Abu Hurairah (Radhi Allahu Anhu) narrated that the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam) said:

“A slave (of Allah) sinned and then said, ‘O Allah, forgive me my sins.’ Allah, Most Blessed and Most High, said, ‘My slave perpetrated a sin, and he knew that he has a Lord who forgives sins and punishes (people) for (their) sins.’ That (slave of Allah) then returned and sinned again, after which he said, ‘My Lord! Forgive me my sin.’ Allah, Most Blessed and Most High, said, ‘My slave perpetrated a sin, and he knew that he has a Lord Who forgives sins and punishes (people) for (their) sins.’ He then returned and sinned again, after which he said, “‘My Lord! Forgive me my sin.’ Allah, Most Blessed and Most High, said, ‘My slave perpetrated a sin, and he knew that he has a Lord Who forgives sins and punishes (people) for (their) sins. Do as you wish, for I have indeed forgiven you. (i.e. as long as you repent sincerely and feel remorseful for having sinned, I will continue to forgive you.)” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

I’ve been thinking about this hadeeth and you know the saying, “A little knowledge is dangerous”? I have heard of people who intentionally sin based on this. The problem is if you intentionally sin (premeditative) and basically do as you desire – are you really remorseful? Is your tawbah (repentance) sincere? This is very common and you learn more about it during Ramadan, because you meet more of these open sinners. Some people will live a life of sin all year round and then when Ramadan rolls around they will temporarily put off their sinning for the month. It’s actually a spectrum of these behavior tendencies, because some will just delay the wrongdoings until it’s time to break the fast for the day. Others will continue sinning throughout most of Ramadan until the last ten nights! Then there are those who will sin during the last 10 nights but not on the odd nights!

I had a Saudi friend visit with me the other night, her family is from Hijaz. She said that it is very common for people who travel abroad to basically, ‘sow their wild oats’ , all the while saying that when they come back they will ‘just’ make Umrah and have all of their previous sins forgiven. That type of thinking is very dangerous. For one you are assuming that you will make it back and that you will make umrah. Nobody knows when they will die or what land they will die in. I fear dying before making tawbah wa authoo billahi min thaliq (and I seek refuge in Allah from that) ! Two – Allah is All Knowing! He knows what is in your hearts. You can’t go around sinning and sinning thinking it’s OK. Their are conditions to your repentance being accepted. One of the conditions of tawbah is that a person makes a pledge to Allah Almighty not to go back to the same sin again. If he does, he has to make tawbah again with more sincerity and regret for what he has done. You must have determination NOT to repeat the same sin again in the future.

Some people may have geniune issues that cause them to constantly sin. I am not trying to discourage anyone from repenting and seeking Allah’s forgiveness. Allah says: “And turn to Allah altogether (make tawbah), O you who believe so that you may succeed,” (24:31) This is by far better than those who sin and never repent or seek forgiveness. Allah says: “And those who do not make tawbah are indeed the dhaalimoon (wrongdoers).” (49:11)

Imam Ibn ul Qayyim al Jawziyyah said:

The reality of tawbah is to return to Allah is not sound or complete without the knowledge of the Lord’s names and attributes and their manifestations within Himself and in the world. The repenting servant should know that he was running away from his Lord, captured in the grip of his enemy. He didn’t fall into the claws of his enemy except as a result of his ignorance of his Lord and his daring to go against Him. He should know how and when he became ignorant, and how and when he was captured. He should believe that tawbah requires great determination and complete awareness to rescue himself from the enemy and be able to return and run back, to his Lord Ar-Rahman Ar-Rahim. He should realise that returning to his Lord is actually turning away from the road of destruction, where his enemy had taken him. He should know the number of steps taken away from his Lord and the efforts and obstacles that he must strongly work on to get back to the Straight Path.

Exactly! That’s what I was trying to say…lol! I guess that’s another reason why I do not accept Christianity’s concept of forgiveness. There is no incentive to repent or seek forgiveness if you believe that Jesus was born and died for your salavation. The mere belief in such a cincept held by the Christians is the gravest sin one can have. There is no need to believe that God had a son who died for the sin of mankind.  Allah reveals that servants who believe in and surrender themselves to Him are bound to a bough that will never break:

Those who submit themselves completely to Allah and do good have grasped the Firmest Handhold. The end result of all affairs is with Allah. (Surah Luqman, 22)

There is no compulsion where the deen is concerned. Right guidance has become clearly distinct from error. Anyone who rejects false gods and has faith in Allah has grasped the Firmest Handhold, which will never give way. Allah is All-Hearing, All-Knowing. (Surat Al-Baqara, 256

Here is a reminder for us all on how to supplicate to our Lord for forgiveness. The Messenger of Allah, sallallahu `alaihi wa sallam, said:

“The master of invocations for forgiveness is that the servant says: ‘Allãhumma ‘anta rabbee, lã ‘ilãha ‘illã ‘anta, khalaqtanee, wa ‘anã `abduka, wa ‘anã `alã `ahdika wa wa`dika mastata`tu, ‘a`outhu bika min sharri ma sana`tu, ‘aboo’u laka bini`matika ‘alayya, wa ‘aboo’u bithambee, faghfirlee fa’innahu lã yaghfiru ‘aththunooba ‘illã ‘anta.

O’ my ‘ilãh You are my Lord, there is no ‘ilãh but You. You created me, and I am your bondservant, and I will stick to my covenant and promise [of faith and sincere obedience] to You, as to my ability. I seek refuge in You from the evil of what I have done, I acknowledge, to You, your bounties upon me, and I acknowledge, to You, my sin. Thus forgive me, for none forgives sins except You.

Whoever says this as he enters upon evening, then, dies that night, he would enter Paradise; and if one says this as he enters upon morning, then, dies that day, he would enter Paradise”.

And a reminder for myself as I conclude this entry is the expiation of a gathering with which the gathering is completed is (the supplication): “Subhãnaka ‘allãhumma wa bihamdika, ‘ash-hadu ‘an lã ‘ilãha ‘illa ‘anta, ‘astaghfiruka wa ‘atoobu ‘ilayka.” [Glorified are You O’ my ‘ilãh and I am in Your praise, I testify that there is no ‘ilah except You, I ask Your forgiveness and repent unto You.] [Abu Dawood and At-Tirmidhee, who said it is hasan saheeh]