Quarterly: Issue No 59
In the name of Allah, Most Beneficent, Most Merciful. All praise is due to Allah (Glorified be His Name), and peace and blessings be upon his beloved Messenger Muhammad, his family and all his companions. Ameen! Praise be to Allah, the Exalted, Who has brought us close to the month of Ramadaan, a month of the means of Goodness and Blessings; and has kept open the gate of Repentance (Tawbah) for His servants. Let us beg Allah to make us reach the blessed month of Ramadaan, the month of Repentance, Forgiveness and Freedom from the Fire of Jahannam; the month of Goodness and Blessing, and the month of Generosity and Kindness.
Our beloved Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “When the first night of Ramadaan comes, the devils and demons are chained up, and the gates of Jahannam are closed and not one gate of it is opened. The gates of Jannah are opened and not one gate of it is closed. And a caller calls out: ‘O seeker of good, come towards Allah; O seeker of evil, desist.’ Allah will have freed some people from the Fire, and that happens every night.” (Narrated by al-Tirmidhi and Ibn Maajah)
It was narrated from Abu Hurayrah (RA) that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) ascended the minbar and said: “Ameen, Ameen, Ameen.” It was said to him: “O Messenger of Allah, why did you say that?” He said: "Jibreel came to me and said: ‘May Allah rub his nose in the dust, that person who Ramadaan comes and his sins are not forgiven,’ and I said, ‘Ameen’. Then he said: ‘May Allah rub his nose in the dust, that person who lives to see his parents grow old, one or both of them, but he does not enter Paradise,’ and I said: ‘Ameen’. Then he said: ‘May Allah rub his nose in the dust, that person in whose presence you are mentioned and he does not send blessings (durood) upon you,’ and I said: ‘Ameen’.” (Ibn Khuzaymah, 1888; Tirmidhi, 3545; Ahmad, 7444; Ibn Hibbaan, 908; Saheeh al-Jaami, 3501)
Abu Hurairah (RA) narrated that Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:
“Five (daily) prayers and from one Friday prayer to the (next) Friday prayer, and from Ramadaan to Ramadaan are expiations for the (sins) committed in between (their intervals) provided one shuns the major sins.” (Muslim, Tirmidhi)
Hopefully, by Allah’s Will, we are about to witness the holy month of Ramadaan shortly, so let us turn to our Most Merciful Rabb – Whom we have disobeyed – begging forgiveness from Him and fearing Him, regretting and weeping; and saying,
O Most Merciful Rabb of the Universe! I am turning towards You.
O Giver of all good things! Give me Guidance for there is no good without Guidance.
Overlook my mistakes with Your Forgiveness, Kindness and Mercy,
For no one else can bestow Forgiveness besides You, O Most Merciful Allah!
In the blessed month of Ramadaan, if we are not forgiven, if your eyes do not shed the tears of taqwa (Allah’s fear); and if our hearts do not break before our Creator and Sustainer, then when are we going to do so? Have we ever shed tears for the fear of our Rabb even once in our lifetime? Do we not feel that our hearts are closer to our Rabb during the blessed month of Ramadaan? Do we not think that this is an opportunity for us to draw closer to our Rabb and increase in humility, repentance and submission, so that it may be the true and sincere beginning of our return to our Rabb; and be more closely connected with the Most Beneficent Allah? Allah says:
“But to those who receive Guidance, He (Allah) increases the (light of) Guidance, and bestows on them their Piety and Restraint (from evil).” (Surah Muhammad: Chapter 47: Verse 17)
Allah rebukes us and tells us in the Noble Quran:
“O mankind! What has made you careless concerning your Lord, the Most Generous? (Surah Al-Infitaar: Chapter 82: Verse 6)
In simple words, what has made us so careless about our Rabb, so much so that we have become so audacious in disobeying Him and transgressing His limits? Is it because we are ignoring His blessings? Or because we forget that He is All-Aware of what we are doing, and that He is Al-Seeing, All-Hearing? Why have we closed our minds to accepting the fact that we will have to answer to Allah for all our deeds? How precisely one great Arab Poet has captured this fact, by saying:
“I am the one who closes the door, striving in sin (in secret)
Although the Eye of Allah is watching me
How patient is Allah with me, when He lets me off
Although I persist in my sin, and He still covers me.”
So let us not look at how small our sins are. But let us ponder and reflect at how Great and Beneficent is the One Whom we are disobeying.
