Leaving Sin

وَذَرُوا ظَاهِرَ الْإِثْمِ وَبَاطِنَهُ

[6:120]

سُبْحَانَ رَبِّكَ رَبِّ الْعِزَّةِ عَمَّا يَصِفُونَ

وَسَلَامٌ عَلَى الْمُرْسَلِينَ

وَالْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ

[37:180-182]

Allah سبحانه وتعالى says in the Qur’an-e-karim:

وَذَرُوا ظَاهِرَ الْإِثْمِ وَبَاطِنَهُ

[6:120]

Leave all sins that you do; the ones that you commit outwardly, and the ones that you commit inwardly.

This ayah has two meanings

  1. 1. Leave all the outward sins i.e. lying, stealing, sinning with any outward organ of our body and Leave all the inner sins i.e. greed, lust, envy, short-tempered and unlawful anger etc
  2. 2. Leave doing sins outwardly and leave wanting sins inwardly

This is what Tazkiya means

Level 1: stop doing sin

Level 2: stop wanting sin

To learn how to stop wanting sin; stop desiring sin; to stop thinking about sin; to stop glorifying and idolizing sin – that is called Tazkiya

We should think that: “Ya Allah! Alhamdulillah, I was able to stop myself from acting on that sinful thought but why did that thought come to me in the first place?” We should want even that desire of sin out of us.

That is what Allah سبحانه وتعالى is asking us to do; to take the inner sins out. This is how our Mashaikh have defined Tasawwuf; that it means to eliminate every single atom of sin from inside of us. That is what RasulAllah صلى الله عليه وسلم has mentioned in Hadith that a person who has even an atom’s weight of kibr will not enter Jannah

How can we leave sin?

There are two ways that we can leave sin:

  1. Taubah
  2. Istighfar & Taqwa

Taubah and Taqwa go hand in hand; a person must first make true Taubah and then they must be true to their Taubah by adopting Taqwa.

Taqwa & Taubah; Taqwa & Taubah; Taqwa & Taubah

But for many of us, it’s actually Taubah, trying for Taqwa – falling into sin, then again Taubah, then again trying for Taqwa; sinning again and then again making Taubah

Kinds of sin:

There are some sins that we have the ability to leave ourselves

There are some sins that every one of us has the ability to leave on the basis of our own selves; that is called adopting Taqwa.

There are some sins that we are unable to leave ourselves

In this day and age we have found that there are many Muslims who are involved in some sins that they themselves confess, and after trying to treat them we ourselves feel that they can’t leave those sins. Many of us may have thought using our ‘Aql [5]that if a mo’min wants he can leave every sin; but that is not true. Sometimes, a person is addicted to a sin so much that they become habituated in it; they become so ingrained in that sin that the only way to get themselves out of that sin is Allah سبحانه وتعالى taking them out of it.

Allah سبحانه وتعالى say’s in the Qur’an-e-karim:

لِيُخْرِجَكُمْ مِنَ الظُّلُمَاتِ إِلَى النُّورِ

[33:43]

Ultimately this taking us out of the darkness of our sins in to the nur of worship and obedience is by Allah سبحانه وتعالى.

How can we attract this Special Mercy of Allah   سبحانه وتعالى?

Now the question is how can we attract that special Mercy of Allah سبحانه وتعالى that Allah سبحانه وتعالى Himself wants to see us out of sin?

People tell us how when they sincerely wanted to leave some sin they cried in Ramadan to be able to leave that sin, sat in I’tekaf, cried on the odd nights, went for hajj, cried in ‘Arafah, and upon returning, in so-and-so period of time they went back to that sin. They don’t understand how, they really want to leave that sin, sick and tired of being a hypocrite by committing that sin every time – but they can’t get out. So, what that person needs is Allah سبحانه وتعالى to take him out.

You can imagine it like this that a person is standing and looking at a mountain; he is not strong enough to climb that mountain, so how can he make himself such that Allah سبحانه وتعالى Himself wants to see him on top of that mountain – when a person attains such a state then that person becomes the murad of Allah سبحانه وتعالى

It is one thing to be a murid of Allah سبحانه وتعالى i.e. to seek Allah سبحانه وتعالى out and another thing is to be the murad of Allah سبحانه وتعالى i.e. Allah سبحانه وتعالى Himself Seeks us out

We can attract this special Mercy of Allah سبحانه وتعالى by making a Special type of Taubah called Taubah-tul-nasooh ; a sincere true Taubah – even though the person doesn’t have the ability to leave that sin but the Taubah is so sincere that Allah سبحانه وتعالى, the At-Tawwab wants to Accept that person’s Taubah so perfectly that He takes the person out of sin – we need this incredible Mercy of Allah سبحانه وتعالى

Allah سبحانه وتعالى mentions in the Qur’an-e-karim:

إِنَّ النَّفْسَ لَأَمَّارَةٌ بِالسُّوءِ إِلَّا مَا رَحِمَ رَبِّي

[12:53] Indeed! The Nafs is ever commanding a person to do sin except for that person on whom Allah سبحانه وتعالى sends His Mercy.

Allah سبحانه وتعالى loves the People of Tauba

One of the greatest gifts Allah سبحانه وتعالى has gifted this Ummah with is Taubah. We will begin directly with an ayah that we normally end on:

إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُحِبُّ التَّوَّابِينَ

[2:222]

Allahu akbar Kabira. SubhanAllahi wabihamdihi subhanAllahil Azeem!

Ya Allah! You could’ve said Allah سبحانه وتعالى forgives those who do Tauba that would’ve been enough. You could’ve said that Allah سبحانه وتعالى Accepts the Taubah of the Tawwabeen! But, no! Allah سبحانه وتعالى said in Qur’an-al-karim, Rabb-e-karim Ar hamar Rahimeen [أَرْحَمُ الرَّاحِمِينَ] said:

إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُحِبُّ التَّوَّابِينَ

That Allah سبحانه وتعالى loves the people of Taubah

Allah سبحانه وتعالى has left a way for people like me and you to become His beloved! We would’ve thought that only the people of Taqwa [مُتَّقِين] would be among His beloved; the people of righteousness [صَّادِقِين] would be His beloved; the people of piety [] would be His beloved, but Allah سبحانه وتعالى is showing us – His sinning believers – that we have an opportunity to become His beloved just by making Taubah.

