Concept of Sins in Islam (part 3 of 3)


Description: These lessons will introduce the reader to sins, their types, severity, how forgiveness is attained for them, and how they will affect a person in the life to come.

By Imam Mufti (© 2013 NewMuslims.com)

Published on 09 Sep 2013 - Last modified on 25 Jun 2019

Printed: 275 - Emailed: 0 - Viewed: 17,623 (daily average: 4)


·To learn the means by which sins are forgiven.

·To learn about the unforgiveable sin.

Arabic Terms:

·Hajj – A pilgrimage to Mecca where the pilgrim performs a set of rituals.   The Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam, which every adult Muslim must undertake at least once in their life if they can afford it and are physically able.

·Kafir – (plural: kuffar) disbeliever.

·Laylat al-Qadr – a blessed night in the last ten days of Ramadan, the month of fasting.

·Ramadan - The ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar.   It is the month in which the obligatory fasting has been prescribed.

·Shirk – a word that implies ascribing partners to Allah, or ascribing divine attributes to other than Allah, or believing that the source of power, harm and blessings comes from another besides Allah.

·Ummah - Refers to the whole Muslim community, irrespective of color, race, language or nationality.

The punishment for sin is lifted from a person by the following:

1.  Repentance

ConceptofSin3.jpgRepentance has conditions which have been discussed earlier.  There is no repentance if those conditions are not met.  Meeting the conditions of repentance guarantees forgiveness.  Repentance guarantees forgiveness from major sins as well.  Allah says:

“Say: ‘O My slaves who have transgressed against themselves (by committing sins)! Despair not of the mercy of Allah, indeed, Allah forgives all sins.  Truly, He is Oft‑Forgiving, Most Merciful’” (Quran 39:53)

“And He it is Who accepts repentance from His slaves, and forgives sins” (Quran 42:25)

2.  Praying for forgiveness

Asking for forgiveness is not tied to strict conditions like repentance.  It is simply a prayer that Allah may or may not accept.  The Prophet said: “If a person commits a sin, then says, ‘O Lord, I have committed a sin so forgive me,’ He says, ‘My slave knows that he has a Lord Who may forgive sins or punish for it; I have forgiven My slave…’”[1]

3.  Doing good deeds which wipe out sins

Allah says:

“Indeed, the good deeds remove the evil deeds.” (Quran 11:114)

·Daily Prayers and Friday Prayer

“Each of the five daily prayers and from one Friday prayer to the next is an expiation for the time in between, so long as one does not commit any major sin.”[2]


“When a Muslim, or a believer, washes his face (in the course of ablution), every sin which he committed with his eyes, will be washed away from his face with water, or with the last drop of water; when he washes his hands, every sin which is committed by his hands will be effaced from his hands with the water, or with the last drop of water; and when he washes his feet, every sin his feet committed will be washed away with the water, or with the last drop of water; until he finally emerges cleansed of all his sins.”[3]

·Fasting Ramadan

“Whoever fasts Ramadan out of faith and the hope of reward, his previous sins will be forgiven.”[4]

“Whoever spends the night of Laylat al-Qadr in prayer out of faith and the hope of reward, his previous sins will be forgiven.”[5]


“Whoever performs Pilgrimage to this House, and does not engage in sexual relations with his wife during it and does not engage in sinful behavior will go back free of sin like the day his mother gave birth to him.”[6]

Righteous deeds such as prayer, fasting, Hajj, etc only expiate for transgressions against the rights of Allah.  With regard to sins that have to do with the rights of other people, one has to repent from them.

4.  Prayers of fellow believers such as the funeral prayer

The Messenger of Allah said: “There is no Muslim man who dies, and forty men pray the funeral prayer for him, not associating anything with Allah, but Allah will accept their intercession for him.”[7]

Angels also pray for the believer:

“Those who bear the Throne, and those who are around it, glorify their Lord with His praise, and believe in Him.  They ask forgiveness for those who believe, saying, Our Lord, You embrace all things in mercy and knowledge.  Forgive those who turn to You and follow Your path.  Save them from the punishment of Hell.” (Quran 40:7)

5.  Intercession of the Prophet on the Day of Resurrection

The Prophet said:

“My intercession will be for those among my ummah who committed major sins.”[8]

And he said:

“I was given the choice between admitting half of my ummah to Paradise and intercession, and I chose intercession.”[9]

6.  Allah wipes out sins by calamities of this world

The Prophet said: “No tiredness, exhaustion, worry, grief, distress or harm befalls a believer in this world, not even a thorn that pricks him, but Allah expiates some of his sins thereby.”[10]

7.  The torment, squeezing, and terror of the grave will also expiate sins. 

8.  Undergoing the horrors, distress and hardship of the Day of Resurrection will expiate some sins.

9.  Mercy of the Most Merciful

By the mercy of Allah, with no cause on the part of His slaves, many will be forgiven.[11]

Unforgivable Sin

If a person dies as a kafir he will not be forgiven.  The Quran says:

“Verily, Allah forgives not that partners should be set up with him in worship, but He will forgive whoever He wishes for anything besides that.” (Quran 4:48)

“They have certainly disbelieved who say, ‘Allah is the Messiah, the son of Mary’.  But the Messiah said, ‘O Children of Israel, worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord.’ Verily, whosoever sets up partners in worship with Allah, then Allah has forbidden Paradise for him, and the Fire will be his abode.  And there are not for the wrongdoers any helpers.” (Quran 5:72)


[1] Saheeh Al-Bukhari, Saheeh Muslim

[2] Saheeh Muslim

[3] Saheeh Muslim

[4] Saheeh Al-Bukhari, Saheeh Muslim

[5] Saheeh Al-Bukhari

[6] Saheeh Al-Bukhari

[7] Saheeh Muslim

[8] Abu Dawud

[9] Sahih al-Jami

[10] Saheeh Al-Bukhari, Saheeh Muslim

[11] Saheeh Muslim

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