Sunday 26 July 2020

Selected Verses from Quran: Surely your Lord is abounding in His Forgiveness

Allah being our Creator and Creator of the entire universe is very compassionate and merciful. Unlike the perception by atheists and disbelievers that there is more talk of hell and chastisement in Qur'an than forgiveness if one errs or sins. We have already posted a number of verses of Qur'an in our many previous posts that call for the believers to continue to ask for Allah's forgiveness after due repentance of their errors and omissions and Allah will surely forgive them. It is even said that Allah will keep forgiving the sins of His servants till the time the angel of death finally appears. 

In fact, Allah is not overly exacting and severe in His judgement. He is not on the look out for trivial omissions and lapses on the part of His creatures in order to punish them. Allah is prepared to condone minor omissions, and may even spare a man from being presented with a charge-sheet provided his record is free of major sins. But if a man's record is full of major transgressions, he will be required to explain all the sins he has committed - both major and minor. 

Continuing with the series of selected verses from Qur'an, today we share the 32nd verse of Surah 53 An Najm which reassures the believers of Allah's promise and reassurance of His abundant forgiveness for those who sincerely repent and seek forgiveness:

اَلَّذِيۡنَ يَجۡتَنِبُوۡنَ كَبٰٓـئِرَ الۡاِثۡمِ وَالۡفوَاحِشَ اِلَّا اللَّمَمَ​ؕ اِنَّ رَبَّكَ وَاسِعُ الۡمَغۡفِرَةِ​ؕ هُوَ اَعۡلَمُ بِكُمۡ اِذۡ اَنۡشَاَكُمۡ مِّنَ الۡاَرۡضِ وَاِذۡ اَنۡتُمۡ اَجِنَّةٌ فِىۡ بُطُوۡنِ اُمَّهٰتِكُمۡ​ۚ فَلَا تُزَكُّوۡۤا اَنۡفُسَكُمۡ​ ؕ هُوَ اَعۡلَمُ بِمَنِ اتَّقٰى

"on those who avoid grave sins and shameful deeds, even if they may sometimes stumble into lesser offences. Surely your Lord is abounding in His Forgiveness. Very well is He aware of you since He produced you from the earth, and while you were still in your mothers' wombs and not yet born. So do not boastfully claim yourselves to be purified. He fully knows those that are truly God fearing."

Before we proceed further for the explanation of this verse, we must first grasp the essential differences between major and minor sins. Herein under are the three elements turn an act into a major sin:
(1) Violation of rights - be it either the rights of God, of parents, of other human beings or even of one's own self. The greater a person's rights, the greater is the sin in violating them. Hence sin is characterized in the Qur'an as wrong-doing (zulm). It is for the same reason that associating others with God in His divinity is called the 'great wrong' in the Qur'an. See, for example, (Surah Luqman 31: 13.)
(2) Insufficient fear of God, and arrogance and indifference towards Him, as a result of which man does not heed God's commandments, even willfully violates them, and deliberately desists from carrying them out. The greater the brazenness, temerity and fearlessness with which one disobeys God, the more heinous is the sin in His eyes. It is for this reason that sin is also termed ma'siyah (disobedience) and fisq. See, for instance, (Surah al-Baqarah 2: 26, 61); (Surah al-Hujurat 49: 11); (Surah al-Munafiqun 63: 6); (Surah Hud 11: 59); (Surah AI 'Imran 3: 112); (Surah al-Nisa' 4: 42); (Surah al-Ma'idah 5: 78); and passim for verbal forms derived from the word ma'siyah and fisq - Ed.)
(3) Sin is aggravated by breaking those bonds and relationships on which the peace and tranquility of social order rest. These bonds include the relationship between a man and his Lord, as well as that between a man and his fellow-beings. The more important a bond is, the greater is the harm done to the peace of human society when that bond is broken. Likewise, the stronger the expectation that the sanctity of a certain bond will be honoured, the greater is the sin incurred through its desecration. Let us take the case of unlawful sexual intercourse in its various degrees. This act is inimical to the existence of a sound social order and is therefore a major sin. But in certain cases the sin becomes even graver. For instance, it is more serious if committed by a married person than by one who is unmarried. Similarly, unlawful sexual intercourse with a married woman is graver than with an unmarried woman. Again, to commit this act with one's neighbours is more heinous than with others, and to commit this act with women within the prohibited degrees, such as one's sister, daughter or mother, is far more abominable than with others. Further still, it is a much graver sin to commit such an act in places of worship than elsewhere. The difference in the degree of such sinfulness is based on the considerations we have mentioned above. Wherever the sanctity "of a relationship is normally respected, wherever there is a bond which deserves to be held sacred, and wherever the disruption of a particular relationship is likely to result in greater harm and corruption, the gravity of the sin increases. This is why in certain places the Qur'an uses the term fujur to denote sin. See, for instance, (Surah al-Qiyamah 75: 5); (Surah al-Infitar 82: 14); (Surah al-Shams 9l: 8.)
The word fawahish mentioned in the verse above applies to all those acts whose abominable character is self-evident. In the Qur'an all extra-marital sexual relationships, sodomy, nudity, false accusations of unchastity, and taking as one's wife a woman who had been married to one's father, are specifically reckoned as 'shameful deeds' (fawahish). In Hadith, theft, taking intoxicating drinks and begging have been characterized as fawahish, as have many other brazenly indecent acts. Man is required to abstain from them both openly and in secret.

