Avoid the sins which prevent forgiveness and the acceptance of du’a: Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali

In his chapter on the month of Sha’baan in Lataa’if al-Ma’aarif, Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali devotes some space to a discussion of the night of the Middle of Sha’baan, the authenticity of various ahaadeeth which mention it, and the appropriate actions to be taken during it. All of this can be read here.

Continuing on that topic, Ibn Rajab gives a discussion of some of the actions mentioned in the ahaadeeth about the middle of Sha’baan which prevent one from receiving the forgiveness of Allah therein. While his writing on the topic is in the context of the night of the Middle of Sha’baan, the benefits are general as these are actions which should be avoided at all times. Below is his discussion:

ويتعيّن على المسلم أن يجتنب الذنوب التي تمنع من المغفرة وقبول الدعاء في تلك اليلة. وقد وري أنّه : الشرك ، وقتل النفس ، والزنا ؛ وهذه الثلاثة أعظم الذنوب عند الله عز وجل ، كما في حديث ابن مسعود المتفق على صحتة ، أنه سأل النبي ﷺ : أي الذنب أعظم؟ قال : أن تجعل الله ندّا وهو خلقك . قال : ثمّ أي؟ قال : أن تقتل ولدك خشية أن يطعم معك . قال : ثمّ أي؟ قال : أن تزاني حليلة جارك . فأنزل الله تعالى تصديق ذلك : وَالَّذِينَ لَا يَدْعُونَ مَعَ اللَّـهِ إِلَـٰهًا آخَرَ‌ وَلَا يَقْتُلُونَ النَّفْسَ الَّتِي حَرَّ‌مَ اللَّـهُ إِلَّا بِالْحَقِّ وَلَا يَزْنُونَ ، الآية .

It behooves the Muslim to avoid the sins which prevent one from forgiveness and from the acceptance of one’s supplications during that night [i.e. the night of the middle of Sha’baan]. And it has been narrated that they are: al-Shirk, killing someone, and al-zina, and these are the three greatest sins in the sight of Allah ‘azza wa jall, as is mentioned in the hadeeth of Ibn Mas’ood – and al-Bukhari and Muslim concurred on its authenticity – that he asked the Prophet (ﷺ),

“Which sin is greatest?” He replied, “That you would make partners with Allah while it is He who created you.” He said, “Then what?” He replied, “That you would kill your child out of fear that it would eat with you.” He said, “Then what?” He replied, “That you would commit zina with your neighbor’s wife.” And Allah revealed something attesting to that: “And those who do not invoke with Allah another deity or kill the soul which Allah has forbidden [to be killed], except by right, and do not commit unlawful sexual intercourse. And whoever should do that will meet a penalty.” (25:68) [al-Bukhari #6001]

ومن الذنوب المانعة من المغفرة أيضا : الشحناء ، وهي حقد المسلم على أخيه بغضا له ؛ لهوى نفسه ، وذلك يمنع أيضا من المغفرة في أكثر أوقات المغفرة والرحمة ؛ كما في صحيح مسلم عن أبي هريرة رضي الله عنه مرفوعا : ( ‏تُفتح أبواب الجنة يوم الاثنين ويوم الخميس، فيغفر لكل عبد لا يشرك بالله شيئًا، إلا رجلا كانت بينه وبين أخيه شحناء فيقال‏:‏ أنظروا هذين حتى يصطلحا‏.)

And of the sins which also prevent one from forgiveness: al-shaḥnaaʼ, which is a Muslim having malice or holding a grudge against his brother, hating him. It is something of the base desires, and it also prevents one from forgiveness in most of the times of forgiveness and rahmah. This is as has come in Saheeh Muslim from Abu Hurayrah (raadiAllaahu ‘anhu) as a marfoo’ hadeeth:

The gates of Jannah are opened on Mondays and Thursdays, and then every slave is forgiven who does not associate anything with Allah in worship, except for the man between whom and his brother there is shaḥnaaʼ [a grudge, malice]. So it will be said, “leave these two until they reconcile.” [Muslim #2565]

وقد فسّر الأوزاعي هذه الشحناء المانعة بالذي في قلبه شحناء لأصحاب النبي ﷺ  ، ولا ريب أنّ هذه الشحناء أعظم جرما من مشاحنة الأقران بعضهم بعضا . وعن الأوزاعي أنه قال : المشاحن كل صاحب بدعة فارق  عليها الأمة . وكذ قال ابن ثوبان : المشاحن هو التارك لسنة نبية ، الطاعن على جماعة المسلمين  ، واستحلال دمائهم وأموالهم وأعراضهم ، كبدع الخوارج والروافض ونحوهم .

