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Tawbah (Repentance)

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#46 [Permalink] Posted on 4th March 2013 11:00
Does The Mere Acknowledgement Of Sin Combined With Tawheed Lead To Its Forgiveness And The Alleviation Of Difficulty, Or Is Something Else Required?


Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah رحمه الله said,

"With regards to the question, 'Does the mere acknowledgement of sin combined with tawheed lead to its forgiveness and the alleviation of difficulty, or is something else required?' we answer by saying:

What leads to forgiveness of sins, along with tawheed, is repentance. [1] For example, Allaah سبحانه و تعالى will not forgive shirk unless it be repented from, as He, the Exalted, says in two places in the Qur'an,




"Indeed, Allaah forgives not that partners should be set up with him in worship, but He forgives what is less than that for whom He wills. And whoever sets up partners with Allaah in worship, he has indeed invented a tremendous sin." (4:48)



" Verily! Allaah forgives not (the sin of) setting up partners in worship with Him, but He forgives what is less than that for whom He wills. And whoever sets up partners in worship with Allaah, has indeed strayed far away." (4:116)

Any sin other than shirk is forgiven if repented from, but if not, it is up to Allaah سبحانه و تعالى. If He wishes, He will forgive it, and if He wishes, He will not. Allaah, the Exalted, says:




"Say, "O My servants who have transgressed against themselves (by committing evil deeds and sins)! Despair not of the Mercy of Allaah, verily Allaah forgives all sins. Truly, He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful." (39:53)

This verse concerns the penitent, and this is why the verse has been generalised and left unrestricted, and it has been decisively stated that He forgives all sins. In the previous verses, however, He says:




"Indeed, Allaah forgives not that partners should be set up with him in worship, but He forgives what is less than that for whom He wills. And whoever sets up partners with Allaah in worship, he has indeed invented a tremendous sin." (4:48)



" Verily! Allaah forgives not (the sin of) setting up partners in worship with Him, but He forgives what is less than that for whom He wills. And whoever sets up partners in worship with Allaah, has indeed strayed far away." (4:116)

specifying the forgiveness of all sins other than shirk to be dependant upon His will. Now if Allaah سبحانه و تعالى will only forgive shirk for the one who asks forgivness, and He will forgive any other sin that person repents from, the only meaning left for this verse is that those sins, other than shirk, that are not repented from, Allaah سبحانه و تعالى will forgive them, or not forgive them, as He wills.

Acknowledgement of sin, if it includes repentance, combined with tawheed, leads to forgiveness. When sin is forgiven, its punishment is averted, for forgiveness is a shield, protecting one from the evil of that sin.

Some people say that al-ghafr (forgiveness) means as-satar (covering), reasoning that maghfirah (forgiveness) and al-Ghaffaar (the Oft-Forgiving) were only called so because of the meaning they carry of covering and hiding. They also explain the meaning of His Name, al-Ghaffaar to be as-Sattaar (the Coverer). This is an incomplete explanation of al-ghafr. The meaning of forgiveness is to shield oneself from the evil of sin such that he not be punished for it. Hence, the one who is forgiven is not punished for that sin. The meaning of covering does not imply this meaning, for the one whose sin has been hidden could still be punished for it in private. [2]

However, despite having repented, a person could still be tried with something that would serve to increase his reward, and this does not negate the reality of forgiveness.

Moreover, a person could think another to have repented of sin, but in reality he is merely someone who has abandoned that sin. The one who abandons is not the same as the one who has repented. A person may not commit a sin because it never occured to him to do so, or because he was unable to, or his desire to commit it left him for other than a religious one, all of these reasons do not constitute repentance. It is necessary that the penitent believe that what he did was evil, that he hate that deed simply because Allaah سبحانه و تعالى prohibited it, and that he leave it for the sake of Allaah سبحانه و تعالى and not for some worldly desire or fear. Repentance is from the greatest of good deeds, and all good deeds can only be considered to be so if they are performed for the sake of Allaah سبحانه و تعالى and in accordance to His command. Concerning the verse:




"Who has created death and life, that He may test you which of you is best in deed. And He is the All-Mighty, the Oft-Forgiving." (67:2)

Fudayl Ibn 'Iyaad رحمه الله said, 'The sincere and correct.' When asked what that means he replied, 'When an action is sincere but not correct, it will not be accepted. When it is correct but not sincere, it will not be accepted. It will only be accepted when it is both sincere and correct; sincere, meaning that it be only for Allaah سبحانه و تعالى; and correct, meaning that it be performed in the way taught by the Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم [the Sunnah].' [3]

Sayyiduna 'Umar Ibn al-Khattaab رضي الله عنه would say in his supplication, 'O Allaah! Make all of my deeds righteous, make them sincerely for Your Face, and do not let any portion of them be for anyone else.' [4]

As for acknowledging ones sin, in submissiveness to Allaah سبحانه و تعالى, but without the intent to abandon it, then this is merely asking for forgiveness and cannot be said to be repentence. This like a person who asks of Allaah سبحانه و تعالى to forgive his sin but has not repented from it. One cannot be certain of his forgiveness, for he is in the position of one who is making a mere supplication. It is established that the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said, 'There is no supplicant who supplicates for something that does not contain any sin or the severing of kindred-relations, except that one of three things will occur; either it is answered in this life; or he gets the likes of it in reward; or its equivalent in evil is averted from him.' He was asked, 'O Messenger of Allaah! What if we frequently supplicate?' He replied, 'Allaah increases.' [5]

The likes of this supplication could lead to forgiveness and if not, the attainment of some other good or the aversion of some evil. Hence, in all cases it brings about benefit and this is true of all supplications.

Those amongst the scholars who said, 'Asking for forgiveness while persisting in that sin is the repentance of liars' meant one who claims to have repented. If such a person persists in the sin then it becomes clear that he has not in reality repented, for repentance and persistence in sin are two opposites. Persistence in sin opposes repentence, but it does not oppose the mere asking for forgiveness when divorced from repentance." [6]


Notes:

[1] The conditions for repentance are as follows: sincerity, feeling remorse for that sin, repenting, and not persisting in the sin. Allaah سبحانه و تعالى says:





"And those who, when they commit an immorality or wrong themselves [by transgression], 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. For such, the reward is Forgiveness from their Lord, and Gardens with rivers flowing underneath (Paradise), wherein they shall abide forever. How excellent is this reward for the doers (who do righteous deeds according to Allah's Orders)." (3:135-136)

Moreover, repenting before it is too late, i.e. before the final throes of death or before the sun rises from the west.

[2] Refer to al-Mufradat p362; Lisan al-'Arab 5/25; Mu'jam Maqayis al-Lugha 4/385.

[3] Tafseer al-Baghawi.

[4] Imam Ahmad رحمه الله in az-Zuhd #615 on the authority of al-Hasan رحمه الله from Sayyiduna 'Umar رضي الله عنه. Al-Hasan رحمه الله was not contemporary to Sayyiduna 'Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him).

