What is the concept of Sin in Islam?

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful

 One of the major troublesome areas of human existence is the problem of sin or evil in the world. The belief that the first sin started with Adam and Eve during their life in the Garden of Eden.

That event led to their fall and has ever since branded the human race with guilt, stigma, and bewilderment.

Islam takes a unique position on the whole issue. The Qur'an states that Adam and Eve were directed by God to reside in the Garden of Eden and enjoy its produce as they pleased, assured of bountiful supplies and comfort.

They were warned not to approach a particular tree and not to follow the footsteps of Satan so that they would not run into harm and injustice. Satan intrigued them to temptation and caused them to forget God's prohibition, and therefore, to lose their joyful state. They were expelled from the Garden and brought down to earth to live, die, and be taken out again for the Final Judgment. Having realized what they had done, they felt shame, guilt, and remorse. They prayed for God's forgiveness and were forgiven.

The idea of Original Sin or hereditary criminality has no place in the teachings of Islam. Man, according to the Qur'an and to the Prophet, is born in a natural state of purity called fitrah (nature), which is Islam or submission to the will and law of God, After that, whatever becomes of man is the result of external influences and intruding factors. A person is innocent until he grows to an age when he can distinguish Right from Wrong. The home environment is crucial and it plays a decisive role in the formation of human personality and the development of moral character. This does not deny the individual his or her freedom of choice nor exempt him or her from responsibility, rather it is a relief from heavy burden of hereditary criminality or instinctual sin.

According to the moral scale of Islam, it is not a sin to be imperfect or fallible This is part of human nature as a finite limited creature. But it is a sin if a person has the ways and means of relative perfection and chooses not to seek it. A sin is any act, thought, or will that is:

  1. Deliberate
  2. Defies the unequivocal law of God
  3. Violates the rights of God or the rights of man
  4. Harmful to the soul or body
  5. Normally avoidable
  6. Committed repeatedly

These are the components of sin, which are not innate or hereditary. It is true that men and women have the potential of sin latent in them, but this is not beyond their capacity of piety and goodness. If they choose to actualize the potential of sin, instead of the potential of goodness, they will be adding a new external element to their pure nature. For this added external element man alone is responsible.

O Allah! I ask you to provide me a good life and let me die on the Right Path
Allah has told the Greatest Truth
Tags: What is the concept of Sin in Islam?, Sin, in Islam, Sin, Islam, Muslim
References: What is Islam? The Institute of Islamic Knowledge, al-quraan.org