The word lamam as found in the original is used for a small quantity of something, or its slight effect, or its mere closeness, or its existence for a short time. This word is used to express the sense that a person did not commit an act but was very near to committing it.

On the basis of its usages some commentators have taken the word lamam in the meaning of minor sins. Some others have taken it in the meaning that a person should practically reach very near a grave sin but should desist from actually committing it. Still others take it in the sense of a person’s remaining involved in a sin temporarily and then desisting from it. And according to some it implies that a person should think of, or wish, or intend to commit a sin but should rake no practical steps towards it. In this regard, the views of the companions and their immediate followers are as follows:
Zaid bin Aslam and Ibn Zaid opine, and a saying of Abdullah bin Abbas is also to the same effect, that it signifies those sins which the people had committed in the pre-Islamic days of ignorance, then after embracing Islam they refrained from them.
Another view of Ibn Abbas is, and the same is also the view of Abu Hurairah, Abdullah bin Amr bin Aas, Mujahid, Hasan Basri and Abu Salih, that it implies a person’s being involved in a grave sin or indecency temporarily, or occasionally, and then giving it up.
Abdullah bin Masud, Masruq and Shabi say, and the same has also been reported from Abu Hurairah and Abdullah bin Abbas in authentic traditions, that this implies a person’s approaching the very point of a grave sin and crossing all its preliminaries but then restraining himself at the final stage, e.g. a person goes out with the intention of stealing but refrains from it in the end, or has close association with other women, but refrains from committing adultery.
Abdullah bin Zubair, Ikrimah, Qatadah and Dahhak say that this signifies those minor sins for which no punishment has been prescribed in the world nor any threat of punishment held out in the Hereafter.
Saeed bin al-Musayyab says that this implies one’s thinking of a sin in the mind but restraining himself from committing it practically.
These are the different explanations which have been reported in the traditions from the companions and their immediate followers. The majority of the later commentators and doctors of law and jurists are of the opinion that this verse and verse 31 of Surah An-Nisa:
اِنۡ تَجۡتَنِبُوۡا كَبٰٓـئِرَ مَا تُنۡهَوۡنَ عَنۡهُ نُكَفِّرۡ عَنۡكُمۡ سَيِّاٰتِكُمۡ وَنُدۡخِلۡـكُمۡ مُّدۡخَلًا كَرِيۡمًا‏
(4:31) But if you avoid the major sins which you have been forbidden, We shall remit your (trivial) offences,53 and cause you to enter an honourable abode.
classify sins into two main kinds: the major sins and the minor sins, and these two verses give man the hope that if he abstains from the major sins and open indecencies, Allah will overlook his minor errors. Although some distinguished scholars have also opined that no sin is minor and the disobedience of Allah is by itself a major sin, yet as stated by Imam Ghazali the distinction between the major and the minor sins is something which cannot be denied, for the sources of knowledge of the Shariah values and injunctions all point to this.

