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Chapter-2: Sin - Basis of Takfeer

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Takfeer is based upon the sins committed by a Muslim as sufficient to declare him apostate and then kill. 

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The concept of sin has been present in many cultures throughout history, where it was usually equated with an individual's failure to live up to external standards of conduct or with his violation of taboos, laws, or moral codes. In ancient Greek thought, sin was looked upon as, in essence, a failure on the part of a person to achieve his true self-expression and to preserve his due relation to the rest of the universe; it was attributed mainly to ignorance. Some ancient societies also had concepts of corporate, or collective, sin affecting all human beings and dating from a mythical "fall of man" out of a state of primitive and blissful innocence.
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In Christianity, ‘Original sin’; is the belief that the sin committed by Adam & Eve in disobeying the command of Lord is carried by every human, Islam does not agree to it, Adam (peace be upon him) committed the first sin, he repented and was forgiven by God (Qur’an;2:37). Allah say: “Every soul will reap the fruits of its own deeds; no bearer of burdens shall bear the burden of another.” (Qur’an;6:164). Bible also emphasizes the individual responsibility: “The soul that sins shall die. The son shall not suffer for the iniquity of the father, nor the father suffer for the iniquity of the son; the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself. But if a wicked man turns away from all his sins which he has committed and keeps all my statutes and does what is lawful and right, he shall surely live; he shall not die.”(Ezekiel;18:20-21).

Types of Sins:

Actual sin is subdivided, on the basis of its gravity, into ‘Mortal’ and ‘Venial’ (pardonable). This distinction is often difficult to apply but can hardly be avoided. A ‘Mortal Sin’ is a deliberate turning away from God; it is a sin in a grave matter that is committed in full knowledge and with the full consent of the sinner's will, and until it is repented it cuts the sinner off from God's sanctifying grace. A ‘Venial Sin’ usually involves a less important matter and is committed with less self-awareness of wrongdoing. While a ‘Venial Sin’ weakens the sinner's closeness to God, it is not a deliberate turning from him and so does not wholly block the inflow of sanctifying grace.
Actual sin is also subdivided into ‘Formal’ and ‘Material’. Formal Sin is both wrong in itself and known by the sinner to be wrong; it therefore involves him in personal guilt. The ‘Material Sin’ consists of an act that is wrong in itself (because contrary to God's law and human moral nature) but which the sinner does not know to be wrong and for which he is therefore not personally culpable.

Bible on Sin: 

In the Old Testament, sin is directly linked to the monotheistic beliefs of the Hebrews. Sinful acts are viewed as a defiance of God's commandments, and sin itself is regarded as an attitude of defiance or hatred of God. The New Testament accepts the Judaic concept of sin but regards humanity's state of collective and individual sinfulness as a condition that Jesus came into the world to heal. There is emphasis on repentance (Luke;15:7,10,21-24, 11:4, Mathew:6:12). Jesus Christ preached observance of Law of Moses, he said: “Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfill them.  For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”(Mathew;5:17-20). Much later, Paul in his letter to the Romans, said: “But now we are discharged from the law, dead to that which held us captive, so that we serve not under the old written code but in the new life of the Spirit.” (Romans;7:6). Paul nailed the Law and the Commandments to the cross: “having canceled the bond which stood against us with its legal demands; this he set aside, nailing it to the cross.”(Colossians;2:14). 
Paul contrasts ‘justification by faith’ to ‘justification by works’, the position of Jews. The point in question was on which basis man should establish himself in the just relationship to God in order to achieve salvation. In Paul’s mind the position of the Jews was this: fulfillment of the works prescribed the law, and its observance, made a man just, and thus did justified man present himself to God. The connection between justice and salvation is one of merit. Paul holds that this tenet is in conflict, the man is possessed by sins (Romans7:7-25).  Paul claimed that salvation can only be obtained through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ: “that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you shall be saved; for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.”(Roman;10:9-10), “If Christ be not risen from the dead, then our preaching is vain, and your faith is also vain.”(1Corinthians;15:14). The Christians have no religious law (Shari’a) they follow the Roman Law to run the affairs of state and society. According to the doctrine of Redemption,    Christ's blood or life, which he is believed to have surrendered for them, is the "ransom" by which the deliverance of his people from the servitude of sin and from its penal consequences is believed to be secured.
The Christian doctrine of ‘Justification by Faith’, is believed to be the judicial act of God, by which he pardons all the sins of those who believe in Christ, and accounts, accepts, and treats them as righteous in the eye of the law, i.e., as conformed to all its demands. In addition to the pardon of sin, justification declares that all the claims of the law are satisfied in respect of the justified. It is the act of a judge and not of a sovereign. The law is not relaxed or set aside, but is declared to be fulfilled in the strictest sense; and so the person justified is declared to be entitled to all the advantages and rewards arising from perfect obedience to the law (Romans;5:1-10). The sole condition on which this righteousness is imputed or credited to the believer is faith [believe in Jesus Christ as Lord].
The Christians believe to be judged by the law of liberty (James;2:12) that is, the Gospel law of love, which is not a law of external constraint, but of internal, free, instinctive inclination. The law of liberty, through God's mercy, is believed to free Christians from the curse of the law. The Christians who do not in turn practice the law of love to their neighbor, that law of grace condemns them still more heavily than the old law.

