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Can I Swear on the Qur’an to Cover a Past Sin?

Ustadh Salman Younas is asked whether it is permissible to swear on the Qur’an in order to conceal a past sin one has repented.

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

It is not permissible to publicize one’s sins. I have committed a sin in that past from which I have repented. What should I do if I were confronted about this sin and made to swear an oath on the Qur’an?

Is it permissible to take this oath in order to protect myself and my future?

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

The general rule is that it is necessary to conceal one’s sins and repent. In a report related by Abu Hurayra, the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, stated that all members of his community would be forgiven save those who publicize their sins. (Bukhari, Muslim)

Based on this, scholars have stated that it would be permitted to lie when a person is confronted about their sins, though it is superior to utilize misleading words rather than engage in an actual lie. (Al-Saffarini, Sharh al-Manzuma; Al-Nahlawi, al-Durar al-Mubaha)

If one is forced to take an oath in regard to one’s sins, it would follow the same ruling mentioned above. Thus, one would be allowed to express the oath in a way that conceals one’s sin, such as by intending something other than the apparent and literal meaning of the words of one’s oath. For example, stating “I swear I did not lie” but intending by it not lying to a specific person.

For more see: Can We Deny Having Committed Sins After We Have Repented from Them?

Salman

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.


I Did Something to Hurt My Friend in the Past. Should I Tell Her?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: I did something to hurt my friend in the past, when we weren’t in contact. Now we’re friends again, and I feel so guilty. Should I tell her what I did?

Answer:Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for seeking out a solution for your dilemma.

Moving forward

Allah Most High says: “Who have believed and whose hearts have rest in the remembrance of Allah. Verily in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest!” [Qur’an, 13:28]

There is no need for you to disclose what you did to your friend. Rather, do everything in your power to rectify and heal your friendship. Give her gifts, make dua for her, and be of service to her.

Additionally, please increase your acts of worship – guard your prayers, increase in recitation of Qur’an, give in charity, and be of service to others.

The beauty of repentance is that your slate is wiped clean. Don’t let shaytan trick you into despair. When you are struck with feelings of guilt, immediately make dua for Allah to forgive you, and to settle your heart. He is the Turner of hearts, and only He can lift your sadness. I pray that He eases your sorrow, and replaces it with tranquility.

Please see:

Is It Permissible to Lie In Order to Conceal Past Sins?
A Reader on Tawba (Repentance)

Wassalam,
Raidah

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Photo: Asim Bharwani

My Friend Committed Fornication in the Past, and Wants to Tell Her Prospective Husband About It. Is This a Good Idea?

Important clarification: This page previously featured a photograph of a groom at his wedding, taken from Flickr Creative Commons. The image was used as a stock photograph. SeekersHub confirms that the individual featured in the photograph and his family bear no relation whatsoever to the subject matter addressed here. Our sincere apologies for the confusion and upset caused.

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: One of my friends committed fornication with someone. Now her family is searching for a groom for her. She wants to tell her future husband that she has committed fornication because she feels that it is wrong to live a lie. What should she do?

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for having sincere concern for your friend.

Exposing sin

Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (upon him be blessings and peace) said, “Every one of my followers will be forgiven except those who expose (openly) their wrongdoings. An example of this is that of a man who commits a sin at night which Allah has covered for him, and in the morning, he would say (to people): “I committed such and such sin last night,’ while Allah had kept it a secret. During the night Allah has covered it up but in the morning he tears up the cover provided by Allah Himself.” [Bukhari and Muslim].

It is impermissible for your friend to expose her past sins to anyone. Alhamdulilah, her sincere repentance wipes her slate clean. She is not living a lie because the woman her future husband knows has been forgiven by Allah. She is not condemned because of her past mistakes. Shaytan wants us to despair in Allah’s Mercy.

Reality

Please tell her to not say anything to her future husband. This concept of ‘telling all’ goes against what Islam teaches us. Allah knows His creation. If she does confess her sin to her future husband, then she would run the risk of losing his trust.

