As humans, our purpose of existence is to worship our Creator, and this is equally a test in which we will get feedback. Unlike Angels who are flawless, obey Allah, and execute His injunctions, humankind is bound to sin. You cannot escape your share of it. Man is tested with this intellectual curiosity to question God’s will. He thereby transgresses into sinful ways. So, to sin is indeed part of human nature but to repent and seek God’s forgiveness is tantamount to being a truthful servant of God. Allah is Ever willing to forgive, no matter how great you might have erred. The only problem is that many of us either fail or forget to repent.
The adverse effect of sinning is the point of focus in this piece. And it is necessary for us to be able to trace the root cause of some life challenges which may be attributed to this act of negligence. The great scholar Ibn Al Qayyim Al-Jawziyy mentioned some of these consequences in his book: Al-Jawab al-Kaafi — Insha Allah, we shall examine some in brief.
- Prevention of Provision: There’s a beautiful hadith in which Allah’s Apostle (SAW) said: ‘‘The holy spirit cast into my essence that no soul shall perish until it completes its lifespan and its provision, so fear Allah, and seek it beautifully. And do not let the delay of that provision cause you to seek it through disobeying Allah. For what is with Allah cannot be acquired except through obedience to Him.” — Saheeh Al-Jami’
- Prevention of Knowledge : The similitude of sin is like a black spot that darkens the heart. Knowledge, on the other hand, is a light that illuminates the heart. Hence, both cannot live in the same heart. Imam Malik was the teacher of Imam Shafii and when he discovered his extreme brilliance, he admonished him thus: “I see that Allah has cast in your heart a light, so do not darken that light with the darkness of sin.”
- Your Prayer isn’t Accepted: Sins hinder the acceptance of du’a. Let’s journey through this famous hadith of Abu Hurayra (RA): “…A person travels for a long time in the way of Allah, his hair disheveled and covered with dust. He lifts his hand towards the sky and makes the supplication: “O Lord, O Lord!” However, what he eats is haram, his drink is haram, and his clothes are haram. How can his supplication be accepted since he feeds himself with haram?” — (Muslim)
- Sins open doors for more sins: Sinfulness is like a chain reaction where one sin leads to another. The more you continue sinning without repentance, the better you get established as a sinner. A good example is telling lies. You can hardly tell a lie without bringing up another false tale to cover up. The Prophet (SAW) said:“Beware of lying as lying leads to transgression and transgression leads to the fire”. (Al-Bukhari)
- Becoming insignificant before Allah: The transgressor has no value in the sight of Allah except that He gives him respite to repent before his lifespan comes to a halt. Look through Islamic history, the smaller army has always conquered the larger one with more sophisticated weapons. How has this been possible? When the Muslims conquered Cyprus, Abu Ad-Darda was crying, and the people asked him why he was in a sober mood on a day of victory. He said: “How insignificant is the creation in the sight of Allah if they disobeyed His Command? This is a powerful nation conquered by the Muslims because of their disobedience to Allah”. It tells that the moment we become sinful, we lose our value before our Lord.
- Weakens the heart, body, and soul: One of the evils of sins is the weakness of the heart. A person finds it hard to show mercy and compassion from the heart. Persistent sinning leads to weakness in the body and limbs. They find it hard to bow down and pray or fast for the sake of Allah. When this becomes perpetual, then it affects the soul if one dies in that state.
- A path of wrath towards hell: Imam Hassan Al-Basri would often weep until the people ask him why he’s crying. Then he replies: “I fear that Allah will cast me into the fire and He will not mind”. People commit grievous sins today without caring what Allah will do to them. In another narration, Abdullah ibn Mas’ud reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace, and blessings be upon him, said, “You must be truthful. Verily, truthfulness leads to righteousness and righteousness leads to Paradise. A man continues to be truthful and encourages honesty until he is recorded with Allah as truthful. And beware of falsehood. Verily, falsehood leads to transgression and transgression leads to the Hellfire. A man continues to tell lies and encourages falsehood until he is recorded with Allah as a liar.” (Bukhari and Muslim)
In conclusion, this piece is not meant to drive us towards the guilt of being sinners. The goal is to seek repentance in order to earn God’s Forgiveness. This is from the endless bounties of Allah which we can only harness while we still breathe. Let’s take inspiration from this beautiful hadith and race towards repentance to earn the forgiveness of our Lord:
From Anas (May Allah be pleased with him) who said: I heard the Messenger of Allah, (May Allah’s blessing be upon him), say: “Allah the Almighty has said: ‘O son of Adam, so long as you call upon Me, and hope in Me, I shall forgive you for what you have done, and I shall not mind. O son of Adam were your sins to reach the clouds in the sky and were you then to ask forgiveness of Me, I shall forgive you. O son of Adam, were you to come to Me with an earth full of sins and were you then to face Me, without having associated anything with Me, I shall grant you an earth full of pardon.’” — (At-Tirmidhi)