What is the reality of sin and how does it affect the soul and psyche of the human being?
The above question must be answered in four parts.
The Reality of Sin
Sin, which in ‘Arabic is referred to as ithm and ‘isyan, means to disobey the order of the Master and to slip in complying with His wishes. The sinful individual, in lieu of following the dictates of reason, obeys his desire and anger, which means that he may commit any sin imaginable, which if he does, he has actually betrayed himself. Sin is the snare of Satan. The inner reality of sin is fire while on the outside it deceives the individual by a fleeting sense of pleasure and lust, in temptation of which the oblivious human being incurs Divine chastisement.
The Effects of Sin
Sin entails harmful consequences for the individual as well as for society at large. Its consequences for the individual are, among others: the darkening and hardening of one’s heart; depriving the sinner of knowledge of the Divine secrets and gnosis; the transformation of the heart into a niche for Satan; being barred from self-knowledge; relinquishing the pleasure of Divine conversation; the invalidation of the sinner’s worship; leading the sinner to denying the hereafter and Allah’s (awj) reward and punishment.
The social repercussions of sin consist of the decadence and retrogression of the sinful society, althought might appear as though it is headed in the direction of progress. For, in reality, such a society is drawing near to its extinction due to neglecting human and moral values.
The Cause of Sin
Religious authorities arraign ignorance and obliviousness as the main causes for sin. The most effective tactic of an enemy and its first means of infiltration is to distract its opposing party. Ignorance is the fountainhead of corruption—ignorance of the existential values of humanity, of the valuable results of sexual purity (‘iffah), of the effects of sin, etc.
The Way of Salvation
Several ways can be enumerated here:
1. Repentance (which is returning to Allah (awj) with the resolute intention of abstaining from sin and which encompasses a multitude of grades) and pleading for forgiveness.
2. Reminding oneself of one’s sins.
3. The remembrance of Allah (awj).
4. A resolved will [to remain on the straight path].
Thus, after the clarification of the meaning of sin and the other related issues, attributing sin to Allah (awj) becomes meaningless. The issues of guidance, being led astray, and the variations in the natures of human beings in creation will be dealt with separately