When our books of deeds are given to us on the Day of Judgment and when our sins are revealed, will everybody see them or will only we see them?

The Details of the Question

Will the people we know and do not know be aware of our sins? Will we be able to see the Creator without any veil when we are reckoned?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

A person who commits sins faces big troubles in both the world and the hereafter.

When a sin committed, bigger and more sins are sometimes added to it; for instance, to insist on a sin, to like it, to delay repenting, to take pleasure when one commits a similar sin, to feel sorry when one cannot commit a sin, to become happy when one commits a sin, to include others when two people commit a sin, to spend the wealth given to him by Allah committing sins, which is regarded as ingratitude.

“When a believer commits a sin, a black spot appears in his heart. If he stops committing that sin and asks Allah for forgiveness, his heart is cleared from that black spot. If he continues committing that sin, the black spot gets bigger.” (Ibn Majah, Zuhd 29)

Therefore, it is very important to clean sins immediately without insisting on them.

We should not forget that regretting committing sins is actually repentance. The following glad tiding of the Messenger of Allah eases our mind:

“A person who repents of his sins is like a person who has not committed sins.” (Ibn Majah, Zuhd 30)

On the other hand, the following verse emphasizes that we should be sensitive about avoiding sins:

“Eschew all sin, open or secret.” (al-Anam, 6/120)

As a matter of fact, it is a sin to reveal a sin that has been committed secretly:

“All the people who repent sincerely will be forgiven except those who commit a sin openly. An example of such disclosure is that a person commits a sin at night and though Allah screens it from the public, he comes in the morning, and says, 'I did such-and-such evil deed yesterday'; this will not be forgiven." (Bukhari, Adab, 60; Muslim, Zuhd, 52)

A sinner generally blazes a trail of sin which is followed by others; as people continue to commit it, the evil deeds caused by that sin are recorded in his book of deeds. (see Muslim, Ilm, 15; Zakat, 69; Nasai, Zakat, 64)

When people commit sins openly and when they display their sins, they will set bad examples for the other members of the community and will harm human personality. When people see that others do the evil deeds that they do, they feel relaxed; when the evil deeds are shared by others, their agonies are relieved, paving the way psychologically for doing that evil deed more easily and bravely. When a person does an evil deed in a weak period of his life, he wants to forget it after giving it up; he also wants others to forget it. However, if he mentions his sin to others, people will remember him with that sin throughout their lives. Therefore, it is accepted that the spread of a rumor about an evil deed is worse than its occurrence.

Allah states in a verse that leading others to committing sins is an attribute of hypocrites (munafiqs):  

“The Hypocrites, men and women, (have an understanding) with each other: they enjoin evil, and forbid what in just, and are close with their hands.” (at-Tawba, 9/67)

If a person hides his sin, it is regarded as a kind of regret and the first step for repentance; it is stated that the people who hide their sins can be forgotten:

"Allah will bring a believer near Him and shelter him with His Screen and ask him: Did you commit such-and-such sins? He will say: Yes, my Lord. Allah will keep on asking him till he confesses all his sins and he will think that he is ruined. Allah will say: 'I did screen your sins in the world and I forgive them for you today." (Buhkari, Mazalim, 3).

Allah covers humans with three types of coverings. The first covering is human’s clothes that conceal his/her unpleasant and shameful parts. The second one is the concealment of his ideas, thoughts and dreams in his heart. The third one is that Allah has covered and concealed his creatures’ sins, transformed his sins into merits,  given to man his book in which only his good deeds are written  in afterlife as if he has not committed any sins. (Ghazali, Asmau'l-Husna, trnsl. by Y. Arıkan, p. 128)

Accordingly, the sins that lie snug in this world also lie snug in afterlife. The sins committed publicly are seen in afterlife publicly, too.

Allah is not going to show all sins to everyone. As a matter of fact, Allah is going to conceal some of the sins that are repented and the sins of those who conceal others’ sins.

Allah’s creatures are not just humans. As a matter of fact, man’s good deeds and bad deeds are going to be shown to the whole universe, to angels and to many beings.

Above all, Allah will have shown and declared His justice and that He gives everyone what they deserve. Allah will show this to the person himself first.

“Even if a person who commits sodomy washes himself with water of seas cannot clear up his sin. Only repent clears it up.” (Daylami, Firdawsu’l-Akhbar, No: 6892; Ajluni, Kashfu’l-Khafa, No: 2093)

The narrative above lets us know that a sincere repentance before death will cause the sins to be forgiven.

Accordingly, the sins that will not be forgiven -no matter whether they are committed publicly or secretly- can be interpreted as the ones that are not repented.

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