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The Effects of Sin

Imām Ibn al-Qayyim

A short series on the ill effects of sins which distance the servant from his Lord, increase loneliness, malcontentedness, worldly obsessions and prevention from knowledge. Overall, a glum, gloomy outlook on life.
    1. The Effects of Sin: Distancing Oneself from Allāh
    2. The Effects of Sin: Loneliness and Isolation
    3. The Effects of Sin: Finding Difficulty in Worldly Affairs
    4. The Effects of Sin: Prevention from Knowledge

    Acts of disobedience have ugly, blameworthy, and harmful side effects that extend to one’s heart, body, this worldly life and the hereafter; [the details] of which no one is fully aware of except for Allāh.

    Imām Ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyyah [d. 751 AH]

    The Effects of Sin: Distancing Oneself from Allāh

    From them is loneliness that the sinner feels in his heart between himself and Allāh; [the pain of which] is incomparable to the enjoyment [of sin]. Moreover, if all of the enjoyment of this dunyā was brought forth in its entirety, it could not make this resulting loneliness worthwhile. This is an unappreciated matter except to one whose heart possesses the remnants of life. For injury cannot pain what is already devoid of life. For any mindful individual should abandon the engagement of misdeeds even if it be for no other reason than out of fear of falling into this loneliness. A man had complained to some scholars of the loneliness he felt within himself, so it was said to him: ‘If sins have caused you loneliness, then leave them if you will, and continue [your refinement of them].’ There is nothing more bitter for the heart than the loneliness borne from sin followed by consecutive sin, And Allāh alone is the one sought for help.

    The Effects of Sin: Loneliness and Isolation

    From them is the loneliness that one feels between himself and those around him, especially the people of goodness. Indeed, he will feel a detachment and loneliness from them; as his loneliness becomes deeper he is proportionally distant from them and their company. Moreover, he will be prevented from the blessings of benefitting from them. Thus, he brings himself closer to the party of the devil for every step he takes away from the party of the Most Merciful. Loneliness will grow and strengthen until it begins to infect; bleeding into his relationship with his spouse, his children, his relatives, and even his own self. Indeed, you will find such people acting as if they are a stranger from their own selves! Some of the pious predecessors used to say: ‘Truly, I disobey Allāh and I see its [deleterious] effects in the behaviour of my livestock and my wife.’

    The Effects of Sin: Finding Difficulty in Worldly Affairs

    From them is that the affairs [of the sinful] become difficult such that he does not turn towards a matter except that he finds it locked before him, or it causes him adverse hardship. Just as the one who fears Allāh finds ease in his affairs, whoever allows himself to be completely devoid of this fear of Allāh will find his affairs trying and stressful. O Allāh, how surprising is it! A slave [of Allāh] finds all the doors of goodness and favour shut before him, the paths towards its attainment rife with difficulty and hardship, and he can still dubiously wonder where has it all come from?

    The Effects of Sin: Prevention of Knowledge

    Among them is the prevention of knowledge. For, indeed, knowledge is but light that Allāh has allowed to possess the heart. Misdeeds extinguish this light. When al-Shāfiʿī sat with Mālik and read to him, [Imām Mālik] was impressed with his rapid astuteness, his apparent cleverness, and the maturity of his comprehension. He said: ‘I believe that Allāh has allowed light to possess your heart, so do not extinguish it with the darkness of sin.’ [Imām] al-Shāfiʿī said: ‘I complained to Wakīʿ [his teacher] concerning the deficiency of my memory. So he guided me to the staving off of misdeeds. He said: Know that knowledge is a bounty. And the bounty of Allāh shall never be granted to the sinner.’

    Source: Al-Dā wa-al-Dawāʾ: 133-134
    Translated by: Riyāḍ al-Kanadī

Published: June 9, 2022
Edited: September 8, 2022

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