Topic 3: *Sin causes good deeds to be nullified (Part 2)*
Sins nullify the good deeds. But it is important to note that if one ends up committing a sin, he should not give in to despair and say to himself, “Now that I have committed a sin, there is no point in performing good deeds!”
*This is a whisper of Shaytan, who wants the servant of Allah to distance himself completely from Him*, and through the excuse of having slipped (sinned unintentionally), keep one away from committing good deeds.
Imam was once asked, “A person commits sins and sometimes performs good deeds as well. Is this beneficial for him?”
Imam (a) replied, _”His good deeds will eventually result in him forsaking his bad deeds.”_
As mentioned earlier, performing good deeds alongside heedlessness and committing sins is like consuming nutritious food alongside harmful foods.
This is just like a smoker, who doesn’t reduce his intake of healthy food although he is aware of the ills of smoking, for he also understands that the negative effects of the cigarette are reduced by the consumption of healthy food.
In any case, *the reality of sin is distancing oneself from the Almighty Allah*. This is a warning that sin and transgression deprives man of divine absolute perfection and the acquisition of desirable traits. This reality is hard to bear for someone seeking perfection, and for this reason, all the stages have been mentioned in the supplications taught by Ahl al-Bayt (a) so that everyone may benefit from them in accordance to his own level of belief and different states.
*Ayatullah Tahriri*, Commentary on Munajat e Taibeen, pg 54
Topic 4: *Minor Sins: The Basis for Greater Sins (Part 1)*
In this whispered prayer (munājāt), Imam Sajjad (a) informs us of the multiple effects of sins in three stages. He (a) warns us that whenever our souls incline towards satanic or animalistic desires, right away, we should pay attention to these negative effects of sins, and be aware that the result of acting upon these desires is the (spiritual) death of our hearts.
Of course, in the presence of God, committing any sin, big or small, is a grave offense, because He is the Superior Being, and the smallest sin before such greatness and magnanimity is a crime and treachery.
The Prophet (s) says:
*لَا تَنْظُرُوا إِلَى صِغَرِ الذَّنْبِ وَ لَكِنِ انْظُرُوا إِلَى مَنِ اجْتَرَأْتُم*
_”Do not look at the smallness of the sin; rather, look against whom you have had the audacity (to disobey).”_
In another tradition, he (s) says:
*إِنَّ الْمُؤْمِنَ لَيَرَى ذَنْبَهُ كَأَنَّهُ صَخْرَةٌ يَخَافُ أَنْ تَقَعَ عَلَيْهِ وَ إِنَّ الْكَافِرَ يَرَى ذَنْبَهُ كَأَنَّهُ ذُبَابٌ مَرَّ عَلَى أَنْفِه*
_”Certainly, the believer sees his sin as if it is a boulder, which he is afraid will fall on him; whereas, the disbeliever sees his sin as if it is a fly that passed by his nose.”_
The Qur’an and the traditions categorize sins into minor and greater, and the effects of each sin – in this world and the next – are described to us. However, in the aforementioned traditions, the Prophet (s) wants us to increase in our understanding of the Absolute Greatness of Allah. The more our understanding of God’s greatness and the signs of His existence increases, and we realise the immense blessings that God has endowed upon us, our audacity to disobey God lessens.
The Prophet (s) says:
*إِنَّ إِبْلِيسَ رَضِيَ مِنْكُمْ بِالْمُحَقَّرَاتِ وَ الذَّنْبُ الَّذِي لَا يُغْفَرُ قَوْلُ الرَّجُلِ لَا أُؤَاخَذُ بِهَذَا الذَّنْبِ اسْتِصْغَاراً لَهُ*
_”Certainly, Satan is satisfied with you because of small sins, since sins that are not forgiven are those about which the sinner says, I will not be reprimanded for this sin due to its smallness.”_
*Ayatullah Tahriri*, Commentary on Munajat e Taibeen, pg 65 – 67
Topic 4: *Minor Sins: The Basis for Greater Sins (Part 2)*
Imam Ridha (s) says:
*«الصَّغَائِرُ مِنَ الذُّنُوبِ طُرُقٌ إِلَى الْكَبَائِرِ وَ مَنْ لَمْ يَخَفِ اللَّهَ فِي الْقَلِيلِ لَمْ يَخَفْهُ فِي الْكَثِيرِ»*
_”Lesser sins pave the way for greater sins; thus, the one who is not afraid of God in committing lesser sins, will not be afraid of him in committing greater sins.”_
It is for this reason that we must always be cautious and by understanding the nature of our relation to Allah, we should continuously pay attention to our smallness before Him.