Every one of us needs to make Taubah

We need to learn how to make this Taubah to Allah سبحانه وتعالى. And everybody needs to make this Taubah, everyone.

The unbeliever when he makes Taubah and accepts the Deen of Islam; he makes Taubah of his kufr. The sinning Muslim makes Taubah of his sins. If someone was to say that I don’t commit any sins, then our Mashaikh say that he should then make Taubah of his ghaflat i.e. he should make Taubah of the moments of his life that he spent that were absent from the dhikr of Allah سبحانه وتعالى. It means that they should make Taubah that they weren’t living embodiments of this ayah in the Quran-e-karim:

رِجَالٌ لَا تُلْهِيهِمْ تِجَارَةٌ وَلَا بَيْعٌ عَنْ ذِكْرِ اللَّهِ

[24:37]

Even though they didn’t sin, they weren’t like these men mentioned in the Qur’an-e-karim that neither trade nor merchandise distracts them from the remembrance of Allah so they should make Taubah of that.

In another ayah of the Quran-e-karim, Allah سبحانه وتعالى says:

الَّذِينَ يَذْكُرُونَ اللَّهَ قِيَامًا وَقُعُودًا وَعَلَى جُنُوبِهِمْ

[3:191] that there are such people who remember Allah سبحانه وتعالى while standing, sitting and while [reclining] on their sides

So, these ayahs were for the mo’mineen to follow; those who do not even sin, but are unable to remember Allah سبحانه وتعالى like that then they should make Taubah of their lack of doing ‘amal on these ayahs of the Quran-e-karim

Then our Mashaikh say that if a person was to say that I don’t commit sins and I’m always remembering Allah سبحانه وتعالى, even this person should make Taubah of the idle, stray thoughts, random whisperings that why do they occur to you; make Taubah of it.

So, it basically means that every single mo’min needs this door of Taubah – This door of Taubah is the greatest chance for me and you to enter Jannah. Very few people tonight can say that they can enter Jannah through the door of Taqwa; I don’t know if anybody can say that but Alhamdulillah baab-ut-taubah is the easiest way through which many of us will be able to attain Jannah in the Pleasure of Allah سبحانه وتعالى.

10 MEANS OF STRENGTHENING OUR TAUBAH

Following are 10 means to seek forgiveness from Allah سبحانه وتعالى that have been mentioned by Imam Ibn-e-Taymiyah rahimahullah to save ourselves from Allah سبحانه وتعالى ’s Anger; 10 means for a person to be Accepted by Allah سبحانه وتعالى

1.     At-Taubah

The first of the 10 ways is Taubah itself.

Taubah means that:

  • You want to erase the history of sin from your heart
  • You want to never ever be able to do that sin again
  • You are pledging before Allah سبحانه وتعالى that “Ya Allah! Anything that leads me to Your disobedience; anything that makes me even slightly displeasing in Your Eyes, I want to leave that for Your Sake to make myself pleasing to You”

When Allah سبحانه وتعالى Accepts such a person’s Taubah, He erases the memory of that sin from kiraam-un-katibeen [The noble angels who record our good and bad deeds], He erases that sin from our book of deeds, He erases the memory of that sin from the pieces of earth where the person committed that sin. This is established from the Qur’an-e-karim that:

يَوْمَئِذٍ تُحَدِّثُ أَخْبَارَهَا

[99:4]

That Day when earth will testify against a person that this person committed a sin upon me!

It comes in Qur’an that there will be a seal set on our lips and our own organs will testify against us on the Day of Judgment as to what sins we committed using them. Our own hands will testify what things we made them do; our eyes will testify what we made them look at! Allahu akbar kabira. Such strong witnesses; Angels, Book of Deeds, Places of sin, Limbs/Organs of a person.

But if a person makes sincere Taubah, Allah سبحانه وتعالى erases all of these four things and Allah سبحانه وتعالى erases the distance that came between that person and their Rabb because of that sin. That’s the real thing. That’s what the Scholars of Tafsir say that Allah سبحانه وتعالى teaches us in the Qur’an-e-karim in this ayah:

وَقُلْ رَبِّ اغْفِرْ وَارْحَمْ وَأَنْتَ خَيْرُ الرَّاحِمِينَ

That we should plead before Allah سبحانه وتعالى to please forgive us and have Mercy upon us, bring us back to that Qurb, like in many places in the Qur’an-e-karim Allah سبحانه وتعالى mentions that He is intimately close to us:

فَإِنِّي قَرِيبٌ

[2:186]

هُوَ مَعَكُمْ أَيْنَ مَا كُنْتُمْ

[57:4]

نَحۡنُ أَقۡرَبُ إِلَيۡهِ

[50:16]

It is the Mercy of Allah سبحانه وتعالى that just because of sincere Taubah, He even erases the distance that comes between us and Him because of our sin. That is the Ultimate way in which He Accepts our Taubah.

How does Allah سبحانه وتعالى address His sinning servants in the Quran?

Allah سبحانه وتعالى mentions in Qur’an-e-karim:

قُلْ يَا عِبَادِيَ الَّذِينَ أَسْرَفُوا عَلَى أَنْفُسِهِمْ لَا تَقْنَطُوا مِنْ رَحْمَةِ اللَّهِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَغْفِرُ الذُّنُوبَ جَمِيعًا إِنَّهُ هُوَ الْغَفُورُ الرَّحِيمُ

[39:53]

This is one of the most beautiful ayahs of the Qur’an-e-karim, and the most beautiful thing in this ayah is the ي

I will do translation of this ayah in a different order:

Allah سبحانه وتعالى says: الَّذِينَ أَسْرَفُوا عَلَى أَنْفُسِهِمْ

That those who did wrong and injustice on their own selves; those who harmed only themselves by leaving the Commandments of Allah سبحانه وتعالى and leaving the Sunnah of Nabi-e-karim صلى الله عليه وسلم

Allah سبحانه وتعالى begins addressing them by saying: يَا عِبَادِيَ

O My servants!

يَ comes for nisbat [نسبت]i.e. Allah سبحانه وتعالى is addressing the sinning servants by calling them His own; by reminding them that even though you have disobeyed Me and sinned against your own selves, you are still Mine! You have forgotten yourselves but I have not forgotten you

لَا تَقْنَطُوا مِنْ رَحْمَةِ اللَّهِ

Never despair of the Mercy of Allah سبحانه وتعالى; never fall into depression; never think you are beyond His reach!

إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَغْفِرُ الذُّنُوبَ جَمِيعًا

That indeed Allah سبحانه وتعالى forgives ALL the sins!

That mountain of sins; those hours of sin; those nights of sin; those years of sin; those years of lies and betrayal and disloyalty to Allah سبحانه وتعالى – Allah سبحانه وتعالى still is Ultimately Loyal and Loving to us and Calls us His Ibaad and says I Forgive all sins and then Allah سبحانه وتعالى says:

إِنَّهُ هُوَ الْغَفُورُ الرَّحِيمُ

Its like saying: Oh, don’t you know? That He is Al-Ghafoor – that forgiving is in His nature and He is always forgiving and He is Ar-Raheem – that He is the epitome and ultimate manifestation of Mercy and always sending that Mercy!

If we could let this ayah hit our heart; if we could just say لبيك when Allah سبحانه وتعالى says يَا عِبَادِيَ if we could respond and say ya rabbi Then we can understand the whole Deen of Islam in these two sentences i.e.

From Allah سبحانه وتعالى : O Mine!

And from the Mo’min: O my Rabb!

Sometimes we tell young people that they should address Allah سبحانه وتعالى by calling Him: My Dearest Darling Beloved Beautiful Allah instead of using these phrases in unlawful ways. This is how a mo’min should feel about Allah سبحانه وتعالى and If he addresses Allah سبحانه وتعالى like that, Allah سبحانه وتعالى will Drown him in His Mercy; Allah سبحانه وتعالى will Himself take Him out all of the sins that he is unable to leave.

Allah سبحانه وتعالى says in another ayah:

وَهُوَ الَّذِي يَقْبَلُ التَّوْبَةَ عَنْ عِبَادِهِ وَيَعْفُوعَنِ السَّيِّئَاتِ

[42:25]

And Allah سبحانه وتعالى is that being who accepts the Taubah of His servants. Whenever we sin He manifests Himself as At-Tawwab and sees when will My servant remember Me; when will he come back to Me and ask Me for forgiveness!

يَقْبَلُ التَّوْبَةَ

It means He سبحانه وتعالى always Accepts Taubah.

2.     Istighfar

Second means to get the special Mercy of Allah سبحانه وتعالى is to make Istighfar.

Difference between Taubah & Istighfar: Taubah is making a commitment not to sin for the future and Istighfar is seeking forgiveness for the past.

Istighfar simply means: to say sorry to Allah سبحانه وتعالى and to ask Him to forgive us.

O Allah! I’m sorry. I’m really sorry about what I did. Please forgive me.

Explanation of the mechanism of sin; Istighfar; Taubah; adopting Taqwa

Let me practically explain how this system works, especially for the young people:

  • A mo’min sins in order to get some pleasure or to obtain some benefit. If they are mo’min, they get the pleasure and benefit, but they also feel a sting – this sting is called nadma [feeling deep regret and remorse]
  1. The first battle is between their remorse and their pleasure:

1st possibility: If their feeling of pleasure was greater than the feeling of remorse then they would do the sin again. When they do the sin again they would feel even less remorse – then they would do that sin again and keep doing that sin such that they no longer feel any remorse and sadness when they do that sin.

2nd Possibility: The feeling of remorse was greater than the feeling of pleasure. If their sadness, shame and regret over doing the sin is greater – then only that person does Istighfar i.e. they seek the forgiveness of Allah سبحانه وتعالى and beg Allah سبحانه وتعالى to forgive them

  1. 2. After they make Istighfar, the second battle is: Do they go back to those things – to that technology, that company, that place, that person that involved them in sin? Or do they leave all of that?

Like we claim in front of Allah سبحانه وتعالى when reciting Dua-e-Qunoot:

That we leave all those ones – be they individuals or instruments – that lead us to Your disobedience.

If they made true Istighfar; but they go back to that gathering of sin, go back to those people, go back to those ways – again they would go back into that sin.

  • But, if they leave those means – that is called Taubah.
  1. When they make true Taubah then the third battle is: Are they true to their Taubah or not? These are two different things:

a.            it’s one thing to make true Taubah, and

b.            the next thing is to be true to that Taubah

  • Being true to Taubah is called Taqwa

The next battle is whether they adopt a life of Taqwa, Sunnah and Dhikr or not

If they adopt a lifestyle of Taqwa Sunnah and Dhikr – all three things that have been emphasized repeatedly in Qur’an-e-karim and our Deen – that is the way they can be true to their Taubah.  And if they are weak in adopting these three attributes than they risk lapsing in their Taubah; and eventually they would go back to their sin.

There is so much stress in our Deen to do Istighfar

Nabi-e-karim صلى الله عليه وسلم taught us in our Deen to make so much Istighfar. We have been told to make Istighfar even after our ibadat. In Hadith it comes that, right after you pray Fardh Salah, you should say:

اللَّهُ أكبر

أستغفر الله أستغفر الله أستغفر الله

Did we do some sin? No! After Fardh Ibadah [Obligatory worship] our deen is teaching us to do Istighfar, why?  Imam-e-Rabbani Mujaddid Alif sani rahimahullah explains in his maktubaat that:

“However perfect a person may outwardly perform their salah, they will never have the ikhlas that is befitting Allah سبحانه وتعالى as befits His Might and Majesty so they should therefore make Istighfar of that out of humility”

In contrast to that – we don’t even make Istighfar of our sins.

Sunnat-e-Rasool صلى الله عليه وسلم: Istighfar after Salah

Sunnat or Habit of his Ummah: No Istighfar even after committing a Sin.

How far have we gone from what we are supposed to be?

Allah سبحانه وتعالى says in the Qur’an-e-karim:

فَقُلْتُ اسْتَغْفِرُوا رَبَّكُمْ

[71:10]

That you should make Istighfar to your Rabb

إِنَّهُ كَانَ غَفَّارًا

[71:10]

That is another name of Allah سبحانه وتعالى: The Al-Ghaffar – it means super Forgiving i.e. we seek a little forgiveness, He sends a lot of Maghfirah; we make a weak Istighfar, He sends a strong Maghfirah.

