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80. Sins

Allah, the Wise, has said:

فَكُلاًّ أَخَذْنَا بِذَنبِه‏

“So each We punished for his sin”1

Imam Sadiq (peace be upon him) said:

ليس من عرق يضرب و لا نكبة و لا صداع و لا مرض الا بذنب

“No vein is cut, nor is there (any affliction by means of) adversity, headache or sickness except as a result of sins”2

Short Explanation

Committing sins is a disease, but ignorance with respect to faults that result in sins is graver than the sins themselves.

Considering sins to be trivial and insignificant is one of the greatest sins. If an offence is related to God like one, who does not offer his prayers, it is God, Who shall deal with this person as per His discretion. But if it is related to the people, things can become really difficult. This is because if forgiveness is not procured from the offended one, things shall become all the more difficult on the Day of Judgment.

The treatment of a sin commences by means of repentance and seeking of forgiveness and concludes by resolving not to commit it again.

If the Shaitaan happens to tempt a person into committing a sin, he should immediately repent and resolve to refrain from such acts in the future in order that the effects of that sin do not get imprinted in his heart.

1) The Banishment of the Sinners

There lived in the tribe of Bani Israel a licentious and sinning person, whose sinning and evil ways had left the people disturbed and exasperated as a result of which they turned to God to help them. God revealed to Prophet Musa to banish the youth from the city in order that the inhabitants of the city do not get caught in the punishment ordained for him.

When Prophet Musa banished him from the city, he proceeded to another city. It was ordered that he should be removed from that city too. This time, he sought refuge in a cave and fell sick with none to care for him in his state of sickness.

Prostrating before God, he wept in repentance of his sins and loneliness and beseeched: O’ God! Forgive me! Had my wife and children been here, they would have wept at my wretchedness and desolation. O’ God! You, Who have separated me from my father, mother and wife, do not burn me in Your fire (as a punishment) for my sins.

Subsequent to this supplication, God created angels in the form of his father, mother, wife and children and sent them to him. The youth was delighted to see his near ones near him in the grave and eventually died.

God revealed to Prophet Musa: Our friend has died in such and such place. Go, give him ablutions and bury him. When Musa reached the place, he found the person to be the same corrupt youth and so said to God: O’ Lord! Is he not the same sinning youth whom You had ordered me to expel from the city?

God revealed: O’ Musa! I exhibited Mercy towards him. Due to his weeping, lamentations, sickness, separation from his land and relatives, confession of his sins and seeking forgiveness, I have forgiven him.3

2) Prophet Isa and Praying for the Rains

Prophet Isa (peace be upon him) and his companions came out of the city and into the deserts to pray for the rains. There he (peace be upon him) said to them: Those of yo, who have committed sins should return to the city. Hearing this instruction all of them returned back except one person. Turning to him, Isa (peace be upon him) said: Have you not committed any sin? He replied: I don’t remember having committed any except for one instance when, as I stood engaged in prayers, a lady passed by before me. I looked at her and my eyes continued to follow her. But as soon as she had left, I had thrust my finger into the eyes and, pulling it out, had thrown it in the direction where the lady had gone.

Isa (peace be upon him) said: Pray and I shall say Aameen. He prayed and the rains began to pour.4

3) The Reason for this Sin

Regarding this sin, i.e. female infanticide in the Arabian Peninsula, it has been recorded that:

Once, during the reign of a king, one of the tribes rose up in revolt against him. In order to crush the rebellion, he dispatched an army. The army marched upon them, plundering their property and taking their ladies as captives, while the males fled from the scene of carnage.

When the ladies were brought before the king he ordered his soldiers to take one of them for themselves.

Meanwhile, the men of the tribe who had taken to flight regretted their action and said to their poets: Go before the king and recite verses, which indicate our repentance and speak of our apologies.

The poets, arriving before the king, conveyed their message to him and requested him to return the ladies to the tribe.

The king said: We have distributed the ladies amongst the men. We have left the choice upon them whether or not they wish to return with you. If they desire, they can return and if they desire, they can remain here.

Qais Ibn A’asim had a sister, who had been given to a strong and handsome youth. She refused to return saying: I shall not return to my tribe.

However much Qais, who was one of the elders of the tribe, pleaded and requested, she refused to give in, whereupon he blurted: Daughters do not have loyalty in them. From now on, whoever gives birth to a daughter should bury her alive. It was from this time on that this act turned into a custom.5

4) The Expiation of Sins

One of the Prophets of Bani Israel happened to pass by a person, who had died under a collapsed wall and who was in a state such that half of his body that lay protruding from under the wall had been torn apart by the wild beasts.

