I Want To Repent, But… Part 4

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The repentance of one who killed a hundred

The prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:

 “ “There was among the people who came before you a man who killed ninety-nine people. Then he asked about the most knowledgeable person on earth, and was directed to a hermit, so he went to him, told him that he had killed ninety-nine people, and asked if he could be forgiven. The hermit said, ‘No,’ so he killed him, thus completing one hundred. Then he asked about the most knowledgeable person on earth and was directed to a scholar. He told him that he had killed one hundred people, and asked whether he could be forgiven. The scholar said, ‘Yes, what could possibly come between you and repentance? Go to such-and-such a town, for in it there are people who worship Allah. Go and worship with them, and do not go back to your own town, for it is a bad place.” So the man set off, but when he was halfway there, the angel of death came to him, and the angels of mercy and the angels of wrath began to argue over him. The angels of mercy said: ‘He had repented and was seeking Allah.’ The angels of wrath said: ‘He never did any good thing.’ An angel in human form came to them, and they asked him to decide the matter. He said: ‘Measure the distance between the two lands (his home town and the town he was headed for), and whichever of the two he is closest to is the one to which he belongs.’ So they measured the distance, and found that he was closer to the town for which he had been headed, so the angels of mercy took him.” (Agreed upon)

According to a report in al-Saheeh:

  “The righteous town was a hand-span closer, so he was counted as one of its people.”

According to another report in al-Saheeh:

  Allah commanded (the evil town) to move away, and (the righteous town) to move closer, and said: ‘Measure the distance between them,’ and they found him to be a hand-span closer to the righteous town, so he was forgiven.”

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What then can come between a person and repentance? Do you think that your sins are any greater than the sins of this man, whose repentance Allah accepted? So why despair? The matter is even greater than this. Think about the words of Allah (interpretation of the meaning):

  “And those who invoke not any other 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 shall be doubled to him on the Day of Resurrection, and he will abide therein in disgrace; except those who repent and believe, and do righteous deeds; for those, Allah will change their sins into good deeds, and Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” [al-Furqaan 25:68-70].

Stop and think about that phrase:

  Allah will change their sins into good deeds…” [al-Furqaan 25:70].

This will explain to you the immense grace and favour of Allah. The scholars have defined this change as being of two types:

Changing bad characteristics into good ones, so that shirkis changed into true faith, fornication into chastity, lies into truthfulness, treachery into trustworthiness, etc.

Changing evil deeds that one has committed into good deeds on the Day of Resurrection. Think about the words

“…Allah will change their sins into good deeds…”

It does not say that one bad deed will be exchanged for a good deed (of equal weight). It could be less, the same, or more, in number or in weight. It will depend on the sincerity of the one who repents. Can you imagine any greater favour than this? See how this divine generosity is further explained in the following hadeeth:

 “The prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) [another report states that a very old man whose eyebrows had fallen over his eyes (i.e., he had sunken eyes) came and stood before the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) supporting himself with a stick] and said:

“What do you think of a man who has committed every sin, not leaving out any sin, major or minor [according to another report: if his sins were to be divided among all the people of the world, they would destroy them]. Can such a man repent?” The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) asked, “Have you become Muslim?” He said: “I bear witness that there is no god except Allah and that you are the messenger of Allah.” The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Do good deeds and keep away from evil deeds, and Allah will turn them all into good deeds for you.” He asked, “What about my acts of treachery and immorality?” The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Yes, (those too).” The man said, “Allahu akbarr (Allah is most great)!” and kept glorifying Allah until he was out of sight.

(Al-Haythami said: a similar version was reported by al-Tabaraani and al-Bazzaar. The men of al-Bazzaar’s isnaad are the men of saheeh apart from Muhammad ibn Haaroon Abi Nasheetah, who isthiqah. Al-Majma’ 1/36. Al-Mundhiri said in al-Targheeb: its isnaad is jayyid qawiy, 4/113. Ibn Hajar said in al-Isaabah 4/149 that it meets the conditions of saheeh.)

At this point the one who is seeking to repent may ask: “When I was astray and not even praying, which meant I was beyond the pale of Islam, I did do some good deeds. Will I be rewarded for these deeds after I repent, or are they lost in the wind?”

The answer to this question may be found in the following hadeeth: ‘Urwah ibn al-Zubayr reported that Hakeem ibn Hizaam told him that he said to the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him):

  “O Messenger of Allah, do you think that I will be rewarded for the (good) things like giving charity, freeing slaves and upholding family ties that I did during the Jaahiliyyah (days of ignorance before Islam)?”