Then, Allah سبحانه وتعالى  also Teaches us in Qur’an that even when people perform Hajj, after the Day of Arafah – that is known that there is no other Day in our Deen like Yaum-ul-Arafah, so, what did Allah سبحانه وتعالى  ask us to do on that day:

ثُمَّ أَفِيضُوا مِنْ حَيْثُ أَفَاضَ النَّاسُ وَاسْتَغْفِرُوا اللَّهَ

[2:199]

i.e. when you go from Arafat to Muzdalifah; when you have completed Arafah i.e. you have Hajj-e-Mabroor; you’re like when your mother just gave you birth and you go and proceed to Muzdalifah – seek the forgiveness of Allah سبحانه وتعالى

إِنَّ اللَّهَ غَفُورٌ رَحِيمٌ

[2:199] Indeed Allah سبحانه وتعالى is Forgiving and Merciful.

So, we have been taught to do Istighfar after Fardh Salah, Istighfar after Fardh of Hajj – asal of Hajj is Arafah – so Istighfar after Arafah.

In another ayah Allah سبحانه وتعالى  mentions about those people who do Qiyam-ul-Layl – those who spend all the night; half the night; one-third of the night in worshiping Allah سبحانه وتعالى  that:

وَبِالْأَسْحَارِ هُمْ يَسْتَغْفِرُونَ

[51:18]

What do they do after spending the whole or half night in Tahajjud? They make Istighfar!

And the young man of today spends the whole night in sin and doesn’t make Istighfar.

These great Sahaba-e-karam and all of our pious elders, the great Sadiqeen, Auliyah-e-kamileen who followed this path would be crying after nights of worship and we are unable to shed a tear after a night of sin, instead we even sleep through Fajr. Where are we compared to what they were? Where are we compared to the human being that the Quran-e-karim is trying to create?

Nabi-e-karim صلى الله عليه وسلم says in a Hadith-e-Qudsi[22], compiled in Bukhari and Muslim, that:

“A servant [of Allah’s] committed a sin and said: ‘O my Rabb, forgive me my sin.’

And He سبحانه وتعالى said: ‘My servant has committed a sin and has known that he has a Rabb who forgives sins and punishes for them.’

i.e. Allah سبحانه وتعالى  becomes so happy that His servant called upon Him. It’s like He says look at my servant – even though he sinned he knows that he has a Rabb who forgives

Then he sinned again and said: ‘O Lord, forgive me my sin.’

And He سبحانه وتعالى said: ‘My servant has committed a sin and has known that he has a Rabb who forgives sins and punishes for them.’

Then he sinned again and said: ‘O Lord, forgive me my sin.’

And Allah سبحانه وتعالى said: ‘My servant has committed a sin and has known that he has a Rabb who forgives sins and punishes for sins. Do what you wish, for I have forgiven you.’”
The last phrase should not be misunderstood; it doesn’t mean Allah سبحانه وتعالى is saying: go and do sin. But Allah سبحانه وتعالى is saying that if every time you sin you will ask Me for forgiveness then every time you ask for My forgiveness, I will forgive you.

If every time you seek My forgiveness and Nafs, Shaytan and Dunya get the better of you and bring you back into sin but you get the better of them and ask Me for forgiveness – then every single time I will forgive you

كَانَ غَفَّارًا

This is what it means that Allah سبحانه وتعالى is full of forgiveness.

3.     Good deeds that erase

Allah سبحانه وتعالى says in the Qur’an-e-karim:

إِنَّ الْحَسَنَاتِ يُذْهِبْنَ السَّيِّئَاتِ

[11:114]

That the good deeds; they erase and wipe away the effects of the bad deeds

What does it mean?

Just like we wash our clothes every time they get dirty; we must make Istighfar every time we sin

  • Just like when a person’s cloth gets dirty, do they ask:  What is the point of me washing it, because it’s only going to get dirty again? Do they think like that? No. Instead they think: I’m going to wash it; even though I know for sure that it is going to get dirty again and guaranteed I will have to wash it again but every time it gets dirty I am going to keep washing it. That should be the feeling of a mo’min.  Imam Al-Ghazali [rah] in his Ihya-uloom-uddin [Revival of the Religious Sciences] made it clear that: “Lest a person think that they should leave ibadat when they sin; they should instead increase in their ibadat” Why? Because we need those amaal-us-salih; those good deeds to wipe away the effects of the sins.

Follow up a bad deed with a good deed of the same genus

  • Some of the Ullema and Mashaikh have mentioned that a person should follow up a sin with a good deed of the same genus [جنس]

For e.g. a person sins with their eyes – they should try to follow it up with a good deed with their eyes i.e.

–           they should look at the Qur’an-e-karim with muhabbah and love,

–          they should look at their parents with love,

–          if they have opportunity to go to Makkah Mukarama they should look at the Kaaba with love, or

–          they can do amal on this ayah of the Quran-e-karim:

وَاصْبِرْ نَفْسَكَ مَعَ الَّذِينَ يَدْعُونَ رَبَّهُمْ بِالْغَدَاةِ وَالْعَشِيِّ

[18:28] that you should keep yourself strong and patience and in the company of those who call upon their Rabb morning and evening

يُرِيدُونَ وَجْهَهُ

[18:28] they are seeking the Pleasure of Allah سبحانه وتعالى

وَلَا تَعْدُ عَيْنَاكَ عَنْهُمْ

[18:28] and don’t lower your gaze from them

Allah سبحانه وتعالى in one ayah of the Qu’ran asks us to lower our gaze from those things that are forbidden to look at, while in this ayah Allah سبحانه وتعالى is asking us not to lower our gaze; keep it still at them! So, this command is from the Qur’an-e-karim not some Sufi philosophy. Therefore, we should look at those things are beautiful, noble and pleasing to Allah سبحانه وتعالى, to make up for sinning by looking at the impermissible things.

  • Similarly, if a person committed an act of adultery, they can make up for that sin by making an intention that they would help a person who is able and willing to get married but doesn’t have the financial means to get married; they can support such a person to get married with the intention that if they are able to help this person save himself from this evil temptation, maybe Allah سبحانه وتعالى will forgive their act of zina.

So, we should think like this that if I committed a sin, I should follow it up with a good deed – so that those good things can erase my sins.

