Repentance gives relief to heart

Updated 26 November 2015

Repentance gives relief to heart

One of the most important characteristics that distinguishes unbelievers from believers is that believers repent often as an act of worship.
As unbelievers consider themselves faultless and sinless, they do not feel the need to repent. Believers, on the other hand, do not want to commit any sins. However, by their nature, people can sin temporarily by following their inner selves. They can be lax in carrying out Allah’s commands. But in the end they regret and turn to Allah and ask for our Lord’s forgiveness.
Allah created people as very weak beings. People indulge in negligence due to ignorance or unawareness; they can be mistaken forgetting even the subjects they know best, they can think in a wrong or mistaken way, take the wrong decisions, or act in an unsound manner knowingly or unknowingly. This is because people have a vicious enemy like satan who is trying to drag them into rebellion and divert them from the true path by giving them suggestions. The inner self also commands evil all the time. People can earn the good pleasure of Allah to the extent that they can protect themselves from these two negative powers.
It is a great blessing that our Lord is All-Merciful, All-Compassionate and Kind and Protective to His servants.
Allah always gives people the opportunity to ask for forgiveness and repent for their mistakes and sins. Allah reveals in many verses of the Qur’an that He is “Forgiving,” “Merciful,” the “Protector” and “Compassionate.” Allah’s names of “At-Tawwab” meaning “The One Who Accepts Repentance” and “Al-Gaffar” meaning “All-Forgiving” and “Ar-Rahman” meaning “All-Merciful” manifest on all those who regret and repent. In one verse Allah heralds His servants by saying, “Tell my servants that I am the Ever-Forgiving, the Most Merciful.” (Surat Al-Hijr, 49).
The believers have to take notice of their mistakes, which they made knowingly or unknowingly by falling into negligence or listening to their inner selves. They have to regret their mistakes and direct themselves to the right path and turn to our Lord as soon as possible and strive not to make that mistake again.
Repenting frequently is a sign of a believer’s humility and awareness of his weakness in front of Allah. It is a behavior that pleases Allah. In return for this act of worship, Allah gives relief to, lifts the burdens on and opens the minds of those who repent often.
One of the wisdoms of repentance is that the believer experiences real regret and turns to Allah without wasting any time and strives not to repeat that mistake. Therefore, he repents in a true and sincere manner. He repents and keeps his word that he will remain on the right path until the end of his life. In the Qur’an, the point of view of someone who sincerely repents is described in the verse, “Allah only accepts the repentance of those who do evil in ignorance and then quickly make repentance after doing it. Allah turns toward such people. Allah is All-Knowing, All-Wise...” (Surat An-Nisa’17). In another verse, Allah reveals how a believer should behave, “Those who, when they act indecently or wrong themselves, remember Allah and ask forgiveness for their bad actions (and who can forgive bad actions except Allah?) and do not knowingly persist in what they were doing.” (Surah Al Imran, 135).
Submitting to Allah right after making mistakes and not delaying repentance is an important point. Of course, even if a person who experiences true regret carefully strives not to repeat that mistake or sin, he can still fall into the same mistake. This situation should not lead to this person losing his self-confidence. For every person there is an opportunity to repent and sincerely submit to Allah until death.
However a person should not be mistaken for the time he has been given. He should not behave in a way to abuse Allah’s mercy, forgiveness, grace. He should use the time Allah grants him and find guidance by repentance and asking for forgiveness while there is still time. This is because faith and repentance at the moment of death may not be accepted in the sight of Allah. Therefore he needs to behave like he will die any moment and strive to edify.
It should not be forgotten that a person can make small or big mistakes throughout his life, but as long as he repents and submits to Allah Who forgives and accepts repentance and turns evil into good with a sincere heart, he can hope that his mistakes will be forgiven. Allah always answers for repentance. Allah forgives his mistakes and turns them into good and rewards his good deeds with the best.
Mistakes increase the degrees of believers, who immediately abandons their mistakes and compensates for these by displaying the right attitude in line with the Qur’an, in the hereafter; make them more mature and help His servants better understand their weaknesses and helplessness. The important thing is to regret and repent without insisting on one’s sins. In the verses, our Lord reveals that He will forgive those who do good deeds, pay alms and live the moral values of the Qur’an and take them under His grace:
“But I am Ever-Forgiving to anyone who makes tawba and has faith and acts rightly and then is guided.” (Surah Ta-Ha, 82)
One of the reasons that distract people from the morality of religion is to see themselves as people “who are compulsive and will never get better” as a result of guilt due to their sins. Satan constantly provokes these people who forget the Ar-Rahman and Ar-Rahim names of Allah and that Allah is the One Who accepts repentance and has infinite mercy and suggests them the idea “you are already a sinner, it is impossible for you to recover, accept it as it is.” Then satan pulls them into a greater mire with deceptions like “you have sinned once, it is okay to do it again.” But this is weak like satan’s every trick, because when a person sins it does not mean that this person will not find the right path from now on. Allah reveals in the Qur’an that He will forgive all who sincerely repents for their sins, ask for forgiveness and strive not to commit that sin again as such: “But if anyone makes tawba after his wrongdoing and puts things right, Allah will turn toward him. Allah is Ever-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (Surat Al-Ma’ida, 39)

— The writer has authored more than 300 books translated in 73 languages on politics,
religion and science.


