The Ruling on Mentioning Past Sins for the Purpose of Da’wah – Sheikh Saleh al Fowzan

In The Name of Allah The Merciful, The Bestower of His Mercy

2 weeks ago (May 11, 2009) Sheikh Saleh al Fowzan was asked the following question during the question and answer session at the end of his Tafsir class in Riyadh:

Question:
In our country America there are some individuals who used to sing and they have now become Muslims. These individuals have begun to give lectures for the purpose of calling the youth to Islam and advising them to abandon disbelief, but at times they (ex-singers) mention in their lectures some of the sins that they were upon in the past. Is this action correct?

Answer:

This is not correct. As for them giving da’wah and calling people to Islam, this is good. But as for them mentioning their past sins, this is not befitting. What is correct is that they seek forgiveness and abandon mentioning of those sins except within themselves. They mention their sins within themselves for the purpose of regret and seeking forgiveness. Also, mention of one’s past sins to an audience can possibly lead the listeners to fall into the same sins.

Audio link: liveislam.net/browsearchive.php?sid=&id=62312

The question is read toward the end of the class

Mustafa George
Saudi Arabia

Keeping Sins a Secret :

From among the teachings of Allah’s Messenger (sallahu alayhi wa sallam) is to keep sins a secret matter. If someone commits a sinful act which is against the Commandments of Allah, or is against the moral character, or is such an act that may cause harm to one’s honor, then he should keep it a secret and seek forgiveness from Allah in the darkness of night.

The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “My entire nation is safe, except al-Mujahirin (those who boast of their sins). Among the Mujaharah is that a man commits an (evil) act, and wakes up in the morning while Allah has kept his (sin) a secret, he says: “O so- and-so! Last night I did this and that.” He goes to sleep while Allah has kept his (sin) a secret but he wakes up in the morning and uncovers what Allah has kept a secret!” [Saheeh al-Bukhari]

Abdullah Ibn Masoud (May allah be pleased with him) related, `A man came to the Prophet and said: `O Messenger of Allah! I have mingled with a woman in the far side of al-Medina, and I fulfilled my desire short of actually having sexual intercourse with her. So, here am I, judge me according to what you decide.’ Umar Ibn al-Khattab (May allah be pleased with him) then said: `Allah had kept your secret, why did not you keep your secret?’ [Sharh Muslim]

Similarly,  if one becomes aware of somebody else’s sin, he should keep it a secret. Allah’s Messenger (sallahu alayhi wa sallam) said: “He, who relieves a hardship of this Dunya (world) for a believer, Allah will relieve (from him) a hardship of the Day of Resurrection; he who makes easy an indebted person, Allah will make it easy for him in the Dunya and the Hereafter; he who covers a Muslim (meaning his mistakes and shortcomings), Allah will cover him in the Dunya and the Hereafter …” [Sahih Muslim]