Repentance and Forgiveness

Many times in life, you come across certain individuals who persistently commit sins and do not seek the forgiveness of Allah, they believe with full certainty that they will not receive His mercy and consequently choose to increase in evil deeds. This is a grave mistake and misunderstanding. Allah assures us in the Quran that no matter what sin we commit, He subhanahu wa ta’ala will forgive. For example, most of us grew up knowing that shirk (associating partners in worship with Allah) is an unforgivable sin, we don’t actually know that it is only unforgivable if we die having commited shirk without repenting, if we commit even this sin, Allah can forgive us as long as we repent.

“And those who, when they have committed Fahishah (illegal sexual intercourse) or wronged themselves with evil, remember Allah and ask forgiveness for their sins; – and none can forgive sins but Allah – and do not persist in what (wrong) they have done, while they know.” (3:135)

During this month especially, it is paramount that we constantly repent to Allah and seek His forgiveness. There are numerous ways in which we can do that, feom simply uttering words of forgiveness on our tongues, to praying two.

Shaddad bin Aus (May Allah be pleased with him) said: The Prophet (PBUH) said, “The best supplication for seeking forgiveness (Syed-ul-Istighfar) is to say: `Allahumma Anta Rabbi, la ilaha illa Anta, khalaqtani wa ana `abduka, wa ana `ala `ahdika wa wa`dika mastata`tu, a`udhu bika min sharri ma sana`tu, abu’u laka bini`matika `alayya, wa abu’u bidhanbi faghfir li, fa innahu la yaghfirudh-dhunuba illa Anta. (O Allah! You are my Rubb. There is no true god except You. You have created me, and I am Your slave, and I hold to Your Covenant as far as I can. I seek refuge in You from the evil of what I have done. I acknowledge the favours that You have bestowed upon me, and I confess my sins. Pardon me, for none but You has the power to pardon).’ He who supplicates in these terms during the day with firm belief in it and dies on the same day (before the evening), he will be one of the dwellers of Jannah; and if anyone supplicates in these terms during the night with firm belief in it and dies before the morning, he will be one of the dwellers of Jannah.” [Al-Bukhari].

Throughout the year we all fall short and drown in sins, constantly disobeying our Creator and transgressing the limits of Islam. If He has blessed you to witness another ramadhan, He is giving you the opportunity to repent, seize it! Know with full certainty that Allah swt is full of Mercy and Compassion towards His servants, life is short and we must use our time wisely to grow towards Him. Allah swt knows that we are a people who sin, so do not feel shy to repent to your Creator. Do not allow shaytan to delude you into thinking that Allah swt will not forgive you as this is simply not true, and remember to always keep this hadith in mind:
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.” [Bukhari]
Now, the same way we love that Allah should forgive us, we must also get into the habbit of forgiving others. Humans are imperfect by nature, we all fall into mistakes, to look past somebody’s mistake and to forgive them is something very noble and important to do. It is a gift only a few possess.

Forgiving someone can be very difficult to do when you are fuming with anger. It can be that this person has hurt you in a profound and unimaginable way through words or actions. Perhaps this invidual has been abusive. Nonetheless, life is too short to not forgive. In our lives, surely we’ve made mistakes, and do we not appreciate it when people accept our apologies? It is also important to take into consideration that by forgiving someone, even if they’re not concerned by your act of forgiveness, you are actually helping yourself. To hold grudges and sustain ressentment hurts nobody else but you, we know this from our religion, but it is also something emphasized by psychologist. To forgive is to heal your wound by yourself, not depending on someone to do it for you. So in shaa Allah (by the will of Allah) let us strive to forgive one another and accept that we are all flawed and can commit mistakes. Let us also strive to repent to our Lord and often as possible, especially before the inevitable comes.

Staying away from Music

Music. Something that the youth is freely hearing these days, sometimes we come up with excuses like: “it is just a song” or “what is the big deal?”, ignoring the fact that it’s haram without exception in Islam.

Growing up in Saudi Arabia, I’ve noticed that Music is something which both adults and youth listen to, which is a shame considering Saudi is a Muslim country.

I’ve spoken to people who talk about Allah and the Quran, prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings he upon him) but at the same time they’ll say things like “I’m not sure why when I was growing up my teacher would say Music is haram” eventhough Islam provides a clear explanation for this issue.

The point is, as Muslims we have to try our best to obey the rules of Islam, not taking the ones we agree with and leaving the ones we disagree with. It is not a matter of opinion, but it is what Allah has told us to do.

So if you are somewhere or with someone, and music is being played, do not be afraid to say: “can you please turn that down” or “can you please turn that off” and explain why you are making this request. Dawah is something we are obligated to do, and it is not solely for non-muslims, we too are in need of the remembrance. Do not feel embarrassed or awkward, and do not feel concerned about them judging you, we are here to worship Allah swt, and we should continuously strive enjoin the good and forbid the evil regardless of the situation we are in.

We should encourage ourselves to develop a relationship with the Quran, as when we have the words of Allah with us, we will find that they suffice and we need nothing more.

