bad.” And to exonerate Almighty God of all fault, they did not ascribe the creation of evil to Him; they fell into misguidance, wrongly interpreting the pillar of belief “belief in divine determining, both the good of it and the evil of it are from God.”1
T h e A n s w e r to the second part of the question “How can someone who commits grievous sins remain a believer?”: Firstly, their error may be understood clearly from the previous Indications, so there is no need to repeat it. Secondly, the man’s evil-commanding soul prefers an ounce of immediate, present pleasure to a ton of postponed, hidden pleasure; similarly, he shrinks at the fear of an immediate slap more than at a year’s torment in the future. Furthermore, if the emotions dominate a person, they do not heed the reason and mind. Desires and delusions govern in him, and he prefers the slightest, most trivial present pleasure to huge reward in the future, and he shrinks from some minor present distress more than from some terrible postponed torment. For desire, illusions, and emotions do not see the future, indeed, they deny it. And if the soul assists them, the heart, which is the seat of belief, and the mind, fall silent and are defeated. In which case, committing grievous sins does not arise from lack of belief, but from the defeat of the heart and mind by the predominant emotions, desires, and illusions.
Moreover, as is understood from the previous Indications, since the way the passions and evil work is through destruction, they are extremely easy. Satans from among jinn and men quickly drive people down that road. It is an astonishing situation, for according to a Hadith, a light to the extent of a fly’s wing from the World of Eternity2 is comparable to the pleasure and bounties a person receives in his entire life in this world,3 yet following Satan, certain unfortunates prefer the pleasures of this fleeting world, which are a mere fly’s wing in comparison with the pleasures of that eternal world, which are worth all this world.
It is for these reasons that the All-Wise Qur’an repeatedly and insistently, and with encouragement and threats, restrains believers from sin and urges them to do good.
One time this severe guidance of the All-Wise Qur’an gave me the idea that these continual warnings and reminders imply that believers are inconstant and faulty. They suggest a situation inconsistent with man’s integrity.
Muslim, Iman, 39; Tirmidhi, Iman, 4; Abu Da’ud, Sunna, 17; Nasa’i, Iman, 6; Ibn Maja, Muqaddima, 63.
Tirmidhi, Zuhd, 13; Ibn Maja, Zuhd, 3; Musnad, v, 154, 177.
See, al-Qurtubi, al-Jami‘ al-Ahkam al-Qur’an, xiii, 7.