Question: Do committing sins and persisting in committing them cause people to die without faith (iman)?
Committing grave sins and persisting in committing them may lead a person to kufr (disbelief) and result in dying without faith.
Question: What are grave (major) sins?
Some of them are as follows:
1. To hold a bid’ah,
2. To keep committing sins,
3. Not to be thankful for being a Muslim,
4. Not to be fearful of dying without faith,
5. To commit cruelty,
6. To be disobedient to your parents,
7. To take oaths very often, even if they may be true,
8. Not to attach importance to learning salat or teaching it to the members of your family,
9. To drink alcohol,
10. To give an impression that you are a wali, though you are not,
11. To belittle your sin,
12. To have self-love,
13. To consider yourself superior to others on account of your knowledge or acts of worship,
14. To be jealous,
15. To say that a certain person is good before testing him/her,
16. To continue telling lies and backbiting,
17. To stay away from the books of Ahl as-Sunnah scholars,
18. To maltreat your neighbors, be they disbelievers,
19. To very often get angry for worldly matters,
20. To practice sorcery,
21. To stop visiting your mahram relatives who obey Islam,
22. Not to love those whom Allahu ta’ala loves and to love those whom He does not love,
23. To bear a grudge against your Muslim brother for more than three days,
24. To commit adultery or sodomy,
25. To wear indecently,
26. To commit a murder,
27. To commit a theft,
28. To take drugs,
29. To commit usurpation,
30. To eat publicly in Ramadan,
31. To pay faidh (interest) without extreme necessity to do so,
32. To devour the property of an orphan unjustly,
33. To cheat in measuring or weighing,
34. To perform salats before or after their due times,
35. To hurt one's feelings,
36. To accept a bribe,
37. Not to give the zakat or ‘ushr of your property,
38. To burn a live animal,
39. To forget how to read the Qur’an al-karim after learning it,
40. To despair of Allah’s Mercy,
41. To commit perfidy,
42. To have a dislike towards any of the As-hab-i kiram,
43. To call a chaste woman unchaste,
44. To spread gossip (to carry words) among Muslims,
45. To expose your awrat parts or to look at a person’s awrat parts,
46. To be unfaithful with respect to anything that has been placed in trust with you,
47. To be stingy,
48. To have a fondness for the world,
49. Not to fear the torment of Allahu ta'ala,
50. Not to accept a haram as haram and a halal as halal,
51. To believe what soothsayers say,
52. To look at women and girls, that is, to look at haram,
53. For women, to wear like men and vice versa,
54. To remind others of your favors,
55. To take an oath with any name other than Allah’s name, for example, to say, “May I kiss my child’s dead body!”
56. To be a perpetual committer of a venial sin,
57. To remain ritually impure (junub) as long as to miss a salat,
58. To play or listen to musical instruments,
59. To commit suicide,
60. Not to learn your religion.
Question: What does “belittling sins” mean? How is it done?
The meaning of “belittling sins” is not known by many people, and as a result, committers of sins are declared to be disbelievers. For example, it is wrong to say, “If people who continue drinking alcohol attached importance to its being haram, they would not drink it. In the same way, a woman who goes out by not covering herself as Islam has commanded cared that this act of hers is haram, she would cover herself. Therefore, such people are kafirs [disbelievers] as they do not get upset about their sins, that is, as they belittle the haram.”
Yes, it is true that those who do not get upset and who do not care about them become disbelievers, but what does “not to get upset about and not to care” mean in this context? For instance, if a woman who performs salat is in the knowledge that it is a sin to go out by not covering herself and says, “Covering ourselves is a commandment of Allahu ta’ala, and it would be better if we could, but we cannot conform to it in today’s time,” she cannot be attributed disbelief. Likewise, if a man who drinks alcohol says, “It is haram to drink alcoholic beverages, but I am addicted to them, and I cannot give up,” he cannot be called a disbeliever. On the contrary, if a man who does not drink alcohol at all says, “It is not a sin to drink a glass of wine,” then he falls into disbelief. Or it is also kufr [disbelief] to belittle the haram by saying, “All people go out by not covering themselves, and so do we. What happens? All people drink alcohol, and we do, too. Is there any harm as long as we are not drunk?”
