Is it appropriate to say hate the sin, not the sinner?

The Details of the Question

"Hate the sin not the sinner."
- How can this statement be evaluated from the Islamic point of view?
- Can one hate sinners who commit major sins determined by Islam when they are involved in them?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

The duty of a doctor is not to fight or to be hostile to the patient but to fight the disease. The doctor must be hostile to the disease, not to the patient.

Similarly, people have spiritual illnesses. Instead of being hostile to the people who go beyond limits because of these diseases, we should be hostile to those attributes in them. We should try to free those ill people from germs such as unbelief and oppression.

The duty of the Muslim is to struggle against the diseases of people who are spiritually ill like that.

Even the prophets, who were protected by Allah with the attribute of innocence, made some minor mistakes called zallah, in other words, an involuntary mistake; there cannot be any conscious Muslim who can say, “I am not a sinner; I never commit sins.”

It is definitely very important to avoid sins, especially major sins, and to do one’s best to avoid them but sometimes we inevitably sin because we are human beings. Therefore, the door of repentance and asking for forgiveness is always open any moment as long as we are alive; every Muslim must repent heartily at least five times a day during obligatory prayer times.

- Thus, a Muslim will hope that Allah will accept his repentance and forgive him.

- In addition, he will become hostile to the sin, not the sinner, that is, not the sinning Muslim brothers he sees around by realizing that his own life is full of mistakes and sins; and he should warn his brother with soft words.

A Muslim should not be hostile to even unbelievers, let alone a sinful believer; he should be hostile to unbelief; it should not be forgotten that most of the Companions of the Prophet, who are probably the most virtuous people after prophets, were polytheists and unbelievers at first.  

Our present state is definitely important but what is more important is our state when we die; no one has any guarantee about it. May Allah not deviate anybody!

In history, there are so many people who were on the right path first but who were defeated by their souls and deviated from the right path like Qarun (Croesus); there are also so many people who found the right path and became models for Muslims after committing so many sins.

By the way, when we say we should not be hostile to sinners but to sins, we do not mean that the sinner should get away with what he has done; it is a social duty for us to make the sinner suffer the consequences of his sins in this world in accordance with the decrees determined by Allah. That is, we cannot say to a thief, "We are against theft, not you!" and release him. We will punish him but we will do our best to correct him and make him find the true path.

Everyone knows that the following saying of Mawlana Rumi has been misunderstood by some ignorant and malicious people: “Come, come, whoever you are; whether you are a sinner, unbeliever or fireworshipper…

Mawlana calls everybody to his dervish lodge but he calls them so that they will improve; he calls a Christian to oneness, a drunkard to soberness by giving up drinking and a fireworshipper to Allah. He calls them to have a sincere belief, repent, ask for forgiveness and fulfill the tasks of worshipping fully.

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