Ruling on a believer who commits some sins

Ruling on a believer who commits some sins
What is the situation of a believer who commits many sins during his life? Will Allaah forgive him or will he be punished? What is the extent of his punishment?


Praise be to Allaah.


If believers die believing in Allaah but having committed
sins less than major shirk that puts a person beyond the pale of Islam, one
of two scenarios may apply: 

1 – they repented from those sins during their lives. If they
repented sincerely, Allaah will accept that from them, and they will once
again become like those who did not commit any sin, and they will not be
punished for their sins in the Hereafter. Indeed, their Lord may honour them
and turn their bad deeds (sayi’aat) into good deeds (hasanaat). 

2 – those who die without having repented from their sins, or
whose repentance was imperfect and did not meet the required conditions, or
their repentance was not accepted. What is proven in the verses of the
Qur’aan and the Sunnah of the Prophet, and on which the righteous salaf was
agreed is that these – the sinners among those who believe in Tawheed (the
oneness of Allaah) – fall into three categories: 

The first category: People who
have many hasanaat (good deeds) to their credit, which outweigh these
sayi’aat (bad deeds). Allaah will forgive them for their bad deeds and admit
them to Paradise. The Fire will never touch them, as a kindness and blessing
from Allaah. According to a hadeeth narrated by Ibn ‘Umar (may Allaah be
pleased with him), the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon
him) said:  “Allaah will bring the believer close and will shelter him with
His screen, then He will say, ‘Do you remember such and such a sin? Do you
remember such and such a sin?’ and he will say, ‘Yes, O Lord,’ until He
makes him confess his sins and he thinks that he is doomed. Then [Allaah]
will say, ‘I concealed it for you in the world and I forgive you for it
today.’ Then he will be given the book of his good deeds (hasanaat). But as
for the kaafir and the hypocrite, the witnesses will say, ‘These are the
ones who lied against their Lord!’ No doubt! the curse of Allaah is upon the
zaalimoon (wrongdoers) [cf. Hood 11:18].’” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 2441;
Muslim, 2768). 

Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): 

“So as for those whose Scale (of good deeds) will be
heavy, they will be the successful (by entering Paradise)”[al-A’raaf 7:8] 

“Then as for him whose Balance (of good deeds) will be

He will live a pleasant life (in Paradise)”[al-Qaari’ah

The second category: people
whose hasanaat and sayi’aat are equal, so their sayi’aat are enough to keep
them away from Paradise, but their hasanaat are enough to save them from
Hell. These are the people of al-A’raaf (a wall with elevated places) whom
Allaah says will stand between Paradise and Hell as long as Allaah wills,
then they will be granted permission to enter Paradise, as Allaah says after
telling us of the entrance of the people of Paradise to Paradise and the
people of Hell to Hell. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): 

“And between them will be a (barrier) screen and on
Al-A‘raaf (a wall with elevated places) will be men (whose good and evil
deeds would be equal in Scale), who would recognise all (of the Paradise and
Hell people), by their marks (the dwellers of Paradise by their white faces
and the dwellers of Hell by their black faces). And they will call out to
the dwellers of Paradise, ‘Salaamun ‘Alaykum’ (peace be on you), and at that
time they (men on Al-A‘raaf) will not yet have entered it (Paradise), but
they will hope to enter (it) with certainty.

And when their eyes will be turned towards the dwellers of
the Fire, they will say: ‘Our Lord! Place us not with the people who are
Zaalimoon (polytheists and wrongdoers).’

 And the men on Al-A‘raaf (the wall) will call unto the
men whom they would recognise by their marks, saying: ‘Of what benefit to
you were your great numbers (and hoards of wealth), and your arrogance
(against Faith)?’

Are they those, of whom you swore that Allaah would never
show them mercy. (Behold! It has been said to them): ‘Enter Paradise, no
fear shall be on you, nor shall you grieve’”[al-A’raaf 7:46-39] 

The third category:  People who
will meet Allaah persisting in committing major sins and acts of immorality,
so their sayi’aat will outweigh their hasanaat. These are the ones who will
deserve to enter Hell in a manner commensurate with their sins. Some of them
will be seized by the Fire as far as their ankles, some up to mid-calf, some
up to their knees, and for some only the mark of sujood will be spared.
These are the ones whom Allaah will permit to be brought forth from the Fire
because of the intercession of the Prophet (peace and blessings of
Allaah be upon him). He, all the Prophets, the angels, the believers and
whoever else Allaah wishes to honour will intercede for them. Whoever among
these sinners has more faith and committed less sins will have a lighter
punishment and remain in Hell for a shorter period and will be brought forth
sooner. Those whose sins were greater and whose faith was weaker, will have
a greater punishment and will remain for longer. We ask Allaah to keep us
safe and sound from all evils. 

This is the situation of the sinful believers in the

With regard to this world, so long as they do not do anything
that would put them beyond the pale of Islam, then they are believers whose
faith is lacking, as the righteous salaf agreed, basing that on the verses
of the Qur’aan and the ahaadeeth of the Prophet. These aayahs include: 

“But if the killer is forgiven by the brother (or the
relatives) of the killed against blood money, then adhering to it with
fairness and payment of the blood money to the heir should be made in

[al-Baqarah 2:178 – interpretation of the meaning] 

So Allaah describes the killer as the brother of the heirs of
the victim. This brotherhood is the brotherhood of faith, which indicates
that the killer is not regarded as a kaafir, even though killing a believer
is one of the most serious of major sins. 

And Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): 

“And if two parties (or groups) among the believers fall
to fighting, then make peace between them both. But if one of them outrages
against the other, then fight you (all) against the one that which outrages
till it complies with the Command of Allaah. Then if it complies, then make
reconciliation between them justly, and be equitable. Verily, Allaah loves
those who are the equitable.

The believers are nothing else than brothers (in Islamic
religion). So make reconciliation between your brothers, and fear Allaah,
that you may receive mercy”[al-Hujuraat 49:9-10] 

So Allaah described each of the fighting parties as
believers, even though fighting is a major sin. Indeed, He described the
ones who reconcile between them as being their brothers, which indicates
that the one who commits a major sin which does not reach the degree of
shirk and kufr is still regarded as a believer and comes under the rulings
on believers, but he is lacking in faith. In this way the shar’i texts may
be reconciled and support one another. And Allaah knows best. 

See A’laam al-Sunnah al-Manshoorah, 212; Sharh
al-‘Aqeedah al-Waasitiyyah by Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen, 2/238.

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