[5] Al-Maqdisi, Targheeb ad-Du'a #21 on the authority of Sayyiduna Anas. Similar Ahaadeeth are also reported on the authority of Sayyiduna Abu Sa'eed al-Khudri رضي الله عنه by Imam Ahmad [#11133] رحمه الله, Sayyiduna 'Ubadah Ibn as-Saamit رضي الله عنه by at-Tirmidhi [#3573] رحمه الله and Sayyiduna Abu Hurayrah رضي الله عنه by Imam Ahmad رحمه الله. At-Tirmidhi رحمه الله said that it was hasan saheeh, al-Haakim رحمه الله said that is was saheeh and Imam adh-Dhahabi رحمه الله agreed as did Shaykh al-Albani رحمه الله, Saheeh at-Targheeb #1631/

[6] Relief From Distress: An Explanation To The Du'a Of Yunus عليه السلام, pp 163-168
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#47 [Permalink] Posted on 6th March 2013 10:45
`Does the acknowledgment of one's sins lead to the elimination of the evil of many sins that may have been committed, or must that person bring to mind all sins in order for this to occur?'


Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah رحمه الله said,

"With regards the question, 'Does the acknowledgment of one sins lead to the elimination of the evil of many sins that may have been committed, or must that person bring to mind all sins in order for this to occur?'

The answer to this is founded upon a number of principles:


The First Principle


Repentance for a particular sin is valid even if that person persists in committing other sins. This opinion is well known from the Salaf and succeeding generations. Some of the Ahlul-Kalaam, such as Abu Hashim, said that repentance for a sin was not valid if that person was persisting in committing another. Their reasoning was that if the cause for repentance does not arise from the fear of Allah سبحانه و تعالى, it is invalid. Now the fear of Allah سبحانه و تعالى prevents one from committing all sins, not just one or a few This opinion was also recorded as one opinion of Imam Ahmad رحمه الله by al-Qadi Abu Ya`la رحمه الله and ibn 'Aqeel رحمه الله because al- Marrudhi رحمه الله reported from him that when asked about a person who had repented from a lewd sin by saying, 'Even if I fall ill [from desire] I will not repeat that sin, but I will keep on looking,' he said, What sort of repentance is this? Jarir Ibn 'Abdullah رضي الله عنه said, 'I asked the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم about the unexpected glance to which he replied, "Avert your eyes."' [1] [2]

The well known opinion from Imam Ahmad رحمه الله and all the Imams رحمة الله عليهم is that such repentance is valid. In this particular issue what Imam Ahmad رحمه الله meant was this repentance was not so general that it would lead to the forgiveness of all sins but only specific, he did not mean that this sin [of looking] was like the sin of one who persists in committing a major sin; all that is reported from him concerning this issue belies this understanding. To understand the words of an /men in a light which conforms to what he has to say in other places is more befitting than to understand them to be contradictory, especially when one of these understandings is an innovation that none of the Salaf held. Imam Ahmad رحمه الله was the one who said, 'Beware of speaking in an issue for which you who have no Imam preceding you.' During the Trial he would say, 'How can I say what has not been said?' Imam Ahmad's رحمه الله following of the Sunnah and narrations, his intense desire to do so, and his intense dislike of opposing them is a matter that is too well known to dispute.

With regards the argument that the fear of Allah سبحانه و تعالى leads to the relinquishment of all sins, the answer to this is that a person may realise the vileness of one sin and not another. It is also possible that a person realise its vileness, yet his desires overcome him with regards to one sin and not the other, hence he repents from the first but not the second. This is the same case as one who performs some of the obligations and not others, the ones he does perform are accepted. However the Mu'tazila [3] base their argument upon a corrupt principle which in its conclusion agrees with the Khawarij. [4]

They both said that those who commit major sins would remain in Hellfire forever and never leave it, be it through intercession or other than it. In their view, it is not possible that one man be punished and then later rewarded. In their view all good deeds are destroyed by a major sin.

As for the Companions and Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jama'ah, their view was that those who commit major sins will come out of the Fire and have intercession accepted on their behalf and that one major sin will not destroy all good deeds; however it could destroy an equivalent amount of good deeds in the view of the majority of Ahlus-Sunnah. Disbelief is the only thing that destroys all good deeds and repentance is the only thing that destroys all evil deeds. When one who commits a major sin performs good deeds by which he desires the pleasure of Allah سبحانه و تعالى, Allah سبحانه و تعالى would reward him for this even though he be deserving of punishment for his major sin.

The Book of Allah, Mighty and Magnificent, differentiates between the ruling of the thief, the fornicator, the believers fighting one another, and the ruling on the disbelievers. The mutawatir Sunnah and the Ijmaa' (consensus) of the Companions also proves this and this issue is expounded in detail in other places.

This difference expounded upon above affects the understanding of verses such as,




"Andrecite to them the story of the two sons of Adam, in truth; when each offered a sacrifice (to Allaah), it was accepted from the one but not from the other. The latter said to the former: 'I will surely kill you.' The former said: 'Verily, Allah accepts only from those who are al-Muttaqeen.'" (5:27)

In the view of the Khawarij and Mu`tazilah, good deeds will only be accepted from one who is always in a state of Taqwa and hence never commits a major sin. In the view of the Murji'ah [5] this verse means that good deeds will be accepted from that person who avoids shirk for they were of the view that those who commit major sins fall within the definition of 'muttaqeen'. In the view of Ahlus Sunnah wal Jama'ah, Allah سبحانه و تعالى accepts the deeds of those who have taqwa in that deed they performed, that deed which was done sincerely for Him and in compliance to His command. So whoever has feigned in that deed he performed, Allah سبحانه و تعالى will accept it from him even if he is disobeying Him in other matters; whoever does not have taqwa in the action he performed, it will not be accepted of him, even though other deeds of his may well be.

Hence repenting from some sins and not others, is like performing some good deeds and not others, provided that what was left was not a condition for the validity of what was done; such as faith which is the condition for the validity of all other deeds. Allah, Exalted is He says,




"And whoever desires the Hereafter and strives for it, with the necessary effort due for it while he is a believer, then such are the ones whose striving shall be appreciated, thanked and rewarded (by Allaah)." (17:19)



"Whoever works righteousness, whether male or female, while he (or she) is a true believer, verily, to him We will give a good life, and We shall pay them certainly a reward in proportion to the best of what they used to do (i.e. Paradise in the Hereafter)." (16:97)



"They ask you concerning fighting in the Sacred Months (i.e. 1st, 7th, 11th and 12th months of the Islamic calendar). Say, "Fighting therein is a great (transgression) but a greater (transgression) with Allaah is to prevent mankind from following the Way of Allaah, to disbelieve in Him, to prevent access to Al-Masjid-al-Haram (at Makkah), and to drive out its inhabitants, and Al-Fitnah is worse than killing. And they will never cease fighting you until they turn you back from your religion (Islamic Monotheism) if they can. And whosoever of you turns back from his religion and dies as a disbeliever, then his deeds will be lost in this life and in the Hereafter, and they will be the dwellers of the Fire. They will abide therein forever." (2:217)

The Second Principle


Whoever repents from some sins and not others, what is repented from is forgiven and what is not, is not. I know of know difference concerning this except with regards the disbeliever who accepts Islam. His acceptance of Islam includes within it, his repentance from disbelief, and this is forgiven him. But are the sins he committed while being a disbeliever forgiven him as well? Or does he have to repent from them once he has become a Muslim? [6] There are two famous opinions concerning this:

The first: All of his sins will be forgiven him due to the saying of the Messenger of Allaah, 'Islam effaces what came before it.' [7] Recorded by Muslim.

Allah, Exalted is He, says,




"Say to those who have disbelieved, if they cease (from disbelief) their past will be forgiven. But if they return (thereto), then the examples of those (punished) before them have already preceded (as a warning)." (8:38)

The second: Only what he repented from will be forgiven him. If he accepts Islam and he persists in committing some sins, other than disbelief, then his ruling is the same as all Muslims who commit major sins. This opinion is the one that is supported by the principles and the texts. The Saheehayn record that the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم was asked by Hakeem Ibn Hizaam رضي الله عنه whether they would be taken to account for what they did in Jahiliyyah upon which he replied, 'Whoever among you makes good his Islam, he will not be taken to account for what he did in Jahiliyyah. Whoever among you does not make good his Islam, he will be taken to account for the first and the last.' [8]

This text makes clear that the account for what one did in the state of Jahiliyyah is only lifted if he makes good his Islam, whoever does not repent has not made good his Islam. His, Exalted is He, saying,




"Say to those who have disbelieved, if they cease (from disbelief) their past will be forgiven. But if they return (thereto), then the examples of those (punished) before them have already preceded (as a warning)." (8:38)

proves that the one who stops from something will be forgiven what is past, it does not imply that one who stops from something will be forgiven everything else he did in the past as well, just that thing. This style of expression is in common use in the language. As for the saying of the Messenger of Allaah, 'Islam effaces what came before it.' And in another narration, 'Islam destroys what came before it.'

He said this when 'Amr Ibn al-'Aas رضي الله عنه accepted Islam and he asked him how he could have his previous sins forgiven to which the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said, 'O 'Amr, do you not know that Islam destroys what came before it, that repentance destroys what came before it, that migration destroys what came before it?'

It is known that repentance leads to the forgiveness of that sin which is repented from, not every sin. [9]


The Third Principle


A person could bring to mind a specific sin and repent from it, or he could just make an unrestricted repentance without bringing to mind specific sins, in this case if his intention is to make a general repentance then his repentance includes everything that he believes to be a sin. A general repentance includes within it a generic resolve to do what is commanded and leave what is prohibited combined with sorrow at having committed all that was prohibited. [10]

Were someone to hate something and also attain that object of hatred, he would feel pain. Therefore one who hates sin and does not do it, will have no reason to feel remorse. The one who does not hate sin and does do it again will have no reason to feel remorse. It is only one who commits it and hates it who will feel remorse at his deed. Imam Ahmad رحمه الله records the hadeeth on the authority of Ibn Mas'ood that the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said, 'Remorse is repentance.' [11]

After this has become clear, whoever makes a generalised repentance for all his sins, this leads to the forgiveness of all his sins even though he may not have brought to mind any specific sin he committed. The only time this does not apply is the case that there be some sins that he is committing for which he does not feel penitent due to overwhelming desire or his believing that they are good and not evil, these types of sins will not be forgiven him, but the others will.

With regards just an unrestricted repentance, meaning an unspecific, vague repentance, this does not necessitate the forgiveness of all sins committed by that person because there is nothing to suggest that he intended all his sins or just some of them. Hence, such a repentance may be a cause for the forgiveness of a particular sin just as it may lead to the forgiveness of all his sins.

Most people, when repenting, only bring to mind some of the evil they did or some of the wrong they did, and what they do not bring to mind could well be worse. It could be that they left some aspect of faith such as loving Allah سبحانه و تعالى and His Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم, and this omission is more serious than the lewd sins he may have brought to mind.

There was a man at the time of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم called Himaar who was an alcoholic, each time he came to the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم he would receive the legal punishment of whipping, then one time, while he was being whipped, one of the Companions cursed him upon which the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said, 'Do not curse him for he loves Allah and His Messenger.' [12]

He prohibited him from being cursed for this reason despite the fact that the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم himself cursed ten categories of people who deal with alcohol saying, 'Cursed be alcohol, the one who extracts it, the one for whom it is extracted, the one who drinks it, the one who serves it, the one who carries it, the one for whom it is carried, the one who buys it, the one who sells it, and the one who makes profit from it.' [13]

However an unrestricted cursing does not necessarily mean that every specific person who does one of these actions is also cursed. The same applies to an unrestricted declaration of disbelief or anunrestricted text dealing with a threat. [14]

This is why in these cases, before the ruling is applied on any individual, the necessary prerequisites have to be met and any obstacles have to be removed, hence for example, these rulings are not meted out to one who has repented by agreement of the Muslims, nor to one whose bad deeds are wiped out by the ocean of his good deeds etc. The punishment of sins is removed through repentance, through good deeds that efface the bad, through tribulations that serve as an expiation for them, the hardship faced in the Barzakh (the period after death before the resurrection), the standing on the Day of Judgment, through the supplication of the believers, and the intercession of the interceder.

Therefore, any sin that a person repents from, its consequences are lifted. If a person is facing tribulation because of sins, if he repents from some of them, that tribulation will be decreased accordingly, if he repents from all of them, the tribulation will be removed. Most people do not make a general repentance for all their sins even though they are in dire need of this. Repentance is obligatory upon every servant in every circumstance for he will always be leaving out some aspect of something ordered or doing some aspect of something prohibited. [15]

Allah knows best." [16]


Notes:

[1] Muslim [#2159] and Abu Dawud [#2148]

[2] i.e. the person repented from his lewd deed but vowed to persist in performing another sin, not averting his eyes.

[3] An early sect in Islaam, followers of Wasil Ibn 'Ata who disavowed the circle of al-Hasan al-Basri رحمه الله and gave precedence to intellect over the revealed texts.

[4] The author رحمه الله, in his Majmu' al-Fatawa [7/481], says, "The Khawarij have a number of different titles such as al-Hurooriyyah, Ahl an-Nahrawaan, al-'Ibaadiyyah, al-Azaariqah and an-Najdaat. They were the first to declare Muslims disbelievers because of sins and they made their blood lawful because of this. They were as depicted by the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم, 'Those who would kill the Muslims and leave the idolaters.' They ruled 'Ali رضي الله عنه and 'Uthmaan Ibn 'Affaan رضي الله عنه and those who showed them allegiance to be disbelievers...They said that people can either be believers or disbelievers, whoever does all the obligations and leaves all the prohibitions is a believer and whoever does not is a disbeliever, remaining eternally in the Fire. They then went on to rule anybody who disagreed with this belief to be disbelievers... This opinion is false and proved so by many texts of the Book and Sunnah. Allah سبحانه و تعالى ordered the cutting of the hand of the thief and not his killing, if the thief was indeed an apostate because of his sin, It would have been necessary to kill him..."