As for the question, what is the distinction between the major and the minor sins, and what kinds of sins are major and what kinds of them minor? we are satisfied that: Every such act is a major sin which has been forbidden by a clear ordinance of the divine Book and the Shariah of the Prophet (peace be upon him), or for which Allah and His Messenger (peace be upon him) have prescribed a punishment in the world, or have held out a threat of punishment in the Hereafter, or have cursed the one guilty of committing it, or given the news of infliction of punishment on those guilty of committing it. Apart from this class of sins all other acts which are disapproved by the Shariah, come under the definition of minor sins. Likewise, the mere desire for a major sin, or an intention to commit it, is also not a major sin but a minor sin; so much so that even crossing all the preliminaries of a major sin does not constitute a major sin unless one has actually committed it. However, even a minor sin becomes a major sin in case it is committed with a feeling of contempt for religion and of arrogance against Allah, and the one guilty of it does not consider the Shariah that has declared it an evil worthy of any attention and reverence.

That is, the forgiveness for the one guilty of minor sins is not for the reason that a minor sin is no sin, but for the reason that Allah Almighty does not treat His servants narrow-mindedly and does not seize them on trifling faults; if the servants adopt piety and abstain from major sins and indecencies, He will not seize them for their minor errors and will forgive them magnanimously on account of His infinite mercy.

Allah's attributes of Mercy and Forgiveness are unlimited. They come into action without our asking, but on our bringing our wills as offerings to Him. Our asking or prayer helps us to bring our minds and wills as offering to Him. That is necessary to frame our own psychological preparedness. it informs Allah of nothing, for He knows all. As Allah knows our inmost being, it is absurd for us to justify ourselves either by pretending that we are better than we are or by finding excuses for our conduct. We must offer ourselves unreservedly such as we are: it is His Mercy and Grace that will cleanse us. If we try, out of love for Him, to guard against evil, our striving is all that He asks for.
May Allah help us understand Qur'an and help us to act upon the commandments of Allah contained therein. Aameen.

For more Selected Verses, please refer to our reference page: Selected Verses from the Qur'an

You may also refer to our Reference Pages for knowing more about Islam and Quran.
References: | 1 | 2 | 3 |
Reading the Holy Quran should be a daily obligation of a Muslim - Reading it with translation will make it meaningful. But reading its Exegesis / Tafsir will make you understand it fully.

An effort has been made to gather explanation / exegesis of the surahs of the Holy Qur'an from authentic sources and then present a least possible condensed explanation of the surah. In that:
  • The plain translation has been taken from the Holy Quran officially published by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. [1]
  • The exegesis of the chapters of the Holy Quran is mainly based on the "Tafhim al-Qur'an - The Meaning of the Qur'an" by one of the most enlightened scholars of the Muslim World Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi. [2]  
In order to augment and add more explanation as already provided by [2], additional input has been interjected from following sources: 
  • Towards Understanding the Quran
  • Tafsir Ibn Khatir
  • Muhammad Asad Translation
  • Javed Ahmad Ghamidi / Al Mawrid
  • Al-Quran, Yusuf Ali Translation
  • Verse by Verse Qur'an Study Circle
In addition the references of  other sources which have been explored have also been given above. Those desirous of detailed explanations and tafsir (exegesis), may refer to these sites.

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Halal Bharti you are doing a great job.Jazakalla
May ALLAH reward you for this good job.Ameen

Jazak Allah khair.
May Almighty Allah bless n forgive us.

اللہ تعالٰی ھمیں معاف کرنے اور درگزر کرنے کی توفیق عطاء فرمائے اور ہم دوسروں کے لئے آسانیاں پیدا کرنے والے بنیں۔

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