Her feelings of guilt are a good sign, but exposing her sin will not relieve her heart. The conditions of a valid repentance are:

1. Leaving the sin;
2. Remorse over having committed the sin;
3. Resolve never to return to the sin;
4. (If it relates to the rights of another person, then to) Return the rights or property one wrongly took. [al-Bariqa fi Sharh al-Tariqa; Riyad al-Salihin]

[Excerpt from What is Sincere Repentance? By Shaykh Faraz Rabbani]

Moving forward

Salman reported that Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said: “Verily, Allah created on the same very day when He created the heavens and the earth, one hundred parts of mercy. Every part of mercy is coextensive with the space between the heaven. and the earth, and He, out of this mercy endowed one part to the earth; and it is because of this that the mother shows affection to her child, and even the beasts and birds show kindness to one another, and when there would be the Day of Resurrection, Allah would make full (use of Mercy)”. [Muslim]

Alhamdulilah for the Mercy of our Loving Creator, who forgives us when we return to Him.

Encourage your friend to guard her prayers, make continual istighfar, salawat upon the Prophet (upon him be blessings and peace), give in charity, and make continual shukr that Allah has blessed her with a second chance. Ask her to perform the Prayer of Need in the last third of the night and beg Allah to ease her heart and bless her with a beautiful marriage. This restlessness in her heart can only be cured by Allah, the Turner of hearts.

Please refer to the following link:
Informing a Prospective Spouse About Past Non-Marital Relationships
Can We Deny Having Committed Sins After We’ve Repented From Them?
A Reader on Repentance
What Are Some Prophetic Supplications That Can Help Me Deal With Trials in My Life?

Wassalam,
Raidah

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Informing a Prospective Spouse About Past Non-Marital Relationships

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam
Question:If my prospective spouse asks me if I had any past relations, am I to deny having committed past sins, and am I to state affirmatively that I am in fact a virgin? Does my fiance have a right to ask me of my past sins/virginity? Does my stating in the affirmative take away the rights of my prospective spouse to obtain a virgin in marriage?
Also, if my prospective spouse suggests to indulge in sexual relations out of marriage just because we would be married anyway, how do I explain to him that this is wrong? He is a very nice person of good character but unfortunately he is not very mindful/informed about many things about religion.
Answer:Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
I pray that you are in the best of health and faith, insha’Allah.
No, you should not disclose details of past errors, including those related to virginity.
Sincere repentance wipes out the sin and its traces, and from the mercy of this religion is that you are still legally considered to be a virgin. Rejoice in the of the Prophet of mercy sent by the All-Merciful.
As for getting together before marriage, tactfully avoid. Keep contact to a minimum as best you can, and pray two cycles of the prayer of thankfulness and need daily– praying that Allah gives you a beautiful life together and save you from the impermissible before and during marriage. Ibn ‘Ata’illah said, “Whosoever’s beginning is illuminated, their ending is illuminated.”
May Allah bless and facilitate success for both of you in this life and the next.
See also: Is It Permissible to Lie In Order to Conceal Past Sins? and: Can One Lie About Past Sins?
And Allah alone gives success.
wassalam,
Tabraze Azam

Is It Permissible to Lie In Order to Conceal Past Sins?

Answered by Shaykh Faraz A. Khan

Question: My mother asked me about things in my past I may have done. To one of the questions, I replied “wallah no” because I couldn’t tell the truth as it may jeopardize my relationship with my family. I lied and swore, and I completely understand that this is sinful, but I did it to protect myself essentially. Am I obliged to perform the kaffarah? And if so, how do I go about it? I understand that I can feed 10 people. Does that mean I can give ten different people maybe like 10 dollars to buy a meal?

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

I pray this finds you in the best of health and faith.

A general principle in Islamic law is that it is sinful to reveal one’s past sins. One must keep them concealed, as sincere repentance wipes them out and so it is as if the person never committed them.

