Does Sin Cancel Out Repentance?
What if I repent then sin, then repent and then sin again?
The Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him) says: “When a man sins and says: O Allah! I have sinned and I know that you forgive the sins, so, Allah forgive me!, Allah replies: My servant acknowledges the fact that he had sinned and he acknowledges the fact that I forgive the sins, I forgive his sins!, so, the man does a sin again and he says the same thing, and Allah says the same thing. The third time, likewise. The fourth time, Allah says: Alima Abdi Anni Aghfirudth-Dthunub, my servant acknowledges that I forgive sins, let him do whatever he wishes for I have forgiven his sins”.
Now, the scholars commented on this Hadith, that this is not a carte-blanche that you do whatever you want! If this is the case, Alhamdulillah, let’s go to the nightclubs before Ramadan! No! This means that as long as you have the remorse in your heart after every time you sin, even if you sin 1000 times, Allah will forgive you. But a person who has ill intent and he says: “I ask for Your forgiveness! Tomorrow I’m going”, Allah knows that! Allah will burn him into Hell!
That is why Al-Hassan Al-Basri (May Allah have mercy on his soul), his companions came to him and said: “O sheikh! We sin and ask Allah for forgiveness, and then we sin and ask Allah for forgiveness, and then we sin and then we’re ashamed, so many times we sin and ask for forgiveness! So, we do not ask for forgiveness at all”, he said: “Exactly what Shaytan wants from you! The more you sin the more you ask Allah for forgiveness!”, and that is why Shaytan said: “I’ve burned the humans with sins; I’ve burned them with sins! And they’ve burned me with seeking forgiveness, they’ve burned me completely!”.
Even the companions sinned! May Allah be pleased with them: Ma’iz Ibn Malik committed fornication, he was executed as expiation for that; Al-Ghamidiyyah, another woman who committed fornication, was pregnant and was killed to be purified, she was the one who asked for it! Al-Makhzumiyyah, she stole money and the Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him) ordered for her hand to be chopped, and then she became one of the best pious companions.
An-Nu’man, the one who used to make fun and jokes to the Prophet, he was known as “An-Nu’man Sahibul-Mizah”, he used to make lots of things to make the Prophet laugh. Among the things he used to do, he used to go to the market and sees something and says: “Hmm.. Masha’Allah! This is nice! How much is this?”, he said: “200 quid”, he says: “Okay, I’ll buy it, come and collect the money from the Masjid”, he takes it and goes to the Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him) and he says: “O Prophet of Allah! I brought this as a gift for you”, the Prophet says: “Jazak Allah Khayr! Thank you, An-Nu’man, excellent!”, five minutes later, the man comes: “Where is my money?” , he says: “Take it from the Prophet” and the Prophet laughs and gives it to him.
An-Nu’man himself, this companion (May Allah be pleased with him), once was in an expedition with Abu Bakr and there was another companion who was responsible for rationing the food. An-Nu’man was hungry, so, he said “Come on, give me something to eat, I’m hungry”, he said: “No, rationing the food, means that I can not give you more than your portion”, he said: “Listen, you better give me what I want, I’m going to put you in trouble”, he said: “Do whatever you wish!”, okay, An-Nu’man goes to the market and he sees three Bedouins and he says: “Who wants to buy a slave? My strong slave! I’ll sell it to him very cheaply!”, so they came and say: “We’ll buy him from you”, he says: “No, you guys look weak.”, “No! We’re not weak! We’re strong!”, “No, you look weak.. he’s going to shout: I’m not a slave, I’m a free man and you going to believe him, no, I’m not going to sell him to you”, they said: “No! We know these tricks, just show us the slave”, and he took the money and he went back to the camp and he said: “Here goes your slave”, so, they captured the man, and the man said: “Listen! He is making a joke on you, it’s a trick, I’m a free man!”, and they said: “He told us, he told us..”, and as they were taking him, Abu Bakr (May Allah be pleased with him) came, and he said: “What’s this?!”, and they said: “This man said so and so..”, and he paid them the money back. The companions stayed one full year laughing their heads off! Whenever they remember it, they just fall laughing!
An-Nu’man, Sahibul-Mizah (May Allah be pleased with him), had one shortcoming: he was addicted, he was an alcoholic, and every time he drinks, he’s caught and they say: “Look at him, being brought like a dog and punished like this!”, the Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him) heard this and said: “Do not say this!”, what?! The man is an alcoholic, so many times, he’s brought forward and he’s punished for that! The Prophet of Allah (Peace and blessings be upon him) said: “By Allah! I testify that this man loves Allah and loves His Prophet!”. Never, ever look down at any Muslim! Even if he is sinful. Ya Akhi, he might be kissing the feet of his mother every single night, which makes him better than you at the sight of Allah! So, I don’t know! So, I never look down at anyone and I never look up at anyone, all what I see, what the Salaf used to say: “When I see a youngster, I say: Masha’Allah! He’s better than me, he made little mistakes and sins, not like me. And whenever I see an elderly, I say: Masha’Allah! He’s better than me; he performed so many forms of worship and good deeds while I have just little. So, I always look down to myself, and Allah knows best.
Sheikh Assim Al-Hakim