Allahu ta’ala’s Wrath is hidden in sins. He may avenge for any sin which has not been repented for. He may refuse eternally a liked slave of His who has been worshipping for a hundred thousand years. For example, the Devil [Shaytan], who had been obeying Him for a hundred thousand years, will be eternally in Hell because he was too arrogant to prostrate. A son of Hadrat Adam’s (‘alaihissalam) will be in eternal Hell as he killed a man. Bal’am-i Baura, whose every prayer would be accepted, died without iman due to his inclination towards a sin. Qarun, as he did not pay the zakat of his property, was made to go under the earth together with his entire property. Then each Believer must be very much afraid of committing sins. It is stated in a hadith-i sharif, “Avoiding a mote of [very small] sin is better than the worships of all genies and men.” Every sin is serious because it is a rebellion against Allahu ta’ala. Some may seem smaller than the others. Not committing a venial sin brings much more thawab than the thawab of the supererogatory acts of worship of entire universe because performing supererogatory acts of worship is not fard but avoiding sins is fard. (Riyad-un-Nasihin)
Upon committing a sin, you must not lose hope; you must repent and beg for forgiveness immediately. A Believer must have fear of Allahu ta’ala’s punishment as well as hope of His Mercy. It is reported in a hadith-i sharif, “If a Mu’min takes a middle path between khawf [fear] and raja’ [hope], Allahu ta’ala gives him the hoped-for and makes him feel secure of the feared-for.” That is, if Believers fear torment of Allahu ta’ala but not despair of His Mercy, avoid the haram and try hard to perform acts of worship, they will enter Paradise.
No matter how grave a sin people commit, they must not lose hope of Allah’s Mercy because even an unruly disbeliever’s sins are forgiven and they become an absolutely pure person after repenting and saying “La ilaha ill-Allah Muhammadun Rasul-Allah.” In other words, in this world, there is not a sin that Allahu ta’ala does not forgive. When one repents, He even forgives shirk, that is, disbelief. However, after death, there will be no mercy on disbelievers. The Qur’an al-karim says (what means), “Say: ‘O My servants who exceeded the limits by committing many sins! Do not despair of Allah’s Mercy, because He certainly forgives all the sins [of people of faith]. Surely He is the Ever-Forgiving and Ever-Merciful.) [Surat-uz-Zumar 53]
We cannot know in which deed or word Allahu ta’ala’s Consent and Wrath is hiding. Therefore, we must not slight any of the good or evil deeds. He has concealed His Consent in good deeds and His Wrath in evils. Any sin which is supposed to be small may cause His Vengeance, His Wrath. So we have to be wary of our words. Our ancestors would say, “A single word may be an end to a problem and also an end to you.”
Hadrat Munkadir was crying on his deathbed. When asked the reason, he answered, “I have not committed a grave sin deliberately. I am crying because a venial sin, which I thought to be tiny, might incur the wrath of Allahu ta’ala.” As is seen, these kinds of worries cause a Muslim to attain salvation, for it is declared in a hadith-i sharif, “Allahu ta’ala says on the Day of Judgement: ‘Take those out of Hell who remembered and made mention of Me for a day or who feared Me just once when they were in worldly life.”’
