Thursday, March 31, 2011

Risks involved in treating Sins lightly

Allah (SWT) has made repentance obligatory, saying:
O you, who have believed, repent to Allah with sincere repentance. [Surah at-Tahreem 66:8]
He has granted us time to repent until the angels register the sin in our names. The Prophet (SAW) said:
The scribe (i.e., angel) on the left hand delays registering the sin of a Muslim for six hours*. If he repents (within these six hours*) and seeks Allah's forgiveness, they leave it out. If he does not, they write it down as a single sin. [At-Tabarani & al-Bayhaqi - hasan]
This is the first respite. Even if it is registered, a second respite is given until the appearance of death before one's eyes. If a person sincerely repents before that time, the sin is still deleted from his record.
The problem for most people is that they do not consider the Majesty of their Lord as they should. They disobey Him in multiple ways - day and night.
To make things worse, some are mislead by the notion that "minor sins" are inconsequential. A man may justify his actions, saying, for instance, "What harm is there in looking at that woman?" or "Of what consequence is a handshake with her?" Accordingly, he stares freely at pictures of women in magazines or at those appearing on television. When told that there is sin in it, a person with this mentality may go a step further and inquire in amusement, "What is the magnitude of the sin involved? Is it a major one or minor?"
Compare this attitude with that of the Prophet's companions.
Anas said:
You imagine certain sins to be more insignificant than straw, but at the time of the Prophet (SAW), we used to count them among those that can destroy a man. [Al-Bukhari]
Ibn Mas'ud said:
A believer treats a sin as if it is a mountain over his head that may fall on him at any moment, whereas a regular violator looks at them as a fly landed on his nose which he waves away with his hand. [Al-Bukhari]
Furthermore, the Prophet (SAW) said:
Beware of minor sins. The example of minor sins is like that of a group of travelers who camped in a valley. Then one of them brought a twig. Another came with another (and a third with one more) until they had gathered enough to cook their food. (Remember,) when a man is held for questioning (on the Day of Judgement) for his minor sins, they will destroy him. [Ahmad - saheeh]
In another version, he (SAW) is reported to have said:
Beware of minor sins, for they add up until they destroy a man. [Ahmad - saheeh]
Scholars have upheld that when minor sins are committed without any remorse, without the fear of Allah, and accompanied by contempt, then they will be counted as major sins. Thus, the saying, "There is no minor sin with persistence and no major sin with repentance." Therefore, it can be said to one who commits minor sins, "Do not look whether the sin is small or large. Look to Him whom you have disobeyed."
It is hoped that these words about taking sins lightly will benefit those who are true in faith, are not seduced by delinquencies, nor are of those that insist upon wrong. In fact, these words will benefit those who believe in the following words of Allah:
Inform My servants that it is I who am the Forgiving, the Merciful, and that it is My punishment which is the painful punishment. [Surah al-Hijr 15:49-50]

*Which may refer to the hours measured by the earth's rotation or simply short periods of the night or day.

[Credit goes to 'I Would Like To Repent But!' by Muhammad Saleh al-Munajjid.]