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.

Gratitude: The Key to Happiness

Going through life can seem like a blur. Especially at our age where we are overwhelmed with the uncertainty of the future. Most of us don’t know what we want to be or why. Yet we’re being pressured from all sides to decide.

What do you want to be?

Some would say famous, others would say rich. Then you’re asked what career? Lawyer, doctor, soccer player, teacher…the options are unlimited and hard to narrow down. However, no matter what we do or do not decide, at the end of day, we are all aiming for happiness.

Happiness is the mysterious wonder of the world, some could call it the eighth wonder. Everyone is looking for it yet few find it or even know where on earth look. It’s the hidden elephant in the room, there but invisible, seemingly out of our reach. If you were to ask any millionaire if they were happy most of them would say no.

Take Jim Carrey for example, who said: “I wish everyone could get rich and famous and have everything they ever dreamed of so they would know that’s not the answer.”

So, what is happiness then? A wise friend once told me to close my eyes and imagine that the only thing that I would be able to bring into today were the things that I was grateful for yesterday. What would I have?

This got me thinking, would I have my home, my mom and dad, my siblings, as annoying as they can get, my car? What about things even more basic than that? Would I have my eyesight, my hearing, the ability to walk, talk and eat even. Would I have my knowledge, the ability to think? I started racking my brain, becoming distressed, what would I have?

When thinking of all the things that I couldn’t imagine living without, the thought of wanting more seemed impossible. How could I want more when I wasn’t even sure if I would have the things I had yesterday?  It was at that moment that an Ayah of the Quran rang through my mind: “And He gave you of all that you asked for, and if you count the Blessings of Allah, never will you be able to count them.” [Surah Ibrahim: 14:34]

In that instant I truly realized that the key to happiness wasn’t money or fame but rather gratitude and contentment. Being grateful and content with what you have right now in this very moment. When you stop, and take this approach you easily recognize the true favors that Allah, Exalted is He, has bestowed upon us.

However, what’s even more amazing, as if that weren’t enough, is that Allah says in the Quran: “If you are grateful, I shall certainly increase you (in favor) …” Surrah Ibrahim: 14:7

Allah, Exalted is He, in all His Mercy has guaranteed, that’s right guaranteed, to increase the things we are grateful for. So not only will you be blessed with things you couldn’t imagine living without, Allah will increase them.

When you wake up every morning think about the exercise above, bring the things that you are truly grateful for to the surface. You will find that your day will be much brighter. Instead of filling your thoughts with what ‘could be’, you’ll be taking a step back and acknowledging the blessings that are. This will give you the chance to start your day with a clean slate and work on the person that you aim to become with the ‘eighth wonder’ of the world directly in your heart and Allah, Exalted is He, with you every step of the way, bith’nillah.

“… And we will reward the grateful.” (Āl ‘Imrân 3:145)