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“If you avoid the major sins which you have been forbidden...” (An-Nisā’ 4:31)

by Fethullah Gülen on . Posted in Sūratu’n-Nisā’ (Women)

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إِن تَجْتَنِبُوا كَبَائِرَ مَا تُنْهَوْنَ عَنْهُ نُكَفِّرْ عَنكُمْ سَيِّئَاتِكُمْ وَنُدْخِلْكُم مُّدْخَلًا كَرِيمًا

If you avoid the major sins which you have been forbidden, We will blot out from you your minor evil deeds and make you enter by a noble entrance (to an abode of glory). (An-Nisā’ 4:31)

The Qur’anic commentaries that are usually based on the narrations from the noble Prophet, upon him be peace and blessings, and the opinions of his Companions, include the following hadīth in explaining this verse:

(God’s Messenger said:) “Avoid the seven deadly things.” People asked the Prophet: “What are they O Messenger of God?” He answered: “Associating partners with God, magic, unjust killing, which God has made unlawful, devouring usury, consuming the property of an orphan, turning away on the day of fighting, and slandering chaste, believing women (who have nothing to do with illicit acts).”[1]

Here, I want to explain the part of the hadīth, “turning away on the day of fighting.” The threat in this part includes not only turning away from the battlefield when the believers are fighting against attacking enemies but also drawing aside even for the purpose of personal spiritual progress while there is a “cold war” between the believers and unbelievers in the fields of culture, education, politics, art, and so on. One who turns away from struggling in these fields is considered to have committed a “major sin” according to the above hadīth. It is undoubtedly a “major sin” especially if those who have been awakened to the service of Islam leave this service. Since this will also damage the spiritual power of the Muslim community and delight the enemy side, one who acts so is considered as a spoil-sport.

If one can avoid these deadly sins, only one of which we have tried to explain, God Almighty promises to “blot out the minor evil deeds” one commits without insistence or the evils that are not as lethal as those mentioned in the hadīth. This means a Divine purification in regard to this world and a peaceful and joyous life in the Hereafter.

Those heroes who are able to resist sins enter their graves by “a noble entrance” like victorious commanders, and the grave will be an abode of glory for them. They walk around and travel through the “hillside of the intermediate realms” in the same comfort, and they advance into Paradise in the same safety and happiness to observe the Beauty of God. They deserve all these because the struggle in the name of performing good deeds is equal to the struggle in the name of abstaining from sins. If observation of these positive and negative sides of the religious life signifies a profundity in spirit, the steadfastness in observing them is an important dimension of this profundity. Consequently, this firmness conveys believers to their decreed ends at rocket speed.

[1] Bukhārī, Wasāyā, 23; Hudūd, 44; Muslim, Īmān, 145; Abū Dāwūd, Wasāyā, 10; Nasāī, Wasāyā, 12.