(Series on Difficulties and Their Causes #5)

In the previous articles, the principle of ‘every action has a reaction’ was discussed, and the link between sinning and natural calamities and disasters, poverty and financial constraints, and break downs in relationships was explained.

Perhaps the previous articles can be summarized by saying that sinning causes widespread misery, difficulty and chaos in every dimension and facet of a person’s life. Sayyiduna ‘Abdullah bin ‘Abbaas (radhiyallahu ‘anhuma) has aptly described the curse of sinning and its ill-effects saying, “Carrying out sins creates blackness on the face, darkness in the heart, weakness in the body, decrease in sustenance, and hatred in the hearts of the creation.” (Ad-Daau wad-Dawaa pg. 59)

Nevertheless, compared to all the ill-effects of sinning which were discussed thus far, the most disastrous consequence of sinning is that it causes one to be deprived of carrying out good deeds, and it causes the death of the spiritual heart.

‘Allaamah Ibnul Qayyim (rahimahullah) says, “One of the ill-effects of sinning is that it causes one to be deprived of carrying out righteous deeds. (This ill-effect is so destructive that) if there was no other ill-effect for sinning besides this ill-effect of being deprived of carrying out righteous deeds, it would be enough on its own (to destroy a person). When a person commits a sin, it first causes one door, and then another, and then even more doors of righteousness to close upon him, until finally he is barred from many avenues of righteousness.” (Ad-Daa wad-Dawaa pg. 59)

Explaining his own experience, Imaam Sufyaan Thauri (rahimahullah) mentioned, “Once, on account of a sin that I committed, I was deprived of performing Tahajjud Salaah for five months.” (Hilyatul Awliyaa vol. 5, Pg. 334)

As for the death of the spiritual heart, then the hadeeth explains that when a person commits a sin, a black spot appears on his heart. If he then refrains from the sin, and engages in istighfaar and taubah, his heart will be polished and cleansed from the black spot. However, if he sins again and continues sinning without repenting, the black spots will increase, until eventually, they will cover his entire heart and his heart will be engulfed in darkness. (Sunan Tirmizi #3334)

The nourishment of the spiritual heart is the obedience and worship of Allah Ta‘ala. When a person starves his heart of the nourishment it urgently requires, and stifles and suffocates it with the darkness of sins, then gradually, the spiritual heart begins to die.

Such a person witnesses the deterioration in his Deeni condition. He feels more and more inclined towards sins, and less inclined towards righteousness. From one sin, it becomes another, and his condition goes from bad to worse. Day by day, Deen and the sunnah continue to disappear from his life. At first, he misses one salaah, and then another, until he seldom performs any salaah.

Allah Ta‘ala sends him occasional reminders, in the form of a well wisher advising him, or a calamity to snap him out of his stupor and bring him to his senses. But, as he ignores and spurns these reminders, and sinks deeper into sin and evil, his heart loses more and more life and begins to harden.

Finally, he reaches the point where he has travelled so far down the road of sin and destruction that there is almost no trace of Deen left in his life. This is a very, very dangerous juncture, as for such a person to lose his imaan and depart from Islam is very easy (Allah Ta‘ala forbid!).

However, just as every journey begins with a single step, this journey down the road of destruction commenced with a single sin.

Hence, we should NEVER trivialize or underestimate the destructive and evil power of any sin. Furthermore, we must immediately repent from any sins in our lives and take the appropriate steps to reform our condition, before the situation deteriorates further and our spiritual hearts become overwhelmed with sins.

May Allah Ta‘ala save us all from sins, keep our hearts alive with His remembrance, and bless us with death upon imaan, aameen.