In Christianity, there is what is called the “unforgivable sin,” the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. In the Bible book of Matthew (12:31-32), Jesus said, “…every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.”
(The Holy Spirit is what guides an enlightened Christian to Truth (to Allah). To blaspheme the Holy Spirit is to effectively deny all guidance and to cut off one’s path to Allah. It seems that the sin is unforgivable not because Allah is lacking in mercy, but because the sinner has irreparably hardened his heart, and, thus, either cannot truly repent from the heart, or cannot truly receive forgiveness from the heart.)
I feel I recently committed this sin. I have lost most of the light I had up until then. I feel there is no prayer for me, and that judgment is already set. I feel I am truly in hell on Earth. There have been nights when I felt my spirit slipping from my body, but I hung on. I have daily thoughts and nightly dreams of hell and damnation. I feel eternally damned and that the sum total of all my remaining actions on Earth must necessarily be against Allah. Yet I am still alive and still on Earth. Would it be honorable to Allah to take my own life?
I don’t know much about Islam, but I read your article on what Islam says about suicide on your website1. It says that death is controlled by the Almighty Himself. Why would a man continue to survive if he is damned, if his judgment is set? Why do I still walk the earth? Why have I been allowed to hang on? Does Allah want to make an example of me? Is there any salvation for me? Should I continue to have faith in Allah despite my implicit lack of faith by denying the Holy Spirit? Is there any corresponding unforgivable sin in Islam? I desperately seek to return to Allah but it seems he hasn’t heard me in many weeks.
I am not an expert on Christianity and, therefore, I don’t think that it would be prudent on my part to comment on it.
Nevertheless, what I can tell you is that in Islam, all sins, no matter how grave and how serious they may be, are forgiven after true, sincere and honest repentance. Moreover, according to the Muslim faith, as long as a person lives, his ultimately fate (of either eternal bliss or eternal punishment) has not yet been decided by the Almighty. Thus, a sinner has a chance of repenting and becoming pious and vice versa, as long as the person lives.
In the light of the directives of the Qur’an, when I look at the related verses of the Gospels, I am inclined to interpret that what Jesus (pbuh) actually said was that if a person who is guilty of the said crime dies without truly repenting for his sin, he shall never be forgiven. This is precisely what the Qur’an has said about associating partners to the One God. It says that God may forgive all other sins, but He has declared that He shall never forgive the sin of associating partners with Him (unless the person truly repents for his sin) (Al-Nisaa 4: 48)
Although I am not an expert on Christianity, yet there seems to be some difference of opinion regarding the forgiveness of the stated ‘sin’ after repentance. Most of the Christian writers seem to be of the opinion that even repentance will not be able to redeem a person from the grievous results of his actions. However, there are others who believe that true repentance shall completely do away with every sin. For instance, Adam Clarke, in his commentary on Matthew, writes:
Therefore I think that, though there was no such forgiveness to be extended to this crime as to absolve the man from the punishment of temporal death, yet, on repentance, mercy might be extended to the soul; and every sin may be repented of under the Gospel dispensation. (Adam Clarke’s Commentary on Matthew 12: 32)
My dear brother, I would urge you – in the name of the all encompassing mercy of our Most Loving Creator – not even to consider taking your life. This life is the most precious gift of our Creator. Taking it would really imply that we refuse to value or even accept the gift of the Merciful. I request you in the name of His loving kindness to not to lose hope in His mercy and His forgiveness. I assure you, my brother, the mercy of our Lord is much more than even that of our mothers and our fathers. I remind you of the call of the prophets of God “I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.” (Luke 5: 32). I remind you of the saying of the prophet Jesus (pbuh) “I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.” (Luke 15: 7). I remind you, my brother, of the promise of our Creator: “As for those who repent, truly believe and do good deeds (i.e. bear fruit in keeping with repentance – Luke 3: 8) God shall replace their Bad deeds with Good ones” (Al-Furqaan 25: 70).
And I remind you of the promise of the Merciful:
“Tell them: My people, who have transgressed upon their own selves, do not despair of God’s mercy. Indeed God shall forgive all the sins [if you truly repent and correct your behavior]. (Al-Zumar 39: 53)
My dear brother, let us resolve to live a life of submission to the directives of our Lord, and let us pray for His forgiveness for any wrong that our hands may have wrought and let us be thankful for all His blessings till He allows us to breathe His air. I assure you, if we are true in our resolve, we shall find the mercy of our Lord waiting for us, when we meet Him.
My fondest regards and prayers for you.
February 28, 2001