4.     Dua of the believers for a fellow believer

Ibn-e-taymiyah [rah] and all of the Ullema of the Ahl-e-Sunnah-wal-Jama’ah have consensus [ijma’] on this that the Dua that we make for one another are a means for our forgiveness. Ibn-e-taymiyah [rah] mentions this in detail giving proofs from Hadith, Salat-ul-Janaza, etc.

It comes in a Hadith that when Syeddina Umer radiya’llahu ‘anhu was travelling from Madina munawwara to Makkah Mukarrama, Nabi-e-karim صلى الله عليه وسلم said to Syeddina Umer radiya’llahu ‘anhu that don’t forget the Ummah in your duas.

Allahu’akbar! Notwithstanding the elevated maqam of Syeddina Umer radiya’llahu, but Syeddina Nabi-e-karim Imam-ul-ambiya-wal-mursaleen صلى الله عليه وسلم , to educate the Ummah to ask our fellow Muslims for dua, asked Syeddina Umer radiya’llahu that you are going to Makkah Munawwara; to Kaaba, please make dua for the Ummah as well.

This is why Allah سبحانه وتعالى taught us in Qur’an-e-karim:

رَبَّنَا اغْفِرْ لَنَا وَلِإِخْوَانِنَا الَّذِينَ سَبَقُونَا بِالْإِيمَانِ

[59:10] O our Rabb! Forgive us and all our brothers; those who preceded us in Iman

i.e. Allah سبحانه وتعالى  is teaching us in Quran-e-karim to make dua for others. We underestimate the power of dua for one another.

5.     Those good actions that are done on behalf of the deceased – ایصال ثواب

Those noble actions done on the deceased like giving Sadaqa etc. This is established by clear, accurate and authentic reports from the Sunnah and the unanimous consensus of the Imams of ‘ilm . It means that when a person passes away, we should do something for them.

Brief Explanation:

Why should it benefit them? Everybody should just be judged according to what they did or didn’t do. Well, understand it like this that they must have done something in their life to make this person so fond of them that this person wants to do something for them like read some Qur’an or make tawaf or some nawafil or give some sadaqah or anything from the worships that bring one closer to Allah سبحانه وتعالى

If we do it for our beloved deceased in your family, Allah سبحانه وتعالى will decree most likely that other people will do it for you. And if you neglect it for your teachers and Mashaikh and family members, chance is that we might also be neglected.

6.     Those difficulties that Allah سبحانه وتعالى sends on us as a means of His forgiveness

Sometimes Allah سبحانه وتعالى sends a test, a hardship, some sadness or difficulty upon us because He wants to forgive us for our sins and instead we panic and we don’t exercise patience – what is more we even complain before Allah سبحانه وتعالى if not with our tongue then sometimes with our heart – by asking that question that should never be asked:

Q: Why me?

Simple Answer to that question is: Why not you? Allah سبحانه وتعالى is Malik-ul-Mulk, why not you?

But, a Loving Answer here would be: Because Allah سبحانه وتعالى wants to forgive you, that is why your Rabb is shaking you up!

Just like on the cough medicines it is mentioned: “Shake well before use”, Allah سبحانه وتعالى Shakes us up because He wants to use us; bring us to some ibadah, some dua; He wants us to run to Him; He wants us to cry unto Him; He wants us to fall into prostration before Him. But, we don’t know that and instead we start complaining and become sad & depressed.

Allah سبحانه وتعالى says in a Hadith Qudsi that comes in Sahih Bukhari:

“….If they come to Me walking, I come to them running.”

Allahu akbar

Allah سبحانه وتعالى puts us in that difficulty so we take baby steps towards Him. Like the little baby who is trying to walk; his father gets so happy, when the baby takes a couple of little steps, he doesn’t let the baby fall; runs to his baby, picks him up and holds him close!  That’s what Allah سبحانه وتعالى  wants; He doesn’t expect you to get out of the difficulty ourselves, He just wants to see you try a little, splash a little bit, if He sees you walking and splashing and crawling; He will flee to you – His Mercy will flee to you, His Help will Flee to us!

Another reason why difficulties befall a believer – as a means to shed his sins

Nabi-e-karim صلى الله عليه وسلم describes it in a Hadith that:

The way a tree sheds its leave in the autumn; like that a believer’s sins are shed from them when a sickness or difficulty afflicts them

7.     The constriction of the grave

The seventh means by which Allah سبحانه وتعالى sends His Mercy upon us so that He can forgive us and send us straight to Jannah on the Day of Judgment is called the constriction or the tightening of the grave.

It comes in Hadith that Nabi-e-karim صلى الله عليه وسلم even mentioned this about Syeddina Saad radiyallahu anhu that he had some tightening of the grave

The same Syeddina Saad radiyallahu anhu upon whose passing away it is mentioned in Hadith that the Arsh[Throne] of Allah سبحانه وتعالى  cried for three days! – About this same Sahabi, RasoolAllah صلى الله عليه وسلم mentions that there was a slight constriction of his grave for a fraction of a second.

What does it mean?

You can think of it this way, like there is a special tradition here in Pakistan that youngsters do khidmat of their elders by massaging their feet, which is a means to alleviate their pain – i.e. it is well known here that kabhi dabana se rahat milti hai. Just like that we can imagine the constriction of the grave to be sort of like the massage of this world – which would wrinkle and iron out the effects of sins. So, this is actually one of the means through which Allah سبحانه وتعالى send His forgiveness upon us.

Taqwa means to fear Allah سبحانه وتعالى  as He deserves to be feared

We should have a fear of Allah سبحانه وتعالى; that’s what Taqwa is.

Taqwa means: to have a fear of Allah سبحانه وتعالى as He deserves to be feared! But we are fearless believers. We do sin without any fear whatsoever. When we are alone, we sin; When walking on the road, we don’t lower our gaze thinking no one is watching us.

Syeddina Ata ibn-e-abi-raba rahimahullah, who was the teacher of Imam Bukhari rahimuhullah, used to say to his students that:

O my friend! When you want to commit a sin you close all the doors, draw all the curtains, erase all your tracks so that no one would come to know of your sin – of all the ones who could watch you and know your sin, is Allah سبحانه وتعالى the one whom you hold lowest in esteem?

That is what you do when you think that: when I’m alone i.e. one-on-one with Allah سبحانه وتعالى, I will do the sin.

