Does Allah Desire That People Sin? A Clarification of an Important Hadith

Does Allah Desire That People Sin? A Clarification of an Important Hadith

Mohamad Mostafa Nassar


Br. Bassam Zawadi

Argument Posed by Critics:

In the hadith literature we read the following statement attributed to Muhammad:

Abu Ayyub Ansari reported that Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: If you were not to commit sins, Allah would have swept you out of existence and would have replaced you by another people who have committed sin, and then asked forgiveness from Allah, and He would have granted them pardon. (Sahih Muslim, Book 037, Number 6621)

Here it basically says that Allah wants us to commit sins. In fact, he NEEDS us to commit sins in order for him to be considered a complete deity. This shows that the Muslim God is immoral and deficient for wanting human beings to commit sins, for he relies on human beings who commit sins to exist in order that he may exert his attribute of mercy and be considered a complete deity.


One way to interpret scripture is the “bad intentioned Islamic critic” way and that is to look for any excuse to abuse the literal reading of a text in isolation of other scriptural texts and attach to it negative meanings and connotations in order to attack Islam. This is the path these critics took when it came to interpreting the aforementioned hadith.

The other way is to keep an open mind, analyze scripture in its proper and overall context in light of other verses and ahaadith out there and truly seek and desire to learn what the overall intended message behind a particular verse or hadith is. This is the path we seek to take in this article when it comes to analyzing and understanding the aforementioned hadith.

Let us see how some top Islamic scholars understood and interpreted this hadith.

Shaykh Saalih Al-Fawzaan said:

ุงู„ุญุฏูŠุซ ูŠุฏู„ ุนู„ู‰ ู…ุณุฃู„ุชูŠู† ุนุธูŠู…ุชูŠู†โ€:โ€ 

ุฃูˆู„ุง ู€ ุงู„ู…ุณุฃู„ุฉ ุงู„ุฃูˆู„ู‰โ€:โ€ ุฃู† ุงู„ู„ู‡ ุณุจุญุงู†ู‡ ูˆุชุนุงู„ู‰ ุนููˆ ูŠุญุจ ุงู„ุนููˆุŒ ุบููˆุฑ ูŠุญุจ ุงู„ู…ุบูุฑุฉโ€.โ€ 

ุซุงู†ูŠุง ู€ ูˆุงู„ู…ุณุฃู„ุฉ ุงู„ุซุงู†ูŠุฉโ€:โ€ ููŠู‡ ุจุดุงุฑุฉ ู„ู„ุชุงุฆุจูŠู† ุจู‚ุจูˆู„ ุชูˆุจุชู‡ู… ูˆู…ุบูุฑุฉ ุฐู†ูˆุจู‡ู… ูˆุฃู„ุง ูŠู‚ู†ุทูˆุง ู…ู† ุฑุญู…ุฉ ุงู„ู„ู‡ ูˆูŠุจู‚ูˆุง ุนู„ู‰ ู…ุนุงุตูŠู‡ู… ูˆูŠุตุฑูˆุง ุนู„ูŠู‡ุงุŒ ุจู„ ุนู„ูŠู‡ู… ุฃู† ูŠุชูˆุจูˆุง ูˆูŠุณุชุบูุฑูˆุง ุงู„ู„ู‡ ุณุจุญุงู†ู‡ ูˆุชุนุงู„ู‰ุŒ ู„ุฃู† ุงู„ู„ู‡ ูุชุญ ู„ู‡ู… ุจุงุจ ุงู„ุงุณุชุบูุงุฑ ูˆุจุงุจ ุงู„ุชูˆุจุฉุŒ ู‡ุฐุง ู…ุนู†ู‰ ุงู„ุญุฏูŠุซโ€.โ€ 

