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By Eman Al-Obaid – Al-Huda Sisters, Dubai
Tawwabeen are those who repent to Allah (swt) for their inadequacies and strive to improve themselves spiritually, eventually this improvement is reflected in their actions. It is not the same as ‘seeking forgiveness’ (Istigfaar), repentance (Tawbah) encompasses much more. Istigfar is only one of the steps in the process of repentance; it requires not only change but also action.
The root of Tawbah is t-w-b; “…suppose you are travelling somewhere and by mistake you take a wrong turn. You realize you are travelling on the wrong path. Armed with this awareness, the first thing you will do is to return to the place from where you took the wrong turn — this process is called Tawbah in Arabic…”
After the person repents from committing a major sin, he is as though he didn’t commit any sin at all. This is great encouragement – Allah has promised to accept our repentance and totally wipe out our sins.
People are under the misconception that if they do not sin, they do not need to do Tawbah. However, Allah says in the Quran: “…Truly, Allah loves those who turn unto Him in repentance…” (Al-Baqarah 2:222). Why does Allah love those who repent? We are Allah’s salves, He does not needs us, yet He loves and appreciates us for any effort we make to follow His commands. If Allah loves a group of people, we certainly want to be among them. Imagine how life will be when Allah is happy with you! Subhan’Allah
Process of Tawbah
- Recognize that you have committed a major sin or transgressed against yourself. Major sins include associating partners to Allah. When a person sins his faith decreases.
- After committing the sin, you return to Allah. What makes a person (who committed a sin) return to Allah? Allah’s mercy; He will send some means in order to make that person remember Him. Allah doesn’t leave them astray – Allah makes them recall through signs – like books, lectures or advice from someone.
- When you return to Allah, you regret your sin. You feel ashamed because of Allah’s Greatness and Mercy. You feel guilt / regret / remorse when you think of your actions.
- Now you will feel the urge to repent with sincerity. You will hasten because you want to do it before you die. Guilt is the gate to Tawbah. It is worse if you sin but do not feel any regret or guilt – because then you will not repent.
After Tawbah your faith and Iman are strengthened and renewed. You will reinforce your belief in Allah, knowledge about Him and the Day of Judgement. When your faith and Iman are strengthened, your heart turns to Allah. Allah welcomes everyone who repents and returns to Him.
This is motivation for us – Abu Musa Al-Ash’ari (ra) reported, the Prophet (sa) said: “Allah, the Exalted, will continue to stretch out His Hand in the night so that the sinners of the day may repent, and continue to stretch His Hand in the daytime so that the sinners of the night may repent, until the sun rises from the west (start of the Day of Judgement).” (Muslim)
Stop and quit the sin immediately, this is the journey of the توابون
Allah welcomes everyone who repents and returns to Him.
Allah appreciates each step of this process; the more difficult the sin is to give up, the greater the reward. Determination, sincere intention and effort not to regress and commit the sin again follows repentance along with righteous deeds Replace sins with good deeds.
What happens if you commit the sin again?
Even if you commit the sin, again (by mistake) you will be considered to be among the توابون because the heart is determined not to commit the sin again. We are weak and can fall in to sinning again. If we repent again – Allah will accept the repentance, Allah is generous in His forgiveness. Only Allah knows your intentions when you recommit sins – and when you do Tawbah.
It was once said to Al-Hasan Al-Basri: “…a man commits a sin, makes Tawbah, and then commits a sin again, and he makes Tawbah again, until when? He replied: I do not see such a behaviour as being anything other than part of the good traits of character of the believers”.
After the person repents from committing a major sin, he is as though he didn’t commit any sin at all. This is great encouragement – Allah has promised to accept our repentance and totally wipe out our sins. In human relationships, if one commits a mistake – no matter how many times he apologizes –people always associate him with that particular incident, but it is different with Allah.
Hadith – “All the sons of Adam are sinners – no one is perfect but the best of people are the ones who repent.” (Ahmad and others).
But why does Allah love the Tawwabeen?
- They know that their Lord is the only One who can forgive them. They know only Allah can bestow forgiveness in response to repentance from beginning to end
- They feel gratitude that Allah is their Lord – perfect in every way.
- They remember Allah after committing a sin by recalling His signs; it is a sign from Allah of accepting their repentance.
- They realize that Allah is guiding us to repentance; Allah loves it when we repent, He makes it easy for us. Repenting to Allah is not a favour to Allah – it is a favour from Allah that He accepts our repentance.
- They depend on Allah’s mercy, when Allah accepts the repentance of His slave; He will make everybody forget the sin.
- They know Allah has total control; they are embarrassed to be among those who have witnessed their sins.
May Allah make us among those who repent. Ameen.
Catch an awe-inspiring transcription of Fiqh of Tawbah, based on a workshop conducted by Brother Kashif Nasheem Dilkusha, project head, Azan, in an upcoming issue of Hiba Magazine.