What is sinning?
Why do some people feel proud of themselves when they sin? They very easily say, “I don’t believe in your religion!” Or they say, “I’m not that religious!” Or, “I don’t want to be that religious!” What kind of talking is this? Sinning has nothing to do with religion. Poor person, whether you are religious or not, if you cut your fingers with a cleaver, this doesn’t have anything to do with your religion and beliefs! When you cut your fingers, it will hurt and you’ll be injured!
For example, when a person is not wearing Hijab or if a person becomes drunk, these people think that they have made God upset. They don’t think they have really done something wrong or hurt themselves. These people say, “I made a mistake! It’s not a big deal! You are bothering me about it so much, becoming upset, and won’t stop. Just stop it!”
Many think that sinning means trampling religion, doing acts in conflict with beliefs, and behaving like an unbeliever. This is not the first meaning of sinning! What is sinning? Is it only something that has made God upset?! Or is it something terrible, and a person should become surprised, “God, why have You become upset? I have hurt myself!”
For example, a person is thirsty, and since he is not paying attention, he drinks a glass of poisoned water. Others will say, “No! Why did you drink that?! This acid was for cleaning that certain place.” “Really?!” How can such a person go to a doctor? First of all, he will feel bad. I imagine this person will become pale, a little similar to Imam Ali (‘a) when he was asking for God’s forgiveness. The Imam paled when talking to God, “I have oppressed myself.” (Kumayl Supplication) “Doctor, I have ruined myself. I drank such a poison!”
We should understand the meaning of sinning. Firstly, sinning means a person has hurt himself. I think we have introduced religion in the wrong way from the foundation. Saying, “Religion is a program based on beliefs and faith”, is not an accurate presentation. From the base and beginning, religion is a program based on what benefits human beings! That which benefits him in this world and the Hereafter.
God gets upset about things that are harmful for me. God gets happy about the things I should do in my own favour. A tradition says, “If God hadn’t prohibited the forbidden deeds, a wise person should have avoided them himself anyway.” Such a person would say, “This is harmful for me. Why should I do such a thing?”
Like the story where God said, “O My Prophet, I thank Ja’far. Go ask him why.” It was due to some good characteristics that he had even before becoming Muslim. Ja’far explained, “One is that I never drank alcohol. I thought, ‘Why should I drink something, which ruins my mind.’ I never committed adultery. I never worshiped an idol. Because, I saw that these are wrong deeds.” That was why God said, “I like Hazrat Ja’far.” Why? Because, he didn’t do deeds, which would harm him. Good job. This is the meaning of sinning.
[From the series of speeches under the topic of, “What is sinning? How should we repent?”]