The religion of Islam is a holistic tradition that emphasizes the importance of perfecting one’s character above all things. As demonstrated to us by our tradition, the faith is a system of accounting for our deeds, and life is a process of continuing to progress and evolve in our actions. In fact, there are over 300 places in the Holy Quran that mention the word “deed.” God, the Most High, praises the performance of good deeds, warns against committing evil deeds, and places particular emphasis on accountability for one’s actions. One such place we can see this is in Chapter 99 of the Holy Quran, where God states,
In the Name of God, the Beneficent, the Merciful
When the earth is shaken by a terrible quake (1), and it throws out its burden (2), the human being will say, “What is happening to it?” (3) On that day the earth will declare all [the activities of the human being] which have taken place on it, (4) having been inspired by your Lord. (5) On that day, people will come out of their graves in different groups to see [the results of] their own deeds. (6) Whoever has done an atom’s weight of good will see it, (7) and whoever has done an atom’s weight of evil will also see it. (8)1
In the last two verses particularly, God elucidates that a person will be accountable for their good or bad deeds, no matter how small.
Sins Have an Impact on Our Lives
Every action that we choose to take in our lives affects us. It is important that we are consistently in this frame of mind, as it will allow us to be vigilant over our actions. The deeds that we perform, good or bad, have a direct effect on our psychology and our lifestyle. For example, if we choose to smile at someone, it not only makes them feel good, but it also has a positive impact on us. Experts say that “smiling activates the release of neuropeptides that work toward fighting off stress.”2
Similarly, when we choose to commit sins, they will have a negative impact on our lives. Imam Jafar al-Sadiq (p) has said, “The sins that change the bounties (of God) are transgressions, the sins that bring regret are murder, the one that brings hatred is injustice, that which brings disgrace is drinking wine, the sin which holds back the means of living is fornication, the one that hastens one’s perishing is failing to maintain good relations with relatives, and the sins that cause the prayers to be rejected and brings darkness (in life) is failing to maintain good relations with parents.”3 Choosing to disobey God with actions such the ones mentioned in the hadith would result in the removal of His blessings from us.
Moreover, performing prohibited deeds has a negative effect of on spirituality. God tells us about those who commit wrongdoings, “They will never have faith. In fact, their hearts are stained from their deeds.”4 These actions will only move us further away from the Almighty which will result in a feeling of emptiness and disconnection. For good or for bad, our day-to-day actions correlate directly with many facets of our lives, and traditions point to the fact that they may even impact our sustenance and prayers to name a few examples.
Bits of Advice
1. Beware of our actions: Taking a few seconds to stop and think about the consequences of our actions will help us stay away from performing actions that displease the Almighty. If we lose focus for one moment while driving a car, for instance, it can impact us and those around us. Similarly, one act of transgression (lying, cheating, abusive language or behavior) can cause so much damage around us.
2. Remembering God in every step that we take: It will not happen overnight, but we should do our best to be in a state of perpetual remembrance of God. In one of his well-known sermons, Imam Ali (p) speaks about the characteristics of the pious and states, “He performs virtuous deeds but still feels afraid. In the evening his concern is to offer thanks [to God]. In the morning his concern is to remember (God).”5 When God is part of the equation in every moment in our lives, there is so much more opportunity for prosperity.
3. Always ask God for forgiveness: God reminds us numerous times in the Holy Quran about his mercy. No matter how big the sins we have committed, God’s door is always open. God states, “(Muhammad), tell my servants who have committed injustice to themselves, ‘Do not despair of the mercy of God. God certainly forgives all sins. He is All-forgiving and All-merciful.’”6 Through seeking divine forgiveness and God’s comprehensive Mercy, we will humble ourselves and get back on track in this journey of seeking spirituality.
1. The Holy Quran 99:1-8. Quranic quotes for this blog are from the Muhammad Sarwar translation.
2. “There’s Magic in Your Smile,” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers, accessed October 24, 2019, https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/cutting-edge-leadership/201206/there-s-magic-in-your-smile.
3. Al-Kulayni, Al-kafi, vol. 2, p. 1.
4. The Holy Quran 83:14.
5. Nahj al-balagha, Sermon 193, Qualities of the Pious.
6. The Holy Quran 39:53.
1. قال الله تعالى: (فَمَن يَعْمَلْ مِثْقَالَ ذَرَّةٍ خَيْرًا يَرَهُ ﴿٧﴾ وَمَن يَعْمَلْ مِثْقَالَ ذَرَّةٍ شَرًّا يَرَهُ)
3. روي عن أبي عبد الله الصادق (ع): “الذنوب التي تغير النعم البغي والذنوب التي تورث الندم القتل، والتي تنزل النقم الظلم، والتي تهتك الستر شرب الخمر، والتي تحبس الرزق الزنا، والتي تعجل الفناء قطيعة الرحم، والتي ترد الدعاء وتظلم الهواء عقوق الوالدين”
4. قال الله تعالى: (كَلَّا ۖ بَلْ ۜ رَانَ عَلَىٰ قُلُوبِهِم مَّا كَانُوا يَكْسِبُونَ)
5. روي عن أمير المؤمنين (ع): “يَعْمَلُ الأَعْمَالَ الصَّالِحَةَ وهُوَ عَلَى وَجَلٍ – يُمْسِي وهَمُّه الشُّكْرُ ويُصْبِحُ وهَمُّه الذِّكْرُ”
6. قال الله تعالى (قُلْ يَا عِبَادِيَ الَّذِينَ أَسْرَفُوا عَلَىٰ أَنفُسِهِمْ لَا تَقْنَطُوا مِن رَّحْمَةِ اللَّـهِ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ يَغْفِرُ الذُّنُوبَ جَمِيعًا ۚ إِنَّهُ هُوَ الْغَفُورُ الرَّحِيمُ)