ูˆู„ูŠุณ ู…ุนู†ุงู‡ ุฃู† ุงู„ู„ู‡ ูŠุญุจ ู…ู† ุนุจุงุฏู‡ ุฃู† ูŠุฐู†ุจูˆุง ุฃูˆ ูŠุญุจ ุงู„ู…ุนุงุตูŠุŒ ูุงู„ู„ู‡ ุณุจุญุงู†ู‡ ูˆุชุนุงู„ู‰ ู„ุง ูŠุญุจ ุงู„ูƒูุฑ ูˆู„ุง ูŠุฑุถุงู‡ ูˆู„ุง ูŠุญุจ ุงู„ู…ุนุงุตูŠุŒ ูˆู„ูƒู†ู‡ ูŠุญุจ ู…ู† ุนุจุงุฏู‡ ุฅุฐุง ุฃุฐู†ุจูˆุง ูˆุนุตูˆุง ุฃู† ูŠุชูˆุจูˆุง ุฅู„ูŠู‡ ุณุจุญุงู†ู‡ ูˆุชุนุงู„ู‰ ูˆุฃู† ูŠุณุชุบูุฑูˆู‡ุŒ ู‡ุฐุง ู…ุนู†ู‰ ุงู„ุญุฏูŠุซโ€.

The hadith highlights two great points:

First of all – the first point: Allah All-Mighty is, The Forgiving and loves to forgive sins, The Concealer of Sins and loves to conceal sins.

Secondly – the second point: This is a glad tiding for having repentance accepted and sins concealed to those seeking repentance and that they should not despair of the Mercy of Allah and should not remain insisting on committing their sins. Rather, they should repent to Allah All-Mighty and ask for their sins to be concealed because Allah opened for them the doors of repentance and concealment of their sins. This is the meaning of the hadeeth.

.. And the meaning of the hadeeth is not that Allah loves that His servants commit offenses and sins, for Allah All-Mighty does not love kufr and is not pleased with it and does not love sins, however He does love those servants of His who seek His repentance if they commit offenses and sins. This is the meaning of the hadeeth. (Source)

At-Touribushti (d. 661 A.H.) said:

ู„ู… ูŠุฑุฏ ู‡ุฐุง ุงู„ุญุฏูŠุซ ู…ูˆุฑุฏ ุชุณู„ูŠุฉ ุงู„ู…ู†ู‡ู…ูƒูŠู† ููŠ ุงู„ุฐู†ูˆุจ ูˆุชูˆู‡ูŠู† ุฃู…ุฑู‡ุง ุนู„ู‰ ุงู„ู†ููˆุณ ูˆู‚ู„ุฉ ุงู„ุงุญุชูุงู„ ู…ู†ู‡ู… ุจู…ูˆุงู‚ุนุชู‡ุง ุนู„ู‰ ู…ุง ูŠุชูˆู‡ู…ู‡ ุฃู‡ู„ ุงู„ุบุฑุฉ ุจุงู„ู„ู‡ ุŒ ูุฅู† ุงู„ุฃู†ุจูŠุงุก ุตู„ูˆุงุช ุงู„ู„ู‡ ุนู„ูŠู‡ู… ุฅู†ู…ุง ุจุนุซูˆุง ู„ูŠุฑุฏุนูˆุง ุงู„ู†ุงุณ ุนู† ุบุดูŠุงู† ุงู„ุฐู†ูˆุจ ูˆุงุณุชุฑุณุงู„ ู†ููˆุณู‡ู… ููŠู‡ุง ุŒ ุจู„ ูˆุฑุฏ ู…ูˆุฑุฏ ุงู„ุจูŠุงู† ู„ุนููˆุง ุงู„ู„ู‡ ุนู† ุงู„ู…ุฐู†ุจูŠู† ูˆุญุณู† ุงู„ุชุฌุงูˆุฒ ุนู†ู‡ู… ุŒ ู„ูŠุนุธู…ูˆุง ุงู„ุฑุบุจุฉ ููŠ ุงู„ุชูˆุจุฉ ูˆุงู„ุงุณุชุบูุงุฑ ุŒ ูˆุงู„ู…ุนู†ู‰ ุงู„ู…ุฑุงุฏ ู…ู† ุงู„ุญุฏูŠุซ ู‡ูˆ ุฅู† ุงู„ู„ู‡ ุชุนุงู„ู‰ ูƒู…ุง ุฃุญุจ ุฃู† ูŠุญุณู† ุฅู„ู‰ ุงู„ู…ุญุณู† ุฃุญุจ ุฃู† ูŠุชุฌุงูˆุฒ ุนู† ุงู„ู…ุณูŠุก ุŒ ูˆู‚ุฏ ุฏู„ ุนู„ู‰ ุฐู„ูƒ ุบูŠุฑ ูˆุงุญุฏ ู…ู† ุฃุณู…ุงุกู‡ ุงู„ุบูุงุฑ ุงู„ุญู„ูŠู… ุงู„ุชูˆุงุจ ุงู„ุนููˆ ุŒ ูู„ู… ูŠูƒู† ู„ูŠุฌุนู„ ุงู„ุนุจุงุฏ ุดุฃู†ู‹ุง ูˆุงุญุฏู‹ุง ูƒุงู„ู…ู„ุงุฆูƒุฉ ู…ุฌุจูˆู„ูŠู† ุนู„ู‰ ุงู„ุชู†ุฒู‡ ู…ู† ุงู„ุฐู†ูˆุจ ุŒ ุจู„ ูŠุฎู„ู‚ ููŠู‡ู… ู…ู† ูŠูƒูˆู† ุจุทุจุนู‡ ู…ูŠุงู„ุงู‹ ุฅู„ู‰ ุงู„ู‡ูˆู‰ ู…ูุชุชู†ู‹ุง ูˆู…ุชู„ุจุณู‹ุง ุจู…ุง ูŠู‚ุชุถูŠู‡.