Scholars mention that because of this principle, one may lie when confronted about past sins [assuming doing so does not entail neglect of another’s right, such as not returning stolen money]. Such a lie would not be unlawful.

Yet even when lying is permissible, it would be religiously more precautionary to use misleading words instead of outright lying. [Nahlawi, Durar al-Mubaha]

For example, if asked about a sin in the past that one did commit, one could say, “Alhamdulillah, Allah protected me from that,” intending one’s sincere repentance after the sin, i.e., that Allah protected me from falling into it again…

With respect to your swearing by Allah, because it is not an oath to do or not do something in the future, no expiation (kaffara) is due. [Mawsili, Mukhtar]

And Allah knows best.

wassalam

Faraz

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Related Answers:

Can We Deny Having Committed Sins After We’ve Repented From Them?

Can One Lie About Past Sins?

Can We Deny Having Committed Sins After We’ve Repented From Them?

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question: If one commits some sin, lets say he/she killed someone or committed zina.  The person is truly sorry and makes sincere istighfaar and never does this again.  Is it true that if asked sometime in the future if has ever previously committed murder/zina he can say NO? So in other words, does making sincere istighfaar wipe your slate clean so that if asked about it one can answer as if he/she has never done the sin in question?

Answer: In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Walaikum assalam,

Sins are wiped out by sincere repentance. However, if they relate to the rights of another, this right has to be returned. Killing is especially dangerous because taking the life of another is a wrong which cannot be returned in this life. As such, one’s repentance should be coupled with a true turning to Allah, lest the one killed demand requital on the Day of Judgment.

Talking About Sins

It is prohibited (haram) and sinful to talk about sins, whether current or past, except when there is a Shariah-countenanced reason. Even when such a reason exists, if it is possible to mention something general (such as not mentioning oneself or any particular type of sins) then mentioning specific sins would remain sinful. This is because it is:

(1) obligatory to avoid vain talk [defined below] and

(2) obligatory to conceal one’s sins.

Imam Barkawi said in his al-Tariqa al-Muhammadiyya,

“Talking about the vain is to talk about sins [K: one’s own or others’], such as talking about gatherings of drinking, or the fornicators, without there being a valid reasons. This is because it is revealing sin, whether one’s own or another’s, without a [K: religiously valid] reason.” [al-Bariqa al-Mahmudiyya Sharh al-Tariqa al-Muhammadiyya, 3: 224-225]

Abu Hurayra (Allah be pleased with him) reports that the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace be upon him) said, “All my Community will be excused except those who are blatant. And it is from blatancy for one to perform an act at night and to wake up and tell something that they did such-and-such, while Allah had concealed it for them. They slept under the cover of Allah, and they rended Allah’s covering from themselves in the morning.” [Bukhari and Muslim]

What if I am asked whether I did such and such?

Given this, if someone asks one whether one used to do drink, for example, in the bad old days, one cannot answer in the affirmative. Rather, one should answer by an indirect answer, like, “Why would any Muslim drink?” Or, “Alhamdulillah, Allah protected me from that,” intending that Allah protected one after one stopped. If such an indirect answer does not come to one’s mind, it would be permitted (or, rather, necessary) to lie and deny this.

Why?

The reason why it is so important not to talk about sin is because of what sin is: it is that which Allah hates, and may punish its doer for in the Hereafter. Sins go against the very purpose of the creation of humanity, which is to know and worship Allah. If you examine sins, all of them either entail or lead to social harms.

The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Believers see their sins as if they were sitting at the foot of a mountain and feared that it may fall on them, while the corrupt see their sins as if they were a mere fly that flew by their nose.” [Bukhari and Muslim] Sins are something extremely grave. The believer fears even getting close to sinning, because of their firm belief, sincere devotion, and true love.