The beauty of prayer in Islam

Updated 23 September 2016

The beauty of prayer in Islam

GOING deeper into our spiritual state during prayers (salah) requires that we have a presence of heart and are mindful of the words being said during the prayers.
Our prayer will feel shorter, yet when we look at how much time we actually spent, we will think, “Did I just spend 10 minutes?” or even 15 and 20 minutes.
A person who began applying this said he wished the prayer would never end.
A feeling that Ibn Al-Qayyim describes as “what the competitors compete for… it is nourishment for the soul and the delight of the eyes,” and he also said, “If this feeling leaves the heart, it is as though it is a body with no soul.”

The love of Allah
Some people’s relationship with Allah is limited to following orders and leaving prohibitions, so that one does not enter hell. Of course, we must follow orders and leave prohibitions, but it needs to be done out of more than fear and hope; it should also be done out of love for Allah. Allah says in the Qur’an: “… Allah will bring forth [in place of them] a people He will love and who will love Him.” (Qur’an, 5:54)
We often find that when a lover meets the beloved, hearts are stirred and there is warmth in that meeting. Yet when we meet Allah, there is not even an ounce of this same feeling. Allah says in the Qur’an: “And (yet) among the people are those who take other than Allah as equals (to Him). They love them as they (should) love Allah. But those who believe are stronger in love for Allah.” (Qur’an, 2:165)
And those who believe are stronger in love for Allah. There should be a feeling of longing, and when we raise our hands to start the prayer, warmth and love should fill our hearts because we are now meeting with Allah. A dua of the Prophet (peace be upon him): “O Allah, I ask You for the longing to meet You” (An-Nisa’i, Al-Hakim)
Ibn Al-Qayyim says in his book Tareeq Al-Hijratain that Allah loves His Messengers and His believing servants, and they love Him and nothing is more beloved to them than Him. The love of one’s parents has a certain type of sweetness, as does the love of one’s children, but the love of Allah far supersedes any of that. The Prophet, peace be upon him, said: “Any person who combines these three qualities will experience the sweetness of faith: 1) that God and His messenger are dearer to him than anything else; 2) that his love of others is purely for God’s sake; and 3) that he hates to relapse into disbelief as much as he hates to be thrown in the fire.” (Bukhari)
Thus, the first thing he mentioned was: “… that God and His messenger are more beloved to him than anything else…”
Ibn Al-Qayyim says: “Since ‘there is nothing like unto Him’ (Qur’an, 42:11), there is nothing like experiencing love for Him.”
If you feel this love for Him, it will be a feeling so intense, so sweet, that you would wish the prayer would never ever end.
Do you truly want to feel this love? Then ask yourself: ‘why do you or should you love Allah?’
Know that you love people for one (or all, in varying degrees) of three reasons: For their beauty, because of their exalted character or/and because they have done good to you. And know that Allah combines all of these three to the utmost degree.

All-embracing beauty
We’ve all been touched by beauty. It is almost fitrah (natural disposition) to love what is beautiful. Ali ibn Abi Talib, may Allah be pleased with him, said about the Prophet, peace be upon him, that it was “as if the sun is shining from his face.” Jabir (may God be pleased with him) said: “The Messenger of Allah was more handsome, beautiful, and radiant than the full moon” (Tirmidhi)
Allah made all His Prophets have a certain beauty so that people would have a natural inclination toward them.
And beauty is more than what is in the face, because beauty is in all of creation and somehow has the ability to take our breath away and give us peace simultaneously. The glimmer of the crescent moon on a calm night, the intensity of a waterfall as the water drops for thousands of feet, the sunset by the sea … certain scenes of natural unspoiled beauty stirs something in us. As Allah is the One Who made it beautiful, so what of Allah’s beauty?
Ibn Al-Qayyim said: “And it is enough to realize Allah’s Beauty when we know that every internal and external beauty in this life and the next are created by Him, so what of the beauty of their Creator?”
This fitrah for loving what is beautiful is because Allah is beautiful. One of His Names is Al-Jameel (the Most Beautiful). Ibn Al-Qayyim states that the beauty of Allah is something that a person cannot imagine and only He knows it. There is nothing of it in creation save for glimpses.
Ibn Al-Qayyim says if all of creation were the most beautiful they could be (so let’s imagine, ever single human being looked as beautiful as Yusuf, peace be upon him, and the whole world was like Paradise), and all of them combined from the beginning of time until the Day of Judgment, they would not even be like a ray in comparison to the sun when compared to Allah. Allah’s beauty is so intense that we will not even be able to take it in this life. In the Qur’an, Allah describes Musa’s (peace be upon him) request: “And when Moses arrived at Our appointed time and his Lord spoke to him, he said, ‘My Lord, show me (Yourself) that I may look at You.’ (Allah) said: ‘You will not see Me but look at the mountain; if it should remain in place, then you will see Me.’ But when his Lord appeared to the mountain He rendered it level, and Moses fell unconscious.” (Qur’an, 7:143)
Even the mountain could not bear the beauty of Allah and crumbled, and when Musa, peace be upon him, saw this (he did not even see Allah), he fell unconscious. This is why on the Day of Judgment it is Allah’s light that will shine on everything. We talk about breathtaking beauty, but we have yet to experience Allah’s beauty. While things in this world can be beautiful or majestic or if they combine both they are finite, true majesty and beauty are for Allah: “And there will remain the Face of your Lord, Owner of Majesty and Honor.” (Qur’an, 55:27)
Keeping all of this in mind, the Prophet, peace be upon him, said: “Allah directs His Face toward the face of His servant who is praying, as long as he does not turn away” (Tirmidhi).
Remember this in your prayer, and ask Allah to allow you the joy of seeing Him in Paradise.