Series: In the Light of Sunnah, In the Footsteps of Our Salaf – Part 11 – Tawbah (Repentance) – Continued

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Al Agarr Ibn Al Yasaar Al Muzani (Allah be pleased with him) stated that Rasoolullah (وسلم عليه الله صلى) 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]

Alhamdulillah, by His Tawfiq we have covered a number of aspects of Tawbah and its practical application.
In this third and final segment we will look into a few complimentary points thereby completing the picture and procedure of Tawbah Nasuh, inshAllah, by His help and assistance.
   We must be ever cognizant of the fact that Tawbah is:
1. Difficult
2. Critically important
3. Extremely detrimental to postpone or procrastinate in,

To illustrate the difficulty of Tawbah Nasuh, let us consider a narration attributed to al Imam Abu Ishaq, one of the great scholars of the Shafe’ee school. He says, “I had been praying to Allah for thirty years to grant me Tawbah Nasuh and then in astonishment I said to myself, “A need that I have been praying to Allah for thirty years, and still it has not been fulfilled?!” Thereafter I saw in my dream as though someone is saying to me, “Do you marvel at that? Do you know what you are asking Allah for? You are asking that He should love you! Did you not hear His word (in the Quran):

“Verily Allah loves those who are oft repenting, and He loves those who are oft purifying themselves.”

[Al-Baqarah 2:222]

As for the importance of Tawbah and the detriment in postponing or procrastinating in it, we must keep in mind that the beginning of a sin is the hardening of the heart and the end result is damnation.
Let us consider the case of Iblis (Satan). Both he and Adam had committed an error; Adam by eating from the prohibited tree, and Iblis by refusing to prostrate before Adam.
As for Adam, he hastened towards Allah Ta’ala in Tawbah and not was forgiven, but elevated in status! As for Iblis, he persisted in his sin and ultimately landed in Kufr and eternal damnation.
So we must remain vigilant and continually struggle to cut ourselves off from all detrimental sins and seeking deliverance from all vices to save ourselves from the hardening of our hearts!
We may recall the Hadith that was mentioned in part One of “Tawbah” from Abu Huraira that when a Mu’min sins, it becomes a black spot on his heart, and if he repents, desists and asks for forgiveness, his heart will be cleansed. If however he increases (in sin) the (blackness) likewise increases….!
The signs that indicate blackness of the heart are:
1- One ceases to be alarmed or frightened by sins.
2- And does not find opportunity for Allah’s obedience
3- And doesn’t find any benefit or effect from admonition
Also we must not underestimate any sins, as small as they may seem, nor consider them insignificant. To persist in committing a minor sin is a major sin!
A condition for Tawbah is that one must not intentionally commit a sin. If however one were to fall into sin inadvertently, or by mistake, that would be excused by Allah Ta’ala’s favour, Insha Allah. However in this instance one should seek forgiveness, and renew one’s conviction not to repeat the action, by Allah Ta’ala’s Tawfiq.
As for those who may say; “Actually what prevents me from performing Tawbah is that I know I will not remain steadfast on my Tawbah, and will eventually revert back to sin!”
This is one of Shaitan’s vast repertoire of deceptions. Who knows? Perhaps you may die having repented before returning to sin!
As for your fear of again sinning, turn to Allah for help and strengthen your determination and sincerity and Tawfiq is from Allah! If you are sincere and determined Allah will definitely grant you Tawfiq Insha Allah. If you succeed to remain steadfast, so be it, and if, Allah forbid, you return to sin, then you will only have the burden of the recent sin upon you, and the door of Tawbah remains open forever until one is in the last pangs of death, or the Sun rises from the West. So again repent and renew your determination once again.
In this way you will continuously be between one of two favourable possibilities;
1- Tawfiq from Allah Ta’ala for steadfastness on Tawbah or,
2- The opportunity to again repent!
No doubt, the children of Adam have been created weak, prone to slip, and tend to be overpowered by their “Nafs” (self) and Shaitan except those specially protected by Allah.
Anas reports that our Prophet has said: “All of the children of Adam are excessive sinners, and the best of excessive sinners are the excessive repenters!”
Furthermore, Abu Huraira reports that Rasoolullah said: “By the One in whose hand my life is held (Allah Ta’ala) had you not commit any sins, Allah would have done away with you and would have brought forth a people that sin, then hasten towards seeking forgiveness from Allah, and He would then forgive them.”
This should not be misunderstood to mean that if someone is given the special Tawfiq and protection from Allah from all sins and enables him to remain steadfast on Taqwa, that he should from time to time intentionally sin for fear of being done away with! That certainly is not meant.
Moreover to remain steadfast on Taqwa is the basic demand of Shariah upon us, and perfection in Allah’s servitude. However in the real scheme of things we find this to be the condition of the Prophets and the chosen few among the very fortunate! Allah’s wisdom would have it that the committing of sins would be the destiny of some if not most of Allah’s bondsmen.
And after all, from among the attributes of Allah Ta’ala is to excuse and forgive, hence the names The One who excuses, The One who forgives, The oft forgiving! Since these attributes do not manifest except upon sinners, they must also exist as well, and Allah’s wisdom encompasses all things, whereas we have been given only a very limited and small amount of knowledge and understanding.
In conclusion, if you have repented sincerely, then without doubt Nafs and Shaitan will never give up and leave you, they will continuously struggle to cause you to slip. If they do succeed in overpowering you to return to sin, immediately return to Tawbah and turn your back on Shaitan’s deceptions, and say to yourself; “Perhaps this time I may die before returning to sin.” And if need be, repeat the process again and again, and don’t be less able in Tawbah and returning to Tawbah then you are in sinning and returning to sin!
And as you have previously made it your craft to sin and return to sin, make your craft now Tawbah and returning to Tawbah!
Don’t despair, and cast aside Shaitan’s deception that there’s no rationale in Tawbah when you know you will return to sin. The very fact that you continue to feel remorse and point the finger of blame at yourself is a great sign of good!
Ali son of Abi Talib narrates the saying of Rasoolullah:
“(From among) the best of you are those who are afflicted with “fitnah” (sin) and (consequently) excessively repent!”
Remind yourself of Allah’s announcement:
“And whosoever commits an evil act or does wrong to himself, and thereafter seeks forgiveness from Allah, he will (definitely) find Allah abundantly forgiving, extremely merciful!”
And again, remember:
“Verily Allah loves those who continually and excessively repent and purify themselves.”
It is Mustahab (praiseworthy) when performing Tawbah, the reality of which are the internal steps and conditions previously mentioned, to perform a perfect wudhu, or better yet Fard Ghusl (ritual bath), then offer two rakats of Salatut Tawbah. Then lift your hands as a beggar towards Allah Ta’ala and beseech Him praising Him with His Holy Names and Attributes, then Salah (salutations) upon His Rasool, Sayyidina Muhammad. Thereafter beg Him to accept your Tawbah and grant you Tawfiq to remain steadfast upon it, ending your Dua with Salah upon our Nabi. As a personal request, please make Dua for me as well that I may be granted the Tawfiq for Tawbah Nasuh, and forgiveness for me and all the Ummat of Muhammad.

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