2. The Origin of Sins in Islam

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2. The Origin of Sins in Islam:

Islamic law urged man to be on his guard against sinning, and it sets forth a number of restraints, indications, precautions, and impediment that would prevent people from falling into those sins threatening the safety of the whole society.

Sins are numerous and manifold. The most dangerous type of which comprises those grave or deadly sins which are not revealed (hidden in the heart) such as idolatry, atheism, heresy, hypocrisy, envy, malice, vanity, arrogance, conceit, and cheating.

Sins can be related to negligence of one's obligations towards Allah. And since such sins are between man and Allah, they are more hopefully expected to be forgiven than others. Sins can also be related to one's transgressing on other people's rights. Here, punishment or absolutions are induced during a sinful person's life. Sins are divided into grave sins and venial sins. Grave sins are concerned, with transgresses on the rights of Allah, individuals and society.

The number of grave sins is indefinite; however, it can be confined to those sins whose perpetrators are promised Hell. Allah says in the Holy Qur'an, "If anyone contends with the Messenger even after guidance has been plainly conveyed to him, or follows a path other than that becoming to men to faith, We shall leave him in the path he has chosen, and land him in Hell, ­- What an evil refuge!" He also says, "The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger, and strive with might and main for mischief through the land is: execution,


or crucifixion, or the cutting off of hands and feet from opposite sides, or exile from the land: that is their disgrace in this world , and a heavy, punishment is theirs in the Hereafter." God the Almighty says, "If a man kills a believer intentionally, his recompense is Hell, to abide, therein (forever): and the wrath and the curse of Allah are upon him, and a dreadful chastisement is prepared for him."

If a believer avoids these deadly sins, he was supposed to be forgiven the venial ones. This is emphasized in the Holy Qur'an where Allah says "If ye (but) eschew the most heinous of thing which ye are forbidden to do, we shall remit your evil deeds and admit you to a Gate of great honor." However, venial sins can turn into grave ones if they are scornfully underestimated and constantly committed. Abdullah bin Mas'ud related to us one narration saying, "A believer sees his sins as if he were sitting under a mountain which, he is afraid, may fall on him; whereas a wicked evil-doer considers his sins as flies passing over his nose and he just drives them away like this." (Abu Shihab, the sub-narrator, moved his hand over his nose in illustration).

Despite the restraints and impediments set by the Islamic law, man is constantly exposed to temptations that make him err, driven by his


ignorance, desires, or human weakness. Thus, falling into sin is something expected from all human beings. This is mentioned in many of the Noble Sayings of the Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him).

Islam urges people to keep away from temptations that lead to sins. When someone errs, he is encouraged to repent and ask Allah's forgiveness and to constantly do good. He is asked not to experience despair of Allah's mercy which is always there. Allah says in the Holy Qur'an, "O ye who believe! Turn to Allah with sincere repentance."; Allah loves those who turn to Him constantly and He loves those who keep themselves pure and clean. He says, "O my servants who have transgressed against their souls! Despair not of the Mercy of Allah: for Allah forgives all sins: for He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful."; and "He that doeth good shall have ten times as much to his credit: He that does evil shall only be recompensed according to his evil: No wrong shall be done unto them. "

Abu Said AI-Khudri narrated: Allah's Messenger said. "If a person embraces Islam sincerely, then Allah shall forgive all his past sins, and after that starts the settlement of accounts, the reward of his good deeds will be ten times to seven


hundred times for each good deed and an evil deed will be recorded as it is unless Allah forgives it."

Abu Huraira also narrated: Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) said, "Allah says, If My slave intends to do a bad deed then (O angels) do not write it unless he does it; if he refrains from doing it for My sake, then write it as a good deed (in his account). (On the other hand) if he intends to do a good deed, but does not do it then write a good deed (in his account), and if he does it, then write it for him (in his account) as ten good deeds up to seven-­hundred times."

Besides, Islam does not take into account those bad deeds which are done foolishly and immediately followed by sincere repentance.

Allah says in the Holy Qur'an, "Allah accepts the repentance of those who do evil in ignorance and repent soon afterwards."

This is also established in the Sunna of the Prophet (peace be upon him) (Sunna is habitual practice, customary procedures or action, norm, usage sanctioned by tradition). Umar bin Al-­Khattab narrated: Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) said, "The reward of deeds depends upon the intentions, and every person will get the reward according to what he has intended. So whoever


emigrates for Allah and His Messenger then his emigration will be for Allah and His Messenger. And whoever emigrates for worldly benefits or for a woman to marry her, his emigration will be for what he emigrated for."

Therefore, man's deeds (good or evil) depend upon his intentions. However, the deeds of the non­believers are excluded because atheists are not obligated to observe the precepts of religion. Whatever good deeds an atheist does will not be accepted from him, despite the fact that he will be punished for not doing them.

Although intention is the basis for the reward: a believer gets, his deeds should be closely guided by the Holy Qur'an and the Sunna of the Prophet t (peace be upon him). If he deviates from the norms stated therein, he will have committed a criminal fraud. Allah says in the Holy Qur'an, "It is not fitting for a Believer, man or woman, when a matter has been decided by Allah and His Messenger, to have any option about their decision: If anyone disobeys Allah and His Messenger, he is indeed on a clearly wrong Path."

As for the importance of following the Sunna of the Prophet (peace be upon him), Anas bin Malik narrated: Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him)


said, "He who does not follow my Sunna, is not one of my followers."

Islam has established the principle of individual responsibility: every individual is responsible for what he/she does. Allah says in the Holy Qur'an, "Every man's fate We have fastened on his own neck: On the Day of Judgment We shall bring out for him a scroll, which he will see spread open. (It will be said to him): 'Read thine (own) record: sufficient is the soul this day to make out an account against thee'. Who receiveth it for his own benefit: Who goeth astray does so to his own loss: No bearer of burdens can bear the burden of another: nor would We punish until We had sent a messenger (to give warning)."

Islam does not approve of the idea of placing the blame or the responsibility of one's deeds on someone else's shoulders; nor does it accept that someone be punished or rewarded for what someone else does. When those who tried to deny the truth of the Qur'an put the blame on the nations before them, claiming that they had been betrayed and misled, they said, "Our Lord! It is these that misled us: so give them a double punishment in the Fire", but their defense was not accepted, and they were told, "Doubled for all: but this ye do not know." 

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