This hadeeth hasn’t come in order to provide laxity to those who are absorbed in committing sins and undermine its effects on the souls and justify having a lack of care for committing sins just as those who are neglectful of Allah fancy. The prophets peace be upon them were sent to discourage the people from delving into committing sins and unconstraining themselves in regards to it.

Rather, the hadith has come in order to make clear the fact that Allah is willing to forgive sinners and overlook their faults so that it may increase their desire to seek repentance. The intended meaning of this hadith is that Allah All-Mighty, just as He would like to do good to those who do good, also likes to overlook the faults of the sinner. 

And this is manifested by more than one of His names Al-GhaffaarAl-HaleemAt-TawaabAl-‘Afuw. He wasn’t going to make His servants in one state, just like His angels who were fashioned in a way that they don’t incline towards sin.

Ibn Malik said:

Rather, He created from amongst His creation those who have a nature, which inclines towards desires and are so engrossed in them.(as cited by Al-Mubaarakfuri in his commentary Mir’aat al-Mafaateeh Sharh Mishkaat al-Masaabeeh)

ู„ูŠุณ ู‡ุฐุง ุชุญุฑูŠุถุงู‹ ู„ู„ู†ุงุณ ุนู„ู‰ ุงู„ุฐู†ูˆุจ ุจู„ ูƒุงู† ุตุฏูˆุฑู‡ ู„ุชุณู„ูŠุฉ ุงู„ุตุญุงุจุฉ ูˆุฅุฒุงู„ุฉ ุดุฏุฉ ุงู„ุฎูˆู ุนู† ุตุฏูˆุฑู‡ู…ุŒ ู„ุฃู† ุงู„ุฎูˆู ูƒุงู† ุบุงู„ุจุงู‹ ุนู„ูŠู‡ู… ุญุชู‰ ูุฑ ุจุนุถู‡ู… ุฅู„ู‰ ุฑุคูˆุณ ุงู„ุฌุจุงู„ ู„ู„ุนุจุงุฏุฉุŒ ูˆุจุนุถู‡ู… ุงุนุชุฒู„ ุงู„ู†ุณุงุกุŒ ูˆุจุนุถู‡ู… ุงู„ู†ูˆู…ุŒ ูˆููŠ ุงู„ุญุฏูŠุซ ุชู†ุจูŠู‡ ุนู„ู‰ ุฑุฌุงุก ู…ุบูุฑุฉ ุงู„ู„ู‡ ุชุนุงู„ู‰ ูˆุชุญู‚ู‚ ุฃู† ู…ุง ุณุจู‚ ููŠ ุนู„ู…ู‡ ูƒุงุฆู† ู„ุฃู†ู‡ ุณุจู‚ ููŠ ุนู„ู…ู‡ ุชุนุงู„ู‰ ุฃู†ู‡ ูŠุบูุฑ ู„ู„ุนุงุตูŠ ูู„ูˆ ู‚ุฏุฑ ุนุฏู… ุนุงุต ู„ุฎู„ู‚ ุงู„ู„ู‡ ู…ู† ูŠุนุตูŠู‡ ููŠุบูุฑ ู„ู‡.

