People do not commit sins-such as zina, oppressing others, shirk, speaking about Allah without knowledge, etc.- unless the founda- tion of their iman is weak or it is incomplete, or due to a lack of understanding and faith, or due to a weakness of their love and hate.
If the basis of iman is correct, which is belief and affirmation, then a believer would feel dislike and hate while perpetrating these sins. If the believer does these actions due to being overcome by desire, then the believer should hate that action, and he should fear Allah's However, if a person does not hate that forbidden action and does not fear the punishment or hope for forgiveness, then he is not a believer at that moment; rather, he is a disbeliever or a hypocrite.
Every bad deed a believer does should be followed by a good deed, but sometimes a person's strong desire to perform a wicked deed may cause that thing to appear beautiful to him, and he may convince himself that there is some benefit for him by doing that action. This is following one's doubts and desires. This may oppose some of iman or may even overcome it, until a person is no longer a believer in the obligatory part of iman, as the Messenger (ﷺ) said:
لا يَزْنِي الزَّانِي حِينَ يَزْنِي وَهُوَ مُؤْمِنٌ، وَلَا يَسْرِقُ حِينَ يَسْرِقُ وَهُوَ مُؤْمِنٌ، وَلَا يَشْرَبُ حِينَ يَشْرَبُهَا وَهُوَ مُؤْمِنٌ.
The one who commits zina (illegal sexual intercourse) is not a believer at the time of committing the zina, and a thief is not a believer at the time of committing theft, and a drinker of alcohol is not a believer at the time of drinking.
When a person commits these sins, he becomes a follower of the Shaytan and he beautifies for him the bad deeds until they seem like something good, so when he commands him to do that evil act, he obeys, and this is an example of committing shirk with the Shaytan. As He, the Most High, said:
وَ اِذۡ قُلۡنَا لِلۡمَلٰٓئِکَۃِ اسۡجُدُوۡا لِاٰدَمَ فَسَجَدُوۡۤا اِلَّاۤ اِبۡلِیۡسَ ؕ کَانَ مِنَ الۡجِنِّ فَفَسَقَ عَنۡ اَمۡرِ رَبِّهٖ ؕ اَفَتَتَّخِذُوۡنَهٗ وَ ذُرِّیَّتَهٗۤ اَوۡلِیَآءَ مِنۡ دُوۡنِیۡ وَ هُمۡ لَکُمۡ عَدُوٌّ ؕ بِئۡسَ لِلظّٰلِمِیۡنَ بَدَلًا ﴿۵۰
And (remember) when We said to the angels: "Prostrate to Adam." So they prostrated, except Iblis (Shaytan). He was one of the jinn; he disobeyed the command of his Lord. Will you then take him (Iblis) and his offspring as protectors and helpers rather than Me, while they are enemies to you? What an evil exchange for the wrongdoers. [Surah al-Kahf 18:50]
And He, the Most High, said:
اَلَمۡ اَعۡهَدۡ اِلَیۡکُمۡ یٰبَنِیۡۤ اٰدَمَ اَنۡ لَّا تَعۡبُدُوا الشَّیۡطٰنَ ۚ اِنَّهٗ لَکُمۡ عَدُوٌّ مُّبِیۡنٌ ﴿ۙ۶۰ وَّ اَنِ اعۡبُدُوۡنِیۡ ؕؔ هٰذَا صِرَاطٌ مُّسۡتَقِیۡمٌ ﴿۶۱
Did I not ordain for you, O Children of Adam, that you should not worship Shaytan? Verily, he is a plain enemy to you. And that you should worship Me (alone). That is a straight path. [Surah Ya-Sin 36:60-61]
This is why only the 'mukhlasin'*14 can be free from the trials and temptations of the Shaytan, as Allah, the Most High, says about Iblis:
قَالَ رَبِّ بِمَاۤ اَغۡوَیۡتَنِیۡ لَاُزَیِّنَنَّ لَهُمۡ فِی الۡاَرۡضِ وَ لَاُغۡوِیَنَّهُمۡ اَجۡمَعِیۡنَ ﴿ۙ۳۹ اِلَّا عِبَادَکَ مِنۡهُمُ الۡمُخۡلَصِیۡنَ ﴿۴۰
(Iblis) said, "O my Lord! Because you misled me, I shall indeed adorn the path of error for them (mankind) on the earth, and I shall mislead them all. Except Your chosen, (guided) slaves among them." [Surah al-Hijr 15:39-40]
And He, the Most High, said:
اِنَّ عِبَادِیۡ لَیۡسَ لَکَ عَلَیۡهِمۡ سُلۡطٰنٌ اِلَّا مَنِ اتَّبَعَکَ مِنَ الۡغٰوِیۡنَ ﴿۴۲
Certainly, you shall have no authority over My slaves, except those who follow you of the ghawin (mushrikün and those who go astray, criminals, polytheists, and evildoers, etc.). [Surah al-Hijr 15:42]
And He, the Most High, said:
اِنَّهٗ لَیۡسَ لَهٗ سُلۡطٰنٌ عَلَی الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا وَ عَلٰی رَبِّهِمۡ یَتَوَکَّلُوۡنَ ﴿۹۹ اِنَّمَا سُلۡطٰنُهٗ عَلَی الَّذِیۡنَ یَتَوَلَّوۡنَهٗ وَ الَّذِیۡنَ هُمۡ بِهٖ مُشۡرِکُوۡنَ ﴿۱۰۰
Verily! He (Shaytan) has no power over those who believe and put their trust only in their Lord (Allah). His power is only over those who obey and follow him (Shaytan), and those who join partners with Him (Allah). [Surah an-Nahl 16:99-100]
Therefore, if the Shaytan only has authority over those who do shirk with him or through him, then everyone who obeys the Shaytan by disobeying Allah has effectively granted the Shaytan authority over themselves and has become among those who commit shirk *15 with the Shaytan in accordance with that.
