What are the harms done by sins to man?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Insistence on sins blackens the heart, which was created as the mirror of the truth. Sins settle in the heart, blacken it and harden it until they drive the light of belief away from the heart. There is a way leading to unbelief in every sin. If a sin is not eliminated by asking for forgiveness (repentance), it will lead the heart to bad deeds and will make it disobey Allah. 

If a sin is not transformed into practice from thought, man will not be punished for it. The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) states the following regarding the issue: 

"Allah forgives my ummah for the evil deeds their souls may whisper or suggest to them as long as they do not act on it or speak." (Bukhari, VII, 59)

Sins are divided into two in terms of responsibility: major sins and minor sins.

Kabair (major sins): They are the sins that prevent people from knowing Allah and that necessitate religious penalties when they are committed or the sins that Allah threatens to punish with penalty in Hell. According to another view, anything forbidden by Allah is a major sin. The number of major sins were determined as seven, nine, seventy and two hundred based on hadith narrations. (Sharhu Aqidatit-Tahawiyya, p. 370, 371)

Main major sins are as follows: Associating partners with Allah, killing a person, slandering that someone has committed fornication, committing fornication, escaping from jihad, practicing magic, eating up the property of orphans, opposing one's parents, committing a sin in the haram part of Makkah, eating up interest, stealing, drinking alcohol, gambling.

If a Muslim commits a major sin without underestimating it and having belief in his heart, he does not exit the religion and he does not become an unbeliever. Ahl as-Sunnah holds the view that a Muslim who commits a major sin will not become an unbeliever, that he will not stay in Hell forever, that Allah will forgive him with His grace and generosity even if he dies without repenting and that He will punish him in Hell with His justice if He wishes. (Sharhu Aqidatit-Tahawiyya p. 370)

The biggest major sin is not to recognize Allah and to associate partners with Him in His essence, attributes and deeds. It is called the biggest major sin.  

"Allah forgiveth not that partners should be set up with Him; but He forgiveth anything else, to whom He pleaseth..." (an-Nisa, 4/48)

It is not permissible to continue acting rebelliously by giving up hope of Allah or not to repent without heeding one’s sins by feeling sure that Allah will not punish him. A believer must be between the state of fear and hope no matter how many sins he commits and he must not turn away from his Lord. 

"Say: "O my Servants who have transgressed against their souls! Despair not of the Mercy of Allah: for Allah forgives all sins: for He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful." (az-Zumar, 39/53)

"And (tell My servants) that My Penalty will be indeed the most grievous Penalty." (al-Hijr, I5/50)

Mu'tazila claims that a person who commits a major sin will cease to be a believer and will remain between belief and unbelief (al-Manzila baynal-Manzilatayn) and that he will not exit Hell if he dies without repenting. Kharijites go further and accuse even the believers who commit minor sins of unbelief. Mu'tazila shows the following verse in the Quran as evidence:  

"If a man kills a believer intentionally, his recompense is Hell, to abide therein (For ever)..." (an-Nisa, 4/93)

However, the word "khalidan" means both forever and for a long time in Arabic. That the word “khalidan” in this verse means for a long time is supported by the meaning of the verse mentioned above (az-Zumar, 39/53).

If a believer commits a sin or acts lazily to fulfill fards though he is a believer in his heart and says that he is a believer with his tongue and believes that he deserves to be punished, he is a sinful believer. Allah’s describing such a person as an unbeliever is metaphorical. That is, it is in the sense of denying boons / ingratitude. If a Muslim accepts a sin as halal or denies a fard that he does not fulfill, he becomes an unbeliever.  

It is a major sin not to decree based on Islamic principles. If the decrees of Islam are not applied with the belief that the age of Islam passed and that it is unnecessary in this age, it is unbelief. The issues of belief and unbelief and decreeing that a believer is an unbeliever were dealt with in separate books. Salim al Bahansawi's book called "al-Hukmu wa Qadiyyatu Takfiril-Muslim" is one of them.

Saghair (minor sins): They are the small sins that do not necessitate penalty in the world and in the hereafter. When a minor sin is committed continuously, it ceases to be a minor sin. When one repents and asks for forgiveness, it will be forgiven inshallah. Some scholars said, "Do not be interested in whether a sin is minor or major; be interested in against whom you commit it." Everything that prevents one from knowing Allah and worshipping him, and everything that becomes a barrier between Allah and His slave is a sin.

Avoiding sins precedes fulfilling fards. First, the heart is purified from sins; then, it is adorned with fulfilling fards. Sins and harams destroy and poison religious feelings. However, that poison looks like honey and tastes sweet but it kills man’s spiritual feelings. 

It should not be forgotten that every boon is in return for some difficulty. Those who want Paradise and jamalullah (seeing the beauty/face of Allah) have to put up with some hardships and difficulties and take refuge in Allah. Believers worship their Lord as if He sees them, with the consciousness of ihsan. They act knowing that there is an angel on their left shoulders, recording their sins. 

If man avoids sins as much as he can, Allah will forgive minor sins.

"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),

"Those who avoid great sins and shameful deeds, only (falling into) small faults,- verily thy Lord is ample in forgiveness..."(an-Najm, 53/32)

Allah forgives the sins of His slaves due to some deeds they do and some words and prayers they say. The Prophet (pbuh) states the following:

"There is nobody in the world who will say, ‘La ilaha illallahu wallahu akbar, wala hawla wala quwwata illa billah’ (There is no god but Allah. Allah is the greatest. There is no might and power but that of Allah) and whose sins will not be forgiven even if they are as many as the foams in the sea." (Tirmidhi, Daawat, 58)

"There is no slave who will be not be forgiven if he commits a sin, makes wudu properly after that sin, performs a prayer of two rak'ahs and ask for forgiveness from Allah." (Ahmad b. Hanbal, I/10).

Prophets are infallible; they do not commit sins. However, there are some deeds called "zalla", which are regarded as mistakes for the rank of prophethood. Ahl as-Sunnah accepts intercession, reckoning, Scales (mizan), Sirat, hawd (Pool), Paradise, Hell, penalty in the grave and the questioning by munkar and nakir as true and principles of the religion.

The Results of Sins and Disobedience:

- To be deprived of ilm (knowledge): For, ilm is not given to sinners.

- Lack of sustenance: The sustenance of a sinner goes to harams. Allah's blessing and grant on him will cease.

- The heart and the spirit go bad: Their natural states go bad; they move away from repentance with insensitiveness, mercilessness and fearlessness. The inner world blackens, the heart rusts and the feeling of shame and good manners disappear.   

- To move away from people: A sinner who moves away from his soul, relatives and the community is bound to be alienated.

- Every sin leaves a stain: The result of the sins will bring about something bad in the body, mind and the other organs. Every sin leads to another sin.  

- Every sin is an inheritance from the bad non-Islamic nations in the past. Conceit is the inheritance from Pharaoh and homosexuality from the tribe of Lut (Lot).

- Sins and disobedience cause Allah's wrath to occur. Misfortunes and disasters will come. Sins harm the past, the present and the future generations.

- Sinners will be deprived of the repentance and asking for forgiveness of the angels on behalf of them and the intercession of the Prophet (pbuh). Sins weaken the belief of people.  

Some hadiths of the Prophet (pbuh) about sins:

"There are three kinds of zulm (wrongdoing/oppression): There is one zulm that Allah will not forgive, one that He will forgive and one that He will definitely call people to account for. The zulm that Allah will not forgive is shirk (polytheism). For, Allah states the following : "False worship is indeed the highest wrong-doing." (Luqman, 31/13) The zulm that Allah will forgive is the zulm slaves inflict upon their own souls. They are the mistakes they make in the affairs between their Lord and them.  The zulm that Allah will definitely call people to account for is the zulm people inflict upon one another. Allah will call them to account for it and punish them."

"Allah says, ‘O my slave! You did not worship Me but you hoped from Me. I forgave your sins. O my slave! If you come to Me with an earth load of sins, and meet Me associating nothing to Me, I will welcome you with an earth load of forgiveness.’"

"A misfortune and a small or big disaster that hit a person is because of his own sin. Allah forgives a lot of sins though."

"I swear by Allah in whose hand of power my soul is that no fatigue, nor disease, nor sorrow, nor sadness, nor hurt, nor distress befalls a Muslim, even if it were the prick he receives from a thorn, but that Allah expiates some of his sins for that."

"It is enough as a sin for a person to tell others whatever he hears."

"If anyone intercedes for his brother and he presents a gift to him for it and he accepts it, he approaches a great door of the doors of sins."

"No sinner will carry the burden of another."

"Allah will accept the repentance of any slave unless his soul reaches his throat."

"There is no Muslim who performs fard prayer, wudu, awe and ruku’ properly whose prayer will not atone for his sins before that prayer – unless he commits a major sin."

"If people see a bad deed and do not change it, Allah will soon send them a general penalty."

"O Allah! Do not destroy us because of the sins committed by others. Avoid seven destructing sins: associating partners with Allah, sorcery, murder, devouring the wealth of orphans, devouring interest, escaping from battle and slandering a chaste woman."

"If a person believes and performs fasting for Allah in Ramadan, his previous sins will be forgiven. Damned is the bribe-giver and the bribe-taker. Halal is certain and haram is certain. Leave what seems doubtful to you. When prostitution and fornication become rampant in a nation, Allah will send upon them such strange diseases that their own ancestors never heard of. Whenever a nation lessens weights and measures [ie. be deceitful in business transactions], Allah will punish them with oppression, famine and poverty. If the administrators of a nation do not decree based on the decrees Allah sent down, Allah will cause them to disintegrate. A slave is deprived of sustenance due to his disobedience and the sins he commits."

"Call yourself to account before you are called to account. If you knew what would happen to you, you would laugh less and cry more. If a bad deed you commit makes you sad, you are a believer. O Allah who transforms hearts! Make my heart steadfast to Your religion!" (Ibn Kathir, I, 508, 528; Bukhari, Libas, 24, Tibb, l, Sawm, 1-15, Ahkam, 9, Buyu', 2, 3; Muslim, Birr, 45 ff.; Iman,143, 144, 145, 153, 154, Muqaddima, 5; Abu Dawud Buyu, 82; Tirmidhi, Tafsir, 44; Daawat, 90, 99; Ibn Majah Ahkam, 2; Malik, Muwatta ; Hudud, 2,' Ahmad b. Hanbal, II, 164, 248; V, 154, 190, 194).

(Zübeyr TEKKEŞİN)

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