The Prophet passed that city and entered another one. There he witnessed that one of the elders of that city had died; shrouded with a brocaded cloth, with incense and amber imparting a beautiful fragrance, his lifeless body was placed in an expensive coffin and a large crowd had turned up to attend his funeral procession!

The Prophet said: O’ Lord! You are the Just and Wise, and never approve of injustice. Why is it that the person, who had never been tainted with polytheism, should die in that manner while this person, who had never worshipped You, should die in this fashion?

God revealed to him: It is just as you have stated, I am the Wise and never approve of injustice. However, that servant had some sins in his name and I desired that this death should serve as expiation for his sins so that he comes before Me, purified. As for that person, he had some good deeds in his account and I desired to reward him in this world so that when he comes before Me, he should not have any good deeds with him.6

5) Hameed Ibn Qahtabah Taai

Abdullah Ibn Bazzaaz narrates:

Hameed and I were known to each other. One day at the time of Dhuhr of the month of Ramadhan and dressed to travel, I went to his place. When he was informed that I had come to meet him, he asked someone to bring me before him.

Entering the house, I found him inside. Greeting him, I seated myself, whereupon food was brought before me. He washed his hands and ordered me to do likewise so that we could have our food. I thought to myself: I am in a state of fast.

He said to me: Eat the food.

I said: O’ Chief! It is the month of Ramadhan and I am not sick (so as to be exempted from fasting). Hearing this, he began to weep and proceeded to eat his food.

When he had finished, I enquired: Why did you weep while eating your food?

He explained:

One night during the time when Haroon al-Rashid, the Abbasid Caliph, ruled over the city of Toos, he summoned me. When I had arrived before him, he raised his head and looking at me, said: “In what measure do you obey the Caliph?” I said: “I obey him with my life and wealth”. He then lowered his head and permitted me to return.

Hardly had I returned to my house when the Caliph’s messenger arrived and said: The Caliph wants to see you.

I thought to myself: “Perhaps he has decided to kill me” and so recited: Inna Lillahi Wa Inna Ilaihi Raajiu’n.

When I had presented myself before him, he raised his head and asked: How much is your obedience to your Caliph?

I replied: With my life, wealth, wife and children.

Hearing this he smiled and granted me permission to return home. I had hardly returned home before the Caliph’s messenger arrived once again and said: The Caliph summons you.

This time when I came before him, he asked: How much do you obey your king?

I replied: By my life, wealth, wife, children and religion!

This time the Caliph laughed and said: Take this sword and comply with what this slave has to tell you.

The slave led me to a house whose door was locked. He opened the door and I entered inside with him. Looking around I witnessed that it contained three rooms, which were locked, and one well which lay in the middle of the courtyard.

When the slave opened one of the rooms, I observed that it contained twenty people of the saadaat (descendants of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his holy progeny)), young and old, fettered and in chains.

The slaved instructed: Kill them.

As per his instruction, I killed all of them – the saadaat and the children of Ali (peace be upon him) and Fatimah (peace be upon her).

When I had killed them, the slave pushed all their bodies into the well. He then opened the door to the second room and brought out another twenty saadaat to the mouth of the well and I killed them too.

Then opening the third room, he brought another group of twenty and I began to sever their heads from their bodies. I had severed the heads of nineteen persons from this group, when the last person, an old man with overgrown hair (due to his protracted stay in prison) said to me: O’ Evil one! May you be accursed! What pretext would you have on the Day of Judgment when you shall stand before our grandfather the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his holy progeny) after having killed sixty of his children.

Hearing this, a sudden tremor ran through my arms and body. The slave looked at me and said: Kill him. I killed him and the slave hurled his body into the well.

O’ Abdullah! After having killed sixty persons from the descendants of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his holy progeny) how can prayers and fasts ever be of any benefit to me? I am certain that my abode is the fire of Hell.7

  • 1. Holy Qur'an, ch. Al-A’nkabut (29), vs. 40.
  • 2. Jaame' al-Sa'adaat, vol. 3, pg. 47.
  • 3. U’nwaan al-Kalaam, pg. 87; Jaame’ al-Akhbaar.
  • 4. Shanidani-ha-e-Taareekh, pg. 22; Mahajjah al-Baidhaa, vol. 1, pg. 299.
  • 5. Jaame’ al-Nurain, pg. 78.
  • 6. Namunah-e-Ma’arif, vol. 5, pg. 299; Al-Kafi, vol. 2, pg. 288.
  • 7. Kaifar-e-Kirdaar, vol. 1, pg. 302; U’yoon Akhbaar al-Ridha, vol. 1, pg. 109.

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