When people start talking about sins, they lose their gravity and people start thinking (even if only subconsciously) that it is not all that bad to sin. For example, if one missed praying Fajr, one must feel remorseful. This remorse would lead to repentance and a determination not to make the same mistakes again. However, if one went to the breakfast table, and everyone was talking normally about how they didn’t get up for Fajr, this sin would feel less grave. Eventually, it would just be the way things are.

Taking Care of One’s Eyes and Ears

This is also why it is important to avoid seeing and hearing that which is not permitted. This is not only the obvious sins, but also reading and seeing things that may affect one’s beliefs or understanding of Islam.

We have been instructed by the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) that, “From the excellence of a man’s Islam is to leave that which does not concern him.” [A sound (hasan) hadith, transmitted by Tirmidhi and others]

The great Hanafi hadith expert, jurist, sufi, and expert in Qur’anic recitations, Mulla Ali al-Qari (Allah have mercy on him) mentioned in his expansive commentary on Mishkat al-Masabih:

The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said,

“From the excellence of a man’s Islam is leaving that which does not concern him.”

That is, to leave that which is not important or befitting of him, whether in speech, actions, or thought. Thus, the excellence of a man’s Islam is its perfection, such that one remains steadfast in the submission to the commands and prohibitions of Allah, and surrenders to His rulings in accordance to His destiny and decree (qada wa qadr). This is the sign of the heart having been expanded by the light of its Lord, and the descent of quietude (sakina) into the heart.

The reality of that which does not concern him is that which is not needed for a worldly or next-worldly necessity, and dos not aide in attaining his Lord’s good pleasure, such that it is possible to life without it.

This includes excess acts and unnecessary speech. This hadith may well be taken from Allah Most High’s saying, “And who shun all vain things.” [Qur’an, 23: 3;  f:  Imam Baydawi explains vain things in his Tafsir as being: “that which does not concern them of speech and actions”]

And it has been related in a Prophetic hadith that, “The people of the Garden will not remorse except for moments that passed them by without remembering Allah.” [Tabarani from our master Mu`adh (may Allah be pleased with him)].

So glad tidings to one who takes himself to account before he is taken to account!

Allah Most High has said, “O you who believe! Observe your duty to Allah. And let every soul look to that which it sends on before for the morrow. And observe your duty to Allah! Lo! Allah is Informed of what you do. And be not you as those who forgot Allah, therefore He caused them to forget their souls. Such are the wrongdoers.” (Qur’an, 59: 18)

Awza`i said, “`Umar ibn `Abd al-`Aziz wrote to us, ‘Whoever is frequent in remembering death is content with but a little of this world. And whoever counts his speech from his actions speaks little except in that which benefits him.'” [Mulla Ali al-Qari, Mirqat al-Mafatih, 8: 585 #4840]

And Allah alone gives success.

Wassalam,
Faraz Rabbani

Can One Lie About Past Sins?

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question: Can one lie about sins that one committed in the past if he truly repented from them? What is the ruling on talking about past sins?

Answer: In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Walaikum assalam,

Sins are wiped out by sincere repentance. However, if they relate to the rights of another, this right has to be returned. If it is a wrong that cannot be returned in this life, like taking a life, one’s repentance should be coupled with a true turning to Allah, lest the one killed demand requital on the Day of Judgment.

Talking About Sins

It is prohibited (haram) and sinful to talk about sins, whether current or past, except when there is a Shariah-countenanced reason. Even when such a reason exists, if it is possible to mention something general (such as not mentioning oneself or any particular type of sins) then mentioning specific sins would remain sinful. This is because it is:

(1) obligatory to avoid  vain talk, and

(2) obligatory to conceal one’s sins.

