UNIT SEVEN – REPENTANCE, SEEKING FORGIVENESS

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Al-Agharr ibn Yasar al-Muzani said that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said: “O people! Turn in repentance towards Allah and ask His forgiveness. I turn towards Him a hundred times a day.” (Sahih Muslim, Dhikr, 42; Sunan Abu Dawud, Witr, 26).

 

NARRATOR

Al-Agharr ibn Yasar al-Muzani

a) Al-Agharr ibn Yasar al-Muzani was among the first to emigrate to Medina. b) He is also known by the name Al-Juhani. c) Ibn Umar, Mu’awiya ibn Qurra, and Abu Burda have related hadith from him. d) He has narrated three hadith, two of them on the subject of repentance and seeking forgiveness from Allah.

 

EXPLANATION

1. As the hadith begins with the expression “O people,” it can be understood that all human beings have been summoned to repentance and seeking forgiveness.

2. Repentance and seeking forgiveness: Denotes a person’s recognizing their own self and their shortcomings as well as their Lord and His Greatness and, as such, their seeking spiritual ascension. Abdullah ibn Umar reports that he heard the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, asking Allah to forgive him a hundred times in an assembly with the words, “O Allah, forgive me, pardon me and show mercy to me, for You are the Oft-Relenting, All-Compassionate,” and 54 An Introduction to Hadith that they too used to repeat this. As there can be no one who is superior in rank to the Prophet, everyone is in need of repentance.

3. Allah declares, “…Surely Allah loves those who turn to Him in sincere repentance (of past sins and errors), and He loves those who cleanse themselves” (al-Baqarah 2:222). In any event, repentance is a form of purification of the heart. It is the heart’s being cleansed of the black stains enveloping it.

According to a narration of Abu Hamza Anas ibn Malik al-Ansari, the Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, said: “Allah is happier with repentance of His slave than one of you who loses his camel in the desert and then comes upon it (unexpectedly).” Sahih al-Bukhari, Da’awat, 4; Sahih Muslim, Tawbah 1, 7, 8.

4. Human beings are born into the world without sin and impurity. Subsequently deviating from this pure and straight path for a number of reasons, they thrust themselves into the dust of transgression and waste away therein. Indeed, sins are the means throwing human beings by the wayside and causing their ruin. In regard to a person’s turning to Allah once again after wrongdoing, the Qur’an states, “Turn to your Lord in penitence and submit to Him wholly.” Such being the case, repentance is a person’s immediate cleansing and a return to their essence, after having lost their purity. It is stated in a hadith: “When the believer commits sin, a black spot appears on his heart. If he repents and gives up that sin and seeks forgiveness, his heart will be purified and polished. But if he increases in sin, the blackness increases.” In other words, the idea of committing sin becomes impressed upon them.

5. Another aspect of repentance is a person’s desiring the best in relation to their carnal self by not ever returning to their former wrongdoing and thus not allowing it to distance itself from Allah. That is why they ought to be resolute, from the outset, not to commit sin and, when considering their carnal self in relation to their sins, must accept its pulling away from Allah as so great a crime as to be unforgivable. Allah has promised that He will forgive everything save the association of partners with Him18. Thus, it can be said that one must not remain where one has fallen, but take action at once; one must turn to Allah, repent for former sins committed and, in so doing, strive to rediscover oneself anew. This is what can be referred to as the sincere, true repentance, or tawbah an-nasuh.

 

Conditions for a True Repentance:

The first: If the sin committed concerns the rights of others, one must first approach the person whose rights have been violated and seek pardon from them.

The second: One must display strong resolve and commitment not to return to that same sin.

The third: Time must not be allowed to elapse between that sin and repentance and one must repent without delay.

The fourth: Shedding tears and weeping due to one’s sins is essential. Tears extinguish the Fire.

6. The world of today, with its streets and centers of attraction and amusement, has been transformed into a sea of sin. In our day, Satan or his accomplices from among human beings or the jinn are far and wide, lying in wait at every corner for the victims to fall into their clutches. Every believer in such a society must act with the awareness that, “In every sin, there is a path that leads to disbelief.” When a person commits a sin, they must express their deep sorrow at having erred thus and take refuge in their Lord, exclaiming, “O Lord, I know not how I could have done this! I stand before You in utter shame for what I have done.” Our wrongdoing can be forgiven through our shedding tears due to the sins we have committed; this is because tears put out the flames of Hellfire.

 

LESSONS TO BE LEARNED

1. While repentance is not restricted to a particular numerical value, we must repent and ask Allah’s forgiveness at least one hundred times each day. 2. 18 An-Nisa 4:48 Allah is most compassionate towards His servants. He is ready to forgive them in the event of their seeking His forgiveness. 3. Every difficulty is followed by ease and there is comfort at the end of every hardship. As a matter of course, a person must never despair in the mercy and compassion of their Lord. 4. A person must constantly hold themselves to account and repent sincerely for their sins. 5. Allah forgives the sins that a person commits unwittingly. And so, a man reunited with his camel mistakenly exclaiming out of his boundless joy, “O Lord, You are my servant and I am Your Lord,” as mentioned in a narrationhas not been regarded as a sin.

 

EVALUATION

1. According to hadith, how many times did the Prophet repent each day?

2. What is the meaning of repentance and seeking forgiveness?

3. To what has the Prophet likened Allah’s delight at a servant’s repentance?

4. What state does the heart assume as the servant commits sin?

5. What is “true repentance” and what are its conditions?

6. What can each sin contain?

7. What qualities must repentance have?

8. How did Ibrahim ibn Adham seek forgiveness from Allah?

9. The eyes of which two persons will not witness the fire of Hell?

10. What can extinguish the fire of Hell for a believer?

11. Why did Satan wake Mu’awiya for the Prayer?

 

 

Tekines, Ayhan. “An Introduction to Hadith” Tughra Books Press. January 2013.