Commentary ~ How to Commit a Sin

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

Here is an anecdote of Ibrahim Edhem or rather Ibrahim ben Edhem ben Suleyman ben Mansour el-Balkhi. He was nicknamed Abu Izhaq. He died in the year 161 or 162 (778-779).

It is said that someone came to find Ibrahim and said to him: “O Ibrahim I have done to myself much harm, give me advice.” — Hear now my advice and do six things:

  • When you have committed a sin, deprive yourself of eating the food that the Lord Most High gives you. – But I could never do that interrupted the other. – What! Ibrahim replied. Is it just that you always enjoy the resources that the Lord Most High provides you, while you do not serve Him and you do not stop offending Him?

  • If you are about to commit a sin, get out from the Lord Most High’s kingdom. – But the man said, His kingdom extends from east to west; how do I get out? – Well, stay there then, but renounce sinning and no rebel no more.

  • When you go to sin, put yourself in a place where the Lord Most High does not see you. – But you cannot hide one single act from Him. – Well then, said Ibrahim, is it acceptable that you live on food that He provides you, that you live in His kingdom and commit bad deeds under His eyes?

  • When the Angel of Death will come to claim your soul, tell him: “Give me respite; I will do penance”. – But how can the Angel of Death hear such a proposal? – If so, said Ibrahim, then do penance now, so as not to repent when the Angel of Death comes.

  • Once in your last home (grave), push away from your person the Angels Munkir and Nekir (the two angels that will question us in our graves). – But I cannot do that. – Ok then it is necessary to practice good works to be able to answer these two interrogators.

  • On the Day of Resurrection, when a Sovereign Order commands to drive the sinners to Hell, say you will not go. – That is enough, Ibrahim, you have told me enough.”

And he did penance.

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