Saturday 18 November 2023

If you avoid the major forbidden sins, Allah promises to remit your (trivial) offences

No one likes to commit a sin, whether small or major. But satanic forces are always at play to mislead even the most pious of men to derail them from the righteous path and indulge them in the pleasures of a sinful life. Unlike the otherwise rough and strict life of truth, the life os worldly pleasures and entertainment is more attractive and man is easily enticed to it. But the consequences of such a life are hard to fathom for our Creator created us to follow His Divine wisdom as conveyed to us through His messengers and as written in the Divine Scriptures, and certainly not to follow the misleading Satanic machinations.

At many a place in Qur'an, man has been forbidden to commit sins and cautioned of the consequences. Some of the major sins include Shirk (associating others in His Divinity), murdering an innocent, robbing orphans of their inheritance, committing unlawful sex, slandering chaste, innocent women, running away from the battlefield and consuming interest (ribah). Allah thus promises His servants to avoid the major sins, and if one does so, He will forgive their trivial sins and provide them with an honourable abode in the hereafter. 

This promise has been made in the 31st verse of Surah 4. An Nisa (The Women) as shared herein under:

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, and cause you to enter an honourable abode.
Allah tells His servants: "We are not narrow-minded and prejudiced that We should take Our servants to task for each and every trivial offense. But if you commit wicked and heinous sins, then you shall have to render an account of the trivial offenses as well. "

One of the most enlightened scholars of the Muslim World Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi says: Here it will be worthwhile to understand the basic differences between the "heinous sins" and the "trivial offenses". As far as I have understood from a critical study of the Qur'an and the Sunnah (and the correct and right knowledge is only with Allah), I have come to the conclusion that the following three things make a sin heinous:

(1) The violation of the rights of Allah, or of parents, or of other human beings, or one's own rights. The wickedness of sin increases in proportion to the sanctity of the right that is violated. That is why the Qur'an calls a sin Zulm (iniquity) and declares shirk to be a gross iniquity.

(2) A sin becomes heinous, if it is committed to defy the Divine Laws. This is because the offender deliberately, boldly and shamelessly discards the Commandments and Prohibitions of Allah and intentionally does that which He prohibits, merely for the sake of disobedience, and impudently does not do that which He has commanded. The gravity of this sin increases in proportion to the impudence that is shown towards Allah in disobeying and discarding His Law. That is why the Qur'an calls sin fisq (disobedience) and ma` siyat (arrogance).

(3) The violation of those relations and the cutting off of those connections on the unification and integrity of which depends the peace of human life, makes a sin heinous whether these relations are between man and Allah or between man and man. The gravity of the sin of violation or the cutting off of a connection increase in proportion to the importance of the relation, and to the security contained in it. For instance, fornication in its different forms is in itself a heinous sin, for it corrupts human society. But in some forms, it becomes far more heinous than in others. The sin of adultery committed by a married man is far more heinous than that committed by an unmarried man. Likewise, adultery with a married woman is a far greater sin than fornication with an unmarried woman. In the same way, sexual intercourse with the womenfolk of a neighbour is far more heinous than with others and incest with mother, sister or daughter becomes the most heinous sin conceivable because of the security and sanctity the relation provides. For the same reason the sin committed in the mosque is far more wicked than elsewhere. In the above instances, the difference in the gravity of the same sin is due to the difference in the nature of the sanctity of the relations and the security contained in them. This is why sin is also called fujur (violation of relations).

Tafsir Ibn-Kathir
(If you avoid the great sins which you are forbidden to do, We shall remit from you your (small) sins,) meaning, if you avoid the major evil deeds that you were prohibited, We will forgive you the minor evil deeds and will admit you into Paradise. This is why Allah said, (and admit you to a Noble Entrance (i.e. Paradise).) There are several Hadiths on the subject of this honorable Ayah. 

Imam Ahmad recorded that Salman Al-Farisi said, "The Prophet said to me, `Do you know what the day of Al-Jumu`ah is' I said, `It is the day during which Allah brought together the creation of your father (Adam).' 

