When one makes the hajj pilgrimige what sins are forgiven? Are all sins – both minor and major – forgiven? Or are just minor ones forgiven? I hear a lot of disagreement among my colleagues on this topic.
One of the prime requirements for the forgiveness of major sins is the sincere desire and effort on the part of the individual, who seeks forgiveness. If this desire and effort is lacking, then there is no reason why such major sins be forgiven. However, if there, indeed, is a sincere desire and effort on the part of the individual, then before undertaking the journey for Hajj, he should first fulfill all the conditions that qualify a person for complete forgiveness.
The major requirements that need to be met to qualify for forgiveness from major sins are:
Repentance: that is, the person should sincerely – from the depths of his heart – repent and feel sorry for having committed the sin.
Resolve to Correction: that is, the person should sincerely resolve to correct his behavior in future and avoid indulgence in the sin again.
Willingness to Undo the Sin, wherever possible: that is, the person should be willing and prepared to undo the wrong, wherever possible, that he had committed and for which he seeks forgiveness. It is important to note that if it is possible to undo the wrong that had been done and yet the person is not willing to do it, then it is a sign of the lack of real and sincere desire and effort on the part of the individual in seeking forgiveness. For instance, if a person has wrongfully deprived another of his right, to qualify for forgiveness, the person should not only repent and resolve to correct his behavior in future, but should also return the right to the person he had deprived and seek his forgiveness for having done injustice to him. Likewise, if a person has given a false testimony he should first correct his testimony, even if it means facing the humiliation in the court – and possibly in public – for having given a false testimony.
After all these conditions are met, Hajj would completely relieve the person of all his sins, which he might have committed, knowingly or in ignorance. On the contrary, if these conditions are not met, it would only evidence the lack of sincere desire and effort on the part of the individual to be forgiven. When the person, himself, is not sincere and true in his desires and efforts to be forgiven, why would God forgive him?
I hope this helps.
September 8, 2000