And what does Allah سبحانه وتعالى say in the Quran-e-karim?

مَنْ خَشِيَ الرَّحْمَنَ بِالْغَيْبِ

[50:33]

Allahu akbar! This is the Qur’anic human being – when they are alone i.e. Allah سبحانه وتعالى is Unseen and they are unseen from the rest of creation, even then they fear Allah سبحانه وتعالى

It’s a beautiful, powerful verse in the Qur’an-e-karim. Allah سبحانه وتعالى is teaching us something here i.e. don’t think Rehman means you shouldn’t fear

Allah سبحانه وتعالى didn’t say: man khashi’al-aziz

He said:

مَنْ خَشِيَ الرَّحْمَنَ

That person who fears Allah سبحانه وتعالى as his Lord; and he knows that Allah سبحانه وتعالى is Ar-Rahman; but knowing that still they fear Him

Alhamdulillah, the صَّالِحِين and أَوْلِيَاء of this Ummah – When they were alone with Allah سبحانه وتعالى; they used to worship him; make munajaat i.e. supplications for salvation. When they were one-on-one with Allah سبحانه وتعالى ; they used to enjoy that time – why? Because every lover likes to be alone and communicate with their beloved and their beloved was: Allah!

Allah سبحانه وتعالى  loves them and they love Allah سبحانه وتعالى

Allah سبحانه وتعالى mentions in the Qur’an-e-karim:

يُحِبُّهُمْ وَيُحِبُّونَهُ

[5:54]

يُحِبُّهُمْ

Allah سبحانه وتعالى loves them

وَيُحِبُّونَهُ

And they love Allah سبحانه وتعالى

Two-way love! Allahu akbar, imagine how it would like to be to spend even one night like that – one night spent in the passionate love of Allah سبحانه وتعالى! Qur’an came so that so we could live even one night in the passionate love of Allah سبحانه وتعالى.

Those who believe are extreme in their love for Allah سبحانه وتعالى

Allah سبحانه وتعالى says in the Qur’an-e-karim:

وَالَّذِينَ آَمَنُوا أَشَدُّ حُبًّا لِلَّهِ

[2:165]

That those who believe are extreme; mad; passionate; crazy lovers of Allah سبحانه وتعالى

SubhanAllahi wabihamdihi subhanAllahil Azeem

we are alone in our false love – our fake, untrue, vulgar, profane, unlawful love and when they were alone they were alone they had their true love…why not love that Being who knows how to love?

We don’t know how to love; Allah سبحانه وتعالى  knows how to love. So why not offer your love to that being who knows how to love? This is our Deen.

8.     The Terrors of the Day of Resurrection – أحـوال يـوم الـقـيـامـة

The terrors that would be experienced due to the might, magnitude and the awe-inspiring nature of Day of Judgment is a means of forgiveness of our sins.

Even for those people who spent centuries relaxing in their grave; being in one of the gardens from the gardens of Jannah – due to the Magnificent Awe and Might of Allah سبحانه وتعالى  as it will be manifested on that Day – they would be in a state of fear and awe of Allah سبحانه وتعالى . All of this fear that they would feel, the sweat that they would drip, the shivers that they would have would be a means of forgiveness for them on that Day.

This what me and you were created for.

Each and every one of us is going to face that Day of Judgment. Each and every single one of us will stand in front of Allah سبحانه وتعالى  on that Day.

مَالِكِ يَوْمِ الدِّيْنِ

[1:4]

Who will have the Kingdom on that Day? Allah سبحانه وتعالى  – the Sole, Sovereign and True Master

The feelings of fear that we would have on that Day will also me means of forgiving our sins.

9.     The Intercession of Nabi-e-karim صلى الله عليه وسلم for the sinners of his Ummah

Imam Ibn-e-taymiyah rah has mentioned the Shifa’at of Nabi-e-karim صلى الله عليه وسلم  for the sinners of his ummah as the 9th means of forgiveness. He understood that the sinners from the Ummah will be in need of intercession on that day.

The people of sin; the companions of sin; people with lifestyles of sin; those who lived a life of sin – one way that Allah سبحانه وتعالى  is going to forgive them on the Day of Resurrection will be through the Intercession of Nabi-e-karim صلى الله عليه وسلم  and also of others who will have the permission to intercede.

This Intercession has been clearly established through multiple chains of Ahadith. As an example, Imam Ibn-e-taymiyah quotes a Sahi Hadith:

Nabi-e-karim صلى الله عليه وسلم  says: My shifa’at will be for the Ahl-ul-kabair i.e. for those who committed tremendous sins; the grave sinners of my Ummah.

In another Hadith, it is mentioned that Nabi-e-karim صلى الله عليه وسلم  was given a choice by Allah سبحانه وتعالى  that: Either half of your Ummah will be sent to Jannah or you will be given the right to intercede on behalf of them. Nabi-e-karim صلى الله عليه وسلم  chose to intercede; so that he could intercede for more than half of the Ummah! Allahu akbar kabira

Even Allah سبحانه وتعالى  mentions about RasoolAllah صلى الله عليه وسلم  in the Quran-e-karim:

حَرِيصٌ عَلَيْكُمْ

[9:128]

This is Ar-Rahman trying to explain to us who is our Nabi صلى الله عليه وسلم  – that he yearns for you; that he is deeply desirous of you i.e. he’s crazy mad about his Ummah – that is our Nabi-e-karim صلى الله عليه وسلم . If only we could learn to become crazy mad about him.

How much Sunnah do we need to follow?

Sometimes people ask me how much Sunnah they need to follow; in essence the question is:

How good an Ummati should you be?

A very simple answer is:

You should be as good an Ummati to him as good you think he was a nabi to you

That is Ikhlaas.

Sincerity doesn’t just mean being a good citizen; a good worker; a good professor or a good doctor – Real sincerity means to be true to Nabi-e-karim صلى الله عليه وسلم

How true an ummati should you be to him? As true a Nabi صلى الله عليه وسلم  he was to you. If you think Nabi-e-karim صلى الله عليه وسلم  a so-so nabi, then you can follow his Sunnah in a so-so way; you can be a so-so ummati. But, if you know in your heart that my rasool, my nabi, the أُسْوَةٌ حَسَنَةٌ,  رَحْمَةً لِلْعَالَمِينَ – was the greatest; most perfect; most beautiful; most noble; most loving; most loyal nabi صلى الله عليه وسلم  then you should try to be the most loyal, most loving Ummati to him. That’s ikhlaas; it’s that simple.

