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Article appeared Friday, August 16th, 2019 in The News Today, Bangladesh

The Revelation (583) yousuf mahbubul Islam, PhD


Is forgiveness available? Before one can ask about forgiveness, should one ask,
forgiveness for what? Normally, forgiveness is sought against mistakes or sins
committed. So, the first question should be what is sin?

How can we find possible answers for consideration? We can start by typing the
question what is sin in a browser. One of the first answers that crops up is from
Wikipedia {1}.
“In a religious context, sin is an act of transgression against divine law. In Islamic
ethics, Muslims see sin as anything that goes against the commands of Allah
(God). Judaism regards the violation of any of the 613 commandments as a sin
as long as the sinner is aware of the commandment.” {1}

Wikipedia {1} then adds references to a number of religious sources to find multiple
definitions of sin. The majority of definitions involve breaking of laws or commandments.
The important concept to realize is that the laws or commandments must be defined,
made or created; either by someone or by God before they can be broken! The article
the truth about: SIN {2} goes into a similar discussion about sin, however, it also adds
the following interesting definition: It is choosing to act in a way that pulls us away from
God. Rephrasing, can we say sin is an act or even an inactivity that displeases God? For
those who believe that God has created them, this must be something to ponder over.
Would believers want to displease God? If not, should this concept be integrated into the
definition of sin?

Before we firm up this definition of sin, let us look at an analogy. When we were young
and lived with our parents, did they set up any rules for us? For example, not being
allowed to stay out after dark, having to go to school, drinking milk daily, etc.? Why did
they make these rules? Who were these rules for? Would breaking the rules harm our
parents? There are a number of ways we, as children, could react to the rules. We could
be arrogant and disregard the rules – we could feel we know better (e.g., thinking, it’s my
life after all!). Without liking the rules, we could still obey them – it could be out of fear of
punishment. Another way could be realizing the reason behind the rules and obeying
them out of gratitude and respect for the parents – they could easily be indifferent to a
proper and healthy upbringing. Which response would be the best? Also, we need to be
reminded that there could be other children who would scoff at those who obey their
parent’s rules.

Can a parallel be drawn between parent’s rules and the rules given by God? God has
not only given us the gift of life, He has given commandments/laws to help us grow as
proper human beings, avoid problems/conflicts and derive maximum benefit from the life
that He has designed for us. How should we respond to the rules given by God? Like in
the case of responding to parents, what are the alternatives? We could be arrogant and
feel we know better. We could obey the rules out of fear of punishment. Or, should we
be humble and obey the rules out of gratitude and respect for our Creator? Let us
compare these thoughts with what the Verses of the Holy Scripture Al-Qur’an say.

25.63 “And the servants of the Most Compassionate are those who walk on
the earth in humility and when the ignorant address them (harshly) they
say words of peace.”
Believers are being addressed as servants. These are those who realize in their hearts
that they are in God’s care. They therefore walk the earth with a quiet non-arrogant
confidence and treat those that do not believe with a patient attitude. Believers not only
realize that laws and commandments are for their own benefit, they deliberately reflect
on God’s umpteen blessings and turn to Him in adoration during prayer and at other
times.

25.64 “Those who spend the night in adoration of their Lord prostrate and
standing;”
As further explained in Verse 17.79, a believer should get up from his/her bed during a
part of the night, reflecting on the attributes of God and adoring Him in prayer {3}.

25.65 “Those who say, "Our Lord! Avert from us the Wrath of Hell for its
Wrath is indeed an affliction grievous.”
Believers are acutely aware of having to face the Creator on the Day of Judgment and
the possibility of everlasting punishment of Hell afterwards. They therefore seek
protection from the Fire of Hell.

25.66 “Evil indeed is it as an abode and as a place to rest in;”


The subsequent Verses highlight other qualities of believers.

25.67 “Those who when they spend are not extravagant and not niggardly
but hold a just (balance) between those (extremes);”
As further explained in Verse 17.29, a believer spends and also gives in charity in a
balanced manner. The following Verses now turn to highlight the major sins.

25.68 “Those who invoke not with Allah any other god, nor slay such life as
He has made sacred except for just cause, nor commit fornication and any
that does this will meet punishment.”

25.69 “The Penalty on the Day of Judgment will be doubled to him and he
will dwell therein humiliated.”
Having outlined the qualities of believers and the three major sins, the Most
Compassionate shows a way to forgiveness.

25.70 “Unless he repents believes and works righteous deeds, for Allah will
change the evil of such persons into good and He is Oft-Forgiving Most
Merciful.”

25.71 “And whoever repents and does good has truly turned to Allah with
an (acceptable) conversion.”
As further explained in Verse 39.53, God forgives those who workout His reality both
logically and in their hearts. Turning to God requires giving Him priority, more than one
would give a worldly boss, repenting directly and subsequently participating in activities
designed to please Him, e.g., demonstrate characteristics of believers as given above.
-----
{Notes}:
{1} https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sin
{2} https://www.compellingtruth.org/what-is-sin.html
{3} http://www.quranreading.com/blog/tahajjud-prayer/

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