However, let us not despair. Here are the good news from Allah and His beloved Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). Allah says:
Say: ‘O Ibaadi (My servants) 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.’. (Surah al-Zumar: Chapter 39: V 53) Allah also 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. (Surah al-Furqaan: Chapter 25: Verses 68-70)
This is a great blessing and a very great deal, for Allah is willing to change our sins into good deeds. Allah is Most Merciful. No one misses out on such a great deal except one who is ignorant or who does not care about this Great Blessing. So let us all repent sincerely if we really want to achieve success in the hereafter.
And let us reflect to what our beloved Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said while exhorting people to repent:
“Allah is more delighted with the repentance of His servant than one of you would be, who suddenly finds his camel laden with supplies after losing it in a barren land” (Bukhari & Muslim)
And the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Allah says: ‘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.” (Muslim)
Abu Dharr al-Ghifaari (may Allah be pleased with him) related that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) reported that Allah, the Majestic said: ‘O My servants, you commit sins by night and by day, but I forgive all sins. So ask Me for forgiveness and I will forgive you.’ (Muslim)
And he (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Allah stretches forth His Hand by night to accept the repentance of those who sinned during the day, and He stretches forth His Hand by day to accept the repentance of those who sinned during the night. He keeps doing so until the sun rises from the West.” (Muslim)
Allah's stretching of His Hands is one of His Attributes, and as Muslims we have to believe in this without reasoning, as is the case with all His other Attributes. This has been the belief of our pious predecessors (As-Salaf-us-Salih). We must not name or qualify Allah except with what He or His Messenger (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) has named or qualified Him; without changing or ignoring them completely or twisting the meanings or giving them resemblance to any created things.
It is recorded from the Commander of the faithful Umar bin Al-Khattab, may Allah be pleased with him, that the Messenger of Allah saw a woman among the prisoners of war picking up her child, clasping the child to her breast and nursing him. The Messenger of Allah said: “Do you think that this woman would throw her child into the Fire even though she is (physically) able to do so” They said, “No.” The Messenger of Allah said: “By Allah, Allah is more merciful towards His servants than this woman is to her child.” (Bukhari)
Allah is the Greatest. After knowing of this generosity of Allah, can we ignore or delay in the matter of repentance? Can we delay repenting? O Allah! Glory be to You, how Merciful You are. Glory be to You, how Kind You are. Glory be to You, how Generous You are. An Arab Poet has very rightfully said:
“When my heart grew hard and I did not know where to turn,
I made the hope of Your Forgiveness my way out.
I thought that my sin was so great, but when I compared it
To Your Forgiveness, my Lord, Your Forgiveness was greater.
You never cease to forgive sin, and You never cease
To be generous, out of Your bounty and kindness.”
Let us sincerely resolve to do good deeds and to continue doing so, putting our trust in Allah. And remember the Mercy of our Rabb and the vast extent of His Forgiveness. If the Angel of Death were to come to any of us at this very moment, would we be content to meet our Rabb in this state of negligence?
We should also know that repentance is not limited only to the month of Ramadaan – it may take place during this or any other month. But why should our new beginning not take place in the month of Goodness and Blessing? Let us all come out from the darkness of sins into the light of obedience.
Let us be among those who will be addressed on the Last Day as follows: Allah says:
Adn (Eden) Paradise (everlasting Gardens), which they shall enter and (also) those who acted righteously from among their fathers, and their wives, and their children. And angels shall enter unto them from every gate (saying): “Salaamun Alaikum (peace be upon you) for that you persevered in patience! Excellent indeed is the final home!” (Surah al-Ra’d: Chapter 13: Verse 24)
Once we have committed our resolve to repent and turn back to our Rabb, then we should also note that there are conditions which must be met when repenting:
1. Sincerely regretting for what is past.
2. Giving up those sins.
3. Sincerely resolving not to go back to it. But if we do it again, then repent again sincerely to Allah – but our resolve this time must be genuine.
4. The repentance must come before the death-rattle reaches the throat and before the sun rises from the west.
O Allah, I ask You by Your Power and by my own shame to have Mercy on me. I ask You by Your Strength and by my own weakness, by Your Self-sufficiency and by my own dependence. To You I submit my lying, sinful forelock. You have many servants besides me, but I have no Master besides You. I have no refuge or escape from You except with You. I beseech You in the manner of a poor and destitute human being. I pray to you with the prayer of one who is humble. I call upon you with the supplication of one who is blind and afraid. This is a plea from one whose head is bowed down and humbled before You, and whose eyes are filled with tears and whose heart has submitted solely to You.
O Allah! Your Forgiveness is far greater than my sins and I have more hope in Your Mercy than in my own deeds.
Requesting your humble duas!
Abdul Haq Abdul Kadir
Umhlanga Rocks, KZN