by Dr. Tauseef Ahmed Balroo
The one that has repented is successful and happy
My brothers and sisters, there’s a hadeeth Qudsi collected by Imaam at-Tirmidhi (rahimahullaah) in which Allaah’s Messenger (ﷺ) mentions from Allaah (subhana wa ta’ala) some tremendous words that give hope to the hearts and raise the spirits of a person as it relates to its connection with Allaah (subhana wa ta’ala).
Allaah said, “O son of Adam, so long as you call upon Me and ask of Me, I shall forgive you for what you have done, and I shall not mind. O son of Adam, were your sins to reach the clouds of the sky and were you then to ask forgiveness of Me, I would forgive you. O son of Adam, were you to come to Me with sins nearly as great as the earth and were you then to face Me, ascribing no partner to Me, I would bring you forgiveness nearly as great as it.”
In that there is courage for the hearts and it puts into the souls a desire to turn to Allah and never give up hope, for indeed the believer does not give up hope in Allaah.
The point is, upon us is to be constant in Istighfar (seeking forgiveness). As long as you are seeking forgiveness from Allaah, sincerely saying Astaghfirullah (I seek forgiveness from Allah), Allaahummaghfirli (O Allaah! Forgive me) and so on, Allaah does not punish.
Allaah mentions in the Qur’aan: “And Allaah would not punish them while they seek forgiveness.” (8:33) – that’s why our tongues should be moist with the remembrance of Allaah by praising and glorifying Him, and seeking His mercy, His forgiveness and His guidance.
Were you to meet Allaah with an earth full of sins but you haven’t committed shirk at all, then Allaah would come to you with forgiveness as great as it (the earth).
The Prophets and Messengers themselves were constant in seeking forgiveness. Imagine the individuals whose sins are already forgiven and their place in Jannah is assured for them yet seek forgiveness from Allaah (subhana wa ta’ala) constantly.
Musa (alaihis’sallam) said to Allaah, “My Lord, indeed I have transgressed myself so forgive me.” Whereas the Prophet (ﷺ), Allaah commanded him to say, “And seek forgiveness for your sins O Muhammad and for the believing men and women.”
Seeking forgiveness is something to which we don’t give the attention it deserves. Allaah has forbidden us from becoming from those individuals who despair of the mercy of Allaah and there is not a crime that Allaah will not forgive except one if you die upon it and Allaah says in the Qur’aan: “Verily, Allah forgives not that partners should be set up with him in worship, but He forgives except that (anything else) to whom He pleases.” (4:48) – so any crime lesser than Shirk, Allaah (subhaana wa ta’ala) will forgive as long as you seek forgiveness, turn to Him and you are penitent.
Like the Prophet or early pious predecessors used to say “tawbah is regret” meaning that tawbah is to feel regret, feeling regretful of the things you did and every time you disobeyed Allaah. This regret leads to the path of tawbah and when it is said regret is tawbah, it means the greatest portion of turning to Allaah in repentance is regret, knowing that you did something wrong and then you turn to Allaah and Allaah says in the Qur’aan: “Say, “O ‘Ibaadi (My slaves) who have transgressed against themselves (by committing evil deeds and sins)! Despair not of the Mercy of Allah, verily Allah forgives all sins. Truly, He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (39:53)
Shaykh Abdul-‘Aziz ibn Baaz (rahimahullah) said: “The scholars have agreed that this noble ayah was revealed regarding the ones who repented.” So whosoever repented, with a sincere and truthful tawbah then Allaah will forgive all of his sins due to this ayah, likewise where Allaah mentions, “O you who believe! Turn to Allah with sincere repentance! It may be that your Lord will remit from you your sins, and admit you into Gardens under which rivers flow (Paradise)”.
Your Lord is oft-forgiving Most Merciful. So turn to Him which requires you make dhikr of Him. How can you seek forgiveness and become repentant with regard to your shortcomings and your acts of disobedience except by making dhikr of Allaah (mentioning Him). The more you mention Him the closer you get to Him and the closer you get to Allaah the further He will take you away from that which will cause you destruction by sinning and transgression. Be constant in dhikr and seeking forgiveness and do not despair at the mercy of Allaah because our Lord is forgiving, merciful and He will continue to forgive you as long as you turn to Him upon tawheed.
So Shaykh Abdul-aziz Ibn Baaz (rahimahullah) said: “When one ponders over the ayah – “O you who believe! Turn to Allah with sincere repentance! It may be that your Lord will remit from you your sins, and admit you into Gardens under which rivers flow (Paradise)”. “We see that the reward of sincere and truthful repentance is not simply the sin being wiped away rather there is an additional reward (Paradise).”
This tawbah includes:
- First and foremost, leaving the sin. When you realise that you are guilty of doing an action knowing it to be haraam (forbidden), you must leave it, stop doing it.
- Secondly: you should feel regret because you have disobeyed your Lord and committed a sin.
- Thirdly: seek forgiveness from Allaah (subhaana wa ta’aala).
- Fourthly: resolve never to return back to the sin.
- Fifthly: if you have taken someone’s right (property or honour), you must return it or recompense it.
The difference between Tawbah (repentance) and Istighfar (seeking forgiveness)
Shaykh-ul Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah said (in meaning): Istighfaar is when a person commits a sin and says: O Allaah forgive me. In this he may not resolve to stop the sin but still asks Allaah for forgiveness, sincerely. In this situation, is the person forgiven? There is no doubt that there is no barrier between a person seeking Allaah’s forgiveness and Allaah forgiving him. But it does not necessitate that he has entered into the arena of repentance because repentance and forgiveness are two things. Forgiveness enters into repentance because one of the stages of repentance is seeking forgiveness. But repentance is higher and more complete.
And Allaah says: “And all of you beg Allah to forgive you all, O believers, that you may be successful.” (24:31).
Shaykh Abdul-aziz ibn Baaz says about this Aayah: “In this ayah, Allaah has connected success with tawbah.”
So, the one that has repented is successful and happy, follows-up his tawbah with eemaan and righteousness, changing his life in order to not fall back on the sins he repented from.
Allaah says “And those who invoke not any other ilaah (god) along with Allah, nor kill such life as Allah has forbidden, except for just cause, nor commit illegal sexual intercourse and whoever does this shall receive the punishment. The torment will be doubled to him on the Day of Resurrection, and he will abide therein in disgrace. Except those who repent and believe (in Islamic Monotheism), and do righteous deeds, for those, Allah will change their sins into good deeds, and Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. ” (25:68-70)
So we call upon Allaah, by making dhikr of Him as Allaah mentions “Call upon Me, I will answer you” and “And when My slaves ask you (O Muhammad SAW) concerning Me, then (answer them), I am indeed near (to them by My Knowledge). I respond to the invocations of the supplicant when he calls on Me (without any mediator or intercessor).” (2:186)
When you call upon Allaah, He responds to your call. This is from the means that Allaah has given us of getting close to Allaah, earning His forgiveness attaining His mercy. Those who truly seek forgiveness, do not despair even if your sins were to reach the sky and you were to turn to Allaah, asking for His mercy, He would forgive you. Even if you sin again, turn to Him alone and never lose that connection with Allaah – Pray five times a day, worship Him.
The Prophet (ﷺ) said about the salaah, “Do you think that if there was a river by the door of one of you, and he bathed in it five times each day that there would remain any filth on him?” They said: “No filth would stay on him.” He said: “That is the parable of the five prayers, Allah wipes out the sins with them.” (Narrated by Abu Hurairah, Jamee at-Tirmidhi Vol. 5, Book 42, Hadith 2868)
Salaah is a cleanser and protection for a Muslim. It is protection because when he prays he thinks how he will face his Lord when he’s committed a sin. Prayer forbids from Munkar, Fahshaa (lewd acts), sins and transgression because salaah is the connection between you and your Lord. If you break this connection then all of the connections of Islaam are lost.
The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: “The covenant that distinguishes between us and them is prayer; so whoever leaves it, he has committed Kufr.’” (Sunan Ibn Majah, Vol. 1, Book 5, Hadith 1079).