Lecture: The Effects of Sins
[Okay, this is really a sneaky attempt to continue Project “Give Uthman Barry (rahimahullah) sadaqah jaariyah”.]
Many of us (or perhaps all of us?) underestimate the bad effects that sins have on our lives. To us, a sin we committed might just be a “little” one but its repercussions might be grave.
Sadly, the one month where many Muslims try to avoid committing sins is Ramadan. Outside that, many people do not seem to care. Yes, a lot of us try to continue doing good deeds after Ramadan, but very few of us try to stop sinning.
One of the main reasons for this is that these sins are not recognised as being such.
For example, you’ll see most Muslim women refuse to touch alcohol. Why? Because it’s a big sin to drink it, they’ll say. Well, many of these same women do not wear hijab. Why? Well, one reason is weakness of iman. Another reason is because they think that not covering one’s body is a “little” thing. They do not realise that not wearing hijab, like drinking alcohol, is a major sin.
[By the by, major sins need to be repented from in order to be forgiven. Doing good deeds won’t erase them. That only works for minor sins.]
Anyway, here’s a lecture on this topic based on writings of Imam Ibn Al-Qayyim (rahimahullah). I’ve put the translation of that below the lecture.
The Effects of Sins by Uthman Barry (rahimahullah) (Download)
A Summary of the Effects of Sins
English Translation by Abu ‘Iyaad
From Ibn al-Qayyim’s al-Jawâb al-Kâfi
ONE: The Prevention of Knowledge: Knowledge is a light which Allâh throws into the heart and disobedience extinguishes this light.
Imâm Shâfi‘î said:
I complained to Wakî‘ about the weakness of my memory
So he ordered me to abandon disobedience
And informed me that the knowledge is light
And that the light of Allâh is not given to the disobedient
TWO: The Prevention of Sustenance: Just as Taqwâ brings about sustenance, the abandonment of Taqwâ causes poverty. There is nothing which can bring about sustenance like the abandonment of disobedience
THREE: The prevention of obedience (to Allâh): If there was no other punishment for sin other than that it prevents one from obedience to Allâh then this would be sufficient.
FOUR: Disobedience weakens the heart and the body. Its weakening the heart is something which is clear. Disobedience does not stop weakening it until the life of the heart ceases completely.
FIVE: Disobedience reduces the life span and destroys any blessings. Just as righteousness increases the lifespan, sinning reduces it.
SIX: Disobedience sows its own seeds and gives birth to itself until separating from it and coming out of it becomes difficult for the servant.
SEVEN: Sins weaken the hearts will and resolve so that the desire for disobedience becomes strong and the desire to repent becomes weak bit by bit until the desire to repent is removed from the heart completely.
EIGHT: Every type of disobedience is a legacy of a nation from among the nations which Allâh Azzawajall destroyed. Sodomy is a legacy of the People of Lot, taking more than one’s due right and giving what is less is a legacy of the People of Shu‘ayb, seeking greatness in the land and causing corruption is a legacy of the People of Pharoah and pride/arrogance and tyranny is a legacy of the People of Hûd. So the disobedient one is wearing the gown of some of these nations who were the enemies of Allâh.
NINE: Disobedience is a cause of the servant being held in contempt by his Lord. Al-Hasan al-Basrî (rh) said: They became contemptible in (His sight) so they disobeyed Him. If they were honourable (in His sight) He would have protected them. Allâh the Exalted said:
“And whomsoever Allâh lowers (humiliates) there is none to give honour.” [Hajj (22:18)]
TEN: The ill-effects of the sinner fall upon those besides him and also the animals as a result of which they are touched by harm.
ELEVEN: The servant continues to commit sins until they become very easy for him and seem insignificant in his heart and this is a sign of destruction. Every time a sin becomes insignificant in the sight of the servant it becomes great in the sight of Allâh.
Ibn Mas‘ûd (ra) said: Indeed, the believer sees his sins as if he was standing at the foot of a mountain fearing that it will fall upon him and the sinner sees his sins like a fly which passes by his nose so he tries to remove it by waving his hand around. [Bukhârî]
TWELVE: Disobedience inherits humiliation and lowliness. Honour, all of it, lies in the obedience of Allâh. Abdullâh ibn al-Mubârak said:
I have seen sins kill the hearts
And humiliation is inherited by their continuity
The abandonment of sins gives life to the hearts
And the prevention of your soul is better for it
THIRTEEN: Disobedience corrupts the intellect. The intellect has light and disobedience extinguishes this light. When the light of the intellect is extinguished it becomes weak and deficient.
FOURTEEN: When disobedience increases, the servant’s heart becomes sealed so that he becomes of those who are heedless. The Exalted said:
“But no! A stain has been left on their hearts on account of what they used to earn (i.e. their actions).” [Mutaffifîn (83:14)]
FIFTEEN: Sins cause the various types of corruption to occur in the land. Corruption of the waters, the air, the plants, the fruits and the dwelling places. The Exalted said:
“Mischief has appeared on the land and the sea on account of what the hands of men have earned; that He may give them a taste of some of (the actions) they have done, in order that they may return.” [Rûm (30:41)]
SIXTEEN: The disappearance of modesty which is the essence of the life of the heart and is the basis of every good. Its disappearance is the disappearance of all that is good. It is authentic from the Messenger that he said: Modesty is goodness, all of it [Bukhârî and Muslim]
A Poet said:
And by Allâh, there is no good in life or in the world when modesty goes
SEVENTEEN: Sins weaken and reduce the magnification of Allâh, the Mighty in the heart of the servant
EIGHTEEN: Sins are the cause of Allâh forgetting His servant, abandoning him and leaving him to fend for himself with his soul and his shaytân and in this is the destruction from which no deliverance can be hoped for.
NINETEEN: Sins remove the servant from the realm of Ihsân (doing good) and he is prevented from (obtaining) the reward of those who do good. When Ihsân fills the heart it prevents it from disobedience.
TWENTY: Disobedience causes the favours (of Allâh) to cease and make His revenge lawful. No blessing ceases to reach a servant except due to a sin and no retribution is made lawful upon him except due to a sin. Alî (ra) said: No trial has descended except due to a sin and it (the trial) is not repelled except by repentance. Allâh the Exalted said:
“Whatever misfortune afflicts you then it is due to what your hands have earned and (yet) He pardons many.” [Shûra (42:30)]
And the Exalted also said:
“That is because never will Allâh change the favour He has bestowed on a people until they change what is with themselves.” [Anfâl (8:53)]