[5] The author رحمه الله, in his Majmu' al-Fatawa [7/190] says, "The Murji'ah erred in two fundamental matters: They thought that Eemaan was merely belief and knowledge and is not accompanied by action at all, and this is the greatest of their errors; and they thought that whoever had been ruled to be a disbeliever, to remain in Hellfire forever, by the Legal law could only have been so if there was no belief or knowledge in his heart. In this they opposed what is witnessed, the intellect, the Legal Law, and what those of sound fitrah have agreed upon.."

[6] The author رحمه الله, in his al-Istighfaar [p. 96] says, "The scholars have differed concerning one who has repented from disbelief; if he apostates and then again accepts Islam, do his good deeds that he previously did [while Muslim] come back? There are two opinions concerning this ensuing from the question, 'Does apostasy destroy deeds unrestrictedly or does it destroy those deeds with the condition that the person dies in his state of disbelief?' The opinion of Imam Abu Hanifah رحمه الله and Imam Malik رحمه الله was that the deeds are destroyed unrestrictedly whereas Imam ash-Shafi'ee رحمه الله was of the opinion that they are only destroyed if the person dies on disbelief."

[7] Muslim [#121] and Ahmad [4/199, 200, 204, 205]

[8] al-Bukhari [#6921] and Muslim [#120]

[9] The author, in his al-Istighfaar [p.99], says, "When [a Jew or Christian] accepts Islam, both inwardly and outwardly, his previous disbelief will be forgiven him and there is no difference of opinion concerning this. As for those sins for which he has not repented such as those sins he persists in, those sins for which he has not repented for after entering Islam; some people said that these too would be forgiven him simply by his accepting Islam. The correct opinion, however, is that they will only be forgiven him if he repents from them..."

[10] Ibn Majah [#4252] and Ahmad [#3568, 4012, 4014, 4016, 4124] on the authority of Ibn Mas'ood رضي الله عنه. Similar ahaadeeth are recorded on the authority of Ibn 'Abbaas رضي الله عنهما and Ummul Mu'mineen 'Aa'isha رضي الله عنها by Ahmad [#2623, 25623], Anas رضي الله عنه by Ibn Hibbaan [#612]; Wa'il Ibn Hujr رضي الله عنه and Abu Sa'eed رضي الله عنه by at-Tabaraani [22/101, 22/775]; and Abu Hurayrah رضي الله عنه by at-Tabaraani, as-Sagheer [1/69].

[11] al-Bukhari [#6780] and Abu Ya'la [#176, 177]

[12] Abu Dawud [#3674] and Ibn Majah [#3380] on the authority of Ibn 'Umar رضي الله عنهما. Similar ahaadeeth are recorded on the authority of Ibn 'Abbaas رضي الله عنهما by Ahmad [#2897]; Anas رضي الله عنه by at-Tirmidhi [#1295]; and Ibn Mas'ood by al-Bazzaar [#2937]. It was declared saheeh by Ibn as-Sakan رحمه الله as per Ibn Hajr رحمه الله, at-Talkhees [#2106] and Shaykh al-Albani رحمه الله, Ghayatul-Maraam [#60].

[13] The author رحمه الله, in his Majmu' al-Fatawa [7/619], says, "The stance that a particular statement constitutes disbelief [does not mean that everyone who says that statement is a disbeliever] for this could be hidden or unknown to some people. So a general statement of disbelief is made such as the saying of the Salaf: 'Whoever says the Qur'an is created has disbelieved and whoever says that Allah سبحانه و تعالى will not be seen in the Hereafter has disbelieved.' But a specific individual [who holds this belief] is not to be declared a disbeliever until the proof is established against him." Refer also to al-Istiqaamah [1/163-166].

[14] The author رحمه الله, in his al-Istighfaar [p. 85], says, "Seeking forgiveness takes a person away from doing an abhorrent deed and towards doing a beloved deed, or away from a deed which is deficient to a deed which is complete. It raises a person's rank to one which is higher and more complete. Every day, rather every hour and minute, the worshipper of Allah سبحانه و تعالى, the Gnostic, increases in knowledge of Allah سبحانه و تعالى and insight into His religion and servitude to the point that this carries over into his eating, drinking, sleeping, waking, speech, and action. He then sees deficiency in himself and his deeds and is therefore in need of repentance day and night, he is in need of it in all states because of the great benefit it contains, its promotion of good and repression of evil, and its aiding one in performing actions of obedience better."

[15] Relief From Distress: An Explanation To The Du'a Of Yunus عليه السلام, pp 169-180]
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#48 [Permalink] Posted on 11th March 2013 10:25
Allaah سبحانه و تعالى says,



"O you who believe! Turn to Allah with sincere repentance! It is hoped from your Lord that he will write off your faults, and admit you into Gardens under which rivers flow (Paradise) the Day that Allaah will not disgrace the Prophet (Muhammad peace be upon him) and those who believe with him, their Light will run forward before them and with (their Book of deeds) in their right hands they will say: "Our Lord! Keep perfect our Light for us [and do not put it off till we cross over the Sirat (a slippery bridge over the Hell) safely] and grant us forgiveness. Verily, You are Able to do all things." (66:8)

Mufti Muhammad Shafi رحمه الله says,


"Turn to Allah with sincere repentance!" The word taubah, literally, means 'to turn' or 'to return', in the sense of turning or withdrawing from sins. In the terminology of the Qur'an and Sunnah, it signifies 'to regret committing sins in the past and to firmly resolve abstaining from them in future'.

Taubah is qualified in the verse by the word "nasooh." If it is taken as the infinitive of nasahal nasihah, it signifies 'to make pure and sincere'; and if it be derived from nasahah, it signifies 'to repair clothes by sewing. In terms of the first meaning, the expression nasuh signifies sincere/faithful [repentance], free from pretence and hypocrisy. In this interpretation, a sinner is required to regret the sins he has committed and give them up purely for the pleasure of Allah and for fear of Divine chastisement. In terms of the second meaning, nasuh would signify that 'the sinner is required to repair the torn clothes of righteous deeds'.

Sayyidna Hasan Basri رحمه الله says that taubatan nasooha signifies that a person should regret his past evil actions, and make a firm resolve never to repeat them. Kalbi رحمه الله says the phrase taubatan nasuha signifies that a person should pray for pardon with his tongue, regret in his heart, and should prevent the limbs of his body from committing sins in the future.

Sayyidna 'Ali رضي الله عنه was asked as to what is 'taubah' and he replied that it consists of six elements:

[1] to regret one's past evil deeds;

[2] to carry out Divine duties that were missed;

[3] to restore the rights that were usurped;

[4] to ask forgiveness of a person who has been wronged by him physically or verbally;

[5] to make a firm resolve of avoiding the sin in future;

and [6] to consume one's self in obedience of Allah as one thus far consumed one's self in His disobedience. [Mazhari].