And al-Awzaa’i explaned this al-shaḥnaaʼ which prevents (forgiveness) as the heart which bears malice towards the companions of the Prophet (ﷺ), and there is no doubt that this shaḥnaaʼ is a more serious crime than the grudges and malice between peers. And al-Awzaa’i said, “The mushaain (the bearer of a grudge/malice) is every practicer of a bid’ah [aaib Bid’ah], separating himself from the ummah.” And something similar was said by Ibn Thawbaan, “The mushaain is the one who abandons the sunnah of the Prophet (ﷺ), slandering the main body of the Muslims, and considering the blood, wealth, and honor to be permissible, such as the bid’ah of the Khawaarij and the Rawaafidh and their like.

وأفضل الأعمال : سلامة الصدر من أنواع الشحناء كلها ، وأفضلها السلامة من شحناء أهل الأهواء والبدع التي تقتضي الطعن على السلف الأمة ، وبغضهم الحقد عليهم ، واعتقاد تكفيرهم وتبديعهم  وتضليلهم ؛ ثمّ يلي ذلك سلامة القلب من الشحناء لعموم المسلمين ، وإرادة الخير لهم ، ونصيحتهم ، وأن يحب لهم ما يحب لنفسه . وقد وصف الله تعالى المؤمنين عموما بأنّهم يقولون : رَ‌بَّنَا اغْفِرْ‌ لَنَا وَلِإِخْوَانِنَا الَّذِينَ سَبَقُونَا بِالْإِيمَانِ وَلَا تَجْعَلْ فِي قُلُوبِنَا غِلًّا لِّلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا رَ‌بَّنَا إِنَّكَ رَ‌ءُوفٌ رَّ‌حِيمٌ .

And the best of actions is the heart being untouched [salaamah al-ṣadr] by any kind of grudge/enmity. And the best of that is being untouched by the shaḥnaaʼ of the people of desires and innovations which result in their slandering the salaf of the ummah, and hating them and having malice against them, and believing them to be disbelievers or innovators or misguided. And from the heart being untouched by al-shaḥnaaʼ towards the general mass of the Muslims flows one’s desiring good for them, being sincere towards them, and that one loves for them what one loves for oneself. And Allah has described the mu’minoon in general with the fact that they say, “Our Lord, forgive us and our brothers who preceded us in faith and put not in our hearts [any] resentment toward those who have believed. Our Lord, indeed You are Kind and Merciful.” [59:10]

وفي المسند عن أنس أن النبي ﷺ  ، قال لأصحاب ثلاثة أيام : يطلع عليكم الآن رجل من أهل الجنة . فيطلع رجل واحد ، فاستضافه عبد الله بن عمر ، فنام عنده ثلاثاً لينظر عمله ، فلم ير له في بيته كبير عمل ، فأخبره بحال ، فقال له : هو ما ترى ، إلّا أني أبيت وليس في قلبي شيئ على أحد من المسلمين. فقال عبد الله : يهذا بلغ ما بلغ . وفي سنن ابن ماجة عن عبد الله بن عمرو ، قال : قيل : يا رسول الله ! أي الناس أفضل؟ قال : كل مخموم القلب ، صدوق اللسان . قالوا : صدوق اللسان نعرفه ، فما مخموم القلب ؟ قال : هو التقي النقي الذي لا إثم فيه ، ولا بغي ، ولا غلّ ، ولا حسد .

And in the Musnad [of Imam Ahmad] on the authority of Anas that the Prophet (ﷺ) said to his companions on three days, “A man from the people of al-Jannah is now entering upon you,” and then one man entered. So ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar [some narrations say ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr] requested to stay with him, so he spent three nights there in order to observe his actions, but he did not see any great action from him in his house. So he informed the man of this situation, and the man said to him, “It is as you have seen [i.e. what you have seen in my normal practice], except that I dislike to and do not hold anything in my heart against anyone from the Muslims.

And in Sunan ibn Maajah on the authority of ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr who said, “It was said, ‘O Messenger of Allah, who is the best of people?’ He replied, ‘Every person with a makhmoom heart, and a truthful tongue.’ They said, ‘A truthful tongue we know, but what is a makhmoom heart?’ He replied, ‘It is a pure, pious heart which does not have any sin, injustice, rancor or envy.'” [Ibn Maajah #4216, Saheeh]


[قال بعض السلف : أفضل الأعمال سلامة الصدور , وسخاوة النفوس ، والنصيحة الأمة ؛ وبهذه الخصال بلغ من بلغ. لا بكثرة الاجتهاد في الصوم والصلاة

Some of the salaf said: the best of deeds are soundness of the heart, and generosity of the self, and sincerity to the ummah. It is by these characteristics that those who achieve (great rewards) achieve, not by an abundance of effort in fasting or prayer.

إخواني! إجتنبوا الذنوب التي تحرم العبد مغفرة مولاه الغفّار في مواسم الرحمة والتوبة والإستغفار . أما الشرك : إِنَّهُ مَن يُشْرِ‌كْ بِاللَّـهِ فَقَدْ حَرَّ‌مَ اللَّـهُ عَلَيْهِ الْجَنَّةَ وَمَأْوَاهُ النَّارُ‌ ۖ وَمَا لِلظَّالِمِينَ مِنْ أَنصَارٍ‌ (المائدة ٧٢). وأما القتل : فلو اجتمع أهل السماوات وأهل الأرض على قتل الرجل مسلم بغير حق لاكبّهم الله جميعا في النار . وأما الزنا : فحذار حذار من التعرّض لسخط الجبّار. الخلق كلهم عبيد الله وإماؤه ، والله تعالى يغار ، لا أحدٌ أغير من الله يزني عبده أو تزني أمته ، فمن أجل ذلك حرّم الفواحش وأَمَرَ بغضّ أبصار . وأما الشحناء : فيا من أضمر لاخيه السوء وقصد له لااضرار تَحْسَبَنَّ اللَّـهَ غَافِلًا عَمَّا يَعْمَلُ الظَّالِمُونَ ۚ إِنَّمَا يُؤَخِّرُ‌هُمْ لِيَوْمٍ تَشْخَصُ فِيهِ الْأَبْصَارُ‌ (إبراهيم ٤٢) . يكفيك حرمان المغفرة في أوقات مغفرة الأوزار.

Oh my brothers! Avoid the sins which prevent the slave from (receiving) the forgiveness of the his Oft-Forgiving Master in the seasons of Rahmahtawbah, and seeking forgivness. As for al-shirk: “Indeed, he who associates others with Allah – Allah has forbidden him Paradise, and his refuge is the Fire. And there are not any helpers for the wrongdoers.” [5:72] And as for killing: If the inhabitants of the heavens and the inhabitants of the earth were to join together in the killing of a Muslim man without right, then Allah would throw them all prostrate into the Hell-fire. And as for Zina (fornication/adultery): Then take heed of the warning of being exposed to the wrath of al-Jabbaar. All of the creation are slaves and slave-women to Allah, and Allah the Exalted is jealous. There is no who is more jealous than Allah if His male or female slave commits zina. So whoever reaches the age of ability, Allah has forbade fawaahish (sexually immoral behavior) and has ordered the lowering of the gaze. And as for shahanaa’ (bearing a grudge or hate/enmity towards someone): then whoever harbors ill-will towards his brother and intends harm towards him “And never think that Allah is unaware of what the wrongdoers do. He only delays them for a Day when eyes will stare [in horror].” [14:42]. So it is sufficient for them to be prohibited from forgiveness in the times of the forgiveness of burdens.

[Lataa’if al-Ma’aarif pg. 265-267]

See also: The Night of the Middle of Sha’baan: Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali

See also: The fast is not perfected until one abandons the forbidden actions: Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali

See also: The relationship between al-Tawheed and al-istighfaar: Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali

See also: The supplication is granted so long as one does not show impatience: Ibn Hajr

9 thoughts on “Avoid the sins which prevent forgiveness and the acceptance of du’a: Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali

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