Sin is a Disease
“He knows the betrayal of the eyes and that which the hearts conceal.” (40:19)
The words of this verse are few in number, but volumes could be filled with the meanings it conveys. Allah has brought our attention to an act that is very despicable and reprehensible. Apart from information, it contains an admonishment too. This topic is brought up because this evil deed has become so widespread and common. It is something in which one and all are involved. This has become a killer disease. By disease we mean sin. People do not even consider this to be a sin anymore. They will ask in bewilderment, “Why is this referred to as a sin?” Illness, sickness, and disease entail either the excess or deficiency in the required function of an organ or the entire organism as a whole. It entails a move away from moderation into excess or deficiency or both. In regards to sin, it means a deficiency or excess in the functioning of the heart which is the seat of virtue and vice, good and evil. In reality, this lack of moderation, this incompetence is more serious, more dangerous than a physical illness and disease. The ultimate harm caused by a physical illness or disease is death.
The gist of the discussion so far has been the ultimate result of physical illness is death and because death neutralizes all physical pain, it is not harmful. In spite of this fact, people go to great lengths to cure their physical illnesses, leaving no stone unturned to solicit a cure. Contrary to this is the case with spiritual illnesses, which entails crossing the demarcated boundary of the Shari’ah and to shift away from moderation. The result of such actions is mentioned in the Qur’an in the following manner:
“Neither will they die in it, nor will they live.” (87:13)
The name of that abode is Jahannam. If death were to occur, it would be the end of the story but in that abode there is no death. If, as is the case with physical illness, the final result of which is death in this world, we consider it necessary upon ourselves to resort to every avenue of treatment, what then should the case be with reference to spiritual illnesses? Will that which will necessitate eternal suffering be considered a disease or illness? In reality, when overcome by a slight cold, a mild flu, we immediately find our way to the doctor’s office. Whereas, we remain blissfully unaware and totally unconcerned to solicit a cure for even a single one of the innumerable spiritual sicknesses that linger within us. Every sin is worthy of concern, but those sins which are treated lightly, which are regarded as insignificant to one’s salvation are worthy of greater attention. That sin which is regarded as trifling is very severe because it is beyond being cured due to heedlessness towards it.
Taken from a lecture entitled Ghadh-ul-Basr by Hakeem-ul-Ummah Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi (RA)