I Want To Repent, But… Part 5

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Evil people pursue me

You might say, “I want to repent, but evil friends are pursuing me wherever I go. As soon as they learn of any change I have made, they launch an attack against me, and I feel too weak to resist them. What can I do?”

(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.)

As you have taken the first step on the Straight Path, stand firm and persevere. These people are the devils of men and jinn, who will conspire with one another to turn you away from this path. Pay no heed to them. At the beginning, they will tell you that this is just a passing fancy, a temporary crisis that will not last. Strangely enough, such people have been known to say of friends who were setting out on the road of repentance, “What evil he has fallen into!””

One of these evil people, when her former boyfriend put the phone down on her because he had repented and wanted nothing more to do with this sin, called him back a few days later to say, “Maybe the evil insinuations have stopped now!”

Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):

Is your Lord more deserving of obedience, or these people who call to evil?

You should know that they will pursue you wherever you go and will use every means at their disposal to try to bring you back to the way of sin. One young man told me that he had had a girlfriend who, after he repented, used to tell her driver to follow him, and she would call to him from the window of her car whilst he was on his way to the mosque!

  “Say: I seek refuge with (Allah) the Lord of mankind,
The King of mankind,
The ilaah (God) of mankind,
From the evil of the whisperer (devil who whispers evil in the hearts of men) who withdraws (from his whispering in one’s heart after one remembers Allah),
Who whispers in the breasts of mankind,
Of jinns and men.”
[al-Naas 114:1-6]
  “Allah will keep firm those who believe, with the word that stands firm in this world (i.e., they will keep on worshipping Allah alone and none else) and in the Hereafter.” [Ibraaheem 14:27]

They will try to remind you of the past and make your past sins appear attractive, by means of reminders, earnest pleas, pictures, letters… Do not pay any attention to them. Be on your guard against the ways in which they will try to tempt you. Remember the story of Ka’b ibn Maalik, one of the great Companions of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). The Messenger of Allah(peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) commanded all his Companions to cut off ties with Ka’b because he had stayed behind and had not joined the expedition to TAbuk. This boycott was to last until Allah decided concerning him. The kaafir king of Ghassaan sent a letter to Ka’b, in which he said:

“We hear that your master has treated you badly. Allah has not put you in a house of humiliation and loss, so come to us and we will provide for you.” The kaafir wanted to win over the Muslim so that he would leave Madeenah and be lost in the land of kufr. How did this great Sahaabi react to this? Ka’b said: “When I read it, I said, ‘This is also a test,’ and I threw it in the oven and burned it.”

This is how the Muslim, male or female, should deal with everything that is sent by bad people: burn it to ashes, and whilst you are burning it, remember the Fire of Hell.

Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):

  “So be patient. Verily, the Promise of Allah is true, and let not those who have no certainty of faith, discourage you from conveying Allah’s message” [al-Room 30:60]

They threaten me

You may say: “I want to repent but my old friends are threatening to reveal my past and publish my secrets to everyone. They have pictures and other papers they can use against me. I am worried about my reputation, and I am scared!”

Our advice is: fight back against these friends of Shaytaan. The tricks of Shaytaan are weak, and all the pressure that the helpers of Iblees may bring against you will soon crumble in the face of the patience and perseverance of the true believer.

You should realize that if you try to placate them, this will only give them more evidence to use against you, and you will be the loser sooner or later. Do not pay any heed to them, ask Allah to help you to deal with them and say:

  ““Hasbi Allah wa ni’m al-wakeel (Allah is Sufficient for me and He is the Best Disposer of affairs).”

When the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was afraid of a people, he would say:

 “ “Allahumma innaa naj’aluka fi nuhoorihim wa na’oodhu bika min shuroorihim (O Allah, we ask You to seize them by their throats and we seek refuge with You from their evil).” (Reported by Ahmad and Abu Dawood; see also Saheeh al-Jaami, 4582).

It is true that this is a difficult situation. Take the poor girl who has repented, but her former boyfriend calls her on the phone and threatens her by saying: “I have recorded our conversations and I have pictures of you. If you refuse to go out with me I will disgrace you in front of your family.” She is certainly in an unenviable position.

The following moving story offers clear testimony in support of what we are saying. This is the story of the great and heroic Sahaabi Marthad ibn Abi Marthad al-Ghanawi, who used to help oppressed Muslims flee from Makkah to Madeenah in secret.

‘Zinaa (unlawful sexual relations)’ She called out, ‘O people of the camp! This man is taking your prisoners away!’ Eight men came after me, and I climbed al-Khandamah (a mountain outside one of the entrances to Makkah) and hid in a cave. They came and stood right over me, but Allah blinded them and they did not see me, so they turned back. I came back to my companion (the prisoner he was planning to take to Madeenah) and picked him up, and he was a heavy man. When we reached al-Udhkhar, I released him from his chains. Then I carried him again and I found the journey difficult. When I reached Madeenah, I came to the Messenger of Allah(peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and asked him, ‘O Messenger of Allah, should I marry ‘Anaaq?’ I asked him twice. The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) remained silent and did not answer me at all, until the aayah ‘Let no man guilty of adultery or fornication marry any but a woman similarly guilty, or an Unbeliever; nor let any but such a man or an Unbeliever marry such a woman; to the Believers such a thing is forbidden’ [al-Noor 24:3 – Yusuf ‘Ali’s translation]] was revealed. Then the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: ‘O Marthad, Let no man guilty of adultery or fornication marry any but a woman similarly guilty, or an Unbeliever; nor let any but such a man or an Unbeliever marry such a woman, so do not marry her.’”(Saheeh Sunan al-Tirmidhi, 3/80).

Do you see how Allah protects those who believe and how He is with those who do good?

But if the worst comes to the worst, and the thing you fear happens – they broadcast bad things about you – what you need to do is to be honest and explain your situation to others. Tell them, “Yes, I was a sinner, but now I have repented to Allah, so what do you want?”

We should all remember that true disgrace will occur not in this world, but in the Hereafter, on the Day of Judgement, the Day of the Greatest Humiliation, not in front of one or two hundred people, not in front of one or two thousand, but in front of the whole of creation, angels, jinn and mankind, all the people from Adam to the last man.

Let us remember the du’aa’ of Ibraaheem:

  “And disgrace me not on the Day when (all the creatures) will be resurrected;
The Day whereon neither wealth nor sons will avail,
[al-Shu’araa’ 26:87-89 – interpretation of the meaning]

At moments of distress, seek help with the du’aa’ of the Prophet(peace and blessings of Allah be upon him):

 “ “Allahumma ustar ‘awraatanaa wa aamin raw’aatanaa. Allahumma aj’al tha’ranaa ‘ala man zalamananaa wa’nsurnaa ‘ala man baghiya ‘alaynaa. Allahumma la tushammit binaa’l-a’daa’ wa laa’l-haasideen (O Allah, cover our faults and calm our fears safe. O Allah, avenge us over those who have oppressed us, and grant us victory over those who have wronged us. O Allah, do not cause our enemies or those who envy us to take malicious joy in our misfortune).”

My sins haunt me

You might say: “I committed many sins, and I have repented, but my sins pursue me and I am haunted by what I have done. My memories disturb my sleep and do not let me have any rest. How can I free myself?”

My advice to you is that these feelings are evidence of your sincere repentance. This is essentially remorse, and remorse is repentance. But you can look at your past with hope: the hope that Allah will forgive you. Do not despair of the mercy of Allah, for He says (interpretation of the meaning):

  “And who despairs of the Mercy of his Lord except those who are astray?” [al-Hijr 15:56]

Ibn Mas’ood (may Allah be pleased with him) said:

  “The gravest of major sins are to associate partners with Allah, to feel secure against the plan of Allah and to despair of the mercy of Allah.(Reported by ‘Abd al-Razzaaq and classed as saheeh by al-Haythami and Ibn Katheer).

Should I confess?

A person may sorrowfully ask: “I want to repent, but do I have to go and confess the sins I have committed? Is it a condition of repentance that I should tell the qaadi (judge) in the court about everything that I have done, and ask him to carry out the appropriate punishment on me? What is the meaning of the story I have just read about the repentance of Maa’iz, of the Ghaamidi woman and of the man who kissed a woman in the garden?”

My response to you is that the slave’s direct relationship with Allah, with no intermediaries, is one of the most important aspects of the belief in Tawheed (Divine Unity) with which Allah is pleased. He says (interpretation of the meaning):

  “And when My slaves ask you (O Muhammad) concerning Me, then (answer them), I am indeed near (to them by My knowledge). I respond to the invocations of the supplicant when he calls on Me (without any mediator or intercessor)…” [al-Baqarah 2:186].

If we believe that repentance is only for Allah, then confession is only for Allah too. In fact, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) used to pray in his du’aa’s asking for forgiveness:

 “ “Abu’u laka bi na’matika wa Abu’u bi dhanbi (I acknowledge Your blessings and I acknowledge (i.e. confess) my sin to You).”

This is a confession to Allah.

We are not, by the grace of Allah, like the Christians, with the priest, the chair of confession, the documents of forgiveness, etc.

Indeed, Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):

  “Know they not that Allah accepts repentance from His slaves…?” [al-Tawbah 9:104]

As regards the carrying out of punishments, if the deed has not come to the official attention of the imaam, ruler or qaadi, a person does not have to go to them and confess. If Allah has covered the sins of a person, there is nothing wrong with him covering his own sins. It is sufficient for him to repent to Allah, and the matter is between him and his Lord. One of the Names of Allah is al-Sitteer, meaning the One Who covers or conceals (the faults of His slaves), and He likes His slaves to conceal sins too. As far as the Sahaabah such as Maa’iz, the Ghaamidi woman who committed zinaa, and the man who kissed the woman in the garden are concerned, all of them did something which they were not obliged to do, may Allah be pleased with them, because they were so keen to purify themselves. The evidence for this is the fact that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) turned away from Maa’iz and from the Ghaamidi woman at first. When ‘Umar said to the man who had kissed the woman in the garden,

“Allah covered his sin. He should have covered it himself?”

the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) remained silent, indicating that he concurred with these words.

So it is not necessary to go to the court and register an official confession, if Allah has covered one’s sins. Nor is it necessary to go to the imaam of a mosque and ask him to carry out the appropriate punishment, or to ask a friend to carry out the punishment of lashing inside the house, as some people imagine.

Here I will take the opportunity to add an important comment: knowing about the rules of Islam, and seeking them from the correct sources is a trust. Allah says (interpretation of the meanings):

  so ask of those who know the Scripture, if you know not.” [al-Nahl 16:43]
  The Most Beneficent! Ask Him, as He is al-Khabeer (the All-Knower of everything).” [al-Furqaan 25:59]

The prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) feared what might befall his ummah at the hands of misguided imaams. One of the salaf (early generation of Islam) said:

  “Knowledge is religion, so pay attention to who it is you are taking your religion from.”

Beware of these pitfalls, and only consult trustworthy scholars when you are in doubt about an issue. And Allah is the source of help.

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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