By Muhammad Saleh Al-Munajjid
If we say that sins are dangerous, then belittling sins and taking them lightly is more dangerous than sinning itself. The Prophet (peace be upon him) warned us against taking sins lightly because, doing so, sins will become an inherent habit in us and we will have no problem insisting on them. This will lead the person to be categorized as a pervert (fasiq) and will lead him in the end to be subject to God Almighty’s severe punishment, which will overtake him at anytime.
Allah has made repentance obligatory saying,
O you who believe! Turn to God with sincere repentance. (At-Tahrim 9:8)
He (Glory be to Him) has granted us time to repent until the Scribes (Angels) register the sin in our names. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “The Scribe on the left hand delays registering the sin of a Muslim for six hours. If he repents (within these six hours), and seeks God’s forgiveness, they drop if off. If he doesn’t, they write is down as a single sin.” (At-Tabarani) That is the first respite. The second respite, even if the sin is registered, is until the appearance of death before our eyes. (If we repent sincerely before that hour, it is taken off the records then).
But the problem with most people is that they do not estimate the majesty of the Lord as they should. They disobey Him in many ways, day and night. Adding insult to injury, they take many sins lightly and claim that such sins are minor and thus of no great harm. In consequence, they stare freely at pictures of women in magazines or on television. Some of them, when told about the sin of it, go a step further and inquire amusedly, “OK, what’s the magnitude of the sin involved? Is it a major or minor one?”
Compare this attitude with that of the Companions of the Prophet (peace be upon him). Anas said to one of his followers, “You imagine certain sins to be more insignificant than a straw. But at the time of the Prophet we used to count them among those that can destroy a man.” (Al-Bukhari) Ibn Mas`ud said, “A believer treats a sin as if it is a mountain over his head that may fall on him any moment; whereas a dissolute (fajir) looks at them as a fly that perked on his nose and he waived it away with his hand.”
Will these people then learn something from the above, and from the hadith of the Prophet that says, “Beware of the minor sins. For the example of the minor sins is like that of a group of travelers who broke their journey in a valley. Then one of them brought in a straw. Another came up with another (and a third with one more) until with their collection they were able to gather enough to cook their food. Remember! If a man is held for questioning (on the Day of Judgment) for his minor sins, surely they will destroy him.” (Ahmad) In another version he is reported to have said: “Beware of minor sins. For they add on until they destroy the man.”
Scholars say that when minor sins are committed without any remorse, without the fear of God, and accompanied by contempt, there is fear they will be counted as major sins. To those who belittle their sins, we say, “Do not look at the sins if they are small or big. Look at Him in Whose defiance you are committing them.”
Still for all sinners, the doors are opened, for God says,
Tell My slaves: that I am very Forgiving, very Kind.. (Al-Hijr 15:49).