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Prayer and Sin

People often ask that our prayers do not stop us from sinning. However, in Chapter Ankabut of the Holy Quran, the Almighty says, “Surely prayer restrains one from indecency and evil deeds.” This is an important issue that needs to be understood in detail.

The Holy Quran describes three major types of sins.
1) Sins based on obscenity, nudity and sexual misconduct
2) Sins which are a type of deprivation of rights and considered bad by all human beings
3) Sins which are a type of revolt and rebellion against God

A person can commit a sin by disobeying Allah Almighty on these three grounds. Prayer saves man from all these kinds of sins. However, in the verse of Chapter Ankabut, only obscenity and evil, i.e. the first and second types of sins are mentioned. The reason for this is that as soon as a person who is praying bows his head before the Lord in prayer, he turns away from the third type of sin, that is, revolt and rebellion against the Lord. Therefore, such crimes are not mentioned in this verse.

Then the first and second types of sins remain. Therefore, it is stated in this verse that prayer prevents these two types of sins, namely, obscenity and evil. Now that our prayers do not prevent us from committing these two types of sins, we need to recite the entire verse. We have quoted the first part of this verse above; the rest of it which is not generally stated and is not taken into consideration. However, here is the thing which is important. He said:
“Surely prayer restrains one from indecency and evil deeds. And the remembrance of Allah is a great thing and Allah knows what you do.”

This is the whole thing that Allah has said. This means that prayer is actually the name of remembrance of Allah. It is the name of living in God while living in human beings. It is the name of acknowledging the greatness of God in the unseen. This is the name of surrendering oneself to the Lord before being caught by God.

This state of remembrance of Allah, this feeling, is a great thing. So great that man finds himself under the supervision of the Lord at every moment and then no step can be taken in disobedience to God. His ‘self’ demands to surrender his reins to the animal passions that arise from within him, but the remembrance of God come to him and put chains on the feet of his ‘self’. His instinctual demands arise and try to make his emotions uncontrollable and his heart & eyes unfaithful, but this remembrance of God comes and makes every wandering eye and rising emotion limit-bound.

His interests urge him to be free from what’s permissible and what’s forbidden; his desires prevent him from abiding by moral requirements; his prejudices want to stop him from following the truth; his love for his wife and children provoke him to violate limits; the love of the world drives him after temporary benefits; the love of wealth and position leads him to oppression and rebellion; but at every opportunity, this living prayer, this prayer of remembrance of God, becomes a rock and stands before him and his moving steps stop. At some point, even if he is overwhelmed by emotions and compelled by circumstances, his matters never become a matter of a rebellious person; rather, in the next prayer he realizes that God is alive and watching over him. So, he turns to the Lord and repents.

Thus, prayer keeps man away from sins at every stage of life. Because when the prayers are offered properly, man always remembers and recalls God. This is the remembrance that saves man from sin, not soulless standing and prostration.

Translated by Muzamil Nazeer