#26: Boasting One’s Sins to Others

Question:

What is the ruling for a person who likes to boast or disclose his sins to others?

Answer:

The act of exposing or telling others of one’s sins is a major sin. This is based on a narration from Abu Hurairah RA, where Rasullullah PBUH said:

كُلُّ أُمَّتِي مُعَافًى إِلاَّ الْمُجَاهِرِينَ، وَإِنَّ مِنَ الْمَجَانَةِ أَنْ يَعْمَلَ الرَّجُلُ بِاللَّيْلِ عَمَلاً، ثُمَّ يُصْبِحَ وَقَدْ سَتَرَهُ اللَّهُ، فَيَقُولَ يَا فُلاَنُ عَمِلْتُ الْبَارِحَةَ كَذَا وَكَذَا، وَقَدْ بَاتَ يَسْتُرُهُ رَبُّهُ وَيُصْبِحُ يَكْشِفُ سِتْرَ اللَّهِ عَنْهُ

“All the sins of my followers will be forgiven except those of the Mujahirin (those who commit a sin openly or disclose their sins to the people). An example of such disclosure is that a person commits a sin at night and though Allah screens it from the public, then he comes in the morning, and says, ‘O so-and-so, I did such-and-such (evil) deed yesterday,’ though he spent his night screened by his Lord (none knowing about his sin) and in the morning he removes Allah’s screen from himself.” [1]

() as explained by Ibn Hajar al-‘Asqalani is an individual who tells his sins himself to others of which Allah SWT has covered. He talked about it to others. Whilst () in the above hadith is a group of people who commit sins in public and talked about them. [2] He also explained: “Whoever intended to disclose his sins, or talked about his sins to others, Allah os angry at him and will not cover his sins. Whoever intended to hide his sins for he is ashamed towards Allah and others, Allah SWT will bless him and screened it.” [3]

There are two categories of individuals who are considered al-mujahir:

  1. A person who sins public. The sin is done clearly in front of others. He is considered to have wronged himself for the sin he committed. He has also sinned on others because he is a factor of them following him in committing his sins.
  2. A person who commits his sins alone but then tells them to others.

A Muslim who believes shouldn’t feel proud in spreading or showcasing the sins he committed. From Nawwas bin Sam’an RA, the Prophet PBUH said:

الْبِرُّ حُسْنُ الْخُلُقِ وَالإِثْمُ مَا حَاكَ فِى صَدْرِكَ وَكَرِهْتَ أَنْ يَطَّلِعَ عَلَيْهِ النَّاسُ

“The essence of virtue is (manifested in) good morals (Akhlaq) whereas sinful conduct is that which turns in your heart (making you feel uncomfortable) and you dislike that it would be disclosed to other people.”

Imam al-Nawawi when explaining the above hadith said: The meaning of () is something that makes a person’s heart anxious, doubtful, closes a person’s heart, resulting in uncertainty, fear and worry that he may have sinned. [5]

Wallahu a’lam.

 

[1] Riwayat Al-Bukhari (6069)

[2] Fatḥ al-Bārī Sharḥ Ṣahīḥ al-Bukhārī, 10/487

[3] Ibid., 10/488

[4] Riwayat Muslim (2553)

[5] Sharḥ al-Nawawī ʿalā Muslim, 8/343

 

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