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The word “sin,” which, outside of the religious circle, has fallen out of favor in the modern world, is possibly related to a Saxon word that meant “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 Ḥamza Yūsuf

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