The Doors of Repentance
by Imâm al-Madîna al-Munawarrah ‘Alî Abd-ur-Rahmân al-Hudhaifî
All praise is due to Allaah, the Merciful, the Oft-Returning, the Forgiver of sins and the Receiver of repentance and the Severe in punishment. I thank Him, return to Him in repentance and seek for His Forgiveness. I testify that there is no deity worthy of worship save Him He is One having no partner and I equally testify that Muhammad r is His Servant and Messenger whom He has favored with the best of all Divine Books. O Allaah! Bestow Your Peace Blessings and Benedictions on him, his family and companions.
Dear Muslims! Fear Allaah for, the fear of Allaah leads to prosperity, happiness and success. You should know that man’s glory is in complete humbleness and love for the Majestic Lord and that man’s disgrace lies in his arrogance and disobedience to Allaah. Allaah says:
“Whosoever desires honour, power and glory then to Allaah belong all honour, power and glory [and one can get honour, power and glory only by worshipping Allaah (Alone)]. To Him ascend (all) the goodly words i.e. and the righteous deeds exalt it (the goodly words i.e. the goodly words are not accepted by Allaah unless and until they are followed by by good deeds), but those who plot evils, -theirs will be a severe torment. And the plotting of such will perish.” (Faatir 35:10).
He also says: “And your Lord said: ‘Invoke Me, [i.e. believe in My Oneness (Islamic Monotheism)] (and ask Me for anything) I will respond to your (invocation).Verily! Those who scorn My worship [i.e. do not invoke Me, and do not believe in My Oneness, (Islamic Monotheism)] they will surely enter Hell in humiliation.” (Ghaafir 40:60).
Humbleness to and love for Allaah can only be actualised through worshipping Allaah in all aspects. Among the major acts of worship is repentance. Even the greatest repentance which is the highest and the most compulsory act of worship is repentance from disbelief. Allaah says regarding what Prophet Hood as told his people:
“And O my people! Ask forgiveness of your Lord and then repent to Him, He will send you (from the sky) abundant rain, and add strenght to your strength, so do not turn away as Mujrimun (criminals, disbelievers in the Oneness of Allah).” (Hood 11:52)
Allaah also stressed while inviting the unbelievers unto repentance:
“If they then repent, it will be better for them, but if they turn away, Allah will punish them with a painful torment in this worldly life and in the Hereafter. And there is none for them on earth as a Wali (supporter, protector) or a helper.” (At-Tawbah 9:74)
Repentance from all sins is obligatory on every adult Muslim. This is emphasized by Allaah is His saying: “And all of you beg Allah to forgive you all, O believers, that you may be successful.” (An-Noor 24:31)
The meaning of ‘ Tawbah’ is to turn back to Allaah by abandoning all major and minor sins and to repent to Allaah from all known and unknown sins. Al-Agharr Al-Muzanee narrated that the Messenger of Allaah saws said:
“O people! Repent to Allaah and seek for His forgiveness. I repent to Him in a day 100 times.” (Reported by Muslim).
A sincere repentance according to the scholars has conditions:
1. To discontinue the sin.
2. To regret over its occurrence.
3. To determine never to go back to that sin again.
4. To give back the right to whom it is due if the sin involves a man.
The Prophet saws has also informed us that repentance can be done any time during the day or night. Aboo Moosaa Al-Ash‘aree narrated that the Prophet saws said:
“Allaah holds out His Hand during the night to receive the repentance of the one who has committed wrong during the day and holds outs His Hand during the day to receive the repentance of the one who has committed wrong during the night.” (Muslim)
Indeed, Allaah is very happy when any of His slaves repents. If he responds to the call of his Lord and repents, he will have a prosperous life in this world and the good rewards in the hereafter. If he however does not repent, Allaah will punish him for his sins and He is not unjust with anyone.
Be aware also dear brother, that, among the logical reasons behind Allaah’s love for His slaves’s repentance is that one of His attributes is ‘At-Tawwaab’ (the One who accepts repentance). It indicates that Allaah accepts the repentance even if it is done repeatedly. And this attribute necessitates the existence of a sinner who repents from his sins so that Allaah will accept his repentance and forgive him. All other beautiful names of Allaah are like that. Each name demonstrates a great attribute of Allaah that the name contains and each of Allaah’s Beautiful Names necessitates the appearance of its signs on the universe.
