Tolerance of Sin in Islam
Repentance means to “seek forgiveness with the intention of never doing it again”, or so we have been told. But in reality, not every sin or bad habit can be stopped instantly, and Islam certainly does not require you to do so. This is when one is considered to be a “Victim of Situation”.
VICTIM OF SITUATION
“Whoever disbelieves in Allah after his belief, except for one who is forced [to renounce his religion] while his heart is secure in faith. But those who [willingly] open their breasts to disbelief, upon them is wrath from Allah, and for them is a great punishment;” (Quran 16:106)
You are allowed to lie about your faith if your life or the lives of your loved ones are in danger.
He has only forbidden to you dead animals, blood, the flesh of swine, and that which has been dedicated to other than Allah . But whoever is forced [by necessity], neither desiring [it] nor transgressing [its limit], there is no sin upon him. Indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful. (Quran 2:173)
You are allowed to consume forbidden things if under threat or to survive. If you go to a non-Muslim country, where most of them only sell pork and even their vegetable dishes as cooked with lard, then you should struggle to find the “least” forbidden food. Vegetables, beef, lamb, or chicken dishes even if they might not be slaughtered in a Halal manner.
Let us have a look at scenarios where it is extremely hard to stop committing a sin instantaneously;
SUBSTANCES & ADDICTIONS
God has allowed these substances to exist as a “Test of Faith”, and thus, forbidden us from consuming them. Those who believe in God would certainly keep away from these substances. Those who disbelieve will not have such obligations to refrain of it except out of concern for their own well being. Those who believe, and yet consumes them would certainly have their hearts filled with guilt and eventually force themselves to the path of repentance, with the will of God.
In the best case scenario, you would repent and stop your addiction “cold turkey”. However, some addictions can have serious consequences or even be lethal if stopped instantaneously which would make you a “Victim of Situation”. So where do you go from here?
The best way is to repent and to consult a doctor, or a rehabilitation center, where they will help you to taper of your addiction gradually with or without help of other medicines for relief. The most important thing is the feeling of guilt, the intention of seeking God’s forgiveness and finally to stop committing the sin. They should have help for Alcoholism, Drug Abuse, or even Pornography. Do not be shy to seek help as you are trying to change yourself for the sake of God.
MEANS OF INCOME
You might find yourself earning from a business which is considered to be Haram in Islam to maintain yourself and your family. You realize your mistake and you would like to repent, but you abstain yourself from repenting because that’s the only source of income you have. This would be a wrong idea for a Muslim. As a Muslim, you should first realize the sin you are committing, have an intention to stop and change, and finally repent and ask the guidance of Allah to bring you out of that sin.
It may be that stopping your business immediately might bring harm to you and your family, may cause your children to drop out of college etc., so repent, and plan your way out of the business as soon as possible in the best possible manner. Use the wealth you have to start a business which would be pleasing to Allah, be generous in charity and constantly seeks Allah’s guidance and forgiveness.
It is better that way from not repenting at all or to keep yourself away from Allah and His guidance.
BEYOND YOUR CONTROL
You might find yourself in a less religious family and they plan to serve alcohol at your wedding ceremony. Of course, you, as a Muslim should disagree to it, but if it is not in your means to stop it, then you would be considered a “Victim of Situation”. Once you have tried for very best to prevent it, then you should be free from guilt as it was not in your hands. You are responsible for what you do.
ADVERTISING/JUSTIFYING A SIN
Everyone of us is given a different kind of weakness or test from Allah. Some of us might suffer from over-eating, gambling, alcohol, drug abuse, laziness etc. From an Islamic perspective, you should “hide” your weakness as best as possible, never to defend or promote whatever weakness you may have and seek means to repent as soon as possible.
If you are caught drinking by your children, you must not ever defend your actions by saying things like
“Ah, I only drink occasionally”
“There are people committing worse sin out there”
“I am depressed and I need a drink”
“I’m only drinking”
“This is medicine”
“You wont understand”
“Sometimes people drink”
These excuses are considered as “Advertising” or “Justifying” a sin, and we should be very careful not to ever advertise or defend a sin. If you are caught, you should be humble and admitting of your mistake, to yourself, and to the one who witness you committing it.