In fact, all of the conditions of 'taubah' put forward by Sayyidna 'Ali رضي الله عنه
are recognized by all the scholars. However, some have described them concisely and others in details.


"It may be that your Lord will remit from you your sins." The verb 'asaa means 'it is hoped'. In this context, it purports to mean 'promise', but the expression of 'hope' is used to indicate that taubah or any other righteous deeds are not the just and equal price for the Paradise or the divine forgiveness. In fact, one compensation for man's good deeds has already been given to him in this world in the form of worldly blessings. Therefore, as regards the law of equality, it is not necessary that he is further compensated by the Jannah. It entirely depends on Divine grace and favour as is mentioned in a Hadith which says: 'Your actions alone cannot salvage you.' The Companions رضي الله عنهم inquired: 'O Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم, not even you?' He صلى الله عليه وسلم replied: 'No, not even me unless the Divine grace and mercy covers me.' [Bukhari and Muslim as quoted by Mazhari]

[Ma'ariful Qur'an]
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#49 [Permalink] Posted on 25th March 2013 09:47
Inaabah: returning. Imaam Ibn al-Qayyim رحمه الله, Madaarij as-Saalikeen [1/467] said, 'Inaabah comprises four matters: the love of Allaah سبحانه و تعالى, submission to Him, turning to Him, and turning away from everything besides Him. A person cannot be said to be "penitent" unless he meets all four requirements, and the explanation of the Salaf to this word revolves around this. The word also carries the meaning of quickness, returning and precedence; therefore the penitent is rushing to do that which would please his Lord, turning back to Him at every moment and foremost in doing that which He loves.'
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#50 [Permalink] Posted on 10th April 2013 13:03
Shaikh Muhammad ibn Ahmed al Mawahib al Tunisi (Allah have mercy on him) said,

'The prerequisite for repentance according to the masters of this path (sulook) is to break from the company of the disobedient.'

'Warning: Take care not to return to the place you deserted and to the spot where you parted (with disobedience), for there you might immediately suffer a relapse.'

[Qawanin Hikam al Ishraq, page 38]

This company, place or spot may include individuals, specific venues and materials that are heard, read or seen. This is, especially so for the indiscriminate use of Internet in our days.

http://www.ashrafiya.com/2013/04/10/tip-repentance-from-disobedience/
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#51 [Permalink] Posted on 13th May 2013 10:20
The Messenger of Allaah صلي الله عليه وسلم said,

"Surely, the [angel on the] left raises the pen [from the record] of a Muslim who commits an error for six hours. If he repents and asks Allaah's forgiveness, the deed is cast aside, otherwise it is written down as one [evil deed]."

[Collected by at-Tabarani in al-Mu'jam al-Kabeer and authenticated in Saheeh al-Jami' as-Sagheer, vol. 2, p. 422, no. 2097]
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#52 [Permalink] Posted on 26th September 2013 11:36
Ensuring a Strong Bond - Seeking Forgiveness


By Mawlana Khalid Abdul Sattar


One of the first steps on the path to Allah Most High is to ensure that we seek forgiveness from those wrong actions we have committed in the past. Each time we sin, disobeying Allah or leaving one of his commandments, we add a layer of spiritual filth onto our hearts. The result of this is that when we try to perform dhikr and other acts of worship, we cannot fully experience them, because that filth becomes a block between the reality of that act, and its receptor in the body, which is the heart. This is why despite performing our daily adhkar, despite reciting the Quran, sitting in muraqabah, sending salawat, we are not able to fully reap the benefits of these actions.

If you look at the instructions on a pack of glue, it will always mention to ensure that both surfaces which you want to join together are clean, to ensure a secure bond. The reason is because if there is any dirt or foreign substance between the two, the bond cannot take hold and remains weak.

The same is true with our relationship with Allah Most High. As long as we allow that layer of filth to remain upon us, our relationship with Him can never take hold and be maintained, and we will remain in the same pathetic state. Everyday saying that tomorrow will be different, tomorrow will be better, only to wake up to the same reality day-in and day-out.

Reminder Concerning Tawbah

[...] Shaykh Zulfiqar Ahmad (may Allah preserve his legacy) gave a very beautiful, and practical reminder on turning in repentance to Allah Most High. I wanted to share a few of the points he made [...] :

1. Detach Yourself from Bad Company

Everyone is responsible for their own actions, but the company we keep strongly influences the decisions we make and can often be the impetus leading us to sin. Imam Ghazali mentions that a bad companion is worse than the bite of a snake because the poison of a snake only kills the body, whereas the poison of a bad companion kills one's iman.

He further explains that a bad companion is actually worse than Shaytan because although Shaytan plants the idea of sin in our hearts, he does not compel us to act. It is our doing which takes that idea and manifests it into sin. But when a friend calls us toward sin, he not only plants the idea in our mind, but he grabs our hand and drags us toward the sin.

2. Make Tawbah from Two Sides

As soon as we disobey Allah Most High, we should ideally turn to Him in sincere repentance. However, many times we may not realize the mistake right away, or be so caught up in it, that we don't care. So once we recognize the disobedience, we need to make tawbah from two sides:

a. Tawbah from the disobedience, and

b. Tawbah from the delay in making tawbah.

3. Fulfilling Rights is Part of Tawbah

Part of tawbah is having remorse and asking for forgiveness, but we must also ensure that the rights due upon us are fulfilled. Some of these are the rights of Allah; for example, making up missed prayers and fasts, paying our overdue zakah, etc. Others are the rights of the servants of Allah; for example, compensating for any financial loss (i.e in the case of theft), apologizing to someone if we backbit or spoke inappropriately to them, etc.

4. A Common Deterrent to Tawbah

We all have made our fair share of mistakes (may Allah forgive us), but sometimes Shaytan tricks us into thinking, "I have so many sins, how can they all be forgiven? There is no point in making tawbah!" The key is not to look at the sins, however numerous and horrific they may be, but rather to look at the One forgiving the sins; how perfect and merciful is He!

5. A Common Complaint After Tawbah

"I made tawbah, but bad memories of the sin linger." If the tawbah was sincere, the memories will dissipate over time. Focus on creating good memories in the meantime (i.e. acts of obedience), and on increasing your daily dhikr (so that the remembrance of Allah can replace the whisperings of Shaytan).

These were just a few of the reminders; may Allah Most High forgive my shortcomings in presenting the words of our beloved Shaykh.

Note: This article is a combination of two articles by Mawlana Khalid Abdul Sattar

http://www.ilmgate.org/ensuring-a-strong-bond-seeking-forgiveness/
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#53 [Permalink] Posted on 11th October 2013 10:29
After repenting, the step of accounting oneself becomes important again as one then has to inspect his actions to verify that he has remained true to his act of repentance. Imam Ibn al-Qayyim رحمه الله describes the act of repentance as being enveloped in between two acts of reckoning one's own soul.

