The word “sin” which, outside of the religious circle, has fallen out of favour in the modern world, is possibly related to a Saxon word that meant to “to wander”. Sin is an English translation of the Hebrew term “het” which like both its Arabic and Greek counterparts – khati’ah in Arabic and hamartia in the New Testament – is originally an archery term that meant “to miss the mark”. Sin was also used in archaic English as an archery term for a miss.

The idea being that sin, in a metaphysical sense, originates in a sound attempt at achieving a good but “misses the mark” by mistaking an apparent good for a real one.

Repentance is, in essence, redressing the miss and realigning one’s spiritual sights for the next attempt.


– Shaykh Hamza Yusuf


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