The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “

 “ You became Muslim because of the good that you had already done.” (Reported by al-Bukhaari)

What should I do when I have sinned?

You might ask: “If I commit a sin, how can I repent from it straightaway? Is there anything that I should do straight after committing a sin?”

The answer is that there are two things which should be done after committing a sin. The first is to feel remorse in one’s heart and to be determined not to repeat the sin. This is the result of fearing Allah. The second is to undertake some physical action to do different kinds of good deeds, such as praying salaat al-tawbah (the prayer of repentance). Abu Bakrah (may Allah be pleased with him) said: I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) say:‘

 “ There is no man who commits a sin, then gets up, purifies himself, prays two rak’ahs then asks Allah to forgive him, but Allah will forgive him.’” (Reported by the authors of Sunan; seeSaheeh al-Tagheeb wa’l-Tarheeb, 1/284).

Then he recited this aayah (interpretation of the meaning):

  And those who, when they have committed faahishah (illegal sexual intercourse, etc.) or wronged themselves with evil, remember Allah and ask forgiveness for their sins; – and none can forgive sins but Allah – and do not persist in what (wrong) they have done, while they know.” [Aal ‘Imraan 3:135]

Other saheeh reports describe how to perform the two rak’ahs which will expiate for sin. In summary:

He should do wudoo’ well. Doing wudoo’ well includes saying “Bismillah” at the beginning, and reciting some du’aa’s afterwards, such as “Ash-hadu an laa ilaaha ill-Allah wahdahu laa shareeka lah, wa ash-hadu anna Muhammadan ‘abduhu wa rasooluhu” or “Allahumma’j’alni min al-tawwaabeen wa’j’alni min al-mutahhareen (O Allah, make me one of those who repent and make me one of those who are purified)” or “Subhaanak Allahumma wa bi hamdika ash-hadu an laa ilaaha illa anta, astaghfiruka wa atoobu ilayk (Glory and praise be to you O Allah. I bear witness that there is no god but You. I seek Your forgiveness and I repent to You).” Saying any of these du’aa’s after wudoo’ will bring a great reward.

He should stand and offer two rak’ahs of prayer.

He should not make any mistakes or forget any part of the prayer.

He should not let his thoughts wander.

He should concentrate properly and think of Allah whilst praying.

Then he should seek the forgiveness of Allah.

The result will be that his previous sins will be forgiven, and he will be assured of Paradise. (Saheeh al-Targheeb, 1/94,95)

This should be followed with more good deeds and acts of obedience to Allah. When ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) realized that he had made the mistake of disagreeing with the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) during the Campaign of al-Hudaybiyah, he said:

 ““Because of that I did many deeds,”

i.e., righteous deeds, as expiation for that sin.

Think about the example given in the following saheeh hadeeth:
Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:

 “ “The one who does bad deeds then does good deeds is like a man who wears a tight coat of mail which almost chokes him; when he does a good deed, it becomes a little looser, and as he does more good deeds it becomes even looser, until it falls off him and drops to the ground.”(Reported by al-Tabaraani in al-Kabeer; see also Saheeh al-Jaami’, 2192).

So good deeds release the sinner from the prison of disobedience, and bring him forth into the brave new world of obedience to Allah.

Ibn Mas’ood said:

  “A man came to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and said: ‘O Messenger of Allah, I found a woman in a garden and I did everything with her (kissing and fondling) except that (intercourse), so do with me as you will.

The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) did not say anything, and the man went away. ‘Umar said:

  ‘Allah covered his sin. He should have covered it himself.’

The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) followed the man with his gaze and said: ‘

 “ Bring him back to me.’ So they brought him back, and (the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) recited to him: ‘And perform al-salaah (prayer) at the two ends of the day and in some hours of the night. Verily, the good deeds remove the evil deeds (i.e., small sins). That is a reminder for the mindful (those who accept advice)’ [Hood 11:114 – interpretation of the meaning].”

According to the report narrated by ‘Umar, Mu’aadh said:

  “O Messenger of Allah, is this just for him or does it apply to all the people?” The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “No, it applies to all the people.” (Reported by Muslim)

Footnote

Adapted from islamqa.info/en

(NOTE: If you want to build a strong and powerful relationship with Allah, check out Islamia TV, where you can watch Islamic speakers from across the globe deliver inspiring and motivational courses. Learn more at www.islamia.tv.)



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