Imam Barkawi defined “vain talk” in his al-Tariqa al-Muhammadiyya, stating,

“Talking about the vain is to talk about sins [K: one’s own or others], such as talking about gatherings of drinking, or the fornicators, without there being a valid reason. This is because it is revealing a sin, whether one’s own or another’s, without a [K: religiously valid] reason.”  [al-Bariqa al-Mahmudiyya Sharh al-Tariqa al-Muhammadiyya, 3: 224-225]

The obligation of concealing one’s sins is also mentioned clearly by the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace). Abu Hurayra (Allah be pleased with him) reports that the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace be upon him) said, “All my Community will be excused except those who are blatant. And it is from blatancy for one to perform an act at night and to wake up and tell something that they did such-and-such, while Allah had concealed it for them. They slept under the cover of Allah, and they rended Allah’s covering from themselves in the morning.” [Bukhari and Muslim]

What if I am asked whether I did such and such?

Given this, if someone asks one whether one used to do drink, for example, in the bad old days, one cannot answer in the affirmative. Rather, one should answer by an indirect answer, like, “Why would any Muslim drink?”, or, “Alhamdulillah, Allah protected me from that”, intending that Allah protected one after one stopped. If such an indirect answer does not come to one’s mind, it would be permitted (or, rather, necessary) to lie and deny this.

The reason why it is so important not to talk about sin is because of what sin is: it is that which Allah hates, and may punish its doer for in the Hereafter. Sins go against the very purpose of the creation of humanity, which is to know and worship Allah. If you examine sins, all of them either entail or lead to social harms. Mentioning a sin is therefore a sin in itself. It is like (or worse than) dropping one’s pants in front of others; shameless. It is a serious issue that people are not careful about.

Further, talking about sin allows it to lose it’s gravity and people start thinking (even if only subconsciously) that it is not all that bad to sin. When a person talks about sin normally, then it becomes for him “just the way things are”.

Guarding One’s Eyes & Ears

In light of this, it is also important to avoid seeing and hearing that which is not permitted. This not only relates to obvious sins, but also reading and seeing things that may affect one’s beliefs or understanding of Islam. This is why the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) instructed that, “From the excellence of a man’s Islam is to leave that which does not concern him.” [A sound (hasan) hadith, transmitted by Tirmidhi and others]

Mulla Ali al-Qari, the famous Hanafi hadith scholar, commentating on this in his Mirqat al-Mafatih, states:

“That is, to leave that which is not important or befitting of him, whether in speech, actions, or thought. Thus, the excellence of a man’s Islam is its perfection, such that one remains steadfast in the submission to the commands and prohibitions of Allah, and surrenders to His rulings in accordance to His destiny and decree (qada wa qadr). This is the sign of the heart having been expanded by the light of its Lord, and the descent of quietude (sakina) into the heart.

The reality of that which does not concern him is that which is not needed for a worldly or next-worldly necessity, and dos not aide in attaining his Lord’s good pleasure, such that it is possible to life without it.

This includes excess acts and unnecessary speech. This hadith may well be taken from Allah Most High’s saying, ‘And who shun all vain things.’ [Qur’an, 23:3; f: vain things (lagw) is, which Imam Baydawi explains in his Tafsir as being: “that which does not concern them of speech and actions.”]

And it has been related in a Prophetic hadith that, “The people of the Garden will not remorse except for moments that passed them by without remembering Allah.”  [Tabarani from our master Mu`adh (may Allah be pleased with him)]

So glad tidings to one who takes himself to account before he is taken to account!

Allah Most High has said, “O you who believe! Observe your duty to Allah. And let every soul look to that which it sends on before for the morrow. And observe your duty to Allah! Lo! Allah is Informed of what you do. And be not you as those who forgot Allah, therefore He caused them to forget their souls. Such are the wrongdoers.” (Qur’an, 59:18)

Awza`i said, “`Umar ibn `Abd al-`Aziz wrote to us, ‘Whoever is frequent in remembering death is content with but a little of this world. And whoever counts his speech from his actions speaks little except in that which benefits him.'” [Mulla Ali al-Qari, Mirqat al-Mafatih, 8: 585 #4840]

And Allah alone gives success.

Wassalam,
Faraz Rabbani

(Edited by Salman Younas)