What if we forget that we owe somebody something?

:Question 

What if we forget kabirah gunah which we have done previously like robbery or borrowed someone’s item and forgot to return it? As these sins are related with someone’s rights, how can these sins be forgiven if we forget about these sins.

Answer:

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

 

As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.

 To categorise sins into minor sins and major sins is in actual fact underestimating the gravity of a sin.  The lofty and grandeur of Almighty Allah should be engraved in our hearts.  When we recognise the exalted eminence of Almighty Allah and His majesty, the splendour and might of Almighty Allah will put a stop to any intention of sin.  Any violation of the Lofty status of Almighty Allah is indeed a grave violation.

Imam Nawawi rahimahullah states that repentance in the case of a sin involving the rights of Allah (i.e., in which no other person is affected) requires the following three conditions:

1)     He must give up the sin immediately

2)     He must regret what he has done

3)     He must resolve not to do it again.

With regard to repentance from a sin that affects the rights of other people, these three conditions are also required, and to them is added a fourth: he must restore to people what is due to them and settle the matter, or else ask for forgiveness and find a way to relieve himself of this burden of sin.[i]

When one realises he has oppressed somebody or usurped someone’s rights, then he should immediately seek that person’s forgiveness and repay whatever he owes.  One should not procrastinate in such severe issues.

The Prophet salallahu alaihi wasallam said,

“Allah has forgiven my ummah for what they do by mistake or out of forgetfulness, and what they are forced to do.” [ii]

Hence, if somebody genuinely forgot to give somebody their right and never remembered and was never reminded, then it is hoped from the mercy of Allah that he will be overlooked.  However, this can only be considered when one genuinely forgot and delayed repaying someone their due to a legitimate Shar῾ī reason.  If someone forgets because they keep defaulting and delaying without any justifiable reason, then this will be sinful and that person will be held responsible in the hereafter.

 

And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best

Mufti Faraz ibn Adam al-Mahmudi


 


[i]وفي رياض الصالحين

قَالَ العلماءُ: التَّوْبَةُ وَاجبَةٌ مِنْ كُلِّ ذَنْب, فإنْ كَانتِ المَعْصِيَةُ بَيْنَ العَبْدِ وبَيْنَ اللهِ تَعَالَى لاَ تَتَعلَّقُ بحقّ آدَمِيٍّ, فَلَهَا ثَلاثَةُ شُرُوط:

أحَدُها: أنْ يُقلِعَ عَنِ المَعصِيَةِ.

والثَّانِي: أَنْ يَنْدَمَ عَلَى فِعْلِهَا.

والثَّالثُ: أنْ يَعْزِمَ أَنْ لا يعُودَ إِلَيْهَا أَبَداً. فَإِنْ فُقِدَ أَحَدُ الثَّلاثَةِ لَمْ تَصِحَّ تَوبَتُهُ.

وإنْ كَانَتِ المَعْصِيةُ تَتَعَلقُ بآدَمِيٍّ فَشُرُوطُهَا أرْبَعَةٌ: هذِهِ الثَّلاثَةُ, وأنْ يَبْرَأ مِنْ حَقّ صَاحِبِها, فَإِنْ كَانَتْ مالاً أَوْ نَحْوَهُ رَدَّهُ إِلَيْه, وإنْ كَانَت حَدَّ قَذْفٍ ونَحْوَهُ مَكَّنَهُ مِنْهُ أَوْ طَلَبَ عَفْوَهُ, وإنْ كَانْت غِيبَةً استَحَلَّهُ مِنْهَا. ويجِبُ أنْ يَتُوبَ مِنْ جميعِ الذُّنُوبِ, فَإِنْ تَابَ مِنْ بَعْضِها صَحَّتْ تَوْبَتُهُ عِنْدَ أهْلِ الحَقِّ مِنْ ذلِكَ الذَّنْبِ, وبَقِيَ عَلَيهِ البَاقي. (ص 23 مؤسسة الرسالة)

[ii] وفي سنن ابن ماجه

عَنْ أَبِي ذَرٍّ الْغِفَارِيِّ، قَالَ: قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ: «إِنَّ اللَّهَ قَدْ تَجَاوَزَ عَنْ أُمَّتِي الْخَطَأَ، وَالنِّسْيَانَ، وَمَا اسْتُكْرِهُوا عَلَيْهِ» (رقم الحديث 2043)


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