Secret Sins of a Believer
I heard from our Friday khutbah that a person will not be forgiven if he has bragged and boasted to his friends about his sin while Allah had hidden it, and he quoted a hadeeth to support his claim. Is this true ? I thought Allah forgives all sins! I am really in despair now.
Praise be to Allaah.
With regard to the idea that Allaah forgives all sins: this is correct, because Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Say: “O ‘Ibaadi (My slaves) who have transgressed against themselves (by committing evil deeds and sins)! Despair not of the Mercy of Allaah, verily, Allaah forgives all sins. Truly, He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful” [al-Zumar 39:53].
Minor sins (saghaa’ir) are expiated for by doing acts of worship and by avoiding major sins (kabaa’ir), because of the following evidence (daleel):
Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“If you avoid the great sins which you are forbidden to do, We shall expiate from you your (small) sins, and admit you to a Noble Entrance (i.e. Paradise)” [al-Nisaa’ 4:31]
It was reported from Ibn Mas’ood that a man kissed a woman, then he came to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and told him about it. Then Allaah revealed the words (interpretation of the meaning): “And perform As-Salaah (Iqaamat-as- Salaah), at the two ends of the day and in some hours of the night [i.e. the five compulsory Salaah (prayers)]. Verily, the good deeds remove the evil deeds (i.e. small sins).” [Hood 11:114]. The man said, O Messenger of Allaah, is this just for me? He said, “It is for all of my Ummah.” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 503; Muslim, 2763)
It was reported from Abu Hurayrah that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The five prayers and Jumu’ah are an expiation from one week to the next, so long as you do not commit major sins.” (Narrated by Muslim, 233).
There are many things that expiate for minor sins, such as fasting, qiyaam, wudoo’, etc. But major sins require specific acts of expiation, such as sincere repentance, the carrying out of the Islamic punishment (hadd) on the one who committed them, etc., as can be seen in the following texts:
It was reported from ‘Ubaadah ibn al-Saamit (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, when there was a group of his Sahaabah around him: “Give allegiance to me that you will not associate anything in worship with Allaah, not steal, not commit fornication, not kill your children… and not disobey me in what is right. Whoever among you fulfils this, his reward will be with Allaah. Whoever commits any of these sins will be punished in this world and that will be an expiation for him. Whoever commits any of these sins but Allaah conceals it, then it will be for Allaah to decide: if He wills, He will forgive him, and if He wills, He will punish him.” So we gave allegiance to him on that basis.
The phrase “he will be punished in this world” means, the Islamically-prescribed punishment (hadd) will be carried out on him.
It was reported from Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri (may Allaah be pleasd with him) that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Among the Children of Israel there was a man who killed ninety-nine people. Then he went out and came to a monk and asked him, ‘Can I repent?’ He said, ‘No,’ so he killed him. Then he started asking, and a man said to him, ‘Go to such and such a town.’ But death caught up with him, so he inclined his chest towards (that town, as he was dying). The angels of mercy and the angels of punishment disputed concerning him. Allaah inspired (the good town) to come closer to him, and (the evil town) to move away from him, then He said, Measure the distance between them. They found that he was closer to (the good town) by a hand-span, so he was forgiven.” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 3283; Muslim, 2766).
But if a sinner dies in a state of sin, if his sins include shirk, then Allaah will not forgive him in the Hereafter. If his sins are less than that, then the person is subject to the will of Allaah – if He wills, He will punish him and if He wills, He will forgive him.
Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “Verily, Allaah forgives not that partners should be set up with Him (in worship), but He forgives except that (anything else) to whom He wills” [al-Nisaa’ 4:48, 116].
It was reported that Ibn ‘Umar said: I heard the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) say: “The believer will be brought close to his Lord until He conceals him and makes him confess his sin. Allaah will say, ‘Do you remember such and such a sin?’ The man will say, ‘Yes, I admit it.’ The Lord will say, ‘I concealed it for you in the world and I forgive you for it today.’ Then He will close up his record of good deeds. As for the others or the Kuffaar, it will be called out before the witnesses, ‘These are the ones who disbelieved in their Lord. The curse of Allaah is upon the wrongdoers.’” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 4408; Muslim, 2768).
Your despairing of the mercy of Allaah is not permissible, because of the following evidence (daleel):
Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “Say: “O ‘Ibaadi (My slaves) who have transgressed against themselves (by committing evil deeds and sins)! Despair not of the Mercy of Allaah, verily, Allaah forgives all sins. Truly, He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful” [al-Zumar 39:53]. And He says (interpretation of the meaning): “… and My Mercy embraces all things…” [al-A’raaf 7:156]
It was reported from Abu Moosa that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Allaah spreads out His hand at night to accept the repentance of those who committed sins during the day, and He spreads out His hand during the day to accept the repentance of those who committed sins during the night. (He will continue to do this) until the sun rises from the West.” (Narrated by Muslim, 2759).
Speaking about your sin and flaunting it openly in front of your friends is haraam, and is a major sin. It is one of the ways of spreading immorality among the Muslims, encouraging evil and tempting others to do similar things. It also means that one does not take sin seriously and regards it as insignificant, and that the sinner is damaging his own reputation and exposing his honour to the slander of others. Islam seeks to put people off from doing such things in the strongest possible terms, as in the following hadeeth:
Abu Hurayrah said: I heard the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) say: “All of my ummah will be forgiven except those who sin openly. It is a part of sinning openly when a man does something at night, then the following morning when Allaah has concealed his sin, he says, ‘O So and so, I did such and such last night,’ when all night his Lord has concealed him and the next morning he uncovers what Allaah had concealed.” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 5721; Muslim, 2990).
Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah preserve him) said: there is a third kind of immoral, rebellious, promiscuous person, who speaks in a boastful manner about zinaa (fornication, adultery) – we seek refuge with Allaah – and tells people that he travelled to such and such a country and committed immoral acts of zinaa with a number of women, and so on, and he shows off about that. Such people should be asked to repent, and if they do not they should be executed, because when a person boasts about zinaa, this implies that he thinks it is permissible – Allaah forbid – and the one who thinks that zinaa is halaal is a kaafir. (Sharh Riyaad al-Saaliheen, 1/116).
On this basis:
We advise you to repent sincerely, and if you are tested with any kind of sin, do not speak openly of it or brag about it. You should be aware of the greatness of the One against Whom you are sinning, seek forgiveness for your sin, weep for the error of your ways and adhere strictly to the path of Allaah. Beware of despairing of the mercy of Allaah. If you adhere properly to the religion of Allaah, you will have glad tidings of goodness in this world and in the Hereafter. We ask Allaah to help us and you to do that which He loves and is pleased with. May Allaah bless our Prophet Muhammad.
Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid