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Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Intricacies of Sin

Walking out of the masjid (mosque), I observe an old man crying. Praying in a dark corner he asks of his Lord for forgiveness. Looking at this man, I remember that I too must have sinned today. I turn back and have a seat. I ask Allah for His forgiveness, for He says in the Qur'an: "…and whosoever does not repent, then such are indeed zaalimoon (wrongful oppressors)" [al-Hujuraat 49:11]. I do not wish to be amongst the zaalimoon.

In today's society, people can be classified into two categories: those who sin and repent, and those who merely sin. It is the latter of the two that tend to lead a life of misery. In my opinion, the western society we live in leaves us no choice but to sin on a daily basis. Going to University and being present in such an environment exposes us to situations in which we inadvertently sin. Nevertheless, it is important to realize our mistakes and repent rather than isolate ourselves from such a society. Note however, I am not saying that it is justified to sin just as long as we repent. We should sincerely attempt to avoid displeasing Allah, and when having recognized that we have displeased Him, ask Him for His forgiveness.

The act of repentance is based upon an important premise: that we realize when we have made a mistake. Quite often, we take sin lightly; this is the trap of the Shaytaan. We degrade our sins to being sagheer (minor) when they may not necessarily be. We claim: "How bad can it be to look at pictures of the opposite gender in magazines? So what if I smoke once in a while?" However, two narrations by Imam al-Bukhari clarify the dangers of such an attitude:

Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) said: "You do things which in your eyes are less significant than a hair, but at the time of the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), we used to count them as things that could destroy a man". And Ibn Mas'ood (may Allah be pleased with him) said: "The believer regards his sin as if he were sitting beneath a mountain which he fears may fall on him, whereas the sinner regards his sin as if a fly lands on his nose and he swipes it away".

Source:
"The Intricacies of Sin" - Al-Mundhir

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