A very important admonition:
It is indispensable for all Muslims, male or female, to obey the rules, that is, commandments and prohibitions of Allahu ta’ala in their every word and deed. The iman of a person who does not attach importance to doing a fard [a commandment] or avoiding a haram [a prohibited act] goes away. People without iman will be subjected to torment in the grave and go to eternal Hell-fire in the Hereafter. There is no possibility or likelihood for them to be pardoned and go out of Hell. It is very easy to fall into kufr [disbelief]. One may fall into disbelief in any word or deed. But it is equally easy to extricate oneself from disbelief. If one, even if one does not know the exact reason that have caused one to fall into disbelief, makes repentance and implores Allahu ta’ala by saying the following prayer once a day, “Oh my Allah! If I, knowingly or unknowingly, have uttered a word or done a deed that has caused disbelief, I repent of it. Forgive me,” one will certainly be forgiven, thus escaping Hell-fire. In order not to burn in eternal Hell-fire, one has to make tawba [repentance] every day without fail. There is not a duty of top priority than this tawba. When making tawba for the sins that involve violations of others’ rights, one has to compensate for the harm given. As for the tawba for omitted salats, it is necessary to make qada of them. (Endless Bliss)
Belittling a sin
Question: According to Ahl as-Sunnah belief, deeds are not a part of iman. That is, a person does not become a disbeliever due to the sins they commit. Additionally, belittling a sin or not caring about it causes disbelief. It is true that one who drinks alcohol, backbites, or lies does not become a disbeliever; however, if one cares about them, one does not commit them then. Therefore, I cannot understand whether such a person is a disbeliever or not. I cannot understand the fine point hidden in it. For example, suppose a woman who performs salat does not cover herself. But if she cared about the sin of not covering herself, she would not go out without covering herself. At the same time, she would not perform salat if she disbelieved Allah. Then does she have iman or not? It is written in Islamic books that if a person eats or drinks openly in Ramadan their iman leaves them. We know that not performing sawm is a sin, but not disbelief. Covering the head with a taqiyah in salat is sunnat. If one belittles it, then it is disbelief. The thought occurs to me that if one cared about it then one would wear it. I cannot desist the same thought for those who leave the sunnat salats of Salat al-Asr and Salat al-Isha. In fact, it is not disbelief to omit sunnat deeds. It causes one to miss its thawab. Can you clarify this issue?
As for a person who both perfoms salat and commits sins without hesitation, it is wrong to say that they certainly belittle the sins or they certainly do not belittle them.
For a woman who always goes out without covering herself, it is difficult to consider that she does not belittle this sin. For a person who always drinks alcohol or commits any other sin, it is also difficult to say that they do not belittle that sin. When one gets into a habit of committing a sin, there is a danger that one may devalue it. For a person who often commits a sin or a few sins, it is difficult to make repentance; one does not even think of it. If a woman who performs salat believes that covering oneself has no place in Islam or belittles it, she becomes a disbeliever.
For a person who commits a sin once in a while, it is difficult to say that they do not care about that sin. Such people may make repentance. People who commit sins once in a while do so not because they belittle sins but because they are in a state that they are unable to see the consequences that lie ahead and they commit them while they are unaware. In fact, a Muslim refrains from committing a sin deliberately by considering it unimportant.
The meaning of the statement “Iman leaves those who eat openly in Ramadan” is not that those who do not fast become disbelievers.
Not fasting is separate from eating openly as if defying Ramadan and encouraging others so that they may not fast as well, which means belittling fasting. However, if one does not fast for fear of hunger, illness, or work focus, one, though they are not a valid excuse, is considered that one does not fast due to an excuse, and one has not belittled sawm. Then it is not disbelief.
A person who does not apply sunnat deeds, such as wearing a taqiyah in salat, does so not because he belittles the sunnat but because he has other excuses even if they may be invalid. We should not declare disbelievers those people who do not do sunnat acts or commits sins for such like reasons.
Alcohol and iman
Question: It is said, “When alcohol enters, iman leaves. Since the salats of someone who has drunk alcohol are not acceptable for forty days, such a person should not perform salat during all of forty days.” Is it true?
No, it is not true. According to Ahl as-Sunnat belief, iman of a drinker of alcohol does not go out unless they consider alcohol halal or belittle drinking it. (Ihya)
Omitting salat is a grave sin. It is not true that alcohol does not leave the body for forty days. It is stated in the Qur’an al-karim that one should not perform salat while one is drunk because one cannot understand what one is reciting and wudu’ is broken if alcohol causes stupor to the extent of stagger. One is not allowed to perform salat without wudu’. If one has not drunk to the extent of not understanding what one is reciting, then one has to perform salat. One should not omit salat whatever sin one may commit. The salats of an alcohol drinker are valid. That is, one is considered to have paid the debt but cannot attain the immense thawab promised for it. A person who drinks alcohol should not refrain from du’a or dhikr due to alcohol.
A pious man in his dream saw a famous woman of that region who had died before. She was in a good state. When the man asked her about her state, she said, “My Rabb has forgiven me. Following the desires of my nafs. I drank alcohol, though I knew that it was a sin. As usual, once while I was drinking alcohol, the adhan was recited. I stopped drinking and said the words of Shahadah like the muadhdhin. Before long, I died. Allahu ta’ala said to His angels, ‘If she had not had iman in her heart, she would not have remembered Me. Do not inflict torment on her.’” Thus I have been forgiven. (Sharh to Shir’a)
As is seen in this account, we should not call a disbeliever an alcohol drinker or a person who has died while drinking. If they have a mote of iman, they will be saved in the end.