The doctrine of salvation by grace is criticized; that it does away with the necessity of good works, and lowers the sense of their importance (Romans;6:1-23). If men are not saved by works, then works are not necessary. If the most pious man is saved in the same way as the very chief of sinners, then good works are of no use. And more than this, if the grace of God is most clearly displayed in the salvation of the vilest of men, then the worse men are the better. The gospel of salvation by grace shows that good works are necessary. It is true, unchangeably true, that without holiness no man shall see the Lord. " Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate (homosexual, gay, lesbian), nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards" shall inherit the kingdom of God” (1Corinthians;6:9-10). “For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that you should abstain from fornication:” (1Thessalonians;4:3).The Good works of the most sincere believers are all imperfect, yet like their persons they are accepted through Jesus Christ (Colossians;3:17), and so are rewarded; they have no merit intrinsically, but are rewarded wholly of grace. However in an other epistle Paul contradicts:
“And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work”.(Romans;11:6). 

This saying demolishes the doctrine of all kinds and manner of works, by which the justifiers of themselves teach that works are either wholly or partly the cause of our justification.

There is something so absolutely inconsistent between the being justified by grace, and the being justified by works, that, if you suppose either, you of necessity exclude the other. For what is  given  to works  is the  payment of  a debt; whereas grace implies an unmerited favour. So that the same benefit cannot, in the very nature of things, be derived from both.
The Gentiles (people without any law), will be judged by the law of conscience: “For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;(Romans;2:14-15 also Luke;12:47-48). The Jews and Muslims adhere to the Law of Moses and Qur’an respectively having many commonalties.
The three Abrahamic faiths see sin as a deliberate violation of the will of God and as being attributable to human pride, self-centeredness, and disobedience. While insisting more strongly than most religions upon the gravity of sin, both in its essence and in its consequences, they emphatically rejected the Manichaean doctrine that either the created world as a whole or the material part of it is inherently evil. It is held that evil acts are the result of the misuse of their free will by created beings and tendency of their nature to get seduced by evil impulses (Satan) to turn the soul in rebellion against God. On the Day of Judgment, the sinners will be punished for evil deeds, hell will be their abode. The sinner believers (of God, His messengers and scriptures) will ultimately be taken out and rehabilitated in paradise, the non believers will however suffer in hell.

Deadly Sins:

In Christianity, the ‘Deadly sin’ (cardinal sin) is any of the sins, usually numbering seven, dating back to the early history of Christian monasticism. A sin was classified as deadly not merely because it was a serious offense morally but because "it gives rise to others, especially in the manner of a final cause" or motivation (St. Thomas Aquinas). The traditional catalog of the seven deadly sins is: (1) Vainglory, or pride; (2) Covetousness (excessively and culpably desirous of the possessions of another); (3) Lust, understood as inordinate or illicit sexual desire; (4) Envy; (5) Gluttony, which usually included drunkenness; (6) Anger; and (7) Sloth (Aversion to work or exertion; laziness; indolence). The deadly sins were a popular theme in the morality plays and art of the European Middle Ages.