Another reason behind His love for His slave’s repentance is that Allaah Himself is the Benefactor, Master of Infinite Goodness; whoever obeys Him through repentance He will be kind to him and reward him in this world and the next and whoever neglects repentance, Allaah will be kind to him in this world and will punish him in the hereafter for his evil deeds; for your Lord is not unjust towards His slaves.
Further, it is alright to repent from some sins though one will be held responsible for sins that are not repented from.
Dear Muslims! Door of repentance is open to all and sundry until the sun rises from the west. It is then that the door of repentance will be closed and faith will be of no avail to a soul which has not believed before.
Safwaan ‘Assaal narrated that he heard the Messenger of Allaah saws saying:
“Allaah opened a door west side for seventy years for the purpose of repentance, it will not be closed until the sun will rises from the west.” (At-Tirmidhee)
Allaah has also promised the best reward and good abode for the repentant when He says
: “(The believers whose Allaah has purchased are) those who repent to Allaah (from polytheism and hypocrisy, etc.), who worship Him, who praise Him, who fast (or go out in Allaah’s cause), who prostrate themselves (in prayer), who enjoin (people) for Al-Ma‘ruf (i.e. Islamic Monotheism and all what Islam has ordained) and forbid (people) from Al-Munkar (i.e. disbelief, polytheism of all kinds and all that Islam has forbidden), and who observe the limits set by Allah (do all that Allah has ordained and abstain from all kinds of sins and evil deeds which Allah has forbidden). and give glad tidings to the believers.” (At-Tawbah 9:112)
To emphasize Allaah’s love for the repentance of His servant, the Prophet saws said:
“Allaah is happier when a servant of His repents to Him than a man who was on his camel in a waterless desert and the camel escaped from him with his food and water. When he has lost hope of finding it, he retired to a tree and lied down under its shade. As he was there, the camel suddenly appeared in front of him. He took hold of its halter and said in his state of excessive joy: ‘O my Lord You are my servant and I am Your Lord’. He uttered this erronious statement as a result of his being over-joyed.”(Muslim)
Fellow Muslims! Repentance is an act of worship done by the Prophets, Messengers and pious people. Allaah says:
“Allah has forgiven the Prophet, the Muhajirun (Muslim emigrants who left their homes and came to A-Madinah) who followed him (Muhammad) in the time of distress (Tabuk expedition, etc.), after the hearts of a party or them had nearly deviated (from the Right Path), but He accepted their repentance. Certainly, He is unto them full of Kindness, Most Merciful.” (At-Tawbah 9:117)
Muslim as a matter of necessity needs repentance every second of his life; he needs it after performing righteous deeds or after perpetrating forbidden acts. The Almighty says:
“Seek the forgiveness of your Lord, and turn to Him in repentance, that He may grant you good enjoyment, for a term appointed, and bestow His abounding Grace to every owner of grace (i.e. the one who helps and serves needy and deserving, physically and with good words). But if you turn away, then I fear for you the torment of a Great Day (i.e. the Day of Resurrection).” (Hood 11:3)
Brothers in faith! Fear Allaah that you may attain His Pleasure and Paradise and be saved from His wrath and punishment. Allaah says:
“ But as for him who repented (from polytheism and sins, etc.), believed (in the Oneness of Allah and His Messenger Muhammad), and did righteous deeds (in the life or this world), then he will be among those who are successful.” (Qasas 28:67)
The Prophet saws also said:
“Indeed, Allaah accepts the repentance of man as long as he hasnt started gargling (i.e. dying).”
Hasten to repentance and be consistent on that after every good deeds and bad ones. Allaah says:
“And turn in repentance and in obedience with true Faith (Islamic Monotheism) to your Lord and submit to Him (in Islam), before the torment comes upon you, then you will not be helped. And follow the best of that which is sent downto you from your Lord (i.e. this Qur’an, do what it orders you to do and keep away from what it forbids), before the torment comes on you suddenly while you perceive not.” (Az-Zumar 39:54-55).
Beware or wishful thinking that is caused by Satan and delusions of this finite world for, death can come suddenly. Some are indeed denied repentance by their unprepared ness for death and there are others who are lucky enough to repent sincerely before their death hence they are admitted among the righteous people by their Lord.
The repentance accepted by Allah is only for those who do wrong in ignorance [or carelessness] and then repent soon after. It is those to whom Allah will turn in forgiveness, and Allah is ever Knowing and Wise. (17) But repentance is not [accepted] of those who [continue to] do evil deeds up until, when death comes to one of them, he says, “Indeed, I have repented now,” or of those who die while they are disbelievers. For them We have prepared a painful punishment. (18) [An-Nisaa 4:17-18]