Answered by Shaykh Yusuf Weltch
If I ignore a doubt when I don’t know if I did a major sin or not, would I be forgiven on the day of judgment if I actually did the sin?
In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate
If you are not reasonably sure or certain that you committed a sin, ignore any such doubts. Many of these types of doubts are unhealthy and tools of Shaytan to lead the Believer to despair.
If you are certain that you committed a major sin (which would not be something obscure as major sins are clear), repent from it and continue to pursue the good pleasure of Allah Most High. Even in the case that you did sin, do not despair.
Prone to Sin
The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “All of the children of Adam are prone to error (or sin), and the best of those who err are those who repent often.” [Tirmidhi]
It is no matter of doubt that the human being is deficient and has a propensity to sin. Knowledge of this leads to humility and is healthy as it keeps self-delusion at bay. The greater sin is for a person to deem themselves free of sin and pure.
Allah Most High says, “…so do not assert your own goodness:He knows best who is mindful of Him.” [Quran, 53:32]
In another verse, Allah Most High says, “[Prophet], have you considered those who claim purity for themselves? No! God purifies whoever He will: no one will be wronged by as much as the husk of a date stone.” [Quran, 4:49]
Furthermore, the Messenger of Allah said: Allah Most High says, “O Servants of Mine! You err by night and day, and I forgive all sins; so seek forgiveness from Me, and I will forgive you…” [Muslim]
It is pertinent for every believer, and every human, to understand their deficiency and proclivity to sin. Knowledge of this is a prerequisite to reaching nearness to Allah Most High. It is important, however, to abstain from going to either extreme in this regard.
One extreme is self-delusion which we pointed to above. The other extreme is to be so critical of oneself that one gives up efforts to purify and rectify one’s flaws and faults. Both extremes are dangerous. The former is sometimes known as a feeling of being safe from Allah’s decree (Amn min makr Allah) and the latter is despair (Ya’s). Each of these is forbidden in the Quran.
Feeling Safe from Allah’s Punishment
Allah Most High says, “Did the people of those societies feel secure that Our punishment would not come upon them by night while they were asleep? Or did they feel secure that Our punishment would not come upon them by day while they were at play?” [Quran, 7:97-8]
If Allah Most High were to deal with us on the Day of Judgment with His justice, we all would be deserving of punishment. As mentioned, we are deficient in fulfilling Allah’s right of gratitude for all the blessings that he showers upon us daily. Beyond that, we even use the blessings of Allah Most High in His disobedience.
Fortunately, Allah Most High has decreed to deal with the Believers on the basis of mercy. Because of this, we must not forget Allah’s mercy when viewing ourselves and our sins.
Despair of Allah’s Mercy
Allah Most High says, “Say, O Prophet, that Allah says, “O My servants who have exceeded the limits against their souls! Do not lose hope in Allah’s mercy, for Allah certainly forgives all sins. He is indeed the All-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” [Quran, 39:53]
Both despair and feeling safe from Allah’s decree are extremes that Shaytan vacillates between when seeking to make the human go astray from Allah’s path.
The Middle Path to Allah Most High
We are sinful, but we also are blessed with virtue. The Believer should always be between repentance followed by efforts to improve and humility always seeking to give all credit of righteousness to Allah’s beneficence upon us.
If you commit a sin, repent. If not, strive to obey Allah Most High and not fall into despair. Perhaps, the most important advice in this regard is to seek Sacred knowledge. By knowledge one begins to understand what Allah Most High wants from us as individuals and members of society.
As you increase in knowledge, seek to implement what you learn and slowly raise the standard by which you hold yourself in relation to Allah’s obedience
Hope this helps
Allah knows best
[Shaykh] Yusuf Weltch
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Shaykh Yusuf Weltch teaches Arabic, Islamic law, and spirituality. After accepting Islam in 2008, he completed four years at the Darul Uloom Seminary in New York, where he studied Arabic and the traditional sciences.
He then traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he studied for three years in Dar al-Mustafa under some of the most outstanding scholars of our time, including Habib Umar Bin Hafiz, Habib Kadhim al-Saqqaf, and Shaykh Umar al-Khatib.
In Tarim, Shaykh Yusuf completed the memorization of the Quran and studied beliefs, legal methodology, hadith methodology, Quranic exegesis, Islamic history, and several texts on spirituality. He joined the SeekersGuidance faculty in the summer of 2019.