May 21, 2012

Repentance - The Way Back (Part 2)

By Shiney


In the second installment to this series we shall look into how repentance is done and its importance.

Now that we know we must repent, how do we do it? It’s actually very simple; in order to do taubah, there are 3 essential conditions that must be fulfilled. These are:

1) Guilt- We must have guilt in our heart and believe that what we did was truly wrong and our guilt should be so strong that it bothers us and takes away the peace of our hearts. We should be completely heartbroken; we have to break from our hearts (from) ego, sin, arrogance, etc. Doing so brings us closer to Allah subhaana wa ta’aala.

2) Sincerity- We have to ask Allah subhaana wa ta’aala to forgive us in the most humble and sincere way as possible for whatever we did (whether we are repenting for a particular sin or in general). Sincerity is a must-we must be repenting only because we feel guilt for displeasing Allah subhaana wa ta’aala and we fear His punishment. For example, if someone repents for drinking alcohol just because he is afraid for his health and he wants to leave his addiction, then that is not sincerity, and if someone is repenting to show off what a pious person he is, then that is, quite obviously, not sincerity either.

3) Having a sincere intention not to repeat the sin- We cannot be repenting if we know that we are going to go back to that sin sometime in the future again. Of course, we can’t predict the future and mistakes are unavoidable but our will to change should be so strong that we keep away from situations that made us sin in the first place.

Another thing to mention is that mere taubah of the tongue is not enough-we have to mean what we say (it) in our hearts and we should strive to change our ways to the better (ones). In order to make repenting easier, there are four steps to follow which can be (are) called the 4 R’s of Repentance:
  • Remorse 
  • Resolve not to repeat the sin 
  • Remove oneself from the situation which caused us to sin 
  • Redress any wrongs 
To make taubah (complete) spiritually and physically, there is another guideline called the Taubah Triangle, which consists of three main things:

1) Knowledge- We should have the knowledge of why we are repenting, what we will get if we repent (merits) and what the main goal of our repentance is
2) Emotion- We should feel stinging remorse/guilt for sinning to the extent of feeling a sense of broken-heartedness because remorse itself is a major part of taubah. We must be sincere and resolve never to repeat that sin again.
3) Action- We have to remove ourselves from (the) situations that cause us to sin as soon as possible, change our environment and our companions, and make amends by following up our bad deeds with good ones. (Note:) Sins like backbiting can only be forgiven by asking forgiveness from the person that you wronged so be sure to ask them to forgive you as well. If the person is not around anymore, then say good things about them (the complete opposite of what you said earlier) in the same gatherings that you had backbitten them in. This is what it means to “redress any wrongs.”

A very important thing that we learn from the Sunnah on (is) the etiquettes of taubah, (which) is to make wudu’, pray 2 rak’ahs Nafl for repentance and then make sincere du’a to Allah subhaana wa ta’aala. A person must have hope that Allah subhaana wa ta’aala will forgive him because He has the Power and Will to do so. Allah subhaana wa ta’aala says,
"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." (Az-Zumar: 53)

The Dangers of Avoiding Repentance
  • If someone does not repent, then they are considered a dhalim (wrong-doer) and are thus distancing themselves from Allah’s Guidance as Allah subhaana wa ta’aala says,
    …And Allah does not guide the wrongdoing people.” (Al-Jumuah: 5)
  • We might be prone to Allah’s punishment because Allah subhaana wa ta’aala warns us in the Qur’an:
    "And return [in repentance] to your Lord and submit to Him before the punishment comes upon you; then you will not be helped.” (Az-Zumar: 54)
  • The number one reason that we must repent as soon as possible is that we don’t know when the Angel of Death will come to take our soul. We certainly don’t want to die in a state of sin, when Allah subhaana wa ta’aala is displeased with us. We want to return to Allah subhaana wa ta’aala in a pure state, free of sins, while He is pleased with us so we need to hurry to repentance NOW, before it is too late! 
Shaddad bin Aus (R) said: The Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam said, "The best supplication for seeking forgiveness (Sayyidd-ul-Istighfar) is to say: “Allahumma Anta Rabbi, la ilaha illa Anta, khalaqtani wa ana `abduka, wa ana `ala `ahdika wa wa`dika mastata`tu, a`udhu bika min sharri ma sana`tu, abu'u laka bini`matika `alayya, wa abu'u bidhanbi faghfir li, fa innahu la yaghfirudh-dhunuba illa Anta.” (O Allah! You are my Rabb. There is no true god except You. You have created me, and I am Your slave, and I hold to Your Covenant as far as I can. I seek refuge in You from the evil of what I have done. I acknowledge the favours that You have bestowed upon me, and I confess my sins. Pardon me, for none but You has the power to pardon).' He who supplicates in these terms during the day with firm belief in it and dies on the same day (before the evening), he will be one of the dwellers of Jannah; and if anyone supplicates in these terms during the night with firm belief in it and dies before the morning, he will be one of the dwellers of Jannah.'' (Al-Bukhar: Book 80, Hadith 6379 i).

Part 3 is coming up insha Allah. In the mean time, I would love to hear your views on this part. Please leave your comments below! :)


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