‘Sin’ is an offense against religious or moral law, while according to Merriam Webster’s Dictionary; ‘Crime’ is an act or the commission of an act that is forbidden or the omission of a duty that is commanded by a public law and that makes the offender liable to punishment by that law. According to Encyclopedia Britannica, the ‘crime’ is the intentional commission of an act usually deemed socially harmful or dangerous and specifically defined, prohibited, and punishable under criminal law. Crimes in the common-law tradition were originally defined primarily by judicial decision. Most common-law crimes are now codified. According to a generally accepted principle, nullum crimen sine lege, there can be no crime without a law. A crime generally consists of both conduct (the actus reus) and a concurrent state of mind (the mens rea). Criminal acts include arson, assault and battery (beating or pounding), burglary, bribery, child abuse, extortion, counterfeiting, embezzlement, forgery, fraud, hijacking, homicide, kidnapping, perjury, piracy, rape, sedition, smuggling, treason, theft, and usury (excessive interest) etc. To commencement of crime has to be established through fair judicial process and evidence to punish the accused. The accused is let off if the crime is not proved.

Islam on Sin:

The breach of laws and norms laid down by Din Al-Islam, is considered as sin. The sin may be of omission or commission; though any violation of religious law or ethical norm is a sin, but one is held accountable only for those committed intentionally. “If anyone does evil or wrongs his own soul and then seeks Allah's forgiveness, he will find Allah Forgiving, Merciful. Whoever commits a sin, he commits it against his own soul. Allah is knowledgeable, Wise.”(Qur’an;4:110-111);“Surely he who will come to his Lord as a sinner shall be consigned to Hell - wherein he shall neither die nor live. While he who will come to Him as a believer and has done good deeds shall have the highest ranks”(Qur’an;20:74-75). Most of the crimes are also sin because they have adverse affects on morality and spirituality, but not all sins constitute crime. The biggest sin is to associate partners with Allah, but there is no prescribe punishment for this most heinous sin to make it crime, though such a person will suffer for ever in hell fire in hereafter. The Jews of Arabia considered Ezra to be son of God, while Christians consider Jesus Christ to be son of God, but they continued to live as subjects of Islamic State established under Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), as long as they abide by the agreements. The Jews and Christians enjoy a special status as ‘People of the Book’ in Islamic states despite their transgression.  Muslims are allowed to marry Jewish or Christians women, eat their permissible food, establish normal relations with the non believers who do not fight the Muslims due to their faith (Qur’an;60:7-9). Hence during last fourteen centuries, non Muslims had been living in Islamic states as peaceful citizens. If Islam is so considerate and tolerant about the non believers, then what about the believers who happen to be sinners?
The authorities punish the criminals after trial, but the sinners may get away unpunished: “They might be able to hide their crimes from people, but they cannot hide from Allah. He is with them even when they plot by night in words that He cannot approve. Allah encompasses all their actions.”(Qur’an;4:108). Islam accords very high priority in strictly meeting the requirement of clear evidence for execution of the fair justice, even at the cost of crime remaining unpunished: “And for those who launch a charge against their spouses, and have (in support) no evidence but their own,- their solitary evidence (can be received) if They bear witness four times (with an oath) by Allah that They are solemnly telling the truth;. And the fifth (oath) (Should be) that they solemnly invoke the curse of Allah on themselves if they tell a lie. But it would avert the punishment from the wife, if she bears witness four times (with an oath) by Allah, that (her husband) is telling a lie; and the fifth (oath) should be that she solemnly invokes the wrath of Allah on herself if (her accuser) is telling the Truth.”(Qur’an;24:6-9). Thus, the husband's accusation is to be regarded as disproved if the wife solemnly sets her word against his, Inasmuch as this procedure, which is called li'an ("oath of condemnation"), leaves the question of guilt legally undecided, both parties are absolved of all the legal consequences otherwise attending upon adultery , an unproven accusation of adultery - the only consequence being a mandatory divorce. However the liar has to bear consequences of the sin. Such people will be punished by God in hereafter if do not rescind through sincere repentance here. Similarly for example, murder of an innocent human is a crime as well as sin. The murdered may getaway form punishment in the court of law due to lack of evidence, but he can not escape the divine justice in hereafter. In an other case: “But if anyone commits a crime and charges an innocent person with it, he indeed shall bear the guilt of slander and a flagrant sin.”(Qur’an;4:112)
Punishment and forgiveness of sins, is the sole prerogative of All Mighty Allah, any human trying to indulge in such activity is guilty of grave transgression, highly detested by Allah: “Do they not know that it is God alone who can accept the repentance of His servants and is the [true] recipient of whatever is offered for His sake - and that God alone is an acceptor of repentance, a dispenser of grace? (Qur’an;9:104). At times He partially reduces the punishment of a crime upon repentance: “Those who accuse a chaste woman of fornication and do not produce four witnesses to support their allegation, shall be flogged with eighty lashes and their testimony shall not be accepted ever after, for they are the ones who are wicked transgressors - except those who repent thereafter and mend their conduct; for Allah is surely Forgiving, Merciful”(Qur’an;24:4-5).
Islam recognizes major and minor sins. Holding some one equal to God, or to share in His divinity is considered as the most serious unpardonable sin. Strict monotheism is the cardinal point of Islam. Islam views the whole issue of disobedience and sin in a different way. Its approach is to hold the prospect of forgiveness and reward: “Yea, to Allah belongs all that is In the heavens and on earth: so that He rewards those who do evil, according to their deeds, and He rewards those who do good, with what is best. Those who avoid great sins and shameful deeds, only (falling into) small faults,- Verily Thy Lord is ample In Forgiveness. He knows you well when He brings you out of the earth, and when ye are hidden In your mothers' wombs. Therefore justify not yourselves: He knows best who it is that guards against evil.”(Qur’an;53:31-32). A good work is rewarded ten times as against a sin (Qur’an;6:160). According to Islam, a sin is an action which constitute the violation of Islamic teachings. The action may not be more than the utterance of certain words, as in the case of backbiting or perjury. Therefore, any action or word, which involves disobedience to Allah and His messenger (peace be upon him), is a sin. The Islamic law (Shari’a) deals with the sins and crimes, some punishable here and some in hereafter if not sincerely repented upon.

Categories of Sins:

Sinful actions are of two types: the first carry mandatory punishment, which is specified either in the Qur’an, or in the Sunnah; while for others punishment, (in this world) is not specified, for example if some who can afford financially and physically but does not perform Hajj (one of five pillars of Islam), or avoids Saoum (fasting) without prescribed reasons, he is committing a cardinal sin for which is entitled for divine punishment. However such person is not charged legally as long as he believe in them and does not renounce them publicly. The first type, the cardinal sins, include four certain offences, but many scholars include two or three more, so as to make the total seven. The four are homicide, adultery, accusing chaste women of adultery and highway robbery / theft. The other three are, waging war against the Muslim states, apostasy and use of intoxicants. No other offence carries a specified punishment (hadd), except for murder which carries the capital punishment, but the immediate relatives of the victim may, if they choose, pardon the offender. According to some scholars, the cardinal sins include murder, adultery, theft, using intoxicants, gambling, perjury, slandering, withholding Zakah, neglecting prayers, etc. Some modern scholars consider the major sins being the one for which strict exemplary punishments (Hadd) have been specified in Qur’an and Sunnah. It will not be overstatement that, the universally agreed bad, evil acts, crimes also fall in to the category of sin, like, cheating, killing, adultery, backbiting etc. 
The minor sins are readily forgiven when we pray Allah for forgiveness. Cardinal sins (kaba’ir) are also forgivable with the exception of the most serious of them, namely, associating partners with Allah (Qur’an;4:116). The repentance has to be sincere, so as not to repeat them again, followed by charity and performance of virtuous acts. The scholars agree that when a non believer renounce his previous faith, repents and accepts Islam, his previous sins are forgiven and he/she makes a new start: “O Prophet, tell the unbelievers that if they desist from unbelief their past shall be forgiven; but if they persist in sin, let them reflect upon the fate of their forefathers.”(Qur’an;8:30); “Those who accept the true faith and do good deeds shall be forgiven and provided honorable sustenance; but those who strive against Our revelations shall be the inmates of flaming fire.”(Qur’an;22:50). The people of book [Jews and Christians] get double reward on acceptance of Islam [Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith;1:97A, 4:255].