Sometimes we fall into sin, sometimes we fall short in our duties, sometimes we forget and make mistakes, sometimes we lose sight of the ultimate purpose of our existence, sometimes we lose track of our sincerity and intentions, sometimes we suffer a spiritual loss without realising it, and sometimes our Deen spirals downwards and we do not even acknowledge it. We slowly begin to lose out on the Akhirah (Hereafter), but we remain in complete obliviousness.
Seeking forgiveness and repentance is hence crucial for the human who has these short-comings. By nature and by definition we are a creation prone to forgetfulness; and naturally we forget our sins and forget our shortcomings. For many of us, we do not even acknowledge when we fall into the wrong and this is perhaps the scariest thing.
The effects of sin are many, but I just want to focus on a few:
1. One effect of sin is that a person will find themselves prevented from knowledge. I guess we’re all aware of the famous poem by Imam al-Shafi’i wherein he said,
“I complained to Waki’ regarding my poor memory
So he guided me to abandon all sins
And he said to me ‘The Knowledge of Allah is a Light
And the Light of Allah is not given to a sinner.’”
2. Another effect of sin is that a person will find themselves prevented from their rizq (provisions) or restricted in their livelihood. Do you ever find yourself in financial constraints without knowing why? Do you find that there is no barakah (blessing) in your money; the pay check arrives and within a few days or weeks you’re down to restricted means again? Maybe you keep seeking avenues to make a living but find every door closes on you and frustration just keeps building up? Perhaps this is a time to sit with your soul and seek forgiveness.
“… And whoever fears Allah, He will make a way out for him and provide him from whence he did not expect.” [al-Talaq:]
“… Ask forgiveness of your Lord. Indeed, He is ever a Perpetual Forgiver. He will send rain to you in abundance and give you increase in wealth and children and provide for you gardens and provide for you rivers.” [Nuh: 10-12]
3. Another effect of sin is that one’s supplications are prevented from being answered. In Sahih Muslim, there is a hadith of the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) where he mentioned the case of a man who: “… having journeyed far, is dishevelled and dusty and spreads out his hands to the sky saying, “O Lord! O Lord!” (crying out in du’a) – while his food is unlawful, his drink is unlawful, his clothing is unlawful, and he is nourished from the unlawful, so how can he be answered?”
One of the greatest dangers we face in the West is the consumption of Riba’ (interest), the effects of which are deadly and tremendous. If things are not working out in your life, if despite your good job and family, there always seem to be problems and discontentment in life, then seek forgiveness; perhaps major sins such as this have come between you and Allah so you no longer find peace and happiness in your provision.
Hence seeking forgiveness is not just for the sinner, but it is a habit of the righteous and pious. Allah opens doors and bestows many blessings upon a person by virtue of their istighfar and remembrance.
Let’s make it our daily habit insha’Allah!