away. The angels of punishment said: "He had not done a single good act." The angles of mercy replied: "He has undertaken this trip full of repentance, determined to be obedient to God."

They were disputing his case between themselves, when God sent them an angel. Both groups agreed to make that angel an arbiter. When they put the case to him, he said: "I suggest you measure the distance between the land of evil and the land of goodness. If he is found to be closer to the land of goodness, then the angels of mercy should take him. But if he is found to be closer to the land of evil, then the angels of punishment may have him."

Both groups were happy with this judgment and they started measuring the distance to each of the two towns. The Hadith concludes with this statement. "God commanded the land of goodness to draw near and commanded the land of evil to draw further away. The angels found him closer to the land of goodness and he was taken by the angels of mercy."

This Hadith tells it all. There is nothing to stop any person, no matter how grave his past sins, from turning a new page and starting a new, good life which wins him God's forgiveness. The final statement in the Hadith is particularly revealing. It was by God's command that the man was found closer to the land of mercy. This means that had he taken only a couple of steps on the way before his death, he would have still been found closer to the land of goodness and he would have been forgiven. The measuring of distances was not the determining factor. That factor was God's knowledge that the man was sincere. God's forgiveness is available to us all, even the most hardened sinners among us. This is clearly stated in the Qur'an and in many Hadiths. In the Qur'an God says: "Surely Allah does not forgive that anything should be associated with Him, and forgives what is besides that to whomsoever He pleases; …….."  [An-Nisa4: 48]  

This is a definitive statement from which we can outline the requirements of forgiveness of all sins, grave and small.

The first condition is that of faith. God may forgive a believer, but He may not forgive even the smallest of sins to a person who associates partners with Him. Hence, before we ask God's forgiveness, we have to make sure that we truly believe in His Oneness, recognizing His attributes and believing in every single one of them.

Secondly, our repentance of past sins must be genuine. This is accomplished with a sincere resolve that we will not return to those sins whatever may be the temptations. If we happen to slip again, we immediately renew our repentance and strengthen our resolve. Finally, we should take all possible means and measures to help us fulfill our determination. Just like the old priest who pointed out to the man in the Hadith when he suggested to him to move to the land of goodness. There he would find people to welcome him and to be associates in seeking God's forgiveness. He would have less temptation to go back to his past ways.

Sins and offenses are of two types; those which concern our relationship with God and those that concern our relationship with fellow human beings. If a person repents after having committed sins and offenses of the first type, such as neglecting his duties toward God, or committing offenses which run contrary to what God requires and then he genuinely repents and seeks God's forgiveness, God will forgive him those straightway.

Offenses that are committed against the rights of other people have a different approach. In this category you have offenses such as theft, cheating, usurping other people's rights, ill-treatment of people, backbiting, etc. God will not forgive these offenses till the people who suffered as a result of them agree to forgive the offender. On the Day of Judgment, everyone is brought face to face with every other person who has a claim against him. God will ask the offender to compensate the person who had suffered as a result of the offense until he or she is satisfied. That takes the form of taking away some of the good deeds of the offender and crediting them to the offended person. If the offender does not have such good deeds, then some of the bad deeds or sins committed by the offended person will be taken away from him and added to the offender. Either way it will enhance the offended person's chances of being admitted to heaven.

A different method of compensation takes place if God is satisfied with the repentance of the offender and He chooses to help him. In this case, God decides to take over the task of satisfying the offended person, either by giving him some of his sins, or by increasing his reward for his good deeds until he is satisfied and forgoes his claim against the offending person. This applies to any rightful claim by other people against us. As you realize, this applies to offenses that went unpunished or uncompensated for in this life and left to the day of judgment. If a person has committed an offense and got punished for it, according to the Islamic law, as in the case of a theft, then the punishment is regarded as compensation for the crime.

The other way is for the offender to go to the person who has been offended against and return to him what is rightfully his. Thus, if someone has stolen something from another, and he returns the stolen thing and sought forgiveness, then he stands a good chance of being forgiven by God. It is far better to do this than to leave matters to the day of judgment, when one has to pay out of his reward for his good deeds in order to pay off what belongs to others.

If this is impossible because one does not know how to get to the people who have a claim against him, or if he tries to satisfy them for the offenses, he may run into great problems, then he could leave the matter to God to settle it on his behalf on the day of judgment, provided that he tries hard to increase his reward by every means.

For example, if he has unlawful monetary gains from others and he cannot repay them, either because he does not know them, or because he will be facing enormous problems, then he should pay to charity what he has gained from them or even more. He could also improve his worship and be always available to serve the cause of Islam. He will then stand a good chance of earning forgiveness.


Our Dialogue ( Source : Arab News - Jeddah )

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9. FORMS OF EXPIATION (KAFFARAHS)

Question :          

I would like to know all the kinds of kaffarah (forms of expiation)?

Answer:                                                                                                                      

As regards your question, following is the fatwa issued by Sheikh `Atiyyah Saqr, former head of Al-Azhar Fatwa Committee:

“In general, kaffarah (expiation) is of two kinds: major expiation (kaffarah mughallazah) and minor expiation (kaffarah mukhafafah). The latter is also called fidyah (ransom).

It is worth stressing here that expiation is considered as an act of worship, which necessitates an intention prior to doing it.

There are four kinds of expiation: expiation for manslaughter, expiation for having sexual intercourse with one’s spouse during the fast of Ramadan, expiation for zihar (declaring one’s wife as unlawful as the mother) and expiation for breaking one’s oath.

The first three involves freeing a believing slave. If one is unable to do this, one may resort to fasting two consecutive months. If it is not possible to do so, one is to feed sixty needy persons. One is not allowed to move from one to the next unless one is really unable to do the first.

Allah says, “Those who put away their wives (by saying they are as their mothers) and afterwards would go back on that which they have said; (the penalty)in that case (is) the freeing of a slave before they touch one another. Unto this you are exhorted; and Allah is well acquainted with (all) that you do (4) And he who finds not (the wherewithal), let him fast for two successive months before they touch one another; and for him who is unable to do so (the penance is) the feeding of sixty needy ones...).”  (Al-Mujadalah 58:3-4)

The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said to a man who committed sexual intercourse intentionally during the fast of Ramadan, “Could you set free a believing slave?” The man replied “No”. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) then said, “Could you fast two consecutive months?” Yet again the man answered “No” . Then the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) brought some dates and said to him, “(Take this and) give it as charity.” The man then said, “Is there anyone who is poorer than me?!” Therefore, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Go and offer it to your family.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Fasting, in this case, should be performed successively. In case of breaking it, it should be resumed and started from the beginning even if there is an excuse for breaking it. However, menstruation and post-natal bleeding, in the case of a woman who committed unintentional murder, does not break its successiveness.

As for the fourth expiation, namely, the expiation for breaking an oath, one is to free a believing slave. If this is not possible, one should feed ten needy persons. If it is not possible, then may fast three days either successively or otherwise.

On the other hand, fidayah is of three types:

1. Feeding a needy person for a day from the same food one usually offers to his family. This kind of ransom is for whoever breaks the fast in Ramadan for one day due to an excuse such as pregnancy, breastfeeding, chronic sickness, and old age. Allah says, in regard to fasting during Ramadan, “For those who can do it (with hardship), is a ransom, the feeding of one that is indigent.” (Al-Baqarah 2:184)

Furthermore, the ransom should be fulfilled by one who removes or plucks one’s hair or cuts one’s nail in the period of Ihram (state of ritual consecration) during Hajj.

2. Feeding two needy persons a day. This is also applied in many cases, for example, when cutting two hairs or two nails during the period of ihram for Hajj or `Umrah.

3. Offering sacrifice, and this kind is to be fulfilled if one, for example, kills an animal of the chase in the sacred precincts or while wearing ihram, cuts a lock of his hair or cuts more than two nails at once, wears perfume, or fails to assume ihram at its due and fixed place.”
And Allah Almighty knows best.

Excerpted, with slight modifications, from: www.islamonline.net

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10. Sins and consequences

Question :

Could you please give some examples of cardinal sins in Islam. I had thought that actions could have only one of several rulings. Some people say that some sins are more serious than others. Could you please explain?

Answer :

There are five verdicts which could be pronounced on most things or actions. An action could be required (as a duty), recommended, allowed, discouraged or forbidden. It is possible that the same action could have any one of the five verdicts in different situations. Thus, telling a lie is normally forbidden, but it can be only discouraged if there is some benefit to gain by it, without causing anybody any harm as a result. It can be allowed in a family situation when it is calculated to avoid any problems in the family without cheating anyone. I will give you a clearer example:

Take the case of a man who gives his parents regular financial help, but his wife always objects to that and creates problems for him when she knows that he has given them a generous contribution. If he has given them a sum of money which would cause her to be angry when she knows, and he mentions a much smaller amount in order to avoid family friction, then that is allowed.

The point here is that he has dispensed with his money in a very good cause and the aim of his misinformation is simply to avoid friction in the family. His wife will come to no harm as a result of receiving the wrong information. That is acceptable. On the other hand, telling a lie may be recommended or even required if there is a definite gain to be achieved, for the Muslim community. Suppose a Muslim is questioned about the position of the Muslim army in time of war and he fears that the information he would give might be useful to the enemy, he may be duty bound to give false information in such situations.

Certain sins are certainly much more serious than others. Associating partners with Allah is the most cardinal of sins. Adultery is more serious than fornication and theft incurs a much more severe punishment than drinking or gambling. Perjury is a very serious crime. Generally speaking, sins which affect others, or the society at large, are more serious than personal actions.


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11. FORGIVENESS DESPITE REPEATED SINS

Question:

Name of Questioner :  Anonymous   - Pakistan  Date: 09/Aug/2002

My question is concerning forgiveness. If a human being has made many mistakes in life that include having feelings towards the opposite sex and other more serious crimes, are they entitled to forgiveness from Allah? What if they have watched porn and after feeling terrible guilt promise not to do it again?

For a while, that person reads namaz and prays for forgiveness but once again gives in! If a person commits the same act again and again, asking for forgiveness, is she or he forgiven? At the present time, the person has stayed away from these acts and is trying to live as a good Muslim and human being, even though they have not read namaz. Will she/he be forgiven?

This person is not bad or evil, nor have they ever wanted to cause pain to anyone living. They have, on the contrary, wanted to love all people and creatures and thank Allah for the blessings that he has provided in life. This person has strayed, but wants to be on the right path. Is that still possible, or has she/he forsaken her soul for eternity? Thank you - Allah Hafiz

Answer:  Name of Counselor : Daud Matthews

Concerning forgiveness, Allah emphasizes His generosity and kindness, in that He forgives whoever repents to Him from whatever evil they commit:

“If any one does evil or wrongs his own soul but afterwards seeks God's forgiveness, he will find God Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful”   (An-Nisa 4:110)

Ibn Abbas commented about this verse saying that Allah informs His servants of His forgiveness, forbearing generosity and expansive mercy. So, whoever commits a sin, whether major or minor, ‘but afterwards seeks Allah’s forgiveness, he will find Allah Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful’ even if his sins were greater than the heavens, the earth and the mountains.

It is also narrated by Ahmad that Abu Bakr said that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said: ‘No Muslim commits a sin and then performs ablution, prays two rak’ahs and begs Allah for forgiveness for that sin, but He forgives him.’

If a believer makes mistakes, and we all do, we have to offer sincere repentance to be entitled to forgiveness. In Islam, sincere repentance is known as taubah. This requires us to;

  • Recognize and admit we have made a mistake
  • Ask forgiveness from Allah and if the sin was against a person, we have to ask forgiveness from that person also
  • We try to atone for the sin we have done if possible, by for example, returning money if we had stolen it
  • We make the intention never to do the sin again

We are told many times in the Qur’an that Allah is the Oft-returning, Most Merciful. We understand from this that Allah is waiting for us to turn to Him in sincere repentance. If we are sincere, then Allah will have mercy on us.

We are also advised to ‘follow a bad deed with a good deed’. This means, as soon as we realize we have done something wrong, we should immediately try to do something good.

We should try to maintain the five times daily prayer, salat. This builds our relationship with Allah. During the prayer we recite the Fatiha in which we ask Allah for guidance. In a hadith Qudsi (conversation between Allah and His Prophet which is not part of Qur'an), it is explained that the prayer is divided into two parts, part is for Allah and part is for the worshipper. Allah promises to give the worshipper what he/she asks for – guidance! It is also necessary to read the Qur’an to understand and implement this guidance from Allah in our daily lives.

Both Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim record the hadith of Abu Sa’id (may Allah be pleased with him) that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) told about the man who killed ninety-nine people. Later on, he regretted it and asked a worshipper, among the Children of Israel, whether he could repent. This worshiper told him no! So, he killed him, thus, completing one hundred. Then he asked one of their scholars whether he could repent. He said: ‘What is stopping you from repenting?’

Then he told him to go to a town where Allah was worshipped. He set out for that town, but death came to him while he was on the road. The angels of mercy and the angels of punishment disputed over him. So Allah commanded them to measure the distance between the two towns, and the place where he died. Whichever (town) he was closer to, when he died, was the one to which he belonged. They found he was closer to the town he was heading for. Thus, the angels of mercy took him. It was said that when he was dying, he moved himself - towards that town - while Allah commanded the good town to move closer to him and the other town to move away.

On the other hand, al-Bukhari recorded that Ibn Abbas said that some of the people of shirk (associating partners with Allah) killed many people and committed zina, (illegal sexual acts) to a great extent. They came to Muhammad (pbuh) and said: ‘What you are saying and calling us to is good; if only you could tell us that there is an expiation (way of making amends) for what we have done.’ Then, the following verses were revealed:

Those who, when they spend, are not extravagant and not niggardly, but hold a just (balance) between those (extremes); (67) Those who invoke not, with Allah, any other god, nor slay such life as Allah has made sacred except for just cause, nor commit fornication; - and any that does this (not only) meets punishment. (68) (But) the Penalty on the Day of Judgment will be doubled to him, and he will dwell therein in ignominy (69) Except him who repents and believes and does a good deed; so these are they of whom Allah changes the evil deeds to good ones; and Allah is Forgiving, Merciful”  (Al-Furqan 25:67 – 70)

"Say: O My Slaves who have transgressed against themselves [by committing evil deeds and sins]! Despair not of the Mercy of Allah, verily Allah forgives all sins. Truly He is Oft-forgiving, All-Merciful (53) Turn ye to our Lord (in repentance) and bow to His (Will), before the Penalty comes on you: after that ye shall not be helped”   (Az-Zumr 39:53 - 54)

We can understand from what has been said here that Allah forgives all sins provided that a person repents. Additionally, one must not despair of the mercy of Allah, even if their sins are many and great, for the door of repentance and mercy is expansive.

“Know they not that God doth accept repentance from His votaries and receives their gifts of charity, and that God is verily He, the Oft-Returning, Most Merciful?”  (At-Tawbah 9:104)

While we are still able to perform actions, it is never too late to turn to Allah. When we do, we should try to live as Muslims, that is, fulfilling all out obligations as Muslims. As our iman (faith) increases, so our knowledge, understanding and practicing of Islam improves, insha’Allah.

Excerpted, with slight modifications, from: http://www.readingislam.com/

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12. Repentance: When death is certain

Question :

What is meant by sakarat? Will a person who has reached this stage still have a chance to repent of his sins? If so, will his repentance be accepted? What about a person sentenced to death for a crime he has committed? Will his repentance be accepted if he does repent between the passing of the sentence and execution?

Answer :

Sakarat refers to a state when a person is not in control of his mental power. It mostly refers to a state of drunkenness. However, it is also used in reference to extreme states of fury, passion, agony, sleepiness as well as loss of consciousness that results from pain. It is this last condition which is meant when the term refers to what may be experienced by a person who is just about to die.

The term in Arabic is "sakarat al mawt," which means "the throes of death." The Prophet used to include in his supplication this prayer: "My Lord, help me endure the throes of death." Suffering extreme anguish at the time of death is not indicative of any judgment on the person concerned. It must never be assumed that a person who dies a very clam and peaceful death is in a position of favor, or that a person who suffers much anguish is in a position of disfavor. The Prophet himself endured much pain at the time of his death.

This has made Lady Aisha say: "I do not envy anyone a peaceful death after having seen what God's Messenger has endured." (Al Bukhari).

It is confirmed that at the time of death, a person sees the truth about God, faith and human life so that he is absolutely certain of it. When he has seen that, which happens when he can no longer recover, then repentance of past sins will not be accepted. This is due to the fact that this repentance is simply a regret for not having followed the guidance provided by God, and it comes as a result of something outside the control of the dying person. The proof is shown to him because he can no longer do anything about it. His repentance has not come out of any effort on his part to recognize the truth, or any desire to mend his ways. It comes when his life is over.

This does not apply to a person who is sentenced to death for a crime he has committed or even wrongfully convicted. A genuine repentance by such a person stands as much chance of being accepted as the repentance of anyone else. True, this person has been condemned to death, but then man never relinquishes his hope to live longer. He may still feel that he can escape death, either by appealing against the sentence, or winning a pardon, or some other event, or even escaping from prison. He may require his lawyer to try to manipulate every loophole in the law in order to win him a reprieve, or stay of execution. During this period, if he reflects on his past life and turns to God in sincere repentance, his repentance may very well be accepted.

As I have explained in the past, repentance ensures forgiveness of what is due to God. Any right owing to other human beings will not be forgiven until they themselves forgo their rights. On the Day of Judgment, God will bring the two parties together and ask the aggrieved whether he wants to forgive his opponent. If he declines, then God will take some of the good deeds of the offender and credit them to the aggrieved party until he is fully satisfied. If the offender does not have enough good deeds, then God will take away some of the bad deeds of the aggrieved party and add them to the records of the offender. If the offender has done enough good deeds to win God's pleasure and God wants him to be forgiven his offenses against other persons, then God will undertake to satisfy those other parties Himself. He will give them extra reward for their good actions until they are happy to forgo their rights.


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13. EVIL DOER REPENTANCE

Question:

I am a young man who is an evildoer (faasiq) and a kaafir. I want to repent to Allah. I used to do all kinds of haraam actions, and I do not pray. But now I want to repent. I hope the Shaykh can tell me how to repent?

Answer: Praise be to Allah.

“Say: “O ‘Ibaadi (My slaves) who have transgressed against themselves (by committing evil deeds and sins)! Despair not of the Mercy of Allah, verily, Allah forgives all sins. Truly, He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. (Al-Zumar 39:53)

And turn in repentance and in obedience with true Faith (Islamic Monotheism) to your Lord and submit to Him (in Islam) before the torment comes upon you, (and) then you will not be helped. And follow the best of that which is sent down to you from your Lord (i.e. this Qur’aan, do what it orders you to do and keep away from what it forbids), before the torment comes on you suddenly while you perceive not!’ [Az-Zumar 39:54  – interpretation of the meaning] 

I have received your letter and I was impressed with your eagerness to repent and come back to Allah, despite the fact that you have committed all kinds of haraam actions, as you say, above all neglecting prayer. It is very important that you should know that the gate of repentance is open to you. You should think deeply about what is mentioned in the aayahs quoted above. I will also tell you some practical steps which will show you clearly how to repent, in sha Allah. 

The word tawbah (repentance) is a great word with deep meaning. It is not, as many people think, merely words to be uttered whilst persisting in sin. Think about what Allah says: 

“Seek the forgiveness of your Lord, and turn to Him in repentance....” [Hood 11:3 – interpretation of the meaning] 

You will see that repentance is something more than seeking forgiveness. 

Because this is a serious matter, there have to be conditions attached. The scholars mentioned the conditions of repentance, based on aayahs from the Qur’aan and ahaadeeth. There follows a list of some of them:

1)  Giving up the sin immediately. 

2)  Regretting what has happened in the past. 

3)  Resolving not to go back to it. 

4)  Making amends to those whom you have wronged, or asking for their forgiveness. 

You should not forget other important matters connected to sincere repentance, such as:

1 – You should give up the sin for the sake of Allah and not for any other reason such as not being able to do it or repeat it, or being afraid of what people will say, for example. 

The person who gives up a sin because it may affect his standing or reputation among people, or because it may cost him his job, cannot be described as having repented. 

The person who gives up sins for the sake of his health and strength cannot be described as having repented, such as a person who gives up zinaa (adultery) and immoral actions for fear of contagious deadly diseases, or for fear that they may weaken his body and his memory. 

The person who refrains from taking a bribe for fear that it may be being offered by undercover officers cannot be described as having repented. 

The person who gives up drinking alcohol and taking drugs because he has become bankrupt cannot be described as having repented. 

Similarly, the person who is unable to commit sin because of something that lies beyond his control cannot be described as having repented, such as a liar who becomes paralyzed and loses the power of speech, or an adulterer who loses the ability to engage in intercourse, or a thief who has an accident and loses his limbs. In such cases, a person has to feel regret and stop wishing to commit sin, or he has to feel sorry for what has happened in the past. To someone like this the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Regret is repentance.” (narrated by Ahmad and Ibn Maajah; Saheeh al-Jaami’, 6802) 

2 – He should feel repelled by the sin and the harm it causes. 

This means that sincere repentance cannot be accompanied by feelings of enjoyment and pleasure when remembering past sins, or wishing to go back to it in the future. 

In his book al-Daa’ wa’l-Dawaa’ wa’l-Fawaa’id, Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allah have mercy on him) mentioned many of the harmful effects of sin, including the following: 

Being deprived of (Islamic) knowledge – feelings of alienation in the heart – difficulties – physical weakness – being unable to do acts of worship – being deprived of blessings – less help from Allah – anxiety – more bad deeds – getting used to sin – the sinner becomes insignificant in the sight of Allah – he becomes insignificant in the sight of people – the curse of the animals will be upon him – he will bear marks of humiliation – his heart will be sealed and he will come under the curse (of Allah) – his du’aa’ will not be answered – cause of mischief on land and sea – loss of gheerah (protective jealousy) – loss of modesty – the blessings of Allah will disappear – punishment will befall him – terror in the heart of the sinner – falling into the clutches of the Shaytaan – a bad end – punishment in the Hereafter. 

Knowing these harmful effects of sin, will make you want to keep away from sin altogether, but some people may move from one sin to another for a number of reasons, including the following: 

-    They think that it is less serious.

-    The self is more inclined towards it and the desire for it is stronger.

-   It is easier to commit this sin than others, unlike sins which require some preparation; the means of doing it are readily available and widespread

-   His friends and companions are committing this sin and it is difficult for him to differ from them

-   A particular sin may give a person some status among his companions, and it is too difficult for him to lose this position, so he continues to commit that sin. 

3 – He should hasten to repent. Hence delaying repentance is itself a sin, for which repentance is required. 

4 – You should make up the duties towards Allah that you have missed, if that is possible, such as paying the zakaah which you withheld in the past; and because this is something which is the right of the poor. 

5 – You should keep away from places of sin if your being there may make you fall into sin again. 

6 – You should keep away from those who helped you to commit sin. 

Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):  “Friends on that Day will be foes one to another except Al-Muttaqoon (the pious)” [Az-Zukhruf 43:67] 

Bad friends will curse one another on the Day of Resurrection, so you should keep away from them and break off your friendship with them, and warn others against them if you are not able to call them (to Allah). Do not let the Shaytaan deceive you or make the idea of going back to them in order to call them to Allah look attractive to you, for you know that you are weak and will not be able to resist. 

There are many cases in which people have gone back to sin because they resumed relationships with their former companions. 

7 – Destroy haraam things that you may have in your possession, such as intoxicants, musical instruments, haraam pictures and movies, permissive stories, statues and so on. They should be broken, destroyed or burnt. 

It is very essential that the one who wants to repent should rid himself of all items of jaahiliyyah. How often has it happened that keeping these haraam things caused people who had repented to go back on their repentance and be led astray after having been guided. We ask Allah to make us steadfast. 

8 – Choose righteous friends who will help you against your nafs (self) and who will be an alternative to bad company. Strive to attend circles of dhikr and gatherings of knowledge. Fill your time with beneficial things so that the Shaytaan will not find any opportunity to remind you of the past. 

9 – Focus on your body which has been fed on haraam substances and direct its energies towards obeying Allah. Seek out halaal substances with which to nourish your body so that your flesh will be renewed with halaal substances. 

10 – Do a lot of good deeds, for good deeds cancel out bad deeds. 

If you are sincere in your repentance to Allah, then receive the good news that all your previous evil deeds will be changed into good deeds. Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): 

“And those who invoke not any other ilaah (god) along with Allah, nor kill such person as Allah has forbidden, except for just cause, nor commit illegal sexual intercourse and whoever does this shall receive the punishment. (68) The torment will be doubled to him on the Day of Resurrection, and he will abide therein in disgrace; (69) Except those who repent and believe (in Islamic Monotheism), and do righteous deeds; for those, Allah will change their sins into good deeds, and Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful” [Al-Furqaan 25:68-70] 

I ask Allah to benefit you by these words, and to guide your heart. Now get up and utter the Shahaadatain, purify yourself (with ghusl) and pray as Allah has commanded you. Observe the Islamic duties regularly and give up haraam things. I will be happy to help you in any way. 

I ask Allah to give us and you strength to do that which He loves and is pleased with. May He accept the repentance of us all, for He is the One Who accepts repentance, the Most Merciful.

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14.  LOOKING HARAM THINGS AND REPENTANCE

Question:

My problem is looking at haraam things. I repent then I go back to it, and I do not know what is making me do this?

Answer: Praise be to Allah.

Allah has created us for a great purpose, which is to worship Him alone with no partner or associate. Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): 

“And I (Allah) created not the jinn and mankind except that they should worship Me (Alone)” [Ad-Dhaariyaat 51:56] 

Every Muslim must strive to worship His Lord as much as He can. 

“Allah burdens not a person beyond his scope....” [Al-Baqarah 2:286] 

But man is weak and surrounded by enemies on all sides, and his own self urges him to do evil, and the Shaytaan flows through him like blood, and he lives in this world which is attractive to him… so how can he be safe from these enemies unless Allah has mercy on him? 

However, Hell is surrounded with whims and desires, and Paradise is surrounded with difficulties. So each person must turn to Allah and ask Him to help him to remember Him and be grateful to Him and to worship Him properly. Abu Bakr came to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and said to him, “Teach me a du’aa’ that I can say in my prayer.”

He said, “Say Allahumma inni zalamtu nafsi zulman katheeran wa laa yaghfir al-dhunooba illa anta faghfir li maghfiratan min ‘indika warhamni innaka anta al-Ghafoor al-Raheem (O Allah, I have done great injustice to myself and no one forgives sin except You. Grant me forgiveness from You and have mercy on me, for You are the Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful).” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 834; Muslim, 2705). 

Think about this hadeeth, how the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) taught Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him), who is the best of this ummah after the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), to say, “O Allah, I have done great injustice to myself.” If Abu Bakr was to say this – when he was the best of the people – then what should we say?! O Allah, bestow Your mercy upon us. 

There was another Sahaabi – one of the best and most knowledgeable of the Sahaabah – to whom the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “I love you, O Mu’aadh.” (Mu’aadh said), “And I love you, O Messenger of Allah.” The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Do not forget to say in every prayer, ‘Rabbi a’inni ‘ala dhikrika wa shukrika wa husni ‘ibaadatika (O Allah, help me to remember You, thank You and worship You properly.).’” (al-Nasaa’i, 1303; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Nasaa’i, 1236). 

Look at this advice that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) gave to one of those whom he loved the most, how he told him to ask Allah to help to worship Him, for if a person is deprived of such help from Allah then he is indeed deprived. 

So we must turn to Allah and ask Him to help us to do that which He has enjoined upon us. 

Because all human beings are bound to fall short, Allah has commanded us to repent from all sins. Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): 

“....And all of you beg Allah to forgive you all, O believers, that you may be successful [An-Noor 24:31] 

“....Seek the forgiveness of your Lord, and turn to Him in repentance....” [Hood 11:3] 

“O you who believe! Turn to Allah with sincere repentance! It may be that your Lord will expiate from you your sins, and admit you into Gardens under which rivers flow (Paradise)....” [At-Tahreem 66:8] 

In these verses, Allah links expiation of sin and admission to Paradise to sincere repentance, which includes giving up sin and avoiding it, regretting what has happened in the past and sincere resolve never to return to it out of fear and respect for Allah, hoping for His reward and fearing His punishment.

(Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Azeez ibn Baaz, in Majmoo’ al-Fataawa – al-‘Aqeedah, part 2, p. 640). 

It was narrated that Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) say, ‘By Allah, I ask the forgiveness of Allah and repent to Him more than seventy times each day.’” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 6307). 

It was narrated that Abu Burda said: “I heard al-Agharr, who was one of the Companions of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) say, ‘The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “O people, repent to Allah, for I repent to Him one hundred times each day.”’” (Narrated by Muslim, 2702). 

These reports encourage us to repent to Allah. The leader of those who repent – the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) – repented to Allah one hundred times each day, so it is more essential for us to repent a great deal, because of our many sins. There is no power and no strength except with Allah. 

With regard to your saying that you repent and then go back to sin, then you repent and then go back to sin, we say to you that even if you go back to sin time and time again, you should repent a great deal and annoy your Shaytaan who is laying in wait for you. Remember that Allah “spreads out His hand at night to accept the repentance of those who sinned during the day, and He spreads out His hand during the day to accept the repentance of those who sinned during the night, (and this will continue) until the sun rises from the west.”                (Narrated by Muslim, 2759) 

The gate of repentance is open. Abu Hurayrah said: “The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: ‘Whoever repents before the sun rises from the west, Allah will accept his repentance.’” (Narrated by Muslim, 2703). 

And the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Allah will accept the repentance of His slave so long as the death rattle has not yet reached his throat.” (Narrated by al-Tirmidhi and classed as hasan by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Tirmidhi, 2802). 

But you should note that there are conditions for repentance which must be met if it is to be acceptable according to sharee’ah. Finally we advise you to strive against your self which urges you to do evil, and to seek refuge with Allah from its evil and the evil of the accursed Shaytaan. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) used to seek refuge with Allah from the evil of his own self and from the evil and snares of the Shaytaan, as it says in the hadeeth:

“A’oodhu bika min sharri nafsi wa sharri’l-shaytaan wa sharakihi   (I seek refuge with You from the evil of my own self and from the evil of the Shaytaan and his snares).” 

You should also keep away from the means of sin; Allah has warned us against approaching zina, as He says (interpretation of the meaning): 

Nor come nigh to adultery: for it is a shameful (deed) and an evil, opening the road (to other evils). [Al-Isra’ 17:32] 

That is done by keeping away from the things that lead to zina. 

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15. Suicide: And sacrifice of life

Question:

Is there any situation which permits suicide?

Answer:

Islam views suicide very very seriously, because it is an affront to Allah, the giver of life. A person who commits suicide actually puts himself on the same level as Allah, saying to Him, in effect: "You have given me life and I take it way." This is totally unacceptable. In a Qudsi Hadith, Allah is quoted by His messenger as saying: "My servant has affronted me with regard to his life and I, therefore, forbid him entry into heaven."

In some Muslim societies, a common notion is held that a woman should sacrifice her life rather than submit to a rapist. The Islamic ruling is not so. A woman is not required to sacrifice her life for that. If she is forced, either by brute force or by other means, to submit to rape, she is not punished for that. However, it is very difficult to regulate how a woman may behave when faced with such an extreme situation. It is Allah who judges everyone of us on the basis of His knowledge of our intentions and the factors that influence our actions. Perhaps the only situation which may be exempted from this strict prohibition is in a case of war when a group of Muslims are besieged by the enemy and threatened with certain death. If one of them sacrifices his life to give the rest a chance to survive, then it is a case of sacrificing one or two lives in order to save many others.

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16. Suicide: How does Islam view suicide?

Question:

Suicide: How does Islam view suicide?

Answer:

Committing suicide is a grave sin. Many scholars view a person who has committed suicide as someone who has turned his back on Islam altogether. However, a man committed suicide at the time of the Prophet. The Prophet did not offer the prayer for the deceased person (i.e. janazah prayer for him), but told his companions to offer it. When they did, they obviously prayed Allah to forgive him. Therefore, it is permissible to mention a person who has committed suicide in our supplication and pray Allah to forgive him.

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17. Souls: Persons who commit suicide or are murdered

Question :

A friend of mine asserts that the soul of a person who has committed suicide continues to ramble the earth until the original time of his death. Please comment.

Answer :

No one dies before his appointed time, no matter how he meets his death. To suggest otherwise, is to say that some causes can overrule Allah's will or negate His knowledge. If a person dies as a result of a crime of murder, or dies in battle, or commits suicide, he dies at the time and place Allah has appointed for him long before his mother was born or the human race came into existence.

It is totally unacceptable to imagine that Allah has determined that a person will die, say in the year 2015 but he kills himself tomorrow, when we are still in 2007. If he is to meet his death by suicide, then Allah would have had the fact recorded against his name long before he was born. Therefore, the whole question of his spirit doing one thing or another in between his actual and original times of death is absurd.

There is only one time for his death and that is the actual time when he dies. Moreover, Allah has chosen not to enlighten us about the spirit, its nature or destiny. The polytheists in Makkah asked the Prophet about the spirit, and he appealed to Allah to give him knowledge of it, but Allah instructed him to say :

"(Knowledge of] the Spirit belongs only to my Lord. You have been given only scanty knowledge." (Al-Isra17: 85)

When we contemplate this Qur'anic verse, we realize that whatever people may say about the spirit, belongs to the realm of conjecture, unless it is supported by a Qur'anic statement or an authentic Hadith.


Our Dialogue ( Source : Arab News - Jeddah )

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18. MURDER IS ONE OF THE GREATEST OF MAJOR SINS

Question:

I took part in a murder, but I was not caught for this crime. I want to expiate for my sin. Will Allah accept my repentance without me having to hand myself in to the police?

Answer: Praise be to Allah.

Murder (killing a person deliberately), if the victim is a believer, is one of the greatest of major sins, because Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): 

“And whoever kills a believer intentionally, his recompense is Hell to abide therein; and the Wrath and the Curse of Allah are upon him, and a great punishment is prepared for him” [An-Nisa 4:93] 

And it was narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:  

“A man will continue to be sound in his religion so long as he does not shed blood which it is forbidden to shed.” 

If you killed a believer deliberately, then there are three rights which are connected to that: the rights of Allah, the rights of the victim and the rights of the victim’s next of kin. 

With regard to the rights of Allah: if you repent sincerely to your Lord, then Allah will accept your repentance, because He says (interpretation of the meaning): 

“Say: “O ‘Ibaadi (My slaves) who have transgressed against themselves (by committing evil deeds and sins)! Despair not of the Mercy of Allah, verily, Allah forgives all sins. Truly, He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful” [Az-Zumar 39:53]  

With regard to the rights of the victim, he is not alive so you cannot put things right with him. The matter has to wait until the Day of Resurrection, i.e., the settling of scores with you on behalf of the victim will take place on the Day of Resurrection. But I hope that if your repentance is correct and is accepted by Allah, then Allah will compensate the victim with what He wills of His bounty until he is satisfied, and you will be reprieved. 

With regard to the rights of the victim’s next of kin, which is the third right, you cannot be absolved of this until you hand yourself over to them. Therefore you have to hand yourself over to the victim’s next of kin, and tell them that you are the one who killed him, then they have the choice. If they want to, they can exact vengeance upon you, if the conditions of qasaas are met; or if they want to they may take the diyah (blood money) from you; or if they want to they can forgive you.

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19. KILLING BACK IF OTHER FAILS

Question :

If someone tries to kill you, and fails, are you allowed to kill him back in Islam?

Answer :

If you're cornered and have no way out but to kill the individual, then this would be considered "self defense" and it is allowed in Islam.  But if you're free and you know that no dangerous harm will happen to you any more, but you're still angry and want to revenge, then that wouldn't be allowed in Islam.  Let us look at the following Noble Verse:

"If thou dost stretch thy hand against me, to slay me, it is not for me to stretch my hand against thee to slay thee: for I do fear Allah, the cherisher of the worlds”  (Al-Maa’idah 5:28)

I think this Noble Verse perfectly answers the question, and needs no further elaboration.

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20. WHAT IS CONSIDERED "ZINA"

Question :

What is considered Zina? Does penetration constitute it?

Answer :

Islam has taken a firm and decisive stance against Zina (fornication or adultery). Allah, the Almighty, commands in explicit and unequivocal words: “And come not near unto adultery. Lo! it is an abomination and an evil way.” (Al-Israa’: 32)

Thus, Islam not only prohibits Zina, but also closes all the avenues and means leading to it. This is achieved by prohibiting every step and means leading to stimulating desires, opening ways for illicit sexual relations between men and women, and promoting indecency and obscenity.

In his book Fiqh As-Sunnah, the late Egyptian scholar Sheikh Sayyed Sabiq, may Allah bless his soul, states:

“Any illegal sexual intercourse between a man and a woman is subject to a severe punishment prescribed by the Shari’ah. The Fuqahaa’ (Muslim jurists) have unanimously agreed that Zina is constituted by the penetration of the penis into a “forbidden” vagina, deliberately (i.e. not being forced to), and with no doubt of marriage (i.e. marriage that is deemed invalid but the couple don’t know), even if there is no ejaculation.

As for other sexual acts of foreplay which do not result in intercourse, there is no Hadd (prescribed punishment) for it as in the case of Zina. However, the Muslim ruler or judge has the right to give Ta’zeer (disciplinary punishment) for those who indulge in those forbidden activities.

The proof that those acts are not subject to the punishment of Zina is the Hadith reported by Ibn Mas’ood, may Allah be pleased with him, stating that a man came to the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, and said: “O Messenger of Allah, I sported with a woman in the outskirts of Madina . . . [and] committed an offence, short of fornication. . . . Kindly deliver verdict on me.” `Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, said to him: “Allah concealed your fault. You had better conceal it yourself also.” The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, gave no reply to him, so the man stood up and went away. Thereupon the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, sent a person after him to call on him and recite to him: “And keep up prayer in the two parts of the day and in the first hours of the night; surely good deeds take away evil deeds this is a reminder to the mindful.” (Hud 11:115) Following this, the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, dismissed the man, telling him: “Allah has exempted you from the imposition of Hadd, or from your sin.” Someone who was present at the time asked the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, whether such clemency related only to that individual. “No, but for the people at large,” the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said reassuring all believers. (Reported by Muslim, At-Tirmidhi and Abu Dawood.)”

This does not mean that other behaviors such as kissing, hugging, caressing, heavy petting, etc. are not prohibited, but the requirements needed to justify a harsh punishment of Zina are strict. They are not considered major Zina, but they fit into the category of minor Zina which is also prohibited. Obviously, couples can engage in all these activities without being exposed to witnesses and thus avoid punishment in this life. But they still must answer to Allah, the Almighty, who, in no uncertain terms, admonishes against any sexual contact outside of marriage.

