Sins and Its Ill Effects
Prohibitions set by Allah S.W.T.
Praise be to Allah; we praise Him and seek His help and forgiveness. We seek refuge with Allah from the evil of our own souls and from our evil deeds. Whomever Allah guides will never be led astray, and whomever Allah leaves astray, no-one will guide. I bear witness that there is no god but Allah Alone, with no partners or associates, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His Slave and Messenger.
Allah, may He be glorified and exalted, has laid down obligations which we are not permitted to ignore, and has set limits which we are not permitted to transgress, and has set out prohibitions which we are not allowed to violate.
The Prophet ﷺ said: “Whatever Allah has permitted in His Book is allowed, and whatever He has prohibited is forbidden; whatever He has remained silent about is a concession, so accept the concession of Allah, for Allah is never forgetful.” Then he recited the ayah: “. . . and your Lord is never forgetful” [Maryam 19:64]. (Reported by al-Hakim, 2/375; classified as hasan by al-Albaani)
Allah has issued a threat to the one who transgresses His set limits and violates His prohibitions, as He says (interpretation of the meaning): “And whosoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger, and transgresses His limits, He will cast him into the Fire, to abide therein; and he shall have a disgraceful torment.” (al-Nisaa’ 4:14)
Avoiding that which has been forbidden is a duty, because the Prophet ﷺ said: “Whatever you have been prohibited to do, avoid it, and whatever you have been commanded to do, do as much of it as you can.” (Reported by Muslim).
It is well-known that some of those who follow their desires, who are weak at heart and have little knowledge, become irritated when they hear lists of prohibitions. They grumble and mutter, “Everything is haram, you haven’t left us anything that is not forbidden! You make our lives boring and miserable. You don’t talk about anything but what is haram, but religion is supposed to easy, not strict, and Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.”
In response to such remarks, we say:
Allah, may He be glorified, rules as He wills and there is none to put back His judgement. He is All-Wise and Aware, and He allows whatever He wills and forbids whatever He wills, may He be glorified. One of the basic principles of our being His slaves is that we should accept whatever He decrees and submit fully to it. His rulings stem from His knowledge, wisdom and justice, and are not the matter of frivolity or foolish whims, as He says (interpretation of the meaning):
“And the Word of your Lord has been fulfilled in truth and in justice. None can change His words. And He is the All-Hearer, the All-Knower.” (al-An’aam 6:115)
Allah has explained to us the governing principle behind the allowing and prohibiting of various things (interpretation of the meaning): “. . . He allows them as lawful al-tayyibaat [(i.e., all good and lawful) as regards things, deeds, beliefs, persons, foods, etc.], and prohibits them as unlawful al-khabaa’ith Prophet ﷺ said: ‘Shall I not tell you of the most serious of the major sins?’ three times. We said, ‘Of course, O Messenger of Allah!’ He said, ‘Associating anything in worship with Allah . . .’” (Agreed upon; see al-Bukhari, no. 2511, al-Bagha edition).
The Ill Effects of Sins
1. The Prevention of Knowledge: Knowledge is a light which Allaah throws into the heart and disobedience extinguishes this light.
Imaam Shaafi’ee said: I complained to Wakee’ about the weakness of my memory so he ordered me to abandon disobedience and informed me that the knowledge is light and that the light of Allaah is not given to the disobedient.
2. The Prevention of Sustenance: Just as Taqwaa brings about sustenance, the abandonment of Taqwaa causes poverty. There is nothing which can bring about sustenance like the abandonment of disobedience. The Messenger of Allaah ﷺ said: ‘A man is deprived of provision because of the sins that he commits.’ (Narrated by Ibn Maajah, 4022, classed as hasan/sound by al-Albaani)
3. Sense of alienation that comes between a person and his Lord, and between him and other people. One of the righteous predecessors said: “If I disobey Allaah, I see that in the attitude of my riding beast and my wife.”
4. Things become difficult for him, so that he does not turn his attention towards any matter but he finds the way blocked or he finds it difficult. By the same token, for the one who fears Allaah, things are made easy for him.
5. The sinner will find darkness in his heart, which he will feel just as he feels the darkness of night. So this darkness affects his heart as the physical darkness affects his vision. For obedience is light and disobedience is darkness. The stronger the darkness grows, the greater becomes his confusion, until he falls into innovation, misguidance and other things that lead to doom, without even realizing, like a blind man who goes out in the darkness of the night, walking alone This darkness grows stronger until it covers the eyes, then it grows stronger until it covers the face, which appears dark and is seen by everyone. ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Abbaas said: “Good deeds make the face light, give light to the heart, and bring about ample provision, physical strength and love in people’s hearts. Bad deeds make the face dark, give darkness to the heart, and bring about physical weakness, a lack of provision and hatred in people’s hearts.”
6. Deprivation of worship and obedience. If sin brought no punishment other than that it prevents a person from doing an act of worship which is the opposite of sin, and cuts off access to other acts of worship, that would be bad enough. So the sin cuts off a third way and a fourth way and so on, and because of the sin he is cut off from many acts of worship, each of which would have been better for him than this world and everything in it. So he is like a man who eats food that is bound to cause a lengthy sickness, and thus he is deprived of many other foods that are better than that. And Allaah is the One Whose help we seek.
7. Sin breeds sin until it dominates a person and he cannot escape from it.
8. Sin weakens a person’s willpower. It gradually strengthens his will to commit sin and weakens his will to repent until there is no will in his heart to repent at all… so he seeks forgiveness and expresses repentance, but it is merely words on the lips, like the repentance of the liars, whose hearts are still determined to commit sin and persist in it. This is one of the most serious diseases that are most likely to lead to doom.
9. He will become desensitized and will no longer find sin abhorrent, so it will become his habit, and he will not be bothered if people see him committing the sin or talk about him.
For the leaders of immorality, this is the ultimate shamelessness in which they find great pleasure, such that they feel proud of their sin and will speak of it to people who do not know that they have done it, saying, “O so and so, I did such and such.” Such people cannot be helped and the path to repentance is blocked for them in most cases. The Prophet ﷺ said: “All of my ummah (followers) will be fine except for those who commit sin openly, and that includes cases where Allaah conceals a person’s sin, but the following morning he exposes himself and says, ‘O So and so, I did such and such last night, so he shamelessly exposes himself when all night his Lord had concealed his sin.” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 5949; Muslim, 2744).
10. When there are many sins they leave a mark on the heart of the person who commits them, so he becomes one of the negligent. As one of the salaf said, concerning the aayah (verse)– “Nay! But on their hearts is the Raan (covering of sins and evil deeds) which they used to earn” (al-Mutaffifeen 83:14 – interpretation of the meaning) this means sin after sin.
How this starts is that the heart gets stained by sin, and if the sin increases then the stain grows bigger until it becomes the raan (covering of sin and evil deeds), then it increases until it becomes a seal, and the heart becomes covered and sealed. If that happens after a person had been guided and had understood, then his heart is turned upside down, and at that point the Shaytaan gains control over him and directs him as he wants.