That’s who the Siddiqin [صِّدِّيقِين] are.

Who was Syeddina Abu Bakr As-Siddiq radiyallahu ‘anhu? What does it mean that he was As-Siddiq? It means that he was the truest to the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم

Allah سبحانه وتعالى is True to the true ones

Syeddina Abu Baqr radiyallahu’anhu: As-Siddiq

Syeddina Abu Baqr radiyallahu ‘anhu was truest to his Nabi-e-karim صلى الله عليه وسلم  on the surface of this earth, so Allah سبحانه وتعالى  kept Syeddina Abu Bakr with Nabi-e-karim صلى الله عليه وسلم  in their resting place in Madina Munawwara and Allah سبحانه وتعالى  – who is true to the true – will keep them like this in Jannat-ul-Firdaus.  This is what it means to be As-Siddiq.

Syeddina Umar ibn-e-Khattab radiyallahu’anhu: another type of Siddiq

The most special character is Syeddina Umar radiyallahu’anhu; he was the greatest #2 in the history of humanity.

Why?

–           Because he never ever felt any envy or jealousy for #1

–          And, he was so true to Nabi-e-karim saw that when RasoolAllah saw passed away he was as true to Syeddina Abu Baqr radiyallahu’anhu as he was to the Prophet saw i.e. he was the truest to the truest of the truest saw

And Allah swt is the Truest to them; He united Syeddina Umar radiyallahu’anhu with them in Madina Munawwara and He will keep him like this in Jannat-ul-Firdaus. So, this is what it means to be true.

How can we get this Shifa’at of Nabi-e-karim saw?

We will get the Shifa’at of Nabi-e-Karim saw by following his Sunnah. Allah swt said in Quran:

قُل

O My beloved Messenger saw! Proclaim through this Qur’an for all of eternity

إِنْ كُنْتُمْ تُحِبُّونَ اللَّهَ

If you claim to love Allah سبحانه وتعالى ;

Know that Allah سبحانه وتعالى is such a Being, that you cannot come to Him on your terms; you must come to Allah on His terms; this is part of His Majesty & Might

And what are His terms?

That there is only one path; one brand that Allah سبحانه وتعالى Accepts – and that is called: The Sunnah.

So, Allah سبحانه وتعالى continues the Ayah by saying [tell them] that:

فَاتَّبِعُونِي

Literally; it means follow me, but actually it means Follow the Prophet saw

[In response to this Ayah, a Mo’min says: O Allah! I claim to love You! You told me follow Sunnah; So, I will follow the Sunnah. Will You Accept my claim to love You now?]

So, its like Allah سبحانه وتعالى responds to that, in this ayah, by saying: O My servant! Not only will I accept you as My lover,

يُحْبِبْكُمُ اللَّهُ

Allah سبحانه وتعالى [Himself] will love you!

وَيَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ ذُنُوبَكُمْ

And Allah سبحانه وتعالى will forgive you for your sins!

*[3:31]

So, how much Sunnah do you need to follow? As much Shifa’at you need on that Day. If you think you need a lot of Shifa’at on that Day; then you should follow a lot of Sunnah in this world. But, if you think you don’t really need shifa’at on that Day; then live as if you don’t really need Sunnah in this world.

Now you understand what Sunnah is? Its:

أُسْوَةٌ حَسَنَة

But, only for that person who yearns to meet Allah swt on that Day;

Man zakarallahu kathira

the one who makes Dhikr-e-kathir

That person will be able see the beauty of Sunnah, and sacrifice everything for the sake of that beauty.

What  will we say if Nabi-e-karim saw asks us on the Day of Judgment that You were my Ummah; not only were you supposed to follow my Sunnah, you were supposed to revive my Sunnah! You lived in a culture and society of Marketing; of labels and designs; your job in that time was to wear the label that I made and the label that I loved, to market that and to display that to the world and become a source of their Hidaya!

And it’s not just the Outer Sunnah that we are supposed to follow but also the Inner Sunnah – to have the Sunnah gentleness of the Prophet saw; the Sunnah compassion of the Prophet saw; the Sunnah softness of Prophet saw; the Sunnah humility of the Prophet saw; the Sunnah love for Allah swt of the Prophet saw; the Sunnah servitude of the Prophet saw!

Ashadu anna muhammadan abduhu warasooluhu

That’s the kind of Servitude that we were supposed to bring to Allah swt.

Sunnah; the Masterpiece Creation of Allah سبحانه وتعالى

Every creator has a masterpiece. An Architect will show you his entire portfolio but he would point out maybe a certain building and say that in all of my work, that’s my masterpiece i.e. if you want to know and recognize my skills, go look at that. In this day and age, people are impressed by science discoveries i.e. Allah swt’s creation of atom; the sub atomic particles; the galaxy; the universe; the black hole etc. But, Allah swt’s Master Piece Creation – The Sunnah of Nabi-e-karim saw is infinitely more Magnificent, Intricate & Beautiful than the Biology, Astronomy or Physics of this physical world!

That is the Sunnah; the Most Perfect, Most Incredible, Most Beautiful, Most Noble, Most virtuous, Most Excellent thing that The Most Excellent Being has ever created.

So, we should adopt that Sunnah. We can begin by loving the Sunnah i.e. giving our heart to the Sunnah. For some of us, it may be that you begin by giving your heart to the Sunnah and then your body will follow. At least give your heart to the Sunnah; give your heart to that Nabi saw who gave his heart to you!

Once Nabi-e-karim saw was making Dua to Allah swt by just repeating one word: ‘Ummati, Ummati’

Allah swt sent His Angel Jibrael عليه السلام; that ask him what he wants; why is he worried. So, RasoolAllah saw told Angel Jibrael عليه السلام that I’m worried about my Ummah!

This is why Mashaikh say that send درود and salawāt upon him every day to remind yourself that you have a Nabi; you’re not a spiritual orphan. We should think that I’m not any random person; I’m the Ummati of Nabi-e-karim saw; I’m his follower; I’m his lover – how can someone lure me to sin?

We are Nabi akram saw’s spiritual children. If the wives of Prophet saw are the Mothers of the Believers then it naturally follows that He is our spiritual father. The Arabic word that captures the essence of this is: Syeddina[سيدنا] i.e. He is our Syed; our Leader.

People love to talk about their various ethnic identities like British Muslim Identity, American Muslim Identity etc. Our Identity transcends the world – our Identity is that we are the Ummah of Syeddina RasoolulAllah saw, his Sunnah is our Identity.

10.           The Mercy, Compassion & Forgiveness of Allah swt not due to anything the servant did

The tenth and final means is: Rehmatullah-e-wa ‘afuwuhu wa maghfiratuhu bila sabab-e-minal ibaad i.e. The Mercy of Allah سبحانه وتعالى , the Kind Compassion of Allah سبحانه وتعالى , the Forgiveness of Allah سبحانه وتعالى not due to anything the servant did i.e. not due to their prayer, not due to their Istighfar, not due to their Taubah – just pure unsolicited, undeserved Mercy of Allah سبحانه وتعالى .

This last one is our hope. We don’t have any Taqwa; Righteous Deeds etc to save us on that Day.

Without any effort of the servant; Allah سبحانه وتعالى – The Muqalib-ul-Quloob[Changer of hearts]; The Muzakki-e-Haqiqi [True Purifier of hearts] – just casts a glance of Mercy on a person’s heart. Just like Allah سبحانه وتعالى mentions in the Qur’an-e-karim at various places:

اللَّهُ يَهْدِي مَنْ يَشَاء

[2:213]

اللَّهُ فَيَغْفِرُ لِمَنْ يَشَاءُ

[2:284]

That Allah سبحانه وتعالى guides whoever He wants; Allah سبحانه وتعالى forgives whoever he wants – this is just a manifestation of His Special Mercy

We should make dua to Allah سبحانه وتعالى that: ‘O Allah! We are people of iman; and…

[Allah swt states in the Qur’an-e-karim:

مَنْ يُؤْمِنْ بِاللَّهِ يَهْدِ قَلْبَهُ

[64:11]

That person has who has iman upon Allah سبحانه وتعالى; Allah سبحانه وتعالى sends hidaya on that person’s heart]

… O Allah! If we could not bring any righteous deeds but we were at least among those people who believed in You; Make this iman a means of getting Your Mercy!’

We will end by quoting two ahadith; both from the Sahi of Imam Al-Bukhari Rahimahullah.

Narrated by ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab radiyallahu ‘anhu:

During the lifetime of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم there was a man called ‘Abdullah, and he used to make RasulAllah صلى الله عليه وسلم laugh.

He got caught drinking (alcohol); and the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم even got him lashed because it.

But, again one day he was brought to the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم on the same charge and was lashed again.

Upon that, a man among the people said, “O Allah, send Your La’nat upon him [curse him][1]! How frequently he has been brought (to the Prophet saw on such a charge and still hasn’t repented of it)!”

The Prophet saw said, “Do not curse him, for by Allah سبحانه وتعالى, I know that he loves Allah سبحانه وتعالى and His Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم.”

[Volume 8, Book 81, Number 771]

This is why the Mashaikh of Tasawwuf try to bring people to love for Allah swt & love for Nabi-e-karim صلى الله عليه وسلم; because if we have this love in our heart it will be a means of attracting the Mercy of Allah سبحانه وتعالى

La’nat doesn’t mean curse as it is usually translated; it actually means taking a person outside of the reach of Allah سبحانه وتعالى’s Mercy – that’s what it means when Allah swt sends His la’nat upon someone

In this Hadith, Nabi-e-karim صلى الله عليه وسلم is saying don’t invoke Allah swt’s la’nat upon him, why?  Even though he’s been caught sinning repetitively; what does he has in his heart? Nabi صلى الله عليه وسلم swears upon Allah سبحانه وتعالى that he loves Allah سبحانه وتعالى and the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم in his heart.

Lastly, it has been narrated by Ibn ‘Umar radiyallahu’anhu that he heard the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم say: A believer will be brought before Allah سبحانه وتعالى on the Day of Resurrection and Allah سبحانه وتعالى and Allah سبحانه وتعالى will bring this person close to Him and would place upon him His veil [of Light] and then Allah سبحانه وتعالى will make him confess each of his sins,

And say: My servant, do you remember committing such-and-such sin?

The person will reply: Yes, my Rabb! I remember

The commentators of Hadith have mentioned that this conversation will continue until Allah will make him confess all his sins, such that by the end of it the person will feel that there is no hope for him now. Then Allah سبحانه وتعالى will say:

‘I covered your sins for you in the world. And today I forgive them.’

Why? Because he got the Mercy of Allah سبحانه وتعالى

This is why we must try to lead a life of Tauba; of trying to leave sin; of wanting to leave sin

It comes in another Hadith that a person spent his own life trying to leave sin; wanting to leave it; flipping back into it; then again wanting and trying to leave it; then again slipping back into it – so, if they spent their whole life like this then Allah سبحانه وتعالى says to the Angels that even though in his whole life he was never able to leave sin; but, he never stopped wanting to leave sin and because of that yearning and seeking Taubah of his, it would not befit Me being At-Tawwab to not accept his Taubah – so I decree for him forgiveness on this day.

[Sahi Muslim, Book 37, Number 6669]

So, we must have istaqamat on our Taubah; be true to our Taubah; be regular in our Taubah and make Taubah as much as we can, to earn that special Mercy of Allah سبحانه وتعالى so we may also become a living manifestation of the ayah that I began and end with:

إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُحِبُّ التَّوَّابِينَ

 

May Allah سبحانه وتعالى make us among the tawwabeen; and by means of that may He make us amongst His mahbubeen[beloved]

وَآَخِرُ دَعْوَانَا أَنِ الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ

*[Transcription[not word-to-word] of Shaykh Kamaluddin Ahmed db’s Talk on 5th December 2010 in Birmingham, UK]

 

This entry was posted in Attributes of Allah swt, Essentials of Deen, General Bayans, Leaving Sin, Love, Purification of the Heart, Repentance, Taqwa, Tasawwuf Essentials, UK bayans. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Leaving Sin

  1. Omer says:

    mashaALLAH… very beautiful discussion… may ALLAH reward you with the best of rewards…. and may ALLAH forgive all our sins…. AMEEN…

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