In an authentic Hadith reported by Ahmad, it is narrated that the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said: “The eyes commit Zina, the hands commit Zina and feet commit Zina and the genitals commit Zina.” (Musnad Ahmad, Hadith no. 4258) In another Hadith, he is reported to have said that “the genitals confirm or deny it.” (indicating that starring at opposite sex in a lustful way has a spontaneous effect on the genitals and may induce person to commit Zina).

Excerpted from: www.islamonline.net

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21. HOW TO GET RID OF STOLEN GOODS

Question :

As-Salamu `alaykum! If you get goods unlawfully (stealing, etc.) and plan to sell them but then you get conscience-stricken, and would like to get rid of the goods, what would you do? Would you sell the goods and give money to charity? Or would you sell the goods and burn the money? Kindly give advice on what may be an appropriate action of repentance.

Answer :  

Let us take two scenarios:

1. Goods came under one's possession by means of good reason, such as purchase, gift or inheritance, but one came to know that these goods were unlawful in the hands of seller, donor or deceased. In this case, one would not be deemed as committing unlawful acts in getting them but one would be committing a sin if one opted to keep them after knowing their true owner. Once one knows the right owner, one is obligated in Shari`ah to return them unfortunately for free, i.e., without claiming the price paid for purchase. Then one has full right to sue the seller and claim the price paid.

If it happens that the owner (or his heirs) is (are) unknown, one MUST give the goods themselves to Islamic charity and one must not allow them to intermingle with one's own property or make any use of them. One needs to make Tawbah (repentance) if one makes any undue delay in disposing of the goods as mentioned.

2. Goods came under one's possession by unlawful means from one’s part. Certainly one MUST begin with repentance. Part of the repentance is to return the goods to their owner, his heirs or give them to charity as mentioned in scenario 1. One must also compensate the owner for any damage or loss or use for the period goods are in the possession of the wrongdoer.

In both cases, there is no room for burning or destroying useable goods; if goods are perishable, one must sell them and dispose of money as mentioned above. It should not be given to charity if owner or his heirs are known or can be known within a reasonable time frame. Always one should keep seeking Allah’s forgiveness and increasing one's good deed and actions, for Allah the Almighty says in the Qur'an, "…. Indeed, good actions remove those that are evil…." (Hud 11:114) The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) is reported to have said: “… and follow a bad action with a good action, it wipes it out.”

Excerpted, with slight modifications, from: www.islamonline.net

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22. Does committing a sin openly put a person beyond the pale of Islam?

Question:

Is it kufr to commit a sin openly and discuss about sinful activities such as movies, songs etc? Does this rule apply to both major as well as minor sins? Please pay attention to this question, as a number of our brothers and sisters who have newly inclined towards Islam are facing this problem.

Answer: Praise be to Allah.

One of the things concerning which there can be no doubt is the fact that committing acts of disobedience and major sins openly is sin upon sin which may lead a person to kufr at the time of committing that sin openly, because he takes the prohibition on that lightly and is proud of what he is doing. There is no difference between major and minor sins with regard to this ruling.  

It was narrated that Abu Hurayrah said: I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) say: “All of my ummah may be forgiven except those who commit sin openly. It is a kind of committing sin openly if a man does something at night, then morning comes and Allah has concealed his sin, but he says, ‘O So and so, I did such and such last night,’ when his Lord has concealed him (his action) all night but in the morning he reveals that which Allah had concealed for him.”  Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 5721; Muslim, 2990  

Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allah have mercy on him) said:

… There is a third type of immoral, promiscuous evildoer, who speaks of zina with pride (Allah forbid), and speaks of how he traveled to such and such a land, and committed immoral actions and adultery with a number of women, and so on, and he boasts about that. 

This person should be asked to repent; if he repents all well and good, otherwise he should be executed, because if a person boasts about committing zina, this implies that he regards zina as being permissible (Allah forbid), and whoever regards zina as permissible is a kaafir.  Sharh Riyaadh al-Saaliheen, 1/116 

Undoubtedly there are varying degrees of disobedience, and the level of sin varies according to the person’s state of mind whilst committing the sin and afterwards. The one who conceals his sin is not like one who commits sin openly. The one who regrets it afterwards is not like one who boasts about it. 

Ibn al-Qayyim said: 

In conclusion, evil actions vary according to their consequences. Those who have boyfriends or girlfriends commit a less serious sin than those who commit immoral actions with anyone; the one who commits sin in secret is doing something less serious than one who commits sin openly and broadcasts it. The one who keeps quiet about it, commits a less serious sin than one who tells people about it. Such a one is far removed from the forgiveness of Allaah, as the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “All of my ummah may be forgiven except those who commit sin openly…”  Ighaathat al-Lahfaan, 2/147 

The basic principle is that the Muslim should follow his sin with repentance and seeking forgiveness; he should regret what he has done and resolve never to go back to it. He should not follow it with boasting and speaking openly about it.

Ahmad (8792) and al-Tirmidhi (3334) narrated that Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “If the believer commits a sin, a black spot appears on his heart. If he repents, gives it up and seeks forgiveness, his heart is cleansed, but if he does more then (that spot) increases until it covers his heart.  That is the raan (covering of sin) which Allah mentioned in the Qur’aan: “Nay! But on their hearts is the Raan (covering of sins and evil deeds) which they used to earn”  (Al-Mutaffafeen 83:14) 

There remains one issue that was mentioned in the question, which is the committing of sin openly by those who are new in Islam. Those people are still unaware of the rulings of Islam, so they are excused if they do not know the shar’i rulings, but they should be taught. So strive to teach them, and show them this answer. 

May Allah help us to do that which He loves and which pleases Him.

And Allah knows best.

Excerpted,  from: http://islamqa.com/en/

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