This is not an encouragement for people to commit sins, rather it was issued (i.e. the hadith) in order to provide ease and relaxation to the companions and remove the extreme fear they had, for fear overcame them to the extent that some of them would escape to the top of mountains in order to worship, while others secluded themselves from women.

Some even avoided sleeping. And this hadith alerts our attention to the hopeful forgiveness of Allah All-Mighty. It has been ascertained that whatever preceded in Allah’s Knowledge actually exists, for it preceded in Allah’s Knowledge that Allah would forgive the sinner.

So even if Allah destined that there would be a sinless person, He would still create those who would sin against Him and forgive them. (As cited by Muhammad bin ‘Alaan As-Siddiqui in Daleel al-Faaliheen li-Turuq Riyadh us-Saaliheen, Volume 4, Pages 59-60)

Zayn ud-deen Abdur Raouf Al-Munaawi (d. 1031 A.H.) said:

)ู„ูˆ ู„ู… ุชุฐู†ุจูˆุง ู„ุฌุงุก ุงู„ู„ู‡ ุชุนุงู„ู‰ ุจู‚ูˆู… ูŠุฐู†ุจูˆู†) ุฃูŠ ุซู… ูŠุณุชุบูุฑูˆู† ( ู„ูŠุบูุฑ ู„ู‡ู… ) ู„ู…ุง ููŠ ุงูŠู‚ุงุน ุงู„ุนุจุงุฏ ููŠ ุงู„ุฐู†ูˆุจ ุฃุญูŠุงู†ุง ู…ู† ุงู„ููˆุงุฆุฏ ุงู„ุชูŠ ู…ู†ู‡ุง ุชู†ูƒูŠุณ ุงู„ู…ุฐู†ุจ ุฑุฃุณู‡ ูˆุงุนุชุฑุงูู‡ ุจุงู„ุนุฌุฒ ูˆุชุจุฑุคู‡ ู…ู† ุงู„ุนุฌุจ

(If you were not to commit sins, Allah would have swept you out of existence and would have replaced you with another people who have committed sin): that is, they would seek repentance. (and He would have granted them pardon):

sometimes there is benefit when the servant commits sin. Of these benefits is the humbling of the sinner and his admission of his deficiencies and his disavowal of self-admiration.(Zayn ud-deen Abdur Raouf Al-Munaawi, at-Tayseer bi-Sharh al-Jaami’ as-SagheerAlso see his Faydul Qadeer Sharh al-Jaami’ as-Sagheer, hadith no. 7418)

Sheikh Sulaiman bin Abdullah Al-Majed said:

ูˆู…ุนู†ุงู‡ ุฃู† ู…ู† ุญูƒู…ุฉ ุงู„ู„ู‡ ุชุนุงู„ู‰ ููŠ ุฎู„ู‚ ุงู„ู†ุงุณ ู‡ูˆ ุจู„ูˆุงู‡ู… ุŒ ู‚ุงู„ ุชุนุงู„ู‰ : “ู‡ูˆ ุงู„ุฐูŠ ุฎู„ู‚ ุงู„ู…ูˆุช ูˆุงู„ุญูŠุงุฉ ู„ูŠุจู„ูˆูƒู… ุฃูŠูƒู… ุฃุญุณู† ุนู…ู„ุง” ุŒ ูˆู„ู‡ุฐุง ูุทุฑู‡ู… ุงู„ู„ู‡ ุชุนุงู„ู‰ ุนู„ู‰ ุญุจ ุงู„ุดู‡ูˆุงุช ุŒ ูˆุฌุนู„ ููŠู‡ู… ุฎุตุงุฆุต ุงู„ู†ู‚ุต ู…ู† ุงู„ุบูู„ุฉ ูˆุงู„ู†ุณูŠุงู† ูˆุงู„ุฃุซุฑุฉ ูˆุงู„ุญุณุฏ ุ› ู…ู…ุง ูŠูƒูˆู† ุณุจุจุง ู„ู„ู…ุนุงุตูŠ ุŒ ูˆู„ูˆ ู„ู… ูŠู‚ุน ู…ู†ู‡ู… ุงู„ุฐู†ุจ ู„ูƒุงู†ูˆุง ู…ู† ุงู„ู…ู„ุงุฆูƒุฉ ุงู„ุฐูŠู† ุฌุจู„ูˆุง ุนู„ู‰ ุงู„ุทุงุนุฉ ุงู„ู…ุญุถุฉ ุ› ูู‡ู†ุง ุชุชุฎู„ู ุญูƒู…ุฉ ุงู„ู„ู‡ ููŠ ุงู„ุฎู„ู‚ ู„ุฃุฌู„ ุงู„ุจู„ูˆู‰ ุŒ ูˆู„ูˆ ูˆู‚ุน ู‡ุฐุง ู„ุงุณุชุจุฏู„ู‡ู… ุจุบูŠุฑู‡ู… ุ› ู„ุชุญู‚ูŠู‚ ุงู„ุญูƒู…ุฉ ุงู„ู…ุฐูƒูˆุฑุฉ . ูˆุงู„ุบุงูŠุฉ ู…ู† ู‡ุฐุง ุงู„ูƒู„ุงู… ู‡ูˆ ุชู‚ุฑูŠุฑ ุนุธูŠู… ู†ู‚ุต ุงู„ุฅู†ุณุงู† ุŒ ูˆุนุธูŠู… ุนููˆ ุงู„ู„ู‡ ุชุนุงู„ู‰ ุนู† ุนุจุงุฏู‡ ุŒ

ูˆุฃู† ู„ุง ูŠุฌุนู„ ุงู„ู…ุฑุก ู…ู† ู…ุนุตูŠุชู‡ ุณุจุจุง ู„ู„ุจุนุฏ ุนู† ุงู„ู„ู‡ ุ› ุจู„ ุจุงู„ู…ุจุงุฏุฑุฉ ุฅู„ู‰ ุงู„ุชูˆุจุฉ ุ› ู„ู„ู†ุฌุงุญ ููŠ ุงู„ุงู…ุชุญุงู† ุงู„ุฑุจุงู†ูŠ ุจุฅุธู‡ุงุฑ ุงู„ุนุจูˆุฏูŠุฉ ู„ู„ู‡ ููŠ ุฃุฌู„ ุงู„ุนุจุงุฏุงุช ูˆู‡ูŠ ุงู„ุชูˆุจุฉ ูˆุงู„ุฅู†ุงุจุฉ ุงู„ุชูŠ ุชุฏู„ ุนู„ู‰ ุญุณู† ู…ุนุชู‚ุฏ ุงู„ุนุงุตูŠ ู…ู† ุงู„ุฎูˆู ูˆุงู„ู…ุญุจุฉ ูˆุงู„ุฑุฌุงุก ูˆุงู„ุฅู†ุงุจุฉ ูˆุนุฏู… ุงู„ูŠุฃุณ ูˆุงู„ู‚ู†ูˆุท ู…ู† ุฑุญู…ุฉ ุงู„ู„ู‡ ุ› ู…ู…ุง ูŠุญุจู‡ ุงู„ู„ู‡ ูˆูŠุฑุถุงู‡ ู…ู† ุนุจุฏู‡ ุ› ููŠูƒูˆู† ุณุจุจุง ู„ู…ุบูุฑุฉ ุฐู†ูˆุจู‡ . ูˆุจุงู„ุฌู…ู„ุฉ ูุฅู† ุงู„ู…ู‚ุตูˆุฏ ู‡ูˆ ุงู„ุญุซ ุนู„ู‰ ุงู„ุชูˆุจุฉ ุŒ ูˆุนุฏู… ุงู„ู‚ู†ูˆุท ู…ู† ุฑุญู…ุฉ ุงู„ู„ู‡.