The Shaytan recruits mankind as his allies in accordance to the weakness or lack of iman that they possess, as Allah, the Most High, said:
اِنَّا جَعَلۡنَا الشَّیٰطِیۡنَ اَوۡلِیَآءَ لِلَّذِیۡنَ لَا یُؤۡمِنُوۡنَ
Verily, We made the shayaṭin (devils) awliya' (protectors and helpers) for those who believe not. [Surah al-A'raf 7:27]
And He, the Most High, said:
وَ مَنۡ یَّعۡشُ عَنۡ ذِکۡرِ الرَّحۡمٰنِ نُقَیِّضۡ لَهٗ شَیۡطٰنًا فَهُوَ لَهٗ قَرِیۡنٌ ﴿۳۶ وَ اِنَّهُمۡ لَیَصُدُّوۡنَهُمۡ عَنِ السَّبِیۡلِ وَ یَحۡسَبُوۡنَ اَنَّهُمۡ مُّهۡتَدُوۡنَ ﴿۳۷ حَتّٰۤی اِذَا جَآءَنَا قَالَ یٰلَیۡتَ بَیۡنِیۡ وَ بَیۡنَکَ بُعۡدَ الۡمَشۡرِقَیۡنِ فَبِئۡسَ الۡقَرِیۡنُ ﴿۳۸
And whosoever turns away (blinds himself) from the remembrance of the Most Beneficent (Allah) (i.e., this Qur'an and worship of Allah), We appoint for him Shaytan to be a qarin (an intimate compan- ion) to him. And verily, they (the shayaṭin) hinder them from the path (of Allah), but they think that they are guided aright! Till, when (such a one) comes to Us, he says (to his qarin), "Would that between me and you were the distance of the two easts (or the east and west)"; the worst (type of) companion (indeed)! [Surah az-Zukhruf 43:36-38]
And He, the Most High, said in the story of Yusuf:
وَ لَقَدۡ هَمَّتۡ بِهٖ ۚ وَ هَمَّ بِهَا لَوۡ لَاۤ اَنۡ رَّاٰ بُرۡهَانَ رَبِّهٖ ؕ کَذٰلِکَ لِنَصۡرِفَ عَنۡهُ السُّوۡٓءَ وَ الۡفَحۡشَآءَ ؕ اِنَّهٗ مِنۡ عِبَادِنَا الۡمُخۡلَصِیۡنَ ﴿۲۴
And indeed, she did desire him and he would have inclined to her desire, had he not seen the evidence of his Lord. Thus it was, that We might turn away from him evil and illegal sexual intercourse. Surely, he was one of Our chosen, guided slaves. [Surah Yusuf 12:24]
The hadith of Jabir reported in Sahih Muslim also bears witness to this:
إِنَّ عَرْشَ إِبْلِيسَ عَلَى الْبَحْرِ فَيَبْعَثُ سَرَايَاهُ فَيَفْتِنُونَ النَّاسَ.
The throne of Iblis is upon the ocean and he sends out his soldiers in order to put people to trial.*16
Indeed, everything that Allah forbids is from the branches of disbe- lief and its types, just as everything that He commands with is from iman and ikhlas (sincerity) for Allah's religion. Because of this, He, the Most High, said:
وَقَاتِلُوهُمْ حَتَّى لَا تَكُونَ فِتْنَةٌ وَيَكُونَ الدِّينُ كُلُّهُ لِلَّهِ
And fight them until there is no more fitnah (disbe- lief and polytheism) and the religion (worship) will all be for Allah (alone). [Surah al-Anfal 8:39]
However, it could be major or minor shirk, depending on how it relates to iman, so if it is in connection with something that Allah prohibited while the person believes in its prohibition, hates the act, fears its punishment, and hopes for mercy, then this is not major shirk. But if a person treats his desires like a god besides Allah and loves them as he loves Allah, then this is major shirk, and there are many different levels of this.
There are many people who possess an amount of iman and tawhid that will save them from Allah's punishment, but they fall into this type of action without realizing that it is, in fact, shirk. In fact, they do not even know that Allah has forbidden it, and the message of that has yet to reach them, so Allah says about these people:
وَمَا كُنَّا مُعَذِّبِينَ حَتَّى نَبْعَثَ رَسُولًا
And We never punish until We have sent a messen- ger (to give warning). [Surah al-Isra' 17:15]
There are many of these kinds of people in the places and time periods where the message of Islam and those who received the message were minimal. Those people may possess with them a portion of iman that will allow them mercy, and many will be excused due to this iman for actions that others-upon whom the proof was established-will be punished for.*17
*14 Those who are sincere in their worship of Allah and make their religion purely for
*15 This is the minor shirk that does not remove one from Islam. The Shaykh will clarify this point in the following paragraphs.
*16 Reported by Muslim (4/2167).
*17 To summarize the words of the Shaykh: When a person commits a sin, it can be ma- jor or minor shirk or disbelief depending on that person's belief or knowledge pertaining to that act. For example, if a person does zina knowing and believing that it is a sin and that, if Allah wills, he will be punished, then this is minor shirk or disbelief and this per- son is a sinner, not a disbeliever. If the person believes his zină to be permissible, then this person has committed major disbelief and is a disbeliever, unless he is ignorant of Allah's prohibition.
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