He said, (I know what the day of Jumu`ah is. Anyone who takes a bath and cleans himself as much as he can and then proceeds for the Friday prayer and remains quiet until the Imam finishes the prayer, all his sins in between the present and the next Friday will be forgiven, as long as major sins were avoided.)'' Al-Bukhari recorded similar wording from Salman Al-Farisi.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation:
Major sins refer to ones which are the consequence of violating the ten commandments of God mentioned in Sūrah Banī Isrā’īl (17:22-39). It is a great favour of God that the reward of those who protect themselves from these sins is that God forgives their minor sins because of His unfathomable mercy. Imām Amīn Aḥsan Iṣlāḥī, while pointing to another thing in the tafsīr of this verse, writes:

Here it needs to be kept in consideration that the way to protect one’s self from minor sins is that a person refrains from major sins. A person who returns thousands of rupees he borrowed will never tolerate the humility of being called a defaulter for a few borrowed rupees. On the other hand, those who commit grave and big sins but are very diligent in doing small virtuous acts are ones who strain out gnats and swallow camels. They urge others to pay zakāh even in the minutest amounts they own but themselves build houses from the wealth of the orphans and from the income of religious endowments. (Amīn Aḥsan Iṣlāḥī, Tadabbur-i Qur’ān, vol. 2, 288)

Concluding remarks: My dear brothers and sisters in Islam, the warnings are many, yet we still fall into the trap of evil and commit sins, while mostly trivial, but sometimes even the forbidden major sins, without caring for the gravity of offense we are committing. Please carry out a self-appraisal and repent for the sins so committed and seek forgiveness of Allah before our time is up in this world. Thereafter, no amount of repentance or forgiveness will come to our rescue. And also make a resolve not to commit anymore sins as long as we live and continue to repent for our pasts sins so that we may be forgiven.
May Allāh (سبحانه و تعالى‎) help us understand Qur'ān and follow the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, which is embodiment of commandments of Allah contained in the Qur'ān. May Allah help us to be like the ones He loves and let our lives be lived helping others and not making others' lives miserable or unlivable. May all our wrong doings, whether intentional or unintentional, be forgiven before the angel of death knocks on our door. 
وَمَا عَلَيۡنَاۤ اِلَّا الۡبَلٰغُ الۡمُبِيۡنُ‏ 
(36:17) and our duty is no more than to clearly convey the Message.”
That is Our duty is only to convey to you the message that Allah has entrusted us with. Then it is for you to accept it or reject it. We have not been made responsible for making you accept it forcibly, and if you do not accept it, we shall not be seized in consequence of your disbelief, you will yourselves be answerable for your actions on Day of Resurrection.

Reading the Qur'ān 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. It will also help the Muslims to have grasp over social issues and their answers discussed in the Qur'an and other matter related to inter faith so that they are able to discuss issues with non-Muslims with authority based on refences from Qur'an.

May Allah forgive me if my posts ever imply a piety far greater than I possess. I am most in need of guidance.

Note: When we mention God in our posts, we mean One True God, we call Allah in Islam, with no associates. Allah is the Sole Creator of all things, and that Allah is all-powerful and all-knowing. Allah has no offspring, no race, no gender, no body, and is unaffected by the characteristics of human life.

For more Selected Verses, please refer to our reference page: Selected Verses from the Qur'anYou may also refer to our Reference Pages  and Understanding Al Qur'an for knowing more about Islam and Qur'ān.
Photo | Tafsir References: | 1 | 2 | 3

An effort has been made to gather explanation / exegesis of the surahs of the Qur'ān from authentic sources and then present a least possible condensed explanation of the surah. In that the exegesis of the chapters of the 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.  
In order to augment and add more explanation as already provided, additional input has been interjected from the following sources: 
  • Tafsir Ibn Khatir
  • Muhammad Asad Translation
  • Yusuf Ali Translation
  • Translation Javed Ahmad Ghamidi / Al Mawrid
  • Qur'an Wiki
  • Verse by Verse Qur'an Study Circle
  • Towards Understanding the Quran
In addition, 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.

Disclaimer: The material for this post has been collected from the references given above. If anyone differs with the material contained in this post, one may consult the references and their authors.  If someone has more material about the subject, he/she is most welcome to share in the comments box to make the post all encompassing.

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