Chapter XIV - Sinful Acts
Sins are classified into:
- 1. Kabira or great. 2. Saghira or small.
This division is based upon the following interpreted text in the Holy Koran:
“To those who avoid the great sins and scandals but commit only the lighter faults, verily the Lord will be diffused of mercy.”
According to Islam, a human being does not possess evil in his true nature or self but has the weakness of being tempted into evil. Therefore, evil is not a human disposition but an acquired habit. It is a mental disease and may be cured through right preaching and training. Satan, who is evil by nature, was the first to sin, i.e. to disobey the command of God. His sin was self-conceit and pride, enumerated among the heaviest sins. The evil tendency is the bidding of an animal soil.
Joseph, the Prophet, is quoted in the Holy Koran to have said to himself:
“I do not declare myself free from (human) weakness; most surely it is the animal soul that commands evil (and hence man does evil) but God is so Merciful to forgive as He is the most Merciful.”
Therefore, if the carnal (animal) soul is brought under the control of true self, one may become free from evil.
Among the great sins are:
- Associating any being with God.
- Wilful murder.
- Theft or Robbery.
- Unnatural crime.
- Telling lies.
- Disobedience to one’s parents.
- Charging illegally a Muslim woman with fornication.
- False witness.
- Defrauding orphans.
- Despair of God’s mercy under hard trials of destiny.
- Cowardice in defensive religious warfare.
- Neglect of prayers or fasting without any justification.
Sincere repentance from any sin may bring God’s mercy and salvation. If a non-Muslim embraces Islam, his past shortcomings are all forgiven. A Muslim, by committing a great sin, becomes a sinner, but not an infidel. According to “Sunnis.” The Prophets, all of them, including those of the Old and the New Testaments, do not commit any great sin, but one liable for any slight imperfections in action. For example, in the case of Adam, his action in eating the forbidden fruit was not disobedience but weakness of the understanding, or rather forgetfulness of the divine commandment and not intentional disobedience thereof. Therefore, he is not to be treated as one who was disallowed from seeking pardon at the hands of God. Nor does seeking pardon of God necessarily mean committing any sin. It is only a sign of humility towards the Almighty God. It is admitted that human beings in any stage of human perfection are not perfect and that their imperfection is in itself sufficient reason to seek God’s pardon, because an “imperfect’ cannot act completely to the bidding of the “Perfect’ (i.e. God). There is a tradition that the Prophet said: “I ask pardon of God and repent towards Him so many times every day.” Thus, “sin” is human imperfection, a weakness in being tempted, though the real self remains pure in its essence.
Suicide is a great sin, because it is considered a willful act to kill oneself. According to the tradition of the Prophet. “Whoever kills himself will suffer in hell.” In Islam, life is respected and its destruction, though it may be in one’s own care, is forbidden. Accordingly, cases of death by suicide are very rare in Muslim countries. A true Muslim must submit to the decrees of God and accept cheerfully all unavoidable events. According to the teachings of the Holy Koran, some of these happenings should be taken to be trials ordered by the Almighty God. The following is an English translation of the Koranic text bearing on the subject:
“And He will most certainly try you with some fear, hunger, loss of property, lives and fruits (i.e. result of your strivings), and the Prophet is ordered to give good news to the patient in all such trials; they, who, when a misfortune or a loss of property or lives befalls them, should say nothing but that surely they are the belongings of God and to Him they shall return. Upon those patient the Almighty God will shower His blessings and mercy, whence they prove to be submissive and dutiful to their Lord.”
From this point of view, a Muslim, in attempting to commit suicide, is really revolting against the trials sent down to him by God in the form of misfortunes.
Permissible And Prohibited Food
Food is also divided in Islamic religion into permissible and prohibited. Among the forbidden food are the following :
Quadrupeds that seize their prey with their paws and teeth or talons, such as cats, tigers, etc.; and among birds; crows, kites, eagles, etc.. Besides these, the flesh of elephants; the flesh of any animal dying a natural death; the blood; the flesh of swine; and the flesh of those animals over which names other than God’s name have been invoked when slaughtered.
The following is an interpretation of the text in the Holy Koran bearing on the subject:
“Forbidden to you is that which dies of it self; and blood and flesh of swine, and that on which any name other than that of Allah (God) has been invoked (while the animal is being slaughtered) and the strangled (animal), and that beaten to death and that killed by a fall and that killed by being smitten with the horn, and that which beasts have eaten, except what you slaughter in the proper manner” () (V – 3)
An animal to be fit for food must be slaughtered with a sharp knife; in using it care must be taken to avoid suffering to the animal as far as possible. Before killing, the name of God must be recited before using the knife (the formula Allahu akbar –God is Greater– is usually said), signifying that it was God who allowed animals to be slaughtered for the nourishment of human beings.
) ) The exception may apply to five classes related. The meaning is that if an animal partly eaten by wild beasts is found still alive and is slaughtered in the proper manner, its flesh is allowed..