The religion of Islam recognizes that we are fallible and imperfect beings by nature with insurmountable weaknesses.
"And the human being was created weak" (1)
Allah clearly identifies this as being the intrinsic state and origin of every human being:
"Indeed We offered the trust (i.e. free will) to the heavens and the earth and the mountains and they declined to shoulder this responsibility and were afraid to do so, but the human being bore it and he was unjust to himself and ignorant" (2)
A famous scholar in Islam named Ibn ul Qayyim (Rahimahullah) commented on ö this verse by saying: "Thus the origin of every human being is to be oppressive to his own self by shouldering responsibilities that are beyond his capacity, while ignorant of the accountability that comes along with it.
If Allah, by His mercy, wants good for an individual, He gives him beneficial knowledge and with it, he is able to come out of the first state of being ignorant. And if Allah wants to further increase this bounty, He guides him to act upon that knowledge and with it, he comes out of the second state of being oppressive. However, if Allah, by His wisdom, doesn't want good for the individual, He leaves him in his original state of being ignorant and oppressive." (3)
Considering this fact, the human being is inevitably going to err and commit sin. Yet,Allah encourages the believers to recognize the divine magnitude of His forgiveness by informing them that there is no sin so grave that He won't forgive:
"O My slaves who have transgressed against their own selves by committing sin, don't despair over the mercy of Allah, indeed Allah forgives all sins. Indeed Allah is Oft-Forgiving Most Merciful" (4)
This combats the whispers of shaytan which come to the human being after he has persuaded him to commit sin. The shaytan makes him believe that what he did was so crucial that Allah will never forgive him for it! This mind-set only provokes him to fall into despair, lose hope, and continue committing sin. This is the trickery of shaytan and Allah says:
"Whoever does evil or wrongs himself then afterwards seeks Allah's forgiveness, he will find Allah Oft-Forgiving and Most Merciful" (5)
Abdur Rahman Ibn Nasr As Sa'di (Rahimahullah) mentioned in his commentary of this verse: "Allah will forgive every sin the individual has committed and protect him from the harvest(s) of those sins and what they result in of deficiency in Iman (i.e. faith) and embarrassment amongst the people."
"Allah will also return him to his previous state of being a good person who does good deeds and give him success in all of his future endeavors. Allah will also protect him from the sin being an obstacle of his success because of the fact that He has forgiven him for it. Thus when Allah forgives someone, He forgives the harvest of the sin as well." (6)
Consequently, the slave that is oblivious to this and ignorant of the magnitude of Allah's forgiveness, will ultimately become an indentured captive of shaytan to be persuaded and taken advantage of at will...
Written and translated by
Abu AzZubayr Shadeed Muhammad
Graduate of The Islamic University of Al-Madeenah
Riyaadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Rabee' Al-Awwal 26, 1431 / March 12, 2010
(1) - Sooratun Nisaa: 28
(2) - Sooratul Ahzaab: 72
(3) - Ighaatul Lahfaan 2/136
(4) - Sooratuz Zumar: 53
(5) - Soortun-Nisaa: 110
(6) - The Tafseer of Imaam S'adee