Following Others in Sin

If a person commits a sin without intending to be followed and someone else sees him doing the sin and does it, will the former bear the burden of the latter’s sin as well?

Assalamu alaykum

Shukran for your question.

The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Whoever sets a good precedent will receive the reward of that good as well as the reward of all who follows him in that good. Whoever sets a bad precedent will receive the sin of that deed as well as the sin of those who follow him in that bad.” [Muslim]

Despite reading a few commentaries on this narration, I have not seen any of the commentators distinguishing between a sin perpetrated with the intention of being followed or not.

However, the hadith is general and would consequently include all sin, whether the perpetrator intended to be followed or not.

Lastly, the Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) also said, “Whoever calls to misguidance receives the sin of those who follow.” [Muslim]

Imam Nawawi, when commenting on this report, highlighted that while the first narration spoke of inventing a sin, the second speaks of perpetuating a sin that already exists. Either way, when sinning, whether intending to be followed or not, one is inviting to that sin and consequently carries the sin of those who follow.

And Allah knows best.
[Shaykh] Abdurragmaan Khan

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Abdurragmaan received ijazah ’ammah from various luminaries, including but not restricted to: Habib Umar ibn Hafiz—a personality who affected him greatly and who has changed his relationship with Allah, Maulana Yusuf Karaan—the former Mufti of Cape Town; Habib ‘Ali al-Mashhur—the current Mufti of Tarim; Habib ‘Umar al-Jaylani—the Shafi‘i Mufti of Makkah; Sayyid Ahmad bin Abi Bakr al-Hibshi; Habib Kadhim as-Saqqaf; Shaykh Mahmud Sa’id Mamduh; Maulana Abdul Hafiz al-Makki; Shaykh Ala ad-Din al-Afghani; Maulana Fazlur Rahman al-Azami and Shaykh Yahya al-Gawthani amongst others.