Make Taubah.. Today!
If I don't feel the need of istighfar, its a sign that I need it the most, and I need to do it right away. One effect of regularly and sincerely doing taubah & istighfar and feeling humility before Allah for our sins is that our own sins are revealed to us. Not doing istighfar regularly causes a person to become numb towards sins.
عن ابن مسعود رضي الله عنه إنَّ المؤمنَ يرى ذنوبَه كأنه قاعدٌ تحت جبلٍ يخاف أن يقعَ عليه، وإنَّ الفاجرَ يرى ذنوبَه كذُبابٍ مَرَّ على أنفِه؛
Which means that a believer looks at his sins as if its a mountain, fearing it will fall over him (any time) and a fajir looks at his sins as if it was a fly that passed by his nose. What does that tell us about our situation? The more we are acquainted with our mistakes and sins, the closer we are to being a believer and vice-versa.
What is Istighfar? The term "istighfar" refers to looking at the past deeds and repenting over them, feeling humiliated and sorry over them. And "taubah" means making a firm intention that I will never repeat this particular sin. Both these things join together to complete a person's repentance. When a person repents, he gets a lot of rewards from Allah which are inshaAllah coming later in this post. But before that we must understand what istighfar and taubah are.
- الندم توبة ، و التائب من الذنب كمن لا ذنب له حسن صحيح الجامع ٦٨٠٣
i-e feeling remorseful is actually Taubah. Taubah is not an act of tongue, its an act of heart. Remorse is felt inside the heart.
Hope is never lost When we make taubah, we must be absolutely sure that our taubah has been accepted (if we know we were sincere, of course!). When we make a sincere taubah, then we shouldn't let thoughts of hopelessness come to our mind. For example, "I don't know if my repentance has actually been accepted or not?" This is wrong. It's similar to thinking ill about Allah (سبحانه و تعالی). Firaon at the time of Musa (علیہ السلام) was not just a normal sinner, and he wasn't just any oppressor, but he killed thousands of new born babies. Can you imagine yourself, or any one you know to take a new born baby.. and kill him? This is unfathomable for us. And on top of this bloody oppression he even started claiming things like: انا ربكم العلي that I am your lord or worship me. If you try to imagine a person taking a new born baby and killing him, you'll have no other feelings for him besides hate. But Allah (سبحانه و تعالی) sent Musa (علیہ السلام) told him to speak to firaon that he might just repent. What does that tell us? If Firaon would have made taubah before dying.. his repentance too would have been accepted. Because this is why a Prophet of Allah (علیہ السلام) was sent towards him. Now compare yourself with Firaon. I mean, obviously there isn't any comparison. But still.. you and I are the Ummah of the Prophet Muhammad (صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم). We have, behind us, 23 years of Allah's beloved Prophet's tears and prayers.. Do we have any reason at all to doubt if our repentance was accepted or not? ِAllah (سبحانه و تعالی) says in a Hadith Al-Qudsi:
يا ابن آدم! لو بلغت ذنوبك عنان السماء, ثم استغفرتني غفرت لك ولا أبالي
which means that if you do so many sins that they fill the earth up, and then you make your sins reach the skies and fill them up too.. and then repent, then Allah (سبحانه و تعالی) says I will forgive all of them and it won't even bother me. And the reason is that human beings get 'effected' by situation. Like someone hurts you, you can say from your mouth that you forgave him, and even make an intention that you won't take any revenge (which is the real form of forgiving people) but still you cannot take the pain out of your heart because that's out of your control. Someone who has such feeling is called منفعل in Arabic. Someone who gets affected by other people's behaviors. But Allah (سبحانه و تعالی) is someone who is not منفعل so no act of ours actually 'affacts' Him. سبحان الله. So when you ask for forgiveness, know that you have been forgiven.
So never be hopeless. Sinning is human, but not repenting is shaitan.It says in a Hadith:
وَالَّذِي نَفْسُ مُحَمَّدٍ بِيَدِهِ ، لَوْ لَمْ تُخْطِئُوا لَجَاءَ اللَّهُ بِقَومٍ يُخْطِئُونَ ثُمَّ يَسْتَغْفِرُونَ اللَّهَ فَيَغْفِرُ لَهُمْ
The Messenger (صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم) says: that by the One in Who's hand is my life (i-e by Allah) if all of you stopped making mistakes, Allah (سبحانه و تعالی) would have replaced you with a nation that would make mistakes and then repent and then Allah would forgive them..
SubhanAllah! How beautiful! Allah hu Akbar! You see Islam (unlike some other religions may be) does not keep the sins or mistakes you did in the past hanging over your head like a knife. Instead, Allah (سبحانه و تعالی) shows us how merciful He is. We ask Him for forgiveness and move on to be the best Muslims we can be.Taubah isn't just a guarantee of a clean file.. there is more.. Right so we think when we make Taubah, and we are sincere in our Taubah, Allah will give us a fresh start and we'll have a clean file. Well, Allah (سبحانه و تعالی) is the Arrhamur-rahimeen i-e the most merciful of the merciful. Allah (سبحانه و تعالی) says:
إِلَّا مَنْ تَابَ وَآمَنَ وَعَمِلَ عَمَلًا صَالِحًا فَأُوْلَئِكَ يُبَدِّلُ اللَّهُ سَيِّئَاتِهِمْ حَسَنَاتٍ Surah Furqan: 70
So if we can be firm on your taubah.. Allah (سبحانه و تعالی) will convert all the bad deeds of ours in to good deeds. So it isn't just a clean file.. but all the huge crimes we did, and all the bad sins.. and the mountains of bad deeds get converted into good deeds.. So your history is also cleared. This is what I call unimaginable mercy.What about matters of the duniya?