It means that one of the wisdoms of Allah in creating mankind has to do with trialing them. Allah said: “Who has created death and life, that He may test you which of you is best in deed” (67:2) and this is why Allah instilled into them natural inclinations toward worldly desires.

He also created them with deficiencies such as heedlessness, forgetfulness, selfishness and envy, which are causal factors leading up to committing sins. If they did not commit sins, then they would be like the angels who have been fashioned in a way that they only purely offer worship. 

This stands in contradiction to Allah’s wisdom of creating mankind in order that they go through trials and if this were to occur He would replace them with others than them in order to attain and actualize the aforementioned wisdom. The ultimate purpose behind this speech is making clear and known the great deficiency in human beings and the greatness of Allah All-Mighty’s Mercy displayed toward His servants. 

And that man should not make his committing of sins a reason for departing from God, but rather the initiative toward seeking repentance, in order to be successful in passing the test set forth by the Divine by displaying servitude toward Allah through acts of worship such as seeking repentance.

This indicates the sound belief of the sinner, for he is displaying fear, love, hope, repentance and hope in the Mercy of Allah. This is what Allah loves and is pleased with from His servant, consequently resulting in Allah’s forgiveness of his sins. In summation, the intended meaning (i.e. of the hadith) is incitement toward repentance and to not have despair in the Mercy of Allah.  (Source)

In summary, we see that the overall intended meaning and purpose of this hadeeth is that Allah is Merciful and that sinners should not despair of Allah’s Mercy. At the same time, Allah has a Divine Plan for salvation for mankind, which He desires to abide by.

He didn’t will and desire that we human beings be created like the angels who were fashioned and created in a way that they don’t have the free will and capacity to commit sins. Rather, human beings were created with the capacity and inclination to commit sins, due to them having the free will to do so.

Hence, Allah is emphasizing and reassuring us that He is fully aware of the fact that we are not capable of being perfect and that it was never in Allah’s Divine Plan for us to ever be so to begin with. If we were, then it would contradict the plan that Allah set forth for us and that is obviously something impossible to occur.

At the same time, Allah’s creating us in a way where we have inclinations towards sin make us realize that we have deficiencies and aren’t perfect, hence humbling us to be modest and realize that there is no justification for self-admiration. So when Allah says “and would have replaced you by another people who have committed sin”, He is emphasizing to us that it’s His Will and Divine Plan for us that we have free will and are prone to sin. That is a matter of emphasis only.

It’s like me saying “Even if I did hate my mother, I would still respect her”, in order to emphasize the importance that I have attached to respecting my mother. It doesn’t mean that I condone or am open to wanting to hate my mother!

Similarly, Allah is in no way showing that He is pleased with or accepting of mankind committing sins. Rather, His emphasis is on the fact that He has willed for us in His Divine Plan that we be created in a way in which we are prone to sin.

And aren’t fashioned like how the sinless and non-free willed angels are and as a result of that we shouldn’t have the false notion that just because we sin that means that should despair of Allah’s Mercy. This is the correct understanding of the hadith. 

Did Prophet Muhammed (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) commit sin?

Was Prophet Muhammed violent while Prophet Jesus was pacifist?

If you did not sin, Allah would replace you hadith.

Is it not a contradiction that Allah created the sins and human beings so that they would repent and that He blamed those who committed sins and threatened them with Hell?

Repentance for Sins in Islam


Paul the False Apostle of Satan