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Allah forgiving sins

Thank you for your question, your honesty, and your request for advice.

I would say that, yes, Allah is All-Forgiving and All-Merciful, and we should always have a good opinion of Him that He will forgive our sins and show mercy to us. Yes, Allah says that He forgives all sins (39:53), but He also says He forgives whomever He wishes and punishes whomever He wishes (2:284). That in itself should be enough to take us out of a false sense of security. We have immense hope in Allah’s mercy, but that is tempered by a fear that He may take us to task, and He does what He wills.

We should be cautious of making light of sins in the belief that Allah will forgive us whatever the situation. The scholars liken sins to the poison which kills us spiritually in the same that that actual poison kills us physically. We should be as scared of sins as we would be of consuming poison. The danger is that if we keep falling into sin, we will become more distant from Allah, and it will be harder to come back to Him.

One of the Devil’s tricks is to encourage us to do wrong, saying that we can make tawba afterward. To fall into wrongdoing and then to want to make tawbah is a sign of goodness but to think about tawba before doing something wrong is a sign of being deceived. We need to nurture our taqwa to steer well clear of sin.

It is also important to remember that there are conditions that must be fulfilled to be accepted for our tawbah. The scholars mention three:

1.      That the person stops committing the sin
2.      That the person feels sincere remorse for having committed the sin

3.      That the person makes a strong resolve never to sin again

(Imam al-Nawawi, Riyad al-Salihin)

When we reflect upon this, we realize that receiving Allah’s forgiveness is not a foregone conclusion. Still, rather it is something we have to work hard for both internally and externally.

May Allah make us among those who constantly return to Him in tawbah, for those are the people He loves.

Wassalam,

[Shaykh] Amin Buxton
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Will Allah Forgive My Major Sins?

Question:
Will Allah forgive my major sins?
Answer:
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
Allah Is the Most Merciful 
Allah Most High says,
“And He is the one who accepts the repentance of His servants.” [Qur’an, 42:25]
The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said,
“Allah accepts the servant’s repentance until they take their last breath.” [Tirmidhi (who deemed it sound), Ibn Maja, and Ahmad]
Types of Sins 
Imam Laqani states in his poem on the fundamentals of belief, Jawharat al-Tawhid:
1. Sins are of two types: major and minor;
2. It is immediately obligatory to repent from all sins, especially major ones;
3. Repentance is not nullified by falling into the same sin again.
We should remember that even if you fall into a major sin on purpose, you can still repent, and Allah may forgive you. The doors of repentance are always open.
Never Despair of the Mercy of Allah 
You must remember that committing a sin does not mean Allah will punish a person. It means they committed a wrong that if they do not repent from it, they have brought upon themselves a cause for divine chastisement. Allah can still forgive them if they repent. Therefore, if you repent from your wrong actions, then it is like it never happened.
The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “The one who repents from sin is like the one who never committed the wrong.” [Bayhaqi]
[Imam] Yama Niazi
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

How Do I Repent From Speaking Ill About Someone?

Question:

I spoke badly about someone when I was a young child. I told a sister that another did not like her, but how should I repent from this? Also, is it haram to use gifted money from someone who does not earn halal to pay for university fees that would usually require a loan with interest?

Answer: 

Assalamu alaykum,

Thank you for your question. A child is not morally responsible for what he utters, but it is excellent that you recognize this namima and want to eliminate it from your life. Such good habits must be formed at a young age, and it is a good habit to be concerned about repentance and sin. Tawba is the very essence of spiritual development. Please see details about namima here:
https://seekersguidance.org/answers/general-counsel/slander-backbiting-and-talebearing/

As for your taking unlawful earnings to pay for university, you will find the details here:
https://seekersguidance.org/answers/hanafi-fiqh/what-is-the-ruling-on-receiving-things-from-others-that-were-acquired-with-unlawful-money/
https://seekersguidance.org/answers/general-counsel/suspected-unlawful-earnings-and-gifts/

May Allah reward you for your sincerity and give you the best of this world and the next.

[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria for two years where she studied aqidah, fiqh, tajweed, tafseer, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Masters in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She recently moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.

 

Are We Sinful Because Of Shaytan?

Question: Can you please explain the difference between Shaytan al-Nafs and the Shaytan? Also, are we sinful because of Shaytan, or are we simply inclined to sin?

Answer:

Assalamu alaykum,

Thank you for your question. The questions that you ask are very important and understanding them is a good starting point for eliminating sin from our lives.