..and one could ask that if our Aakhirah related matters are fixed with Taubah, what effect does it put on our duniya? Remember that our Halaat or situations that we are going through are a reflection of our A3maal (deeds). The kind of A3maal we send towards Allah, the similar results we get back from Him. Allah (سبحانه و تعالی) says:
ظهر الفساد في البر والبحر بما كسبت أيدي الناس ِAr-Rum: 41
i-e all the corruption that appears on the land and the sea is the result of people's a'maal.So if I have earned a lot of sins and my life has in fact become miserable, even then one of my solutions is a sincere repentance over my sins.
So taubah doesn't just fix the record of our deeds and the matters related to the hereafter, but it also fixes our duniya. What's the proof of that? The people to whome the Prophet Nuh (علیہ السلام) was sent to, had increased in transgression and therefore naturally they had to face situations that weren't very good for them. So they had a problem of getting children, there was a drought, and they had also become poor. But remember that one quality of Prophets was that after they warned their nation about not disobeying Allah (سبحانه و تعالی) and the nation (because of their actions) faced torment in this world, the Prophet's did not leave their nations saying things like: "Didn't we warn you? Now face it!" No!! Absolutely not.. rather they would still feel for them and try as best they could to take them out of their situation. This is what we learn from the legacy of the Prophets as Muslims, we should be a well wisher for all of the humanity, and not the ones who would give fatwa about who is going to hell and who is not.Anyway, back to the subject.. so Nuh (علیہ السلام) tells what he did when the nation of his transgressed and Allah records it in the Qur'an:
فَقُلْتُ اسْتَغْفِرُوا رَبَّكُمْ إِنَّهُ كَانَ غَفَّاراً يُرْسِلِ السَّمَاءَ عَلَيْكُمْ مِدْرَاراً وَيُمْدِدْكُمْ بِأَمْوَالٍ وَبَنِينَ وَيَجْعَلْ لَكُمْ جَنَّاتٍ وَيَجْعَلْ لَكُمْ أَنْهَاراً Surah Nuh: 10-12
Which means: So I said (to them): repent before your sustainer, for verily He is all-forgiving. He will send rain to you in abundance. He will give you increase in wealth and sons; and he will give you gardens and give you rivers (of flowing water).
In other words, Taubah & Istighfar not only fix your hereafter, but also the life of this world too.
Taubah is a cure of sadness The Prophet (صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم) said:
من لزم الاستغفار جعل الله له من كل هم فرجا ومن كل ضيق مخرجا ورزقه من حيث لا يحتسب سنن أبو داود الصلاة 1518 ، سنن ابن ماجه الأدب 3819
..which means whoever holds on to istighfar or makes it an obligation for himself to do istighfar regularly, Allah (سبحانه و تعالی) will give him relief from every sadness, and will make a way out for him from every narrowness, and He will provide for him from the means that he could never think of or foresee.
Becoming a wali of Allah could take only a minute If we look around, when someone makes a mistake, whether its related to relationships, or its a crime of the state, traffic violation etc.. or whatever it may be.. once you decide that you won't repeat it, you may get bailed out of jail.. or if you had a problem with some relationship, and you seek their forgiveness, they could say to you "ok I have forgiven you!" But do you think things are going to be the way they were before you messed up? Of course not. It could take a long time to patch up the effects of the mistake you made. But on the contrary, Allah (سبحانه و تعالی) doesn't just promise a clear record, or replacement of bad deeds with good ones. Instead, He goes ahead to another extreme of mercy and compassion. He says:
إِنَّ اللّهَ يُحِبُّ التَّوَّابِينَ Al-Baqarah: 222
Allah Loves the people who make taubah. In other words, we should't let shaitaan fool any of us with things like: "If you really want to become the beloved of Allah, you will have to pray Tahajud first for so many years, and then fast for so many years and then stand on one foot under the sun etc.."
That's from Shaitan (لعنة الله عليه). What does Allah (سبحانه و تعالی) tell us in the Qur'an? That if you want to become the beloved of Allah.. make taubah! Its not like you made Taubah and now you would be look upon like: "Oh yeah he did repent but lets see if he actually makes it up to the standard that I have set for him" etc.. NO! You make Taubah.. Taubah is the standard for becoming the beloved of Allah.. Allahu Akbar! SubhanAllah! Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilaani (رحمه الله) wrote in one of his works that it takes just a few moments for a person to become the wali of Allah. All he has to do is sincerely repent!
How to make istighfar? All we have to do to make taubah is sincerely repent on our mistakes. Decide (sincerely) that from now onwards, I will not do anything that I know is wrong according to the Qur'an and Sunnah. Whether its a small crime or a big crime. I will turn towards Allah completely. Whether my family, or friends or people that I talk with or my circle.. they approve it or not. Whether my own self likes it or not.. I will try to do what pleases Allah from now onwards. I will do my utmost to not break a SINGLE command of Allah up to the knowledge I have. And I will strive to learn what makes my lord and the King of the heavens and the earth, Allah, happy! And I will do that. InshaAllah.. I will try my best.. Trying your best is all that Allah wants. You will be questioned about your efforts. You're not in charge of the results. Results are in Allah's hands.
What if I made sincere istighfar but then broke it? Don't worry! Just make taubah again. The Messenger (صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم) said:
التوبة تهدم ما قبلها
That Taubah cleans everything before it. So it also cleans all the previous broken Taubahs and everytime you make taubah.. its as new as your first repentance! 🙂InshaAllah, make Taubah.. Today!