Eventually, I’ll write about contracts and how gorgeous they are—contracts between our soul and our body, between individuals in love, between us and The Infinite Last One. I want for now to address a question I received regarding the state of being Muslim, and how we know that we are.
In Islam, the only truly unforgivable sin is shirk (4:48), or associations with The Only One. It is what breaks/undoes the contract committing a Muslim to The Sole One. Shirk is an indiscretion of the mind that is incredibly easy to commit: because we can transgress by associating ourselves, shirk can take the form of bigotry or arrogance. We can commit shirk when we judge ourselves to be better than others (think shaiytan), when our practice does not speak our declared faith, when we forgive sins that were not committed against us but against others as though it were our place to dismiss them, when our actions do not translate the Qur’an, and when we are oppressors. All of these, if deemed shirk by Ar-Raqeeb, can make us unMuslim.
What is the path to redemption if shirk is unforgivable (4:48)? Islam is a faith of fluidity, and Muslims constantly recite the shahada. Incidentally, the declaration of faith is the only requirement to converting to Islam, which starts a soul anew. Of course, once Muslim, we recite this testimony all the time. This signifies that we are constantly in a state of conversion. (What a lovely and romantic thought, that we are constantly reconverting to Islam, like renewing wedding vows.)
What’s striking here is that this path to redemption also signifies that shirk in whatever form—bigotry, violent transgression, oppression, etc.—is a type of sin that is undone rather than forgiven. The transgression must be reversed because it cannot be excused (4:48). And thus we undo our damage and renew our vows to The True Love.