In the Name of Allaah, the Most Merciful…
Imaam al-Bukhaaree stated in his Saheeh (#6069), Book of Manners, Chapter: The Muslim’s Screening of Himself, with his chain to Aboo Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him), who said: I heard the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) saying:
“All of my ummah (nation of followers) will be excused, except for the mujaahireen (those who make their sins known). And verily it is a kind of mujaaharah (exposing one’s sins) that a man does something (sinful) at night, and then in the morning, when Allaah has screened his sin for him, he says, ‘Hey So-and-So! I did such-and-such last night…’ And the night passed with His Lord screening him, and he wakes up casting aside the screen of Allaah from himself.”
Imaam Muslim also reported it with a similar wording in his Book of az-Zuhd war-Raqaa’iq.
Benefits found in the hadeeth:
* In it is a clear prohibition of exposing one’s sins.
* The Muslim has hayaa’ (shame/shyness) that prevents him from exposing his sins.
* Hayaa’ (shyness/shame) is good, the whole of it, and it does not lead except to goodness, and it is a branch of eemaan.
* In the absence of hayaa’, the Muslim will expose his own sins, and the Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) conveyed to us something of the previous prophets’ messages, that “If you have no shame, then do as you wish!”
* Exposing one’s sins is taking the fact that Allaah has screened them for granted and a lack of thankfulness.
* Concealing one’s sins can not be considered hypocrisy, since we have been prohibited from exposing them, so rather it is an act of obedience.
* Exposing one’s sins can happen in more than one way. Notice that the Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) said, “And verily it is a kind of mujaaharah…” Meaning that there are other kinds. A man intentionally leaving evidence of his sin for others to see fits the description of mujaaharah as mentioned in the hadeeth, as does a man writing about his sins, or confessing to a pious person, as found among the Christians and some of the Soofees who have blindly imitated them. An exception to this would be a Muslim turning himself into those in authority and seeking to have the Islaamic punishment applied to him to purify himself, or a Muslim who wants to learn if his sin corrupted his Hajj, so he asks about the effects of his sexual intercourse that he had while he was in ihraam, and the likes, while he takes all means to screen himself in his question if possible, by saying, “If someone did such and such, then what is upon him…?”
* What is called “fah-wal-khitaab”, or something even more rightly being included in the meaning of this prohibition would be: actually commiting the sins in front of the people, since if it is prohibited to inform people about one’s sins, then even more despicable would be to actually commit the sin in front of the people. This shows even more of a lack of shame. This shows the mistake of the one who sins in public and says, “I am not a hypocrite, I do not try to hide what I do,” thinking to be upon sincerity. It also shows the straying of the extreme Soofees who commit sins in front of the people to be belittled by the people, thinking to attain humility and draw close to Allaah!
* Since all of the children of Aadam have sins, then they all have to conceal their sins.
* Some of the scholars, like Ibn al-Qayyim, affirmed the Name “as-Sitteer” (the One who screens) for Allaah the Almighty, based on a hadeeth collected by an-Nasaa’ee in his Sunan, and authenticated by al-Albaanee.
* Being shameful about one’s sins leads one to repent honestly between himself and his Lord.
* Speaking openly about one’s sins means that one takes that affair of disobedience that he did lightly, and thus it is not likely that he will repent from the sin.
* Being “excused” as mentioned in the hadeeth can refer to both this life and the Next. As for this life, then concealing one’s sins excuses a person from being talked about, and an-Nawawee mentioned that from the kinds of permissible backbiting is to mention the sins of people who expose their sins. As for the Next Life, then since concealing one’s sins is obedience to the Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam), an act of hayaa’ which is from eemaan, and something that leads to honest repentence, then it is something that earns the pleasure of Allaah. Thus, the person will be excused from what would reach him if Allaah was angry with him.
And Allaah knows best.
Written by: Moosaa Richardson
ST Archives: 11-3-2004