Is Someone Who Persists in Committing a Sin Considered a Muslim?

Hanafi Fiqh

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam


Is someone who is persistent in sin classed as Muslim. I always believed so but I recently came across this briefly:

  1. Istihzaa- that is making a mockery of Deen.
  2. Islihlaal- That is to regard something halal which is clearly haram in Shariah for example Interest.
  3. Istikhfaaf- that is to treat the laws of Shariah lightly and with total disregard.

Is it correct to say that enjoying a sin (persistently/not persistently), such as watching a tv program with sin (violence) would constitute Istihzaa and therefore Kufr, even though they still believe the act is haraam and have not denied it? Could you also elaborate on point 3 on when this would occur?


I pray that you are in the best of health and faith, insha’Allah.
No, somebody who persists in sin remains a believer.

Doubts about Faith

Works alone do not take one out of the fold of Islam. And the basis is that someone is a believer. When in doubt, one should consult about the specifics. [see: What is the Ruling For Someone Who Has Thoughts of Disbelief Without Saying Them Aloud?]
Doubts and misgivings are nothing new. The devil has been in work for some time now, and he is well-aware of how to confuse people and sow the seeds for their self-destruction.

Some of the Companions once came to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and said, “We find within ourselves such notions that overwhelm any of us from speaking about it.” The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) asked: “Do you also experience it?” The Companions replied, “Yes.” The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) replied “That is real faith.” [Sahih Muslim]

Shaykh Nuh Keller comments, “As long as one has fear and disgust for passing thoughts of unbelief (kufr) and the like and does not make them convictions, they do no harm.” [see: A Reader on Waswasa (Baseless Misgivings) and: Good Deeds & Salvation: Putting Our Works Into Perspective ]

Disdain (istikhfaf) of the Religion

As for istikhfaf, of its meanings is disdain, scorn, neglect, or contempt which is defined as, “the feeling that a person or a thing is worthless or beneath consideration.” [Oxford]

Somebody who has istikhfaf of Allah, His Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace), or of anything he came with has committed apostasy.

Disdain (istikhfaf) can be with beliefs, words, or actions. For example, abuse or disdain of the sunna prayers, whether by heart or tongue, would be included here. [al-Mawsu`ah al-Fiqhiyya al-Kuwaitiyya; `Ala’ al-Din `Abidin, al-Hadiyya al-`Ala’iyya]

Repentance and Turning to Allah

Returning to Allah is straightforward: sincere repentance and rectifying one’s error. It has three conditions: (a) to leave the sin, (b) remote of having committed the sin, and (c) to resolve never to return to it.

The door of repentance will remain open until the sun rises from the West. [see: A Reader on Tawba (Repentance)]
Allah Most High says: “Say: My servants who have wronged yourselves, never despair of God’s mercy. God forgives all sins: He is truly the Most Forgiving, the Most Merciful.” [39.53]

And He says, “Will they not then turn towards Allah in repentance and ask His forgiveness? And Allah is Ever-forgiving, All-merciful.” [5:74]

It is from the Supreme Mercy and Forgiveness of Allah that bad deeds are completely erased through repentance. And the sign of a truly sincere repentance is that you never return to that sin again.

Veneration and Respect

Veneration (ta`dhim) and deep respect of the symbols of Allah is from the religion. In general, this is venerating everything that has an ascription to Allah.

Allah Most High says, “Whoever honours God’s symbols shows the piety of their hearts.” [22.32] There is a connection between god-consciousness (taqwa) and veneration (ta`dhim). Increases in the former lead to increases in the latter.

Whatever happens in life, we should never forget this beautiful hadith of the beloved Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace): ’What an extraordinary thing the business of the believer is! All of it is good for him. And that only applies to the believer. If good fortune is his lot, he is grateful and it is good for him. If something harmful happens to him, he is steadfast and that is good for him too.’” [Muslim]

See also: Does Neglecting the Prayer Entail Disbelief? and: Performing Tarawih Prayers Again as an Imam

And Allah alone gives success.


[Ustadh] Tabraze Azam
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani