Source: An-Nahj al-Asmaa fee Sharh Asmaa’ Allaahu al-Husna, by Shaikh Muhammad an-Najdi
- Tawbah (repentance) is obligatory upon every slave; he is never free of it in any of his states. The best among people is the one who undertakes it and fulfills its right. If the slave leaves it, then he has wronged himself.
Ibn al-Qayyim (Rahimahullaah) said: “Tawbah (repentance) is never left by the slave who is walking on his way to Allaah; it continues with the slave till he dies. If he travels, it accompanies him wherever he settles. Tawbah (repentance) is the beginning of the slave and his end. His need for it at the end is so dire (i.e. he is desperately in need of it at his end), as he is in need of it in the beginning.
Allaah (Ta’ala) says in Surat an-Noor (24:31):
“And beg Allaah to forgive you all, O believers, that you may be successful.”
This Surah is a Madani Surah. Allaah (Ta’ala) addressed the people of faith and the best of His creation to return to Him in repentance, after they have believed, shown patience, emigrated and made Jihaad (strove in Allaah’s Cause). Allaah then connected (related) the success with repentance (i.e. like the connection of the cause with its result), and He (Ta’ala) used the article “لعلَّ – La’alla” which indicates hope, in order to draw the believers’ attention, that if they repent they would hope for success (by realizing the possible outcome it urges them to repent). So only the repentant ones would hope for the success.
Allaah (Ta’ala) says in Surat al-Hujurat (49:11):
“And whosoever does not repent, then such are indeed Dhalimun (wrong-doers).”
Allaah (Ta’ala) divided the servants into those that are repentant and those that are wrong-doers, and there is no third category.
Allaah said the one who does not repent is a Dhalim (wrong-doer). There is no one who is more unjust than him and that is because of his ignorance of his Lord and His Right, as well as his own defects and wrong deeds.
The Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “O People! Return to Allaah in repentance. By Allaah, I repent to Him seventy times a day.” [Al-Bukhaari] [In another narration: “Repent to Allaah (Ta’ala), for I repent to Him every day one hundred times.” (Al-Bukhaari in al-Adab al-Mufrad)]
His Companions (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhum) used to count his (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) saying a hundred times during one single sitting:
ربِّ اغْفِرْ لي وتُبْ عَلَيَّ إنَّكَ أنت التَّوَّابُ الرَّحيم
“Rabb-ighfir lee, wa tubb ’alayya, innaka Antat-Tawwaabur-Raheem.” (My Lord! Forgive me and pardon me. Indeed, You are the Oft-Returning with Compassion and Ever-Merciful.) [Abu Dawoud and at-Tirmidhi and authenticated by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Adab al-Mufrad no. 481]
Al-Bukhaari (Rahimahullaah) recorded that ‘Aishah (Radia-Allaahu ‘anha) said: “The Messenger of Allaah (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) used to say often in his bowing and prostration:
سُبْحَانكَ اللهُمَّ ربَّنا وبِحَمْدِكَ، اللهُمَّ اغْفِرْ لي
‘Glory to You, O Allaah, Our Lord, and praise be to You. O Allaah, forgive me,’”
He did this as his interpretation of the Qur’an (i.e., showing its implementation) since it was revealed to him in Surat an-Nasr (chapter 110: 1):
“When there comes the help of Allaah and the conquest…”
He (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said to his Companions: “The deeds of anyone of you will not save you [from the (Hell) Fire].” They said: “Even you (will not be saved by your deeds), O Allaah’s Messenger?” He (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “No, even I (will not be saved) unless and until Allaah protects me with His Grace and His Mercy.” [Al-Bukhaari – The Book of Riqaaq]
May Allaah’s praise and peace be upon him who was the most knowledgeable of Allaah and His Rights and Grandeur and His deserving of servitude. He (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) knew the servitude, its rights and how to establish it.” [Madaarij as-Salikeen]
7- No one can be self-sufficient and give up Tawbah, even the Prophets (‘Alayhum-as-salaam); because it is not a deficiency, rather it is perfection which Allaah loves and is pleased with and commands us with.
Shaikh ul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah (Rahimahullaah) was asked about the meaning of Allaah’s Statement in Surat at-Tawbah (9:117):
“Verily, Allaah has forgiven the Prophet, the emigrants and the Ansaar (supporters of Madinah).”
“Is that Tawbah (acceptance of repentance) a result due to something the slave commits or does, and because (we believe) in the Prophet’s (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) infallibility to commit minor and major sins?”
He (Rahimahullaah) answered: “Alhamdulillaah, the Prophets (‘Alayhum-as-salaam) are infallible of persisting to commit sins or endorse sins, whether minor or major. Whatever Allaah (Ta’ala) has mentioned about them and their repentance is to elevate their ranks and increase their rewards. This is because Allaah loves those who return to Him in repentance and loves those who purify themselves. And Tawbah is never a deficiency, rather it is one of the best perfections (completions), and it is obligatory upon all the creation as He (Ta’ala) says in Surat al-Ahzaab (33:72-73):
“But man (undertook to) bear it. Indeed, he was unjust and ignorant. [It was] so that Allaah may punish the hypocrites, men and women, and the men and women who associate others with Him and that Allaah may accept repentance from the believing men and believing women. And ever is Allaah Forgiving and Merciful.”
The utmost goal of every believer is Tawbah. Allaah (Ta’ala) has mentioned Adam, Nooh (Noah), Ibraaheem (Abraham), Musa (Moses) (‘Alayhum-as-salaam) and others.
Adam (‘Alayhis-salaam) said:
“Our Lord! We have wronged ourselves. If You forgive us not, and bestow not upon us Your Mercy, we shall certainly be of the losers.” [Surah al-Araaf 7:23]
Nooh (‘Alayhis-salaam) said:
“O My Lord! I seek refuge with You from asking You that of which I have no knowledge. And unless You forgive me and have mercy on me, I would indeed be one of the losers.” [Hud 11:47]
Ibraaheem (‘Alayhis-salaam) said:
“O My Lord, forgive me and my parents and the believers on the Day the account is established.” [Ibraaheem 14:41]
Ibraaheem and Isma’eel (Ishma’e, ‘Alayhim-as salaam) said:
“Our Lord! And make us Muslims (in submission) to You, and from our descendants a Muslim nation (in submission) to You. And show us our rites (of Hajj and ‘Umrah) and accept our repentance. Indeed, You are the One accepting repentance, the Merciful.”
Musa (‘Alayhis-salaam) said:
You are our Waliyy (Protector), so forgive us and have mercy on us, for You are the best of those who forgive. And ordain for us good in this world, and in the Hereafter. Certainly we have turned unto You.” [Al-A’raaf 7:155-156]
And Allaah (Ta’ala) said regarding him in Surat al-A’raaf (7:143):
“Then when he recovered his senses he said: ‘Glory be to You, I turn to You in repentance and I am the first of the believers.’”
Allaah (Ta’ala) mentioned the Tawbah (repentance) of Dawoud (David) and Sulayman (Solomon) ‘Alayhim-as salaam) and other than them of the Prophets.
Allaah (Ta’ala) says in Surat al-Baqarah (2:222):
“Truly, Allaah loves those who turn unto Him in repentance and loves those who purify themselves.”
The last of what Allaah (Ta’ala) revealed upon Prophet Muhammad (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) is Surat an-Nasr (110), when He (Ta’ala) says:
“When comes the help of Allaah and the conquest of Makkah and you see that the people enter Allaah’s religion in crowds, so glorify the praises of your Lord, and ask for His forgiveness. Verily, He is the One Who accepts repentance and forgives.”
Abu Hurairah (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) narrated: “Allaah’s Messenger (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) used to keep silent for a short while between the Takbeer of prayer and the recitation of the Qur’an. He asked him (about that) and he replied: “I say:
اللهُمَّ باعِد بيني وبينَ خَطاياي، كما باعَدْتَ بينَ المشْرِقِ والمَغْرِبِ، اللهُمَّ نَقِّني من خَطايايَ، كما يُنَقَّى الثَّوْبُ الأبيضُ من الدَّنَسِ، اللهُمَّ اغْسِلْني من خطايايَ بالماءِ والثَّلْجِ والبَرَدِ.
’O Allaah! Keep me apart from my sins (faults) as You have kept apart east and west. O Allaah! clean me from my sins as a white garment is cleaned from dirt. O Allaah! Wash off my sins with water, snow and hail.’”” [Agreed upon]
‘Ali ibn Abi Taalib (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) narrated that he (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) used to say in the opening supplication:
اللَّهمَّ أنتَ الملِكُ لا إلَهَ إلَّا أنتَ ، أنتَ ربِّي وأَنا عبدُكَ ، ظلمتُ نفسي واعترفتُ بذنبي ، فاغفر لي ذنوبي جميعًا ، إنَّهُ لا يغفرُ الذُّنوبَ إلَّا أنتَ
“Allahumma Antal-Malik, laa ilaaha ilaa Anta, Anta Rabbi wa ana ‘abduka. Dhalamtu nafsee wa’traftu bidhanbi. Fagh-firlee dhunoobi jamee’an. Inaahu laa yaghfirudh-Dhunooba ilaa Anta.”
“O Allaah, You are the King, there is no deity worthy of worship except You. You are my Lord and I am Your slave, I wronged myself and I confess my sin, so forgive me all my sins. For no one forgives sins except You.” [Saheeh at-Tirmidhi no. 3421 and authenticated by al-Albaani who said it is Saheeh]
Abu Hurairah (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) narrated that Allaah’s Messenger (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) used to say in his prostration:
اللهُمَّ اغْفِرْ لي ذَنْبي كُلَّهُ: دِقَّهُ وَجُلَّهُ، وَأَوَّله وآخِرَهُ، وَعَلانِيَتَهُ وسِرَّهُ.
“Allahum-maghfir li Dhanbi Kullahu: diqqahu wa jullahu, wa awwalahu wa aakhirahu, wa ‘alaaniyatahu wa sirrahu.”
(O Allaah! Forgive all my sins, the small and the great, the first and the last, the open and the secret.) [Muslim]
Abu Musa (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) narrated that Allaah’s Messenger (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) used to supplicate:
اللهُمَّ اغْفِرْ لي خَطيئتي وجَهْلي، وإسْرافي في أمري، وما أنت أعلمُ بِهِ منِّي، اللهُمَّ اغْفِرْ لي جِدِّي وهَزْلي، وخَطَئي وَعَمْدي، وكلُّ ذلك عِنْدي، اللهُمَّ اغْفِرْ لي ما قَدَّمْتُ وما أُخَّرْتُ، وما أسرَرْتُ وما أعْلَنْتُ، وما أنت أَعْلَمُ بِهِ مِنِّي، أنت المُقَدِّمُ، وأنت المُؤَخِّرُ، وأنت على كُلِّ شئٍ قَدير.
“Allahumm-agfir lee khatee ati, wajahli, wa israafi fee amri, wa maa Anta al’amu bihi minni. Allahummaghfir lee jiddi wa hazli, wa khata’i wa ‘amdi, wa kullu dhaalika ‘indi. Allahumm-aghfir lee maa Qaddamtu wa maa akhkhartu, wa maa asrartu, wa maa a’lantu , wa maa Anta a’lamu bihi minni. Antal Muqaddimu wa Antal Mu’akhkhiru; wa Anta ‘ala kulli shai’in Qadeer.”
(O Allaah! Forgive my errors, ignorance and immoderation in my affairs. You are better aware of my faults than myself. O Allaah! Forgive my faults which I committed in seriousness or in fun, deliberately or inadvertently. O Allaah! Grant me pardon for those sins which I committed in the past and I may commit in the future, which I committed in privacy or in public and all those sins of which You are better aware than me. You alone can send whomever You will to Paradise, and You alone can send whomever You will to Hell-Fire and You are Omnipotent). [Al-Bukhaari and Muslim]
Allaah (Ta’ala) says in Surat Muhammad (47:19):
“And ask forgiveness for your sins, and also for (the sin of) believing men and believing women.”
The Tawbah (repentance) of the believers and their asking for forgiveness is one of their great good deeds, their greatest act of obedience and most sublime acts of worship with which they receive the greatest reward and by which the punishment will be driven away from them.
If one asks: ‘Why do the Prophets and Messengers need acts of worship and obedience?’, then he is ignorant, because they (the Prophets) did not attain their high status except with their acts of worship and obedience. Then how can it be said that they do not need it, i.e. the repentance and asking forgiveness? This is their best act of worship and obedience. And if one says: ‘Tawbah is not practiced except if there is a sin that has been committed, as well as asking for forgiveness,’ it will be said to him: ‘The sin which will harm the person is the one which is not followed by repentance. But the sin which causes the person to repent will make him, after Tawbah (repentance), better than before he committed the sin.’
Some of the Salaf (the predecessors) said: ‘Dawoud (‘Alayhis-salaam) was in a better state after he returned to Allaah in repentance than before he committed the sin. Similarly, the first forerunners [in the faith] among the Muhaajireen (those who emigrated from Makkah and settled in Madinah for the cause of Islam) and the Ansaar (the inhabitants of Madinah who had accepted Islam and assisted the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and other emigrants) are the best of the creation after the Prophets, and that is because of their repentance from what they used to do of Kufr (disbelief) and sins. Their state before repentance is not considered a deficiency or a flaw. Rather, when they repented and did righteous deeds they were greater in Faith and stronger in worship and obedience than those who came after them and did not know the Jahiliyyah (ignorance) as they (the early Sahaabah) knew.’
Therefore, ‘Umar (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) said: ‘The ties of Islam will be undone, one after another, when a person will enter into Islam who does not know what Jahiliyyah is.’ [And that is because he may commit shirk, believing it to be an act of worship.]
Allaah (Ta’ala) says in Surat al-Furqan (25:68-70):
“And those who invoke not any other Ilaah (god) along with Allaah, nor kill such life as Allaah has forbidden, except for just cause, nor commit illegal sexual intercourse, and whoever does that shall receive the punishment.
“The torment will be doubled to him on the Day of Resurrection, and he will abide therein in disgrace.”
“Except those who repent and believe (in Islamic Monotheism), and do righteous deeds, for those Allaah will change their sins into good deeds, and Allaah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.”
It is affirmed in the Saheeh that the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “I know the last person who will be brought forth from Hell, and the last person who will enter Paradise. A man will be brought and it will be said: ‘Take away his major sins and ask him about his minor sins.’ So it will be said to him: ‘On such and such a day, you did such and such, and on such and such a day, you did such and such.’ He will say: ‘Yes’, and he will not be able to deny anything. Then it will be said to him: ‘For every evil deed you now have one good merit.’ He will say: ‘O Lord, I did things that I do not see here.’” [Muslim]
When the believing slave repents, Allaah (Ta’ala) will exchange his evil deeds into good deeds; his evil deeds will not harm him due to his repentance and they will turn into good deeds that benefit him. His sins will not harm him after repentance; however, his repentance from them was from the most beneficial matters for him. One should consider the perfect end and not the deficient beginning. Whoever forgot the Qur’an and then memorized it is better than his first memorization and his forgetfulness will not harm him. Similarly, whoever is sick and then recovers and becomes strong will not be harmed by the incidental sickness.
Allaah (Ta’ala) afflicts His believing slave with what makes him repent, in order to perfect for him, the servitude, submission, and Khushu’ to Allaah and for him to return to Him (in repentance); and it also makes him completely aware in the future (of this sin) and to be more earnest in his worship. All this would not be attained without repentance.
When one tastes hunger, thirst, sickness, poverty, or fear, and then he tastes salvation, quenching of thirst, well-being, richness and security, this will make him love that (blessing), taste its sweetness, have aspiration (desire) for it, gratitude to Allaah for it (the blessing), and awareness from falling into what he committed previously. All this would not be attained without repentance.
It must be known that repentance is a must for every believer. No one will be perfect or attain complete nearness to Allaah or be relieved from what he hates except by it.
The perfect repentance of the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam):
Prophet Muhammad (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) is the most perfect of all the creation and the most honorable with Allaah (Ta’ala).
He preceded all the creation in acts of worship. He (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) is the most beloved person to Allaah, the best among those who put their trust in Allaah (Tawakkul), the best of all the worshippers, the best of those who have knowledge about Allaah and the best of all the repentant ones. His Tawbah (repentance) is more perfect than anyone else’s. Therefore, Allaah (Ta’ala) forgave him his previous and future sins.
By this forgiveness, he (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) attained the Shafaa’ah (intercession) on the Day of Resurrection, as is affirmed in the Saheeh:
Abu Hurairah (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) narrated: “One day a lamb’s shoulder was given to the Messenger of Allaah (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) which he used to like. He took a bite from it and said: “I will be the chief of all the people on the Day of Resurrection. Do you know why? Allaah will gather all the first and the last (people) on one plain where an observer will be able to see (all) of them, and they will be able hear the announcer. The sun will come close, and people will suffer distress and trouble that they cannot tolerate or bear. Then people will say to each other. ‘Don’t you see what we are suffering? Can’t you look for someone who can intercede for you with your Rabb?’ Some people will say, ‘Go to Adam.’
They will go to Adam and say to him, ‘You are the father of mankind; Allaah created you with His Own Hand, and breathed into you of His Spirit (meaning the spirit which He created for you); and He made His angels prostrate themselves before you. Intercede for us with your Rabb. Don’t you see in what state we are? Don’t you see what condition we have reached?’ Adam will say, ‘Today my Rabb is angry as He has never been before, nor will he be angrier afterