Imam Zijad’s Corner: TAWBAH IN RAMADAN-MANNERS IN OFFERING TAWBAH

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TAWBAH IN RAMADAN: MANNERS IN OFFERING TAWBAH

True repentance means that the servant turns towards Almighty Allah Who has no partner, and turns away from the sins which he/she has already committed, whether deliberately/intentionally. Repentance is required for all sins, great or small, apparent or hidden. It is for the benefit of human beings, since Allah Himself is free of need. It should be a true and sincere repentance, accompanied by acts of worship which will elevate the servant to the status of the pious friends of Allah, and place a barrier between the servant and the ways of Shaitan.

The word ‘Tawbah’ literally means ‘turning back.’ Since sin puts distance between the soul and its Creator, Almighty Allah, during repentance the servant turns back, seeking refuge in Allah’s forgiveness.  And when a soul repents and returns to Him, Allah turns back to His servant in acceptance and forgiveness. Thus Allah has named Himself ‘At Tawwab (the Constant Acceptor of Repentance), sometimes translated as ‘the Oft-Returning’.

What  the believers do to gain Allah’s forgiveness?

 The believers never lose hope of acceptance by Almighty Allah of their repentance and petition for their forgiveness. Despair is the characteristic of unbelievers. It is the distinctive trait of the believers that they repent the most and under no circumstances do they lose hope in Allah’s Mercy. If they commit any fault and realize the wrong done, they do all within their means to beg forgiveness from Allah and to purify themselves of that fault and misdeed. Almighty Allah informs us: “And those who having done something to be ashamed of or wronged themselves with evil, remember Allah and ask forgiveness for their sins; and who can forgive sins but Allah? And do not persist in what (wrong) they have done, while they know.” {Ali ‘Imran 135}

In another Ayah, Almighty Allah says: “Verily, those who are aware of Allah (Al Muttaqun) when an evil thought comes to them from Shaitan, they remember Allah, and indeed they see aright.”     {Al A’raf 201}

In third Ayah, Allah calls upon His servants: “O ‘Ibadi (My servants) who have transgressed against themselves by committing evil deeds and sins! Despair not of the Mercy of Allah forgives the sins. Truly, He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. Turn in repentance and in obedience with true Faith in your Lord and submit to Him (in Islam), before the torment comes upon you, then you will not be helped.” {Az Zumar 53, 54}

  Confess your sins only before Allah; beseech only Him for forgiveness; express your sense of humility, helplessness and guilt only before Him. Humility and prostration is a tribute which human being should pay only to Almighty Allah. Those who are choosing others, asking from them and making Sujud to them, they will be lost. Almighty Allah informs us in the Qur’an: “And He it is Who accepts repentance from His servants, and forgives sins, and He knows what you do.”{Ash Shura 25} The Messenger of Allah, Muhammad (S) said: “The most superior way of asking for forgiveness from Allah is: ‘Allahumma anta Rabbi, La ilaha illa anta. Anta khalaqtani wa ana ‘abduka, wa ana ‘ala ‘ahdika wa wa’dika mastata’tu. A’uthu bika min sharri ma sanatu, abu’u laka bini’matika ‘alayya, wa abu’u laka bithanbi, fagfirli innahu la yagfiruth thunuba illa anta – O Allah, You are my Lord! None has the right to be worshipped but You. You created me and I am Your servant, and I am faithful to my covenant and my promise to You as much as I can. I seek refuge with You from all the evil I have done. I acknowledge before You all the blessings You have bestowed upon me, and I confess to You all my sins. So forgive my sins, for nobody can forgive sins except You {Bukhari}

In another Hadith it was mentioned that the Messenger of Allah said: “O people! Seek forgiveness of Allah for your sins and return to Him. Look at me, I offer prayers to Allah for salvation hundred of times in a day.” {Muslim}

 Do not delay in offering repentance. Nobody knows when our life will end and the next moment will bring death or life shall continue. Always remember that you are approaching the end very fast and for that reason continue to cleanse the impurity of sins from your heart, soul, mind and speech. Almighty Allah says in the Qur’an: “And all of you beg Allah to forgive you all, O believers, that you may be successful.” {An Nur 31}

 Offer repentance with true and deep sincerity of heart that the entire course of your life is altered and after repentance you may appear an entirely different person. Allah calls upon believers: “O you who believe! Turn to Allah with sincere repentance…” {An Nisa 17} In other words, offer such sincere and true repentance which will prevent you from committing any kind of sin in the future.

 Take a firm resolve to remain true to your repentance and be vigilant day and night that the commitments you have made before Allah are dully fulfilled. Test the firmness of your resolve by constant efforts to purify and reform yourselves. If, despite all your efforts to guard against evil, you slip and commit an offense, do not lose hope then. Do good deeds, for doing good deeds will erase your sins, as Almighty Allah informs in the Qur’an: “For those things that are good remove those that are evil.” {Hud 114} Thus a believer is comforted and relieved by the realization that Almighty Allah has given him/her a chance to repent, perform righteous deeds and come closer to the pleasure of Almighty Allah again. Allah informs us in the Qur’an: “And verily, I am forgiving to one who repents, believes truly in Me, and does righteous deeds, and then remain constant in doing them (till death).” {Ta Ha 82}

My respected brothers and sisters in Islam! Let us focus on the true repentance especially during these days of the great month of Ramadan. This is what we will gain if our Tawbah will be accepted:

• True repentance wipes out the sins which preceded it. The Messenger of Allah, Muhammad (S) said: “The one who repents of his/her sins is like the one who has sinned.” {Ibn Majah}

•  True repentance is the way to salvation. Almighty Allah informs us in the Qur’an: “And all of you beg Allah to forgive you all, O believers, that you may be successful” {An Nur 31}

•  True repentance is a believer’s road to Jannah and his/her protection from Jahannam. Malaikah do ask for believers’ protection and their forgiveness. Almighty Allah informs us in the Qur’an of this Du’a: “Our Lord! You comprehend all things in mercy and knowledge, so forgive those who repent and follow Your Way, and save them from the penalty of the blazing fire.” {Gafir 7}

•  True repentance purifies the heart, cleanses it from sin (black spots which do appear on a heart of a sinner), and earns the pleasure of Almighty Allah. Almighty Allah say: “But on their hearts is the stain of the evil deeds and sins which they used to earn” {Al Mutaffifin 14}

And if one realizes his/her condition and turns to Allah in repentance, He says: “If you two turn in repentance to Allah, your hearts are indeed so inclined.”                                         {At Tahrim 4}

•  True repentance is a means to a quiet, peaceful and secure life in Duniya. Allah says in the Qur’an: “Seek the forgiveness of your Lord, and turn to Him in repentance, that He may grant you good enjoyment, for a term appointed, and bestow His abounding Grace on all who abound in merit. But if you turn away, then I fear for you the Penalty of a Great Day.” {Hud 3}

My respected brothers and sisters in Islam! Let us ask Allah for forgiveness and acceptance of our Tawbah in the days of limitless blessings the Almighty promised those who believe and do righteous acts.                Allahumma Amin.

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