[Madaarij us-Saalikeen, vol. 1, p. 170; Purification of the Soul: Concept, Process and Means]
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#54 [Permalink] Posted on 17th October 2013 10:11
Shaykh Ibn Taymiyyah رحمة اللہ علیه writes that tawbah is of two types: obligatory and recommended. The obligatory tawbah is obligatory on responsible slaves of Allaah سبحانه و تعالى. This type of tawbah is repenting from not performing the obligatory deeds or from performing forbidden deeds. The recommended tawbah is repenting from not performing recommended acts or from performing disliked deeds. The person who performs the first type of tawbah is from the pious while the person who performs both of them is from those special people who are closest to Allaah سبحانه و تعالى. If a person does not perform either of them, he is either an unbeliever or an evildoer.

["Risaalah fit-Tawbah," Jaami' ar-Rasaa'il (Cairo: Maktaba Ibn Taymiyyah, 1984), vol. 1, p. 227; as quoted in Purification of the Soul: Concept, Process and Means]
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#55 [Permalink] Posted on 21st October 2013 14:51
Shaykh Ibn Taymiyyah رحمة اللہ علیه points out that tawbah is not just from the performance of evil deeds, as, he says, "many ignorant people think". These people think that repentance is just from the evil deeds of the person but, he writes, it is more important to repent from the lack of performing the good deeds.

"Most people do not do what Allaah سبحانه و تعالى has ordered them to do from the 'statements' and actions of the heart or the 'statements' and actions of the body. They may not know what they are ordered to do or they may know it yet they don't follow it. They are, therefore, either misguided because of their lack of beneficial knowledge or they are those who have earned the anger of Allaah سبحانه و تعالى because of their refusal to follow the truth after they have known it."

[Risaalah fit-Tawbah, vol. 1, p.228 as quoted in Purification of the Soul: Concept, Process and Means, p. 382]
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#56 [Permalink] Posted on 22nd October 2013 10:01
Shaykh Ibn Taymiyyah رحمة اللہ علیه perceptively pointed out that it is more important to make tawbah from wrong beliefs than it is to repent from evil desires. He explains his reasoning behind this argument by stating,

"If someone does not perform an obligatory deed or performs an evil deed, while he believes in the obligation of the former and the evil of the latter, then that belief will urge him on to do the obligatory deed and will keep him from performing the evil deed. There will not be something constantly urging him or keeping him from doing such deeds. In fact, the urging and preventing forces will be fighting each other. This means that sometimes one will overtake the other and vice-versa and his soul will be watching over him. Sometimes he will perform the obligatory deed and sometimes he will not perform it. And sometimes he will perform the evil deed and sometimes he will not perform it.

This is the case with many evildoing Muslims who sometimes fulfill rights and other times do not and who sometimes do evil deeds and other times do not because the desires are contradicting in his heart [that is, the desire to do good and the desire to do evil are both in his heart and are competing against each other] since he has in his heart the foundation of faith that orders him to do good and keeps him from evil. But at the same time he has desires and lusts that call him to the opposite of that.

But if the person performs deeds that he [wrongfully] believes are obligatory or he leaves deeds believing they are forbidden, then the driving forces to leave or perform the deed will be constant in his heart and that is much more serious than the first case [mentioned above]. This person must make tawbah to correct his beliefs first and to find the truth. And this can be much more difficult than the first case if there is nothing driving him to leave his false beliefs - as the person in the first case has something urging him to leave his evil deeds..."

[Risaalah fit-Tawbah, vol. 1, pp. 237-238; as quoted in Purification of the Soul: Concept, Process and Means. This is similar to the argument that states that there is "no tawbah for the people of innovations."]
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#57 [Permalink] Posted on 23rd October 2013 10:25
Mufti 'Abdur Raheem Lajpuri رحمة اللہ علیه writes,

"The term 'Tawbatan Nasoohaa' refers to repentance that is truly and sincerely from the heart. This means that one makes the firm resolve never to repeat the sin one is repenting from. Hadrat 'Umar رضي الله عنه, Hadray Ubayy Ibn Ka'b رضي الله عنه and Hadrat Mu'aadh Ibn Jabal رضي الله عنه all explain that 'Tawbatan Nasoohaa' refers to one making the resolve that just as it is impossible for milk to return to the udders of a cow, so too is it impossible for one to return to the sin in question.

There are four prerequisites for repentance to be regarded as sincere and failure to comply with any one of them disqualify the repentance from being regarded as sincere. These are quoted in the book 'Majaalisul Abraa':

'While it is Waajib (compulsory) for every Mu'min to repent, there are four prerequisites for repentance. Failure to comply with any of them will disqualify the repentance. The first is for the heart to regret committing the sin in the past. This means that one should be distressed and hurt about it and wish that it had never happened. The second precondition is that one stops committing the sin for the present. The third is that one resolves never to return to the sin in future and the fourth is that one does this because of fear for Allaah سبحانه و تعالى and for no other reason."

Merely saying the words of tawbah with the tongue while harbouring the intention to sin is not tawbah but actually a mockery before Allaah سبحانه و تعالى. A poet says that when a person is holding a tasbeeh in his hand, saying the words of tawbah with the tongue but still thinking of committing a sin, even the sin laughs at him.

The perfect tawbah would entail carrying out the Qadaa for missed prayers and fasts, paying any Kaffaara that is due and restoring any rights own to people. If unable to restore a right, one should at least have it waived. If the person to whom a right is due is deceased, it must be given to his heirs and if they are also not alive, it should be given as Sadaqah with the intention that one is handing it over in Allaah's trust, to be restored to the person on the Day of Qiyaamah. If one us unable to restore the right because of poverty, one should pray to Allaah to forgive the person one has wronged. It is hoped that Allaah سبحانه و تعالى will then satisfy the wronged person on behalf of the wrong-doer.

One should also hasten with Tawbah and never commit sins in the hope that one will repent later. It may happen that one never has the opportunity to repent or never has the ability to repent sincerely. Hadrat Yahya Ibn Mu'aadh رحمة اللہ علیه said, 'The most deceived person in my opinion is the one who continues increasing in sin without any regrets, hoping that he will be forgiven.'

The sinner who is repenting should believe firmly that Allaah سبحانه و تعالى will forgive him. And Allaah سبحانه و تعالى knows best what is most correct."

[Fatawa Rahmiyyah]
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#58 [Permalink] Posted on 24th October 2013 10:27
Is Tawbah Definitely Accepted?


al-Hafidh Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali رحمه الله said,

"The apparent outward meaning of the texts shows that whoever turns to Allaah سبحانه و تعالى wholly sincerely, and the conditions of tawbah are all fulfilled in him, then one can assert that Allaah سبحانه و تعالى will accept his tawbah just as one can assert the acceptability of the Islaam of the kaafir when he submits authentically in Islaam. This is the position of the great majority and Ibn 'Abdul Barr's رحمه الله words indicate that it is the consensus.