🍁 Of the most important acts in order to achieve this, are:
– Set some time to be with Allah in solitude.
– Be attentive towards one’s spiritual obstacles.
– Supplicate to Allah and plead with him.
– Find ways to get rid of these spiritual obstacles.
– Constantly seek help from Allah and His Awliya (close servants of Allah) on this path.
Death of the heart has different levels, which depend on one’s cognizance (ma’rifat) of Allah and the type of sin committed. If one continues to disobey Allah, it is possible for his heart to die, such that it would never be brought back to life again. This is why in munājāt al-Ta’ibīn, Imam Sajjad (a) requests Allah to grant life to his heart.
*Ayatullah Tahriri*, Commentary on Munājāt al-Ta’ibīn , pg 67 – 69
Topic 5: *The necessity of hope and belief in God’s acceptance of repentance*
God Almighty has established repentance so that man can constantly work towards reforming himself and if he stumbles (at any point) he does not become afflicted by a state of despair from self-reform, such that he would think: “It is all over! We have no way of reaching the good life (hayaat e tayyibah) any more…”
God Almighty has set out different ways for his servants to pay attention to and connect with Him. Since the real life of man, after having committed sins, begins with repentance and observance of the limits and boundaries of God, in order to achieve this real life, a correct spiritual attention towards God is required. And from among the most important standpoints is that a servant considers God accepting of himself i.e. accepting of repentance, and believes in His word, where He says:
*«وَهُوَ الَّذِي يَقْبَلُ التَّوْبَةَ عَنْ عِبَادِهِ وَيَعْفُو عَنِ السَّيِّئَاتِ»*
_“And He is the one who accepts the repentance of His servant and pardons the evils.”_ [Shoora:25]
If man does not manage to achieve this perspective and does not have this reliance on God, he will never be pulled towards God. It is because of this that the issue of needing God to turn to His servant has been stated in this supplication and in other supplications, where it says: _“Make my heart alive by Your turning to me.”_
God Almighty also states in the Holy Quran: _“Then he turned towards them so that they repent.”_ [Tawbah:118]
Of course, repenting and returning to God does not have special rituals and customs nor does it require cumbersome effort. God’s mercy and love is so embracing of His wrongful servants that reconciliation with Him does not require so much effort and pleading and begging. Rather, the simple act of acknowledging one’s mistakes, shortcomings, and neglect, accompanied by a sense of shame and embarrassment of them is in itself God’s turning to His servant. It is by instilling this awareness that God prevents the continuity of His neglect. It is for this reason that man must value this state and try to meet the conditions of repentance.
*Ayatullah Tahriri*, Commentary on Munājāt al-Ta’ibīn , pg 73 – 74
Topic 6: *Repentance from all sins; as is appropriate for that sin*
Despite the fact that many effects and blessings have been mentioned for repentance, at the same time there are conditions for repentance. The more one fulfils the conditions of repentance, the more results he will achieve and the better these results will be. It has been narrated from Imam ‘Ali (a) that a person did istighfār in his presence (sought forgiveness from Allah). The Imam said to him:
“May your mother grieve over you! Do you realize istighfār (is not just this empty utterance of the tongue) is the station of the illīyīn (a name in the Holy Qur’an for those in Paradise, see 83:18) and comprises of six meanings:_
1- regret over what has occurred
2- resolve to not return to that action ever again
3- that you fulfil the rights of others from amongst the creation, such that you meet Allah free of any responsibility
4- that you carry out all the obligatory actions that you squandered
5- that you melt away with remorse the flesh that grew on your body from harām until the skin sticks to the bone and new flesh then grows between them
6- that you make your body taste the difficulty of obedience just as you had made it taste the sweetness of sin,
then after all that say astaghfirullah (I seek forgiveness from Allah)!”
The intention of the Imam is that istighfār is a reality comprising of all its conditions. Of course, the six conditions that were mentioned pertain to the particular sin within the context of which the Imam instructed istighfār. *Clearly, istighfār for every sin does not require all these conditions.* If someone has committed a sin of the eye, can it be claimed that in order to seek repentance for this sin he must melt his flesh? Obviously this is not so. So that man does not become afflicted with excessiveness nor laxity in this area, *it is necessary to seek the counsel of, and seek a plan of action from those who are experts in this field, and aware of all the aspects of these affairs*.
*Ayatullah Tahriri*, Commentary on Munājāt al-Ta’ibīn , pg 75 – 76