This is an Ayah that always sticks with me when I am thinking or talking about this subject –

﴿شَهِدَ عَلَيْهِمْ سَمْعُهُمْ وَأَبْصَـرُهُمْ وَجُلُودُهُم بِمَا كَانُواْ يَعْمَلُونَ﴾
(their hearing (ears) and their eyes and their skins will testify against them as to what they used to do.) means, all their deeds, earlier and later; not a single letter will be concealed.

The Noble Qur’an – Luqman 31:6

And of mankind is he who purchases idle talks (i.e. music, singing, etc.) to mislead (men) from the Path of Allah without knowledge, and takes it (the Path of Allah, the Verses of the Qur’an) by way of mockery. For such there will be a humiliating torment (in the Hell-Fire).

And this hadith:

Hadith – Bukhari 7:494

Narrated Abu ‘Amir or Abu Malik Al-Ash’ari that he heard the Prophet saaws saying,

“From among my followers there will be some people who will consider illegal sexual intercourse, the wearing of silk, the drinking of alcoholic drinks, and the use of musical instruments as lawful. And (from them), there will be some who will stay near the side of a mountain, and in the evening their shepherd will come to them with their sheep and ask them for something, but they will say to him, ‘Return to us tomorrow.’ Allah will destroy them during the night and will let the mountain fall on them, and Allah will transform the rest of them into monkeys and pigs and they will remain so till the Day of Resurrection.”

Salah: The Reminder of the Muslims

It’s no secret that we live in the 21st century. We now live in a demanding world where we have smartphones buzzing every couple of minutes as we run to school or to our jobs, we are extremely busy with distractions popping up every single second of our day. In today’s society, it’s extremely easy to get caught up in the moment and forget our purpose or the fact that life is short, slipping away and that this dunya’a, this world, is a mere test, a blip of our existence, a mere blink of an eye.

Allah, Exalted is He, says in the Quran: “And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me.” Adh-Dhaariyat (51):56

As Muslims, we’re well aware that our purpose in life is to worship and please Allah, Exalted is He. We also know that the second pillar of Islam is Prayer, an obligation on us five times a day. Unfortunately, there are a lot of Muslims who hold the thought that Salah is a burden, that it is something for Allah and not for us and that we don’t need it. However, the fact is that this mentality is completely twisted, because the truth is that your worship is not a gift to Allah but rather, it is a gift from Allah to you.

Allah says in the Quran: “…Allah is free of need, while you are the needy…” Muhammad (47):38

For some, the average Muslim, it can be hard to wrap your mind around this concept. How is it a gift to us? That question is one with a lofty explanation. I could write hundreds of pages on how exactly Salah benefits us. However, I want to touch on one specific concept, the very tip of the iceberg.

As I stated before, we live in the buzz of the 21st century, but our purpose is still to worship and please Allah, Exalted is He, and the fact is, that this dunya’a is still a test. So, this begs the question: how does praying five times a day help us, in our busy lives, to fulfill our purpose?

The key to this answer is that one of the reasons why salah is required, is because it is a reminder.  A reminder to the Muslims to wake up, take a step back from all the bling and distractions this world has to throw at us. It is a time to reevaluate our position on where we stand with Allah, and how exactly we plan to fulfill our purpose.

To be honest, it grieves me to hear that the average Muslim feels that they have no time for Salah and that they feel it is a burden. Because let’s be real, for the average Muslim, Salah takes about 30 minutes out of our day, divided by five, that’s five minutes at different times a day, out of the 1,440 minutes that our 24 hours hold. With those five minutes, at different times of the day, it’s our reminder that yes, even though we are busy we can’t allow ourselves to be so caught up in this dunya’a that we become too busy for our Creator and forget the eternity that we’re all striving, hoping and praying for.

However, not only is Salah a reminder, but it’s also an open opportunity where Allah is asking you to turn to Him and relieve all your hardship and sorrows and ask for anything you desire. It’s your one-on-one conversation with Allah, the All Knowing, The Most Forgiving.

Allah says in the Quran: “And your Lord says: Call upon Me; I will respond to you…” 49:60

As I’ve mentioned, this small fact about Salah is just the tip of the iceberg. It doesn’t even begin to cover the hundreds of gems within Salah. However, what I really hope and pray to Allah, Exalted is He, for the Muslims who do have a hard time getting up to pray and find themselves missing Salah, that this will help you realize that it really and truly is a gift from Allah, Exalted is He, to you and not the other way around. Take advantage of this gift, of this reminder, and make a conscious effort to take just 5 minutes out of each part of your day to take a breather and return to your Lord, reassess your situation and reset your intentions.

Realize that Allah has created us as imperfect beings so He does not expect perfection from us. However, He does expect us to try our best and when we slip to turn back to Him. For Allah said in the Quran: “Surely Allah loves those who turn unto him in repentance and loves those who purify themselves.” 2:222.

The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, also said: “Every son of Adam is a sinner, and the best of sinners are those who repent.” At-tirmidhi.