Series: In the Light of Sunnah, In the Footsteps of Our Salaf – Part 10 – Tawbah (Repentance) – Continued

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 Al Agarr Ibn Al Yasaar Al Muzani (RAU) stated that Rasoolullah said: “Oh you people. Turn in repentance towards Allah and seek His forgiveness, for verily I turn in repentance (towards Him) one hundred times daily! [Muslim]

  After mentioning the importance, necessity and definition of Taubah, we will now look into the practical application of Taubah and some misconceptions regarding it, by the Tawfiq of Allah Ta’aala.

     In preparation for Taubah “Nasuh” three meditations have been recommended;
1- To meditate, ponder over the ugliness of sins
2- To ponder over the severity of Allah’s chastisement and the extreme pain resulting from His anger and wrath! For this, a constant review of Quranic ayaat and Ahadeeth of Rasulallah
depicting the same should be a daily practice. The practical application here would be establishing “Taleem” of Fadãil, Targheeg and Tarheeb (virtues, rewards of good deeds, and punishment of bad deeds) in homes, masajid, offices and workplaces wherein the virtues of good actions and consequences of sins from Quran and Hadith and Hikmah of Ulamā and Mashaikh would be mentioned on a daily basis. This practice would also facilitate the first meditation as well.
3- To ponder over our weakness and inability to bear Allah’s punishment, and the total absence of any expedient or defence to save or help us.
       Let us reflect on the fact that if we cannot tolerate the direct heat of the Sun, or a slap by the police or the mere bite of an ant, then how would we tolerate the heat of the fire of Jahannam, or the beating of the hammers of the “Zabānia” (angels tasked with the punishment of the inmates of Jahannam), or the bite of the snakes of Jahannam the thickness of camel necks or scorpions the size of mules!?
        A constant and consistent practice of meditation over these three points will help in facilitating a Taubah Nasuh insha Allah, by His Tawfiq.

     Here a question has been raised, that a Hadith reported by Ibn Majah and Al Hakim al Nisapuri on the authority of Abdullah Ibn Masood (Allah be pleased with him) states:

“To feel remorse is Taubah” without the mention of any other conditions? (such as those mentioned in the definition of Taubah in the previous edition). In reply, consider a person who feels remorse over the loss of his wealth or respect as a result of sins. That would not be considered Taubah by anyone’s standard!
      Therefore clearly, simple remorse is not intended by the Hadith mentioned. What is intended here is a specific remorse which is generated from the glorification of Allah and fear of His anger and wrath which may befall the sinner even after desisting from the sin! This remorse and apprehension lingers on in the heart of the mu’min (true believer), continually prompting him towards supplication and beseeching Allah’s forgiveness.
        Since this specific remorse was the cause of Taubah Nasuh, this very remorse was given the title “Taubah” in the Hadith. In other words the “cause” (remorse) was given the name of the “result” (Taubah). This is very common in Arabic language and mentioned in the science of Arabic Rhetoric.


Liberation from sins and deliverance from their consequences

Sins can be classified into three categories:
1- Neglect of  
فرائض/واجبات (compulsory deeds) such as; صلاة (prayer), صوم (fasting), زكاة (alms), كفارة (compensation of broken oath etc) etc.
        These must be settled by performing them (
قضاء) as far as possible, in addition to the general conditions of Taubah. The exact method and other Shar’ee technicalities of (قضاء) should be sought from qualified Ulamā, as it goes beyond the scope of our discussion.

2- Sins which are purely between the sinner and his Lord Allah Ta’ala such as; taking intoxicants, (alcohol, drugs, etc), playing musical instruments, consuming haram, interest, etc.
       Here simply remorse and resolve to desist and never to return to sin is required.

3- Sins which are involved with other human beings, and these sins are of various categories;
1- Wealth (
مال) money, property or any sort of material wealth
2- Person (
3- Honour, dignity (
4- Sanctity (
حرمة) particularly regarding the sanctity of women.
5- Religion (

1- As for “wealth”, it is compulsory to return the wealth to its rightful owner or compensate as far as possible. If one is unable to compensate he must seek pardon from the one afflicted or his heirs in case he has expired.
      If the recipient is untraceable, then
صدقة (charity) should be given on behalf of the recipient.
        If none of the above is possible, the only recourse is to beg Allah Ta’aala for pardon, and to compensate and satisfy his adversary on the Day of Judgement!

2- As for “person”, this refers to causing bodily harm or death to someone. In either case, one must surrender himself to the inflicted person or his heirs for exacting
قصاص (physical retribution) or دية (monetary compensation) as per the rules of Shari’ah, unless the inflicted or his heirs pardon him. If these options are not possible, as in the case of wealth, begging of Allah’s pardon and compensation of adversary is the only recourse.

3- In the case of honour
, if one has back bitten (
غيبة) or slandered (بهتان) or verbally abused or insulted someone, then he must:
a) Refute his statements in the presence of those who witnessed the same.
b) Seek pardon from the person inflicted. If, however, it is feared that by admitting these sins to the inflicted person and seeking his pardon would increase his rage, or cause excessive strife and discord, then one must;
a) Beg from Allah to pardon him and satisfy his adversary.
b) Excessive
دعا (prayer), and استغفار (seeking of forgiveness) on behalf of the person he has transgressed against.

