Are the sins between two prayers forgiven? If yes, which ones are forgiven and which ones are not forgiven?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Abu Hurayra narrates: The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said,  

"The muezzin will receive forgiveness to the extent to which his voice reaches. Every moist and dry place will testify on his behalf; he who attends the congregation of prayer will have twenty-five prayers recorded for him and will have expiation for sins committed between two prayers." [Abu Dawud, Salah 31, (515); Nasai, Adhan 14, (2, 13); Ibn Majah, Adhan 5, (724)]

Abu Umama narrates: We were sitting in the mosque in the company of the Prophet (pbuh) when a person came and said, “O Messenger of Allah! Apply hadd penalty on me." (According to what Ibn Hajar states, the man thought the sins related to women outside fornication necessitated hadd penalty too.) The Prophet (pbuh) kept silent. The man repeated his statement but he could not receive an answer. When the Prophet (pbuh) stood up to leave, the man followed him and I followed them. I wondered what answer the Prophet (pbuh) would give. Finally, the man reached the Prophet (pbuh) and repeated his statement. Thereupon, the Prophet (pbuh) said,   

“Did you not make wudu perfectly when you got out of the house?”

The man said, “Yes” Then, he asked,

“Did you not perform prayers with us after that?”

The man said, “Yes” Thereupon, the Prophet (pbuh) said,

“Then, Allah forgave your sin.” (Muslim, Tawba, 45)

The same hadith was also reported with various versions in Bukhari (Tafsir, Suratu 11/6), Muslim (Tawba, 39-45) Imam Ahmad and the other sunan books.

Scholars dealt with the hadiths like that under the light of the following verses:

“If ye (but) eschew the most heinous of the things which ye are forbidden to do, We shall expel out of you all the evil in you, and admit you to a gate of great honour.” (an-Nisa, 4/31),

“And establish regular prayers at the two ends of the day and at the approaches of the night: For those things, that are good remove those that are evil...” (Hud, 11/114)

According to the general view accepted by the majority of scholars, if a person keeps away from major sins, his minor sins will be forgiven thanks to deeds of worship like performing prayers. The major sins can be forgiven based on a sincere repentance. 

The great majority of scholars supports this view with the following sound hadith:

“If major sins are avoided, minor sins between two prayers are forgiven.” (see Ibn Hajar, 8/357)

Besides, The following is stated in verse 160 of the chapter of al-Anam:

“He that doeth good shall have ten times as much to his credit: He that doeth evil shall only be recompensed according to his evil: no wrong shall be done unto (any of) them.”

The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) states the following in another hadith reported by Abu Dharr: 

“Fear Allah no matter where you are and how you are, and do a good deed after a bad deed so that it will be eliminated.” (Ihya, IV/65)

It is understood that the sins committed by a person as a human being by being affected by the soul and Satan are forgiven when he performs five daily prayers. Or, they are forgiven when he does a good deed. However, it is necessary to be careful about the following: If a person continues to commit sins recklessly by thinking  “Minor sins between two prayers are forgiven anyway”, his sins might not be forgiven. For, it means such a person does not show respect to Allah.

According to the majority of the scholars, sins are divided into two as major sins and minor sins. The sins that can be atoned for by good deeds like five daily prayers, Ramadan fasting, umrah and wudu are "minor sins"; the sins that cannot be atoned for by such deeds of worship are "major sins". For instance,

"Two umrahs are atonement for the sins committed between them." (Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, II/461)

"A hajj that is accepted is atonement for the sins committed in that year." (Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, II/348),

"The first drop of blood from a martyr is atonement for all of his sins." (Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, IV/300),

"Allah forgives the sins committed between two Friday prayers." (Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, V/181).

The sins that are stated to be forgiven by deeds of worship as atonement are minor sins. However, the sins that are not forgiven by deeds of worship as atonement are major sins.

For instance, no deed of worship is accepted as atonement for sins like murder, fornication and drinking alcohol; the penalties determined by shrai’ah are applied for those sins.

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