 

Four Enemies Of the Soul

Imam Ghazali mentions in Minhaj al-‘Abidin, on the Seven Tricks of the Shaytan, that the four enemies of the souls are the (a) Nafs (lower self); (b) Hawa (caprice); (c) Dunya (this world); and (d) Shaytan (the Devil). Whenever a man sins, which is part of his imperfect nature, the source is one of these four. So one must be keen to recognize that the enemies are always present and one must use one’s taqwa to fight off the current enemy when the thought of misdeed comes to one.

My teacher once explained the situation to me saying that one’s nafs is like a president who makes the decision, and the Devil is his closest advisor; they work hand in hand. He advised that must always ensure to give the nafs what he wants within limits, as long as the nafs give you what you want. For example, be diplomatic with the nafs, and let it indulge in a dessert or the like, as long as it gets up for tahajjud that night.

Please see this answer for the types of ego:
https://seekersguidance.org/answers/general-counsel/the-meaning-of-nafs/
And this answer about the source of our thoughts:
https://seekersguidance.org/answers/general-counsel/distinguishing-between-thoughts-from-ourselves-shaytan-and-allah/

 

Sinful Nature

Allah did create man as weak, greedy, and sinful, but this is not something to fear. Only the Prophets are free of sin, and Allah loves our repentance and expects it from his true believers so that He can forgive them. It is only through this process that one can purify oneself. It is the pure ones who will be successful as Allah, Most High, has told us in His book.

The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “Were you not to commit sins, Allah would create people who would commit sins and ask for forgiveness and He would forgive them.“ [Muslim]

Finally, please see this link on fighting the ego. May Allah give you the best in this world and the next.
https://seekersguidance.org/answers/general-counsel/imam-nawawi-on-fighting-the-ego-nafs/

[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria for two years where she studied aqidah, fiqh, tajweed, tafseer, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Masters in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She recently moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.

Am I Still a Believer If I Sinned?

Question: Am I still a believer if I sinned, and will Allah forgive me?

Answer:

Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

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

Thank you for your question, and may Allah bless and guide your affairs.
It is a great gift from Allah that He inspires us to repent.

Am I Still Muslim If I Commit Sins Knowingly?

A person remains Muslim even if they commit sins knowingly.
Allah says in the Quran addressing the believers,

“And repent to God, all of you believers, so that you may succeed. “[Quran 24:31]
Notice Allah addressed believers to repent, therefore committing sins does not remove you from being a Muslim as long as one does not believe that the sin they are committing is lawful.

 

What Makes a Person No Longer a Muslim?

What constitutes disbelief is when a person rejects that which is established in beliefs, or in other words, when a person does not believe in something they are required to believe in. For example, a person who drinks alcohol is committing a major sin. He is Muslim if he believes it is forbidden (haram) but knows he is committing a sin. However, if he believes that drinking alcohol is lawful and now changes its status, then this would be disbelief ( kufr)

 

Allah’s Mercy Is Vast

“Say, O My servants who have transgressed against themselves: do not despair of God’s mercy, for God forgives all sins. He is indeed the Forgiver, the Clement.” [Qur’an 39:53]

“Truly, Allah loves those who turn unto Him in repentance.” [Qur’an 2:222]

The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “The one who repents from a sin is like the one who never committed it.” [Ibn Majah]

In another hadith, the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), said,
“All of the children of Adam are sinners, and the best of sinners are those who repent. ” [Tirmidhi]

Our beautiful religion teaches us that Allah’s mercy and acceptance are always there.  My advice to you is to keep to your noble intentions to obey Allah. If you have a relapse or it happens again, do not let the devil trick you and convince you to quit your striving. Even if it happens again, repent again and making a new resolve. If it happens again, repent again and so on. Allah will help you and give you victory over your weaknesses through your struggle.

May Allah bless you and grant you success.

[Imam] Yama Niazi

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Deceiving in Order to Avoid Sin

Question: Is it permissible to deceive in order to avoid being pressured into sin?

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

Dear questioner,

Thank you for your important question.

Yes, it is permissible to use vague or deceiving language in order to avoid being pressured into sin.

For example, some teenagers are teasing another teenager and telling him that he is too chicken to drink. If he doesn’t have the moral strength to evade their influence, he could say something, like ‘I drink every weekend!’, meaning that he drinks water, etc.

That said, it is far superior to be straight forward about it and not use vague or deceiving language when possible. Furthermore, getting into a habit of using this kind of language is very dangerous and leads to lying.

Sometimes using deceptive and vague language is actually recommended or obligatory. For example, if someone forced you at gunpoint to divorce one of his wives, you could use deceptive and vague language to seem like you divorced one, without that actually being counted as a divorce.  If you are looking after someone’s car and can use misleading information to stop it from being stolen or broken, it would actually be obligatory to do so (al Majmu, Nawawi).

This would be permissible as long it does not affect anyone else’s rights. If deception or intentional vagueness affects others’ rights, it is not permissible.

Khattabi said, ‘Sometimes we are forced in cases like this to embellish a little and bend the truth so as to get out of trouble and out of harm’s way. Essentially some element of evil (fasad) has been permitted because of the greater good (salah) that is hoped for’ (Maalim al Sunan).

When this tiny evil because a modus operandi and a Muslim basically lies his way through life with the “bona fide fatwa” that he can lie or bend the truth to get out of any and trouble, you know that he is not applying the Sacred Law properly.

‘Make sure you speak the truth, for the truth leads to virtue and virtue leads to Paradise. A man will keep speaking the truth and trying his best to tell the truth until he is eventually recorded as a genuinely truthful person (siddiq) in Allah’s eyes. Beware of lying, for lying leads to obscenity, and obscenity leads to the Hell-Fire. A man will keep lying and trying his best to tell a lie until he is recorded as an inveterate liar in Allah’s eyes’ (Muslim).

I pray this helps.

[Ustadh] Farid

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Farid Dingle has completed extensive years of study in the sciences of the Arabic language and the various Islamic Sciences. During his studies, he also earned a CIFE Certificate in Islamic Finance. Over the years he has developed a masterful ability to craft lessons that help non-Arabic speakers gain a deep understanding of the language. He currently teaches courses in the Arabic Language

Committing Sins in Private

Question: Is it true that there is a hadith that says that if one commits sins in private all of one’s good deeds will be in vain?

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

Dear questioner,

Thank you for your important question.

Short Answer:

The only thing that makes all good deeds of a person come to nothing is through leaving Islam. There is a hadith that gives that sense those who do good deeds in public but bad deeds in private, and it is authentic, but it means that they did their work out of ostentation. Works done out of ostentation are not good deeds, to begin with.

Losing everything

The hadith

The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, ‘There will surely be groups of my nation who will come on the Day of Rising with “good deeds” like white mountains of Tihama, but Allah Mighty and Majestic will make it all comes to dust (haba manthura).

Thawban (Allah be well pleased with him) asked, ‘O Messenger of Allah, describe them to us and make them obvious lest we unwittingly be of them.’

‘They will be your brothers and they will be just like you, and they will pray at night just you do. However, they are people who while they are in private do all sorts of haram things that Allah has forbade’ (Ibn Majah).

This hadith is sound: Busiri said the chain was sound, and Shaykh Shuayb al Arnaut said the hadith was authentic (hasan).

Ostentation

To take the hadith at face value would mean that people who do good deeds but then do bad deeds in private will have all their good deeds taken away. This is something that we know from the Qur’an and Sunna to be false.

Rather, the proper way to understand the hadith is to say that people who merely show off and fake righteousness in front of others, while they unrepentantly persist in all sorts of vile and licentious acts in private will have no good deeds on the Day of Rising.

As testimony to this interpretation, the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said, ‘All of my nations will be forgiven, save but the loudmouths (mujahirin). Being a loudmouth means that someone commits a sin by night, and then enters the morning having had the sin covered over for him by Allah, and then he goes off and tells others, ‘Hey So-and-so, yesterday I did such-and-such.’ Allah had covered up his sin at night, and then he uncovers Allah’s cover in the morning’ (Bukhari and Muslim).

So doing sins in private does not mean that one is a hypocrite and has no more good deeds. Rather, it means that one is sinful and that one should repent because there is still hope for one.

Conclusion

The hadith is sound but doesn’t mean that if a person has committed a sin in private then that person is doomed. Rather, it refers to people who are completely fake and only into religious activities and causes for the sake of prestige or money.

Someone who falls prey to the Devil by themselves should look for good company.

‘O you who have believed, fear Allah and be with the true.’ (Qur’an, 9: 119)

I pray this helps.

[Ustadh] Farid

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Farid Dingle has completed extensive years of study in the sciences of the Arabic language and the various Islamic Sciences. During his studies, he also earned a CIFE Certificate in Islamic Finance. Over the years he has developed a masterful ability to craft lessons that help non-Arabic speakers gain a deep understanding of the language. He currently teaches courses in the Arabic Language

 

 

Saving Our Souls Series | Part 6: 12 Sins of the Eyes – Shaykh Yusuf Weltch


Our eyes and our ability to see are from Allah’s greatest blessings upon us. With them, we’re able to see His marvelous creation and reflect over his might, but all blessings need to be used correctly. If Allah blesses you with wealth it is from gratitude that you use that wealth in permissible ways. Likewise, the great blessing of sight must be used in halal ways and the sins of the eyes must be avoided.

The following are the sins the eyes commit:

  1. The looking of a man at marriageable women
    • Looking at a marriageable woman is of two types:
      • With desire – this is impermissible in every case unless for necessity.
      • Without desire – this is impermissible if one looks at a part of her body which is not permissible to see (i.e. everything except her face and hands).
        • Note: that in the Hanafi school the feet are also included in the above exceptions.
  2. It is also impermissible for women to look at marriageable men
    • Looking at a marriageable man is of two types:
      • With desire – this is impermissible in all cases unless for necessity.
      • Without desire – it is impermissible to look at that which is between his navel and knees.
  3. It is impermissible to look at the nakedness of anyone without a religiously sanctioned excuse.
  4. It is impermissible for the woman to expose any part of her body, besides the face and hands, in the presence of those who are not permitted to see
  5. It is impermissible for both a man and woman to expose that which is between their navel and knees in the presence of anyone who can see and understand what they are seeing, even if the onlooker is of the same gender or unmarriageable kinship. The exclusion to this is the spouse.
    • This also applies if the onlooker is a small child if they can discern what they have seen and could possibly describe what they have seen to others. Thus this doesn’t apply to the very small child who is too young to understand what they have seen.
  6. It is impermissible for the man to expose his genitalia and for the woman to expose that which is between her navel and knees, even if done in private without necessity.
    • The exception is in the presence of their spouse.
  7. It is permissible – in the case of unmarriageable kinship, between those of the same gender, or in the case of an undesired small child (even if the child is not from one’s unmarriageable kinship or of the same gender) – to look at the entire body besides that which is between the navel and knees on condition that no desire is present.
  8. The exception to this is the infant, whether boy or girl, who is not at the age of discernment, as it is permissible to look at them to every part except for the private part of a girl unless the onlooker is the mother.
    • All of the above is also permissible between spouses,
  9. It is impermissible to look at any Muslim with the eye of belittlement
  10. It is impermissible to look into the home of another without their permission.
  11. It is impermissible to look at anything which one has hidden (i.e without permission).
  12. It is impermissible to be witness to an evil done in one’s presence without trying to redress it with one’s hand or tongue.
    • That is unless one has a religiously sanctioned excuse or leaves the gathering.

May Allah forgive us for all that which we’ve looked at intentionally.

Saving Our Souls Series | Part 4: 22 Sins of the Heart – Shaykh Yusuf Weltch

There are minor sins and there are major sins.  There are sins of the limbs and there are sins of the heart. The latter in both are the most severe.  Before you can repent from sins you need to know that you’ve fallen into them. So it only makes sense for us to be aware of the sins our hearts make so we can avoid them and turn back to Allah.

From the sins of the heart are:

  1. Ostentation in acts of righteousness
    • to act for the sake of attaining status and reverence from people
    • this (action) invalidate the reward (if it coincides with the action)
    • for example, self-conceit regarding Allah’s obedience – which will be mentioned next
  2. Self-conceit regarding obedience
    • to perceive worship emanating from one’s ability and therefore honoring the self because of it. This is due to a lack of consideration of Allah’s blessings upon him.
  3. Doubt in Allah [This is tantamount to disbelief]
  4. Feeling safe from the plot of Allah (i.e. feeling un-punishable)
    • to continue to disobey Allah counting on his mercy
  5. Despair from Allah’s mercy
    • For one to hold a firm judgment that Allah will certainly punish him in the Hereafter.
  6. Acting arrogantly to Allah’s servants
    • To refuse the truth, belittle people, and to see oneself as being better than many of Allah’s creation, ignorantly neglecting the grave matter of the ending.
  7. Hatred
    • Holding enmity in one’s heart by resolving to cause harm to a fellow Muslim. If he then acts upon that resolve without abhorring the action – this is another act of disobedience.
  8. Envy
    • Disliking blessings for a Muslim and feeling troubled because of it, if he doesn’t abhor this feeling or act according to it. [If such a feeling of dislike merely comes to one’s heart it is not written for them as a sin. That is as long as they abhor the feeling and is not pleased with it. This is because Allah Most High does not take us to take for involuntary actions.]
  9. Reminding of Charity
    • To remind a person of one’s favor upon him with the intention of harm. This invalidates the reward of the action.
  10. Persistence in Sin
    • The hearts avidness and resolve to repeat a sin
  11. Holding a Bad Opinion of Allah
    • This can sometimes be tantamount to disbelief
  12. Holding a Bad Opinion of the Slaves of Allah
    • That is without Islamically sanctioned cause
  13. Rejection of Destiny
    • This is disbelief
  14. Being pleased about one’s sin or the sin of another
  15. Treachery
    • To break a covenant or betray a trust – even if to a disbeliever
  16. Plotting
    • Plotting to cause harm to another in an illicit manner
  17. Holding rancor to the companions, the family of the Prophet (may Allah bless him and give him peace), or the righteous.
    • Holding rancor for all of them is disbelief
  18. Withholding regarding that which Allah has made obligatory
    • For example, withholding Zakat
  19. Miserliness
    • Extreme miserliness and inclining toward usurping the possessions of people even if it is prohibited
  20. Covetousness
    • Extreme miserliness and avidness to take other’s rights even if it is prohibited
  21. Mockery of that which Allah Most High venerates
    • This is disbelief if it is done to belittle and it is sinful if done in a way that portrays a lack of fulfilling to right of veneration.
  22. Belittling acts of worship, sins, the Qur’an, Islamic knowledge, paradise, or hell-fire for which Allah has given great importance.
    • The is tantamount to disbelief

May Allah forgive us of our sins, ameen

Sins of the Imagination

Ustadh Salman Younas is asked about imaginings resulting from the words and ideas of others or to hadiths, and what these  might entail with regard to one’s faith.

 

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahamt Allah wa Barakatuh.

All I want to know is whether this way of imagining is sinful and the scale of sin for each case I described. And the case when it is a kind of normal reflex of the mind. When I think about something I hear on a Christian TV channel, like God needed to become a child in order to save mankind, I think within myself that this is extremely absurd because it would imply that God has passed through a female vagina and an image of an vagina that I may have seen in a biology book or somewhere else appears in my mind.

When I take ghusl I may remember that the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, did it the same and I may imagine a nude man. I may read hadiths that say that the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, was helped with water or stones by such and such a Sahabah during his personal needs in the toilet, and I may imagine a person half nude or full nude cleaning himself in the toilet.

I may read a hadith that says the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, was sick and I may imagine an old man with gray hair that is helped to stand up and drink medication on his bed.

I may think about death and a horrible image of the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, or sahabah in the shape of a scary human skeleton appears to my mind saying to me this what the most beloved person on earth has become. Or I read a hadith that the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, slept with his wife and an image of a man symbolizing the prophet appears kissing and having intercourse with a woman. And it comes to me naturally as part of the normal process of thinking.

Is this manner or way of thinking and imagining sinful and what is the scale of sins for each case I described? What if a feeling of sexual pleasure abruptly appeared? Am I obliged to block this feeling of pleasure immediately to not otherwise I nullify my Islam? Am I also obliged to block immediately all those images even if I don’t have bad intentions or bad feelings in relation to them?

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

To clarify at the outset, none of what you have described entails a nullification of faith, or kufr. You should remove this possibility from your mind altogether.

Similarly, such thoughts and images that come to your mind suddenly are not in and of themselves sinful. In an authentic tradition, the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, said, “God has overlooked (i.e. forgiven) for my community that which crosses their minds so long as they do not act upon it.” (Bukhari, Muslim)

For images to come to one’s mind when reading or hearing about certain things is natural to human beings. Sometimes, what one imagines is appropriate and blameless, while on other instances it is inappropriate. In the latter case, we are not held to account for uncontrolled and sudden thoughts that occur in the mind, but we should dispel them once they occur.

Thus, if you read something about the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, such as his manner of taking a bath, and an image of a naked man comes to mind, this is not sinful but you should try and divert your thoughts away from imagining this. Especially when it comes to thoughts of a potential sinful nature, such as sexual thoughts, it is even more necessary to move on from these thoughts as soon as they occur by seeking God’s refuge.

With that said, you need to be careful not to obsess over this as it may put you in a state of perpetual anguish and cause severe misgivings. As I mention above, thoughts of this nature are simply part of our being human. You should not dwell too much on it.

Salman

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.