4- In the case of sanctity
, if one has betrayed someone in respect of his wife, child or others related to him, fundamentally he should have to seek pardon from the person he has betrayed, provided that would not incite excessive rancour, and obviously in most cases probably it would!
     Therefore in that scenario the more prudent course of action would again be to beg Allah for his forgiveness and to satisfy the inflicted person, and compensate him abundantly in lieu of his crime against him.

5- In the case of Religion (
دين), if one has accused someone of infidelity or unbelief (تكفير) or of innovation in religion (تبديع) or of being misguided and gone astray (تضليل), then the sinner’s recourse would be the same as in the case of # 3 (Honour).
      It must be highlighted here, that false accusations of infidelity (
تكفير) are an extremely serious offence. Its danger and destruction in both the worlds, here and the hereafter cannot be over emphasized. The strife and social discord (فتنة) that it can cause often leads to the shedding of blood and even war between factions or even nations! A Hadith of Sahih Al Bukhari and Muslim narrates Abu Dharr رضي الله عنه  saying that he heard Rasulallah saying: “Who calls a person by (a title) of unbelief (كفر) or “O enemy of Allah”, and in reality that isn’t the case, then this saying returns to fall upon he (who said it)!”
       Therefore labelling someone a disbeliever (
كافر) is to be judiciously avoided except in extreme cases where social welfare is at stake, and clear, unquestionable proof exists. And dealing with such an issue is not to be undertaken by the layman, moreover that action is reserved for sincere, highly qualified and experienced Ulamā whose sole interest is Allah’s pleasure and social welfare.

       In summary, the general principle is that one must seek to appease his adversary to the maximum of one’s ability. And what is not possible, one turns to Allah Ta’aala beseeching Him in all humility and honesty to appease his adversary on his behalf. Thereafter the affair is in Allah’s discretion. It is hoped that if Allah sees truth and sincerity in the heart of the repenter, that He will in fact appease and compensate the adversary out of His tremendous favour and overwhelming goodness.

       After enumerating the types of sins and their atonement, it can be said, that if someone undertakes what has been described in terms of atonement, and clears his heart from choosing to sin in the future, he has now cleared himself from all sins insha Allah.
     On the other hand, if he has cleared his heart from sinning, but has not atoned for the past sins by making up (
قضاء) the missed prayers, fasting, zakat etc, and satisfying his adversaries as previously described, then in that case the act of sin may be forgiven however the consequences of the unfulfilled rights, be they the rights of Allah Ta’aala, or the rights of His creation, remain pending.

        In the case of Allah’s rights, although He is Al Rahman and Al Raheem, the most Merciful and Benevolent, He also has described Himself as
سريع الحساب و شديد العقاب (swift in recompense, and severe in punishment)! And when we had been fully capable of fulfilling those due rights and yet neglected to do so without exceptional excuse, then on what basis do we qualify for Allah’s Rahmah? And on what grounds do we deserve deliverance from His wrath? No doubt, Allah’s Rahmah overtakes His wrath.

Bukhari and Muslim report on authority of Abu Huraira that Rasulallah
said, “When Allah created the creation He wrote in a book which is there with Him above the throne (عرش): Verily My mercy overpowers My anger!”. However the Mu’min’s (true believer) state of mind and heart remains continuously between fear and hope from his Lord. As the Ulamā have stated; “In the condition of health and ability one’s fear of Allah should be dominant, or equal to his hope. Whereas at the end of one’s life, after loss of health and ability to do further good works, one’s hope of Allah’s Mercy should dominate.”
    And that would be possible and plausible if one had been fearing Allah, and doing his utmost to obey Him, constantly seeking His forgiveness, and turning to Him in repentance when he was well and able!

       As for the rights of the creation, this is even more consequential, as everyone on the Day of Judgement will be in dire pursuit of increasing his own virtues and shedding his own vices at any and all costs irrespective of anyone.

“On the Day the man will flee from his brother, his mother, his father, his wife and his children! Each one of them totally engrossed in his own predicament! (oblivious to anyone else!)

        And in the Hadith of Abu Huraira (Allah be pleased with him) narrated by Imam Muslim:
“Do you know who is the (one who has gone) bankrupt?” The Sahabah replied: “The bankrupt in our estimation is he who neither possesses currency or goods.” Rasulallah
responded, “The bankrupt of my Ummah is he who comes on the Day of Judgement with Prayers, Fasting and Alms (صلاة, صوم,زكاة) while also bringing with him (the burden of) verbally abusing someone, accusing another of infidelity (قذف), unjustly consuming the wealth of another, spilling the blood of yet another, and beating still another! Hence one of the abused will be given from his good deeds, and then another will be given from his good deeds, and so on. If his good deeds have exhausted before the recompense is complete, the burden of the sins of those he abused will be cast upon him, then he himself will be flung into the fire!”
      May Allah Ta’ala grant us all the Tawfiq of determination to perform Taubah Nasuh and remain steadfast thereon, amen!

To be continued insha Allah…


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