Sins are usually committed due to the lack of trust/positive view of God. Essentially, God commands us to do something but we think or feel – either consciously or subconsciously – that some other way is “better” as though God does not want the best for us.
- God tells us to avoid interest but we work at a bank that deals with it. We convince ourselves that if we quit our job, we won’t be able to take care of ourselves.
- God commands us to cover our hair in the case of women. We happen to live in a country where the hijab is banned in schools and we remove our hijab saying that education is important and we have no choice.
- Out of pressure from international forces, the president supports injustice in order to stay in power, justifying his stance saying that if he loses power the country will enter an even worse condition.
The list goes on.
In almost all cases of sin, the underlying reason behind our actions is the lack of trust in God. God commands us to do something and – although (in the case of believers) we acknowledge that God knows what is best and therefore it must be done – we have not fully absorbed our faith and may emotionally feel that something else is better and become tempted by it. We may know that interest is wrong but at the same time feel that if we don’t work at that bank we won’t be able to provide for ourselves , as if this bank is our true source of sustenance and not God, and so on.
Because of our negative thoughts and lack of trust in our Creator, we end up committing sins. This in turn harms us, either because we cannot achieve our goal through the sinful path that we chose and/or because of the spiritual torment that comes with committing sin and injuring your soul.
In a sense, these scenarios resemble a two year old refusing to obey her parents because she thinks she knows better. It’s just not reasonable. It simply shows a lack of trust in our Creator and Sustainer. If God commands us with something, there is a reason for it even if we can’t see why. A true believer is one who obeys God and puts their complete trust in Him even in the toughest situations. This is what it means to surrender. This is what it means to be a true Muslim.
For the case of nonbelievers who believe in God, they go even further by not only committing sin but explicitly refuting the commandments of God (saying there is nothing wrong with interest, revealing your hair in the case of women, etc). As for atheists, they go yet another step by denying the existence of God altogether. Due to their denial of God, they live their lives in loneliness and abandonment.
Hence, those who think positively about God are rewarded while those who think negatively face the consequences. In a divine hadith, Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) states,
حَدَّثَنَا أَبُو كُرَيْبٍ، حَدَّثَنَا ابْنُ نُمَيْرٍ، وَأَبُو مُعَاوِيَةَ عَنِ الأَعْمَشِ، عَنْ أَبِي صَالِحٍ، عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ، قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ” يَقُولُ اللَّهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ أَنَا عِنْدَ ظَنِّ عَبْدِي بِي وَأَنَا مَعَهُ حِينَ يَذْكُرُنِي فَإِنْ ذَكَرَنِي فِي نَفْسِهِ ذَكَرْتُهُ فِي نَفْسِي وَإِنْ ذَكَرَنِي فِي مَلإٍ ذَكَرْتُهُ فِي مَلإٍ خَيْرٍ مِنْهُمْ وَإِنِ اقْتَرَبَ إِلَىَّ شِبْرًا اقْتَرَبْتُ مِنْهُ ذِرَاعًا وَإِنِ اقْتَرَبَ إِلَىَّ ذِرَاعًا اقْتَرَبْتُ إِلَيْهِ بَاعًا وَإِنْ أَتَانِي يَمْشِي أَتَيْتُهُ هَرْوَلَةً ” . قَالَ أَبُو عِيسَى هَذَا حَدِيثٌ حَسَنٌ صَحِيحٌ . وَيُرْوَى عَنِ الأَعْمَشِ فِي تَفْسِيرِ هَذَا الْحَدِيثِ مَنْ تَقَرَّبَ مِنِّي شِبْرًا تَقَرَّبْتُ مِنْهُ ذِرَاعًا يَعْنِي بِالْمَغْفِرَةِ وَالرَّحْمَةِ وَهَكَذَا فَسَّرَ بَعْضُ أَهْلِ الْعِلْمِ هَذَا الْحَدِيثَ . قَالُوا إِنَّمَا مَعْنَاهُ يَقُولُ إِذَا تَقَرَّبَ إِلَىَّ الْعَبْدُ بِطَاعَتِي وَمَا أَمَرْتُ أُسْرِعُ إِلَيْهِ بِمَغْفِرَتِي وَرَحْمَتِي .
وَرُوِيَ عَنْ سَعِيدِ بْنِ جُبَيْرٍ، أَنَّهُ قَالَ فِي هَذِهِ الآيَةِ : ( فاذكُرُونِي أَذْكُرْكُمْ ) قَالَ اذْكُرُونِي بِطَاعَتِي أَذْكُرْكُمْ بِمَغْفِرَتِي . حَدَّثَنَا عَبْدُ بْنُ حُمَيْدٍ قَالَ حَدَّثَنَا الْحَسَنُ بْنُ مُوسَى وَعَمْرُو بْنُ هَاشِمٍ الرَّمْلِيُّ عَنِ ابْنِ لَهِيعَةَ عَنْ عَطَاءِ بْنِ يَسَارٍ عَنْ سَعِيدِ بْنِ جُبَيْرٍ بِهَذَا .
“Allah, the Most High said: ‘I am as My slave thinks of Me, and I am with him when he remembers Me. If he remembers Me to himself, I remember him to Myself, and if he remembers Me in a gathering, I remember him in a gathering better than that. And if he seeks to draw nearer to Me by a hand span, I draw nearer to him by a forearm’s length, and if he comes to Me by a forearm’s length, I draw nearer to him by an arm’s length. And if he comes to Me walking, I come to him quickly.’”
(Jami’ at-Tirmidhi 3603)
To emphasize the significance of relying upon God and trusting Him, the Prophet (عليه الصلاة و السلام) states,
حَدَّثَنَا عَلِيُّ بْنُ سَعِيدٍ الْكِنْدِيُّ، حَدَّثَنَا ابْنُ الْمُبَارَكِ، عَنْ حَيْوَةَ بْنِ شُرَيْحٍ، عَنْ بَكْرِ بْنِ عَمْرٍو، عَنْ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ هُبَيْرَةَ، عَنْ أَبِي تَمِيمٍ الْجَيْشَانِيِّ، عَنْ عُمَرَ بْنِ الْخَطَّابِ، قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم “ لَوْ أَنَّكُمْ كُنْتُمْ تَوَكَّلُونَ عَلَى اللَّهِ حَقَّ تَوَكُّلِهِ لَرُزِقْتُمْ كَمَا تُرْزَقُ الطَّيْرُ تَغْدُو خِمَاصًا وَتَرُوحُ بِطَانًا ” . قَالَ أَبُو عِيسَى هَذَا حَدِيثٌ حَسَنٌ صَحِيحٌ لاَ نَعْرِفُهُ إِلاَّ مِنْ هَذَا الْوَجْهِ . وَأَبُو تَمِيمٍ الْجَيْشَانِيُّ اسْمُهُ عَبْدُ اللَّهِ بْنُ مَالِكٍ .
“If you were to rely upon Allah with the required reliance, then He would provide for you just as a bird is provided for, it goes out in the morning empty, and returns full.”
(Jami’ at-Tirmidhi 2344)
RELEVANT PASSAGE FROM THE EIGHTH WORD
The Almighty Truth (Janab al-Haqq) has stated in a hadith qudsi “اَنَا عِنْدَ ظَنِّ عَبْدِى بى” [I am to my slave as he thinks of Me.] meaning “I will treat My slave the way he knows Me.
So out of pessimism and foolishness, this unfortunate man considered what he saw as ordinary and actual truth, and [as a result] he was treated, is treated and will be treated in that manner. He does not die so that he may be saved, not does he live; he is tortured in this way.