“And turn to Allah in repentance, all of you, O believers, so that you might succeed.” (Suratun-Noor, v:31).
I like this story of the wisdom of a six year old girl…
One rainy afternoon, as I was driving along one of the main streets of town, taking those extra precautions necessary when the roads are wet & slick.
Suddenly, my daughter, spoke up from her relaxed position in her seat: “Dad, I’m thinking of something.” This announcement usually meant that she had been pondering some fact for a while & was now ready to expound all that her six-year-old mind had discovered.
I was eager to hear.
“What are you thinking?”, I asked. “The rain,” she began, “is like sin & the windshield wipers are like Allah wiping our sins away.” After the chill bumps raced up my arms, I was able to respond: “That’s really good.” Then my curiosity broke in …. I started to wonder just how far would this little girl take this revelation.
So I asked: “Do you notice how the rain keeps on coming? What does that tell you?” She didn’t hesitate one moment with her answer: “We keep on sinning & Allah just keeps on forgiving us.”
I will always remember this whenever I turn my wipers on.
If a little girl can grasp the mercy of Allah, how about adults?
Rasoolullah (Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) said, ‘All the sons of Adam are sinners and the best among the sinners are those who repent.’ [Ahmad] We all make mistakes and sin as they say “To err is human.” Allah is always there for us, waiting to forgive us. Even when we seek Allah’s repentance and the next day, continue to do that sin, never ever stop tawbah and istighfaar (repentance and seeking Allah’s forgiveness). Iblees (Satan) wants us to sin and then feel so hopeless saying “I keep sinning, what’s the use of making repentance. All that will happen is that I will keep sinning. So why bother to make tawbah?” Don’t ever let the devil get to you this way. “Verily, Allah loves those who ever turn to Him in repentance and He loves those who cleanse themselves.” [Suratul Baqarah, v:222]
It is a manifestation of the mercy of Allah upon his slaves that He stretches out His Hand during the night so that those who sin during the day may repent and stretches His Hand out during the day in order for those who sinned during the night to repent. He forgives all sins. We should never despair of the mercy of our Lord however great and many their sins may be. Allah says “And who despairs of the mercy of his Lord except for those astray?” [Suratul-Hijr, v:56]
It is reported on the authority of Anas ibn Maalik (RadiyAllahu ‘anhu) who said, “I heard the Messenger of Allah (Sallallaahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) saying: Allah says, ‘O son of Adam! As long as you call unto me and seek (forgiveness from) me, I will forgive you for all of the sins that you may commit and I do not care (how many they amount to). O son of Adam! If you come to me with what is almost as much as the earth (in volume) in sins, but you meet me without having associated any partner with Me in worship, I will give you the same amount of forgiveness.’”
Even though Rasoolullah (Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) was the most pious of mankind who ever walked the face of the earth and most beloved to Allah, he was commanded by Allah to be sincere in religion and frequently seek for forgiveness as is mentioned in the following verse of the Qur-aan “So know (O Muhammad) that their is no deity except Allaah and ask forgiveness for your sin and for the believing men and believing women.” (Surah Muhammad, v:19)
Rasoolullah (Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) therefore used to seek Allah’s forgiveness frequently during the day and night and said of himself, ‘I swear by Allaah, I seek Allah’s forgiveness and repent to Him seventy times a day.’ [Bukhari] Although Nabi (Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) did not commit any sins, his seeking forgiveness from Allah serves as an example for us for all times.
Making much istighfaar (seeking Allah’s forgiveness) also removes sorrow and distress, saves one from awkward situations and brings provision from unexpected sources. Abdullah ibn ‘Abbaas (RadiyAllahu ‘anhu) narrated that Rasoolullah (Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) said, “If one supplicates without fail for forgiveness from Allah, He finds a way out for him to get out of every distress and difficulty, and gives him sustenance through ways utterly unthought of.” [Abu Daw’ud, Nasaa’i, Ibn Majah, and Haakim, who says its chain of authorities is sound.]
The conditions for tawbah (repentance) is
1) That the sin must be given up immediately
2) There should be true feelings of regret in the heart
3) This should be accompanied by the firm intention not to fall into it again
In the opinion of the majority of scholars it is not a condition for a repentance to be accepted that the one seeking forgiveness does not fall into the same sin again. Now, with these conditions met, if a person falls into it again, then this will be considered a new sin altogether requiring a new repentance and with no connection with those of the past.
Keep turning to Allah seeking His forgiveness remembering the words of Allah, “O My servants who have transgressed against themselves (by sinning), do not despair of the mercy of Allah. Indeed, Allah forgives all sins. Indeed, it is He who is the Forgiving, the Merciful. And return (in repentance) to your Lord and submit to Him before the punishment comes upon you; then you will not be helped.” [Suratuz-Zumar, v:53-54]
Rasoolullah (Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) also taught us another form of istighfaar. He said, “The best form of istighfaar is to say: ‘O Allah, You are my Lord, none has the right to be worshipped except You. You created me and I am Your servant. And I abide by Your covenant and promise as best I can, I take refuge in You from the evil of which I have committed. I acknowledge Your favour upon me and I acknowledge my sin, so forgive me, for verily none can forgive sin except You.’ Whoever says this in the day with certainty and then dies before nightfall will be among the people of Paradise and whoever says it in the night and dies before daybreak will be among the people of Paradise.” [Bukhari]