Some people say that one cannot assert the acceptance of tawbah, but rather that it is hoped for and the person who makes tawbah is subject to the will [of Allaah سبحانه و تعالى]. They sought to prove that by the words of Allaah سبحانه و تعالى:

'Allaah does not forgive anything being associated with Him but He forgives whomever He wills for anything lesser than that,' (4:47) and so He placed all wrong actions subject to His will. They also sought to prove that by the like of His words, Exalted is He:

'O you who have believed, repent to Allaah with sincere repentance. Perhaps your Lord will remove from you your misdeeds and admit you into gardens beneath which rivers flow...' (66:8) and His words:

'But as for those who make tawbah and act rightly, they will hopefully be successful.' (28:67) and His words:

'And turn to Allah in repentance, all of you, O believers, so that hopefully you will have success.' (24:31) and His words:

'And (there are) others who have acknowledged their sins, they have mixed a deed that was righteous with another that was evil. Perhaps Allaah will turn unto them in forgiveness. Surely, Allaah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.' (9:102)

The apparent outward meaning of this is that it is with respect to the one who turns in tawbah because acknowledgement requires regret. There is in the hadeeth of Ummul Mu'mineen Sayyidah 'Aa'isha as-Siddeeqa bint as-Siddeeq رضي الله عنهما that the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said, 'When the slave acknowledges his wrong action and then turns in tawbah, Allaah سبحانه و تعالى turns to him.' [1]

The authentic and right position is that of the larger group.

These aayaat do not disprove asserting [that tawbah is accepted], because when the Generous makes one desire and long for something He does not sever one's hopes from that which is desired. For this reason, Sayyiduna Ibn 'Abbaas رضي الله عنهما said, 'The word 'asaa (perhaps, hopefully) from Allaah سبحانه و تعالى is obligatory.' [2] 'Ali Ibn Talhah رحمه الله transmitted it from him.

The reward for eemaan and right action has also been mentioned with the word 'hopefully', but that does not show that it is not something that can be asserted, such as in His word:

'The mosques of Allaah are only to be maintained by those who believe in Allah and the Last Day and establish prayer and give zakah and do not fear except Allaah. They are the ones most likely ('asaa) to be guided.' (9:18)

As for in His words: '...He forgives whomever He wills for anything lesser than that,' (4:47) then the one who turns in tawbah is one of those whom He wills to forgive, as He informed us in many places in His Book." [3]

Notes:

[1] al-Bukhari, Muslim and others

[2] at-Tabari, 1655

[3] Jami' al-'Uloom wal-Himam (Compendium of Knowledge and Wisdom)
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#59 [Permalink] Posted on 25th October 2013 11:15
al-Haafidh Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali رحمه الله said,

"People differ about two matters: first, whether right actions erase both major and minor wrong actions or only erase minor wrong actions?

Some say that they only expunge minor wrong actions. This has been narrated from 'Ataa رحمه الله and others from the right-acting first generations with regards to wudu' that it erases minor wrong actions. Sayyiduna Salmaan al-Faarisee رضي الله عنه said about wudu', 'It erases minor injuries, and walking to the masjid erases greater than that, and the prayer erases greater than that.' Muhammad Ibn Nasr al-Marwazi رحمه الله narrated it. [In Kitaab as-Salaah]

As for major wrong actions, one has to turn in tawbah from them because Allaah سبحانه و تعالى orders slaves to turn in tawbah, and He designates those who do not turn in tawbah as 'wrongdoers'. The community agree unanimously that turning in tawbah is obligatory, and that obligations are only discharged by intention and purpose. If major wrong actions were to be erased by wudu' and prayer and by the discharge of the rest of the pillars of Islaam then they would not need turning in tawbah, and there is unanimous agreement that this is false.

Also, if major wrong actions were erased by obligatory actions no wrong actions would remain to enter anyone in the Fire if he did the obligatory actions, which resembles the position of the Murji'ah, and that is false. This is what Ibn 'Abdul Barr رحمه الله mentioned in his book at-Tamheed and he said that there is unanimous agreement of the Muslims on that and sought to prove it by many ahaadeeth, of which there is the words of the Messenger of Allaah صل الله عليه و على آله و سلم:

'The five prayers, and the Jumu'ah until the [next] Jumu'ah, and Ramadaan until the [next] Ramadaan erase whatever is between them as long as the major wrong actions are avoided,' [Saheeh Muslim, 233] which is narrated in the two Saheeh books in a hadeeth of Sayyiduna Abu Hurayrah, and which shows that these obligatory acts do not erase major wrong actions.

Ibn 'Atiyyah رحمه الله narrated in his tafseer two statements on the meaning of this hadeeth:

First, that which he narrated as the position of the majority of the people of the Sunnah, that avoiding major wrong actions is a condition for these obligatory acts erasing minor wrong actions, so that if one does not avoid them, then the obligatory acts do not erase anything at all.

Second, that they erase minor wrong actions absolutely and without any qualification, but that they do not erase major wrong actions if they exist. However, it is stipulated that one must turn in tawbah from minor wrong actions and not persist in them. He considered this statement the weightiest and he quoted it from the proficient [people of knowledge].

His saying [in Ibn 'Atiyyah's رحمه الله quote above]: 'it is stipulated that one must turn in tawbah from minor wrong actions and not persist in them,' means that if he persists in them they become major [wrong actions] and so good actions do not erase them.

The first opinion that he narrated is unusual although the like of it has been narrated from Abu Bakr 'Abdul 'Azeez Ibn Ja'far رحمه الله from our colleagues [the Hanbalees].

In Saheeh Muslim there is from Sayyiduna 'Uthmaan رضي الله عنه that the Prophet صل الله عليه و على آله و سلم said, 'If the time of the obligatory prayer comes for any Muslim man and he does its wudu' well, its humility and its bowing, it will erase the wrong actions which preceded it as long as he had not done a major wrong action, and that is for all time.' [Saheeh Muslim, 228]

There is in the Musnad of Imaam Ahmad رحمه الله from Sayyiduna Salmaan رضي الله عنه that the Prophet صل الله عليه و على آله و سلم said, 'If a man purifies himself [i.e. ghusl],' meaning on the day of Jumu'ah, 'and he does his purification well, then goes to the Jumu'ah and it silent until the Imaam has finished the prayer, it is an expiation from him for whatever is between it and the coming Jumu'ah as long as he avoids mortal wrong actions.' [Musnad Imaam Ahmad, 5:439]

An-Nasaa'ee, Ibn Hibbaan and al-Haakim narrated the hadeeth of Sayyiduna Abu Sa'eed رضي الله عنه and Sayyiduna Abu Hurayrah رضي الله عنه that the Prophet صل الله عليه و على آله و سلم said, 'By the One in Whose hand is my self! Any slave who prays the five prayers, fasts Ramadaan, pays the Zakaah, and avoids the seven major wrong actions will have the doors of the Garden opened for him, and then it will be said to him, "Enter in peace".' [an-Nasaa'ee, 5:8; al-Haakim, 1:200; and Ibn Hibbaan, 1748]

