By Meru Hussain
Secrets. Not everyone can keep them, some feel like they will burst if they don’t share them with someone, whilst others can take them to the grave.
Sins are like secrets, secrets between you and your Lord- at least, those done in private. Except you don’t have to take them to your grave. You get to take them to Allah. You get to ask Him to forgive you for them. Then, as if they never existed, they’re gone. Except they are replaced with good.
So what is it that makes some of us believe that we are not worthy of His forgiveness? The first lesson taught to Adam (as) was repentance and the last trait that Iblis ( Shaytaan) embraced was arrogance.
7:23 – قَالَا رَبَّنَا ظَلَمْنَا أَنفُسَنَا وَإِن لَّمْ تَغْفِرْ لَنَا وَتَرْحَمْنَا لَنَكُونَنَّ مِنَ الْخَاسِرِينَ
They said, “Our Lord, we have wronged ourselves, and if You do not forgive us and have mercy upon us, we will surely be among the losers.”
Adam (as) repented with these beautiful words and was forgiven. He was humbled before His Lord but hoped for His forgiveness. Iblis believed himself to be the best worshipper but that led him to become the greatest disbeliever.
Iblis was granted respite to mislead mankind, but the reason why Allah granted him that respite, was to guide mankind to understand the difference between good and evil.
Despite having been the best worshipper, Iblis fell to be the lowest of creation, and the virtue that separates him from mankind is repentance -therefore I love that which separates me from my enemy.
Repentance is the weapon against arrogance, a means of attaining humility and best of all a virtue beloved by our Lord.
Say, “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.” (Surah Zumar: 53)
Despairing of Allah’s mercy is a waste of your energy; channelling that energy into turning back to Allah is a renewal of your purpose.
When we struggle to give up a sin, we must remember to ask Him to help us with it. Understanding that our capacity is limited but our Lord’s is not, helps us to achieve the unachievable.
Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) said:The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “By the One in Whose Hand my soul is! If you do not commit sins, Allah would replace you with a people who would commit sins and seek forgiveness from Allah; and Allah will certainly forgive them.[Muslim]
To think that you will not sin or that you can ever achieve perfection in your worship is a complete fallacy. Even the most righteous scholars need to beg for guidance. Accepting that you will sin and that you can seek forgiveness can help you to find peace in your heart.
Al-Agharr Al-Muzani (May Allah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “Sometimes I perceive a veil over my heart, and I supplicate Allah for forgiveness a hundred times in a day.”[Muslim]
If the Prophet Muhammad (saw) could feel this way, then how can you expect that you and I can forsake seeking forgiveness?
When the prophet Yunus (as), become fed up with his people, turned away from his purpose, then called out to His Lord inside the belly of a whale saying:
21:87 -لَّا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا أَنتَ سُبْحَانَكَ إِنِّي كُنتُ مِنَ الظَّالِمِينَ
“There is no deity except You; exalted are You. Indeed, I have been of the wrongdoers.”
He was saved from what looked like an impossible situation.
There is a huge lesson in this dua because it teaches us that even when we are enveloped in darkness, and maybe even within the sin itself, you can still call out to Him and He will hear.
Allah created us, He knows that which we do not. He knows us better than ourselves and that’s why He mentions His mercy and forgiveness many times in the Quran. He reassures us that in turning back to Him, associating no partners with Him, we can earn His love and forgiveness. Seeking forgiveness is one of the means to relieve yourself from every difficulty.
Ibn ‘Abbas (May Allah be pleased with them) said: The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “If anyone constantly seeks pardon (from Allah), Allah will appoint for him a way out of every distress and a relief from every anxiety and will provide sustenance for him from where he expects not. ” [Abu Dawud]
If you focus on your sin you will create despair which will cripple you and ebb away at your faith however, when you focus on Allah, exalted is He, you will move forward with purpose and clarity.
There are many duas for forgiveness which we can recite but this dua is one of my favourites:
Allahummaghfir lil muslimina wal muslimat, wal mu’minina wal mu’minat, al ahyaa-ee minhum wal amwat
“Ya Allah please forgive all muslim men and muslim women, believing men and believing women, whether they are still alive or have died.”
Narrated ‘Ubaadah that the Messenger of Allah said, “Whoever seeks forgiveness for the believing men and believing women, Allah will write for him a good deed for EACH believing man and believing woman.” (Tabaraani)
Can you imagine a good deed being written for you for every believer from the creation of Adam (as) to the minute you say this dua?
How much more do we need to convince ourselves that Allah created us, guided us to be Muslims, wrote Jannah for us inshaaAllah and loves to forgive us?
We must acknowledge we were human before we became Muslim. We were the children of Adam (as) before we became of the ummah of Prophet Muhammad (saw). We will sin before we can become pure inshaa’Allah.
We are living in a time where the over consumption of information is leading to us overthinking. Perhaps therefore we were advised to keep renewing our intention, to keep renewing our faith by stating La ilaaha ill-Allah.
Humans are a complex creation Subhan Allah, and we often lean into reason and control, more than belief and conviction. When we wrong one another and apologise only to repeat the same pain again, we reason that if we keep forgiving that person, we will be taken advantage of. Therefore, we reason that the person causing harm to us should be avoided or completely cut off.
It is with this reasoning that we approach repentance, thinking that if we continue to seek forgiveness but do not change and we keep repeat the same sins, Allah will not forgive us. Here’s the problem: we are limiting Allah’s mercy and forgiveness to our human limitations.
It is reported that bn Al Qayyim said: ‘If you are making dua in a hurry and your heart is not at peace, then focus all of your duas on asking for Allah to forgive you. Because if you are forgiven, Allah will fulfil all your needs without you even asking for it.’
Subhan Allah if we knew the significance of His forgiveness and how readily available it is to us; our tongues would be moist with istighfar (seeking forgiveness).
Allah knows. He is Al Aleem – The All Knowing. He knows our intentions, our actions, what’s in our hearts. He sees our polluted intentions. He sees our deficient actions. He sees the diseases in our hearts. And despite all of this, He loves to forgive. He forgives the repentant sinner, the shortcomings in our deeds, the burdened heart full of sin. He forgives it all. So come and seek His forgiveness during the day and the night. Purify that tongue with istighfaar and cleanse that heart with praise for your Lord. He is Al Afuw ALL the time. Alhamdulillah
About the author:
Meru is a mother of 2 with a background in IT currently working on her own personal development and is a community activist. She is pursuing a passion of writing and blogs on her Instagram page musingsofmeru.