Question: Does a person who does not do a fard out of laziness lose iman?
A person who cares about fards but does not do them out of laziness does not lose their iman. However, a Muslim who does not do a fard earns two grave sins. The first is passing the time reserved for that fard without an act of worship, that is, delaying the fard. To have this sin forgiven, one has to make repentance, be upset, and decide not to delay it again. The second is the sin of omitting this fard. To have this grave sin forgiven, one has to make qada (performing a missed salat at a later time) of this fard immediately. Delaying making qada of a fard is a grave sin as well.
Question: Can those fierce people who maltreat humans and attack their property and honor attain the blessing of iman?
Allahu ta’ala has mercy upon all people on the earth. He creates useful things and sends them to everybody. He states clearly what they should do to live comfortably and peacefully in the world and to attain endless bliss in the hereafter. He guides to the right path whomever He wishes among those who left the true way and followed the way to kufr (infidelity) and heresy as a result of being deceived by their own nafs (human desires), bad friends, harmful books, and the media. He saves them from eternal calamity. He does not bestow this blessing upon those who are cruel and exceed the limits. He lets them stay on the way of kufr, which they like and desire.
Question: Which words and deeds cause a Muslim to lose their iman?
A person who says things or do deeds that are judged by Islam as signs of disbelief will become a disbeliever even though they really believe by heart and proclaim through their speech. Ridiculing, insulting or despising anything Islam holds valuable or precious causes disbelief. Anyone who says something which is not worthy of Allahu ta’ala becomes a disbeliever. For example, anyone who says the following phrases would become a disbeliever: Allahu ta’ala is looking down to us from the skies (Arsh); as you are oppressing me Allahu ta’ala is oppressing you; such and such a Muslim is like a Jew in my sight; while something is a lie, saying that Allahu ta’ala knows that it is the truth; to say things that would be insulting to angels; to say things that would be insulting to the Qur’an or even one letter of the Qur’an; not to believe in any part of the Qur’an whether it be a letter of the Qur’an; to recite the Qur’an by playing music.
To say inappropriate things about the prophets; not to believe any one of the twenty-five prophets which are specifically mentioned in the Qur’an by name; not to like any one of the famous deeds which are done regularly by our prophet (sunnats); to say about a charitable man that he is higher than prophets are all disbelief. When one hears the hadith,“The area between my grave and my prayer station ‘Minbar’ is a garden which is part of the gardens of heaven,” to say that one does not see in that area anything but praying rugs and the grave, is disbelief.
Making fun of things, which will occur in the next world also causes disbelief. Not believing the punishments in the grave [by saying that they are not compatible with science] or at the gathering place after resurrection (Qiyamat) or making jokes of things that will happen after resurrection is also disbelief. Not believing that Allahu ta’ala will be seen in Jannat (Paradise); to say that I do not want Jannat but I want to see Allahu ta’ala also causes disbelief.
Saying that there is no difference between performing salat or not performing it; saying “I will not give obligatory almsgiving (zakat)”; to say that interest (riba) or oppression (zulm) should have been permissible; giving property or money which was obtained by forbidden (haram) means to the poor and expecting reward (thawab) in the hereafter; the poor person (receiver) makes prayer (dua) for the giver while he knows that the money was earned by forbidden means; to say that the method of comparison (qiyas) used by Imam Azam Abu Hanifa was not correct, all cause disbelief. The 56th verse of Surat al-A’raf says (what means): “Allah sends the winds before the rain, which is His mercy, as a bearer of good news. Winds carry the heavy clouds. We water down the dead soil through waters from the clouds. We raise fruits from the soil through that rain. We will also raise the dead bodies out of their graves in the same manner.”
This verse proves that comparison (qiyas) is correct and communicates a method of comparison. In this verse a controversial subject, e.g., raising of the dead bodies is compared with a non-controversial well-known subject, e.g., the rain and its effect on the soil because everyone knows that Allahu ta’ala makes the rain and raise the grass from the soil. This verse proves through a comparison that the process of raising of the dead bodies at Resurrection resembles to the process of raising of the green grass out of the dead soil.