The consequences of committing sins
by Ibn Al-Qayyim Al-Jowziyyah
The great scholar Ibn Al-Qayyim Al-Jowziyyah wrote the following words
in a famous tract called Al-Jawaab Al-Kaafi in response to a letter
written to him by an individual who was seeking advice on how to rid
himself of major sin. We take a look at the dire consequences of
committing sins in general.
One: The Prevention of Knowledge
Knowledge is a light which Allah throws into the heart, and disobedience
extinguishes this light. Imaam Shaafi’ee said: I complained to Wakee’
about the weakness of my memory so he ordered me to abandon disobedience
and informed me that knowledge is light and that the light of Allah is not
given to the disobedient.
Two: The Prevention of Sustenance
Just as Taqwaa brings about sustenance, the abandonment of Taqwaa causes
poverty. There is nothing which can bring about sustenance like the
abandonment of disobedience.
Three: The Prevention of Obedience (to Allah)
If there was no other punishment for sin other than that it prevents one
from obedience to Allah 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 life span, 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 Allah, the Mighty and Majestic, 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.
Pride/arrogance and tyranny is a legacy of the People of Hud. So the
disobedient one is wearing the gown of some of these nations who were the
enemies of Allah.
Nine: Disobedience is a cause of the servant being held in contempt by his
Al-Hasan Al-Basree (radiallahu ‘anhu) said: They became contemptible in
(His sight) so they disobeyed Him. If they were honorable (in His sight)
He would have protected them. Allah the Exalted said:
And whomsoever Allah lowers (humiliates) there is none to give honor.
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 Allah. Ibn Mas’ood (radiallahu
‘anhu) 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. [Al-Bukhaaree]
Twelve: Disobedience inherits humiliation and lowliness.
Honor, all of it, lies in the obedience of Allaah. Abdullaah ibn
al-Mubaarak 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) [Al-Mutaffifeen 83:141]
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. [Ar-Rum 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
(sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) that he said: Modesty is goodness, all of
it. [Al-Bukhaari and Muslim]
A Poet said: And by Allah, there is no good in life or in the world when
Seventeen: Sins weaken and reduce the magnification of Allaah, the Mighty
in the heart of the servant.
Eighteen: Sins are the cause of Allah forgetting His servant, abandoning
him and leaving him to fend for himself with his soul and his shaytaan and
in this is the destruction from which no deliverance can be hoped for.
Nineteen: Sins remove the servant from the realm of Ihsaan (doing good)
and he is prevented from (obtaining) the reward of those who do good. When
Ihsaan fills the heart it prevents it from disobedience.
Twenty: Disobedience causes the favors of Allah to cease and justify His
retribution. No blessing ceases to reach a servant except due to a sin and
no retribution is made desrving upon him except due to a sin. Ali
(radiallahu ‘anhu) said: No trial has descended except due to a sin and it
(the trial) is not repelled except by repentance.
Allaah the Exalted said:
Whatever misfortune afflicts you then it is due to what your hands have
earned and (yet) He pardons many. [Ash-Shura 42:30]
And the Exalted also said:
That is because never will Allah change the favor He has bestowed on a
people until they change what is within themselves. [Anfaal 8:53]
May Allah have mercy upon us and help us to abandon the sins that are the
causes of our problems. Ameen.
[The bulk of this article was derived from Ibn Al-Qayyim’s Al-Jawaab
Al-Kaafi English Translation by Abu ‘Iyaad and The Ill-Effects Of Sins by
Muhammad Saalih ibn Al-‘Uthaimeen]
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