Imaam Ahmad and an-Nasaa'ee also narrated a hadeeth of Sayyiduna Abu Ayyoob رضي الله عنه from the Prophet صل الله عليه و على آله و سلم with the same meaning. Al-Haakim narrated the same sense in a hadeeth of 'Ubayd Ibn 'Umayr from his father from the Prophet صل الله عليه و على آله و سلم. It is narrated in a marfu' hadeeth from Sayyiduna Ibn 'Umar رضي الله عنهما, 'Allaah سبحانه و تعالى says, "Son of Aadam, remember Me at the beginning of the day for a while, and at the end of the day for a while, I will forgive you whatever is in between them except for the major wrong actions, or you should turn in tawbah from them."' [Abu Nu'aym in al-Hilyah, 8:313]

Sayyiduna Ibn Mas'ood رضي الله عنه said, 'The five prayers erase what is between them as long as the major wrong actions are avoided.'

Sayyiduna Salmaan رضي الله عنه said, 'Guard these five prayers because they erase these injurious actions as long as you do not do mortal wrong actions.' ['Abdur Razzaaq in al-Musannaf, 148]

Sayyiduna Ibn 'Umar رضي الله عنهما asked a man, 'Do you fear the Fire lest you enter it, and do you love the Garden and that you should enter it?' He said, 'Yes.' Sayyiduna Ibn 'Umar رضي الله عنهما said, 'Treat your mother well, for by Allaah, if you speak gently to her and feed her, you will definitely enter the Garden as long as you avoid the actions which require [punishment].'

Qataadah رحمه الله said, 'Allaah only promises forgiveness to whoever avoids major wrong actions,' and he mentioned to us that the Messenger of Allaah said صل الله عليه و على آله و سلم, 'Avoid major wrong actions, stay on the straight path and rejoice.'

Some people of hadeeth and others, of whom there was Ibn Hazm adh-Dhaahiree رحمه الله, took the position that these actions erase major wrong actions and Ibn 'Abdul Barr رحمه الله concerned himself with refuting him in his book at-Tamheed. He said, 'I would myself have preferred not to talk about this subject if it had not been for the words of that person. I was afraid that ignorant people would be deceived by it and so indulge themselves in mortal wrong actions relying on their being erased by the prayers without need for regret, seeking forgiveness and turning in tawbah, and we ask Allaah سبحانه و تعالى for protection and success.'

I say that this has occurred in the words of a party of the people of hadeeth on the subject of wudu' and the like, and similar things have occurred in the words of Ibn al-Mundhir رحمه الله on standing in prayer on the Night of the Decree (Laylatul Qadr). He said, 'It is hoped for whoever stands throughout it that all his wrong actions, both those which are major and those which are minor, will be forgiven.'

If they meant that someone who does the obligations of Islaam while persisting in major wrong actions will be forgiven his wrong actions categorically, then this is completely false, and it is obvious from the Deen that it is false. We have previously heard the words of the Messenger of Allaah صل الله عليه و على آله و سلم, 'Whoever does wrong in Islaam will be taken to task for the first and the last,' meaning for his actions in the Time of Ignorance and in Islaam. This is to obvious to need explanation.

If the person who says this means that someone who gives up persisting in major wrong actions and guards his obligations without turning in tawbah or showing regret about what he had done will have all his major wrong actions erased by that and he seeks to prove it by the apparent outward meaning of the words of Allaah, the Exalted: 'If you avoid the serious wrong actions (sayyi'aat) you have been forbidden, We will erase your bad actions from you and admit you by a Gate of Honour," [Surah an-Nisaa: 31] saying that sayyi'aat comprise both the major and the minor wrong actions and that just as the minor wrong actions are erased by avoiding the major wrong actions without purposing or intending that, it is similar with the major wrong actions, and he draws as a supporting argument that Allaah سبحانه و تعالى promises to cover over the wrong actions of the mu'mineen and the people of taqwa and to erase their major wrong actions, which is mentioned in more than one place in the Qur'aan, and that this person under consideration is perhaps one of the people of taqwa because he does the obligatory actions and avoid major wrong actions, and avoiding major wrong actions does not require an intention or purpose; then [in the case of this second meaning] it is possible to take this position in principle.

The truth is that which the majority say, which is that major wrong actions are not erased without turning in tawbah, because turning in tawbah is obligatory on the slaves [of Allaah سبحانه و تعالى]. Allaah سبحانه و تعالى says: 'Those people who do not turn [in tawbah] are wrongdoers.' [Surah al-Hujurat: 11]

The Companions, such as Sayyiduna 'Umar رضي الله عنه, Sayyiduna 'Ali رضي الله عنه and Sayydina Ibn Mas'ood رضي الله عنه explained tawbah as 'regret', and some of them explained it as resolving never to repeat [the wrong action], and that has been narrated as a marfu' hadeeth but in a manner which has some weakness in it, but however, it is not known that any of the Companions رضي الله عنهم, nor the Followers رحمة الله عليهم and those after them, such as 'Umar Ibn 'Abdul 'Azeez رحمه الله, al-Hasan رحمه الله and others, disagreed about this.

[Jami' al-'Uloom wal-Hikam (Compendium Of Knowledge And Wisdom)]
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#60 [Permalink] Posted on 28th October 2013 12:38
al-Haafidh Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali رحمه الله said,

"As for the many texts guaranteeing forgiveness of wrong actions and the erasure of serious wrong actions for the people of taqwa, such as the words of Allaah سبحانه و تعالى...: "O you who have believed, if you have taqwa of Allaah, He will grant you a criterion and will remove from you your misdeeds and forgive you. And Allaah is the possessor of great bounty." [Soorah al-Anfaal, 8:29]

And His words سبحانه و تعالى: "And whosoever believes in Allaah and performs righteous good deeds, He will remit from him his sins, and will admit him to Gardens under which rivers flow (Paradise) to dwell therein forever, that will be the great success." [Soorah at-Taghaabun, 64:9]

And His words سبحانه و تعالى: "Whoever has taqwa of Allaah - He will erase his bad actions from him and greatly increase his rewards." [Soorah at-Talaaq, 65:5],

...then He did not explain in these aayaat the attributes of taqwa nor right action, a part of which is turning with complete sincerity in tawbah and whoever does not turn in tawbah is a wrongdoer and not a person of taqwa [therefore these aayaat do not apply to him].

He explains in Soorah Aal 'Imraan the attributes of taqwa which bring about the forgiveness of their possessors and enter them into the Garden, and mentioned of them: seeking forgiveness, not persisting, and He only guarantees to erase major wrong actions and forgive wrong actions in general to those who have this description, and Allaah سبحانه و تعالى knows best."

[Jami' al-'Uloom wal-Hikam (Compendium Of Knowledge And Wisdom)]
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