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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Effect Of Sins


The hundred and first line of the popular work of Islamic belief Jawhar At-Tawheed by Imam Laqqani (may Allah show him mercy) states, “A wrong action is with its like and good actions are multiplied by virtue.” 

An evil deed is recorded as a single evil deed in contrast to good deeds which are multiplied, depending on the manner in which they were performed. So the first part of this line made me ponder is there an effect of sins? There must be because it’s stated here that the punishment of a wrong an action is another similar sin.

This made me want to explore this matter because it was something that I had not previously looked at. We commit sins without realising that there might be recompense beyond the sin itself.

The Quran states, “The recompense of evil is a like evil.” (Sura As-Shura 42:40).

So the person who is committing sins can fall into repetition because he is being punished. This could also be about those who do evil to others are repaid evil. Sometimes things happen in our lives to us that we cannot understand but do we ask ourselves, have we done something like this to someone else? It’s a hard question to answer and it’s not easy to be honest with oneself. Mutail states that this about the Islamic penalties. (Tafsir Al-Tabarani) 

Who is to blame?

Why does evil come with a like of it and who is to blame?

“Whatever good comes to you is from God; whatever evil visits you is from yourself.” Women 4:79.

Good is reward for goodness and evil is the punishment of evil. Evil deeds are what you have earned yourself as you cannot be punished for the sins of others. We have the choice whether to do an evil action or to do a good deed. Yet, we are encouraged to abandon evil deeds and we are encouraged to perform good deeds. Because of this choice we are given more for something good than something evil. Yet ponder for a moment Allah could have evened these scales and make evil and good deeds the same. But Allah did something for us that we are not able to be grateful for. 

Whoever brings a good deed shall have ten the like of it; and whoever commits an evil deed shall only be recompensed the like of it and they shall not be wronged.” (The Cattle 6:160).
We are not wronged for the sins that we have committed because we just get one but ponder the blessing of a good action because we are given a minimum of ten. Don’t you think that that is beyond the understanding of equality of good actions? If things were equal then you would only get one! Hooray for inequality!

Ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with them) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) narrates that his Lord (Blessed and Exalted) said, “Allah has legislated good and evil actions.” Then he clarified, “Whoever aspires to a good action and does not perform it, Allah records one complete good deed for him. If he aspires to it then does it Allah records for him ten to seven hundred fold or an additional number. If he aspires to do an evil action and does not perform it Allah records it as one complete good action. If he aspires to perform and evil action and does it, Allah records it as one evil action.”
Al-Bukhari and Muslim. (Al-Bukhari 6126, 6491, Muslim 131, Imam Ahmed 1/130, Ibn Munda in Al-Iman 380).

Other effects
Sins also stay within you soul and cause you discomfort. Your heart is not tranquil and you endeavour to do well to the person you hurt. If you see an image or you eye catches something or you hear something; you may need to struggle with yourself to free yourself from the effects of that sin.

The sin keeps repeating in your head and slowly you desire to see or hear that thing again, even though you know you should not. Some things, you hear or see, bounce around in your head and it takes some work to get rid of them. O Allah, prevent us from committing sins and if we commit sins please forgive us.

Rejection of a prophet

Rejecting a prophet is a grave sin that casts one into everlasting punishment. But before they taste that they taste it in this world or in the grave. Look at the people who rejected the prophet of their time and their punishment was to taste grievous punishment in this world and well as everlasting punishment in the next. All those people who rejected prophets were wiped off the face of the earth.

Difference of punishment for sins of the heart and the body

The sins of the heart are not punishable in this world as they are invisible to a large extent. Although the sins of the heart manifest themselves on the day of judgement that is when they are visible. The sins are disobedience, polytheism and disbelief for which the punishment is eternal.

Sinful Muslims are punished in hell for their sins but they will not be there eternally as they shall be freed eventually. These sins are grievous and their effect was not removed in the world.

Imam Ja’far As-Sadiq (may Allah be pleased with him) says, “There is nothing more destructive to the heart than sin. Sin affects the heart and eventually overwhelms it.”

I cannot affirm the source of the above quote but it seems to fit into this subject matter.

"Mischief has appeared on the land and the sea on account of what the hands of men have earned; that He may give them a taste of some of (the actions) they have done, in order that they may
[Ar-Rum 30:41]

Imam Qushayri says, “الإشارة من البرّ إلى النَّفْسِ، ومن البحر إلى القلب./the land indicates to the soul and the sea is the heart.”

Thus sins have encompassed the being of a man and now he is deserving of punishment.

Do sins have an effect?

Good actions have a lasting effect long after they have been done. The story of Khidr and Musa in Surah Al-Kahf/The Cave shows us how good actions of a great grandfather helped the orphans who benefited from treasure he had buried.
One of punishments for a sin is to perform another like it. This is punishment, as people get caught in modes and patterns of behaviour. Repentance is a key out of this pattern but the effect of the sin lingers for a time. Illegal fornication causes great loss in many separate areas of a person’s life. Loss of provision is one of many.

“No, their hearts have been sealed by the sins they have accumulated.” (Al-Mutaffifeen: 14).
Even worse than that the heart can become encrusted by sins and worse still is that it can become blind.

“Whoever kills a believer intentionally is recompensed with Hell.” Women 4:93

Again here showing the effect of the worldly sin to its recompense in the other world.

A consequence of sinning and hiding disbelief is:

“God has set a seal on their hearts and on their hearing.” The Heffer 2:7.

“In their hearts is a sickness, and God has increased their sickness.” The Heffer 2:10.

The sickness of their sins caused their hearts to be sealed. And the reason why their sickness was increased was because they refused to turn back and repent. So the punishment for this was to increase their illness which caused them justify their sins. This is a pitiful state to be in, may Allah save us from this state.

Public and private sins
Penalties for sins outward by hudud

Outward sins that are performed in the public eye are punishable by the sacred law to maintain the fear of Allah in the hearts of the believers and to prevent widespread indecency. These sins are testified to by trustworthy witnesses and credible testimonies, and of course by a Qadi. This is not the mockery that we often see portrayed and perpetrated by the media.

Sins performed in private cannot be punished by sacred law unless there are sufficient witnesses to make a case. So the sins in which no case can be brought are to be repented for in private. These sins are between one and Allah (The Exalted). Repentance for them is the only way out.

“Whatever misfortune afflicts you then it is due to what your hands have earned and He pardons much.” [Ash-Shura 42:30]

Consumption of the unlawful
The consumption of the unlawful causes the believers prayer to be unanswered. If ones profession is unlawful, he feeds and clothes himself from this unlawful wealth then he cannot expect a response to his supplication. How can we accept Allah (The Exalted) to answer our prayer when we are in a state of manifest disobedience?!

Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) said, “Allah is pure and He does not except anything except that which is pure. Allah has commanded the believers with what he commanded the Messengers. He (the Exalted) states, “O Messengers, partake in the pure and perform righteous acts.” (Quran: the Believers 23:51.) He (the Exalted) states, “O those who believe consume the pure things of what we have provided.” (Quran: the Heffer 2:168.) Then mentioned was a man who travelled far, dishevelled and dusty. He extends his hands out to the sky, ‘O Lord; O’ Lord.’ His food is prohibited, his drink is prohibited, his clothes are prohibited and his nourishment is prohibited; how can he (expect to) be responded to?”

(Muslim 1015, At-Tirmidhi 2979 and Imam Ahmed 2/327.)

Avoiding sins

Sidi Ahmed Zarruq (may Allah show him mercy) said to put a hand ones heart and repeat these words when one inclines to a sin:

سبحان مالك الخّلق الفعّال ان يشاء يذنبكم و ياتى بالخلقِ جديد

سبع مررا مع استغفارو صلاة على النبي


اللهم لا حول و لا قوة إلا بحولك وقوتك فاهب لي حولا وقوة أستعينك بهما على طاعتك

Do this frequently and it was given to Imam As-Shadhali (may Allah be pleased with him) from Sheikh Hamza Yusuf’s commentary on Poor man’s abstinence. This also removes bad whisperings.
The best way to avoid sins is to know that there are witnesses to the act you are about to do.

The Way out
The way out is to turn to Allah with complete devotion and repent. Then leave the sin, the place, and the people who you do the sin around.

“Good deeds wipe out bad deeds.” (Hud: 114).
Your repentance also has an effect in this world by cleaning the heart just as water cleanses the body from filth; repentance cleans the heart from rust.  Then you can be like the one mentioned in this passage:

“Save him who repents, and believes, and does righteous work , Allah shall change their evil deeds into good deeds.”  Furqan 25: 70
Repenting from the effect of sins can also assist you. As it is sufficient that someone’s title be changed from worshipper to sinner.

Al-Kahf (18) has many stories embedded into the Surah one such story is that of Musa and Khidr (upon them peace). The separation of these great figures occurred when Musa questioned Khidr (upon them peace) upon rebuilding a wall of some orphans who refused to show them any hospitality. Khidr informed Musa that the orphans had righteous grandfather and because of this he rebuilt a wall that covered some treasure. Some say it was the seventh forefather who was righteous. In any case the orphans benefited from the treasure of their righteous forefather. It is something worth pondering on how such an act benefited those who were not even born yet. Helping an orphan is something highly encouraged in Islam, as that child you support will help others when they grow up. As well as that others are safe from his harm because he could have turned to crime.
So do not see your evil deeds as minor nor see your good deeds as major because if you see your evil deeds as minor then you won’t stop doing them and if you see your good deeds as major then you may become arrogant. The correct balance is to be hopeful and not to lose hope if you commit sins. Turn back, know that you can always turn back; Allah’s door of mercy is open for penitent hearts.

Also do not forget that one good action is worth ten for a Muslim. Do not ever lose hope, ever.

 “Do not despair Allah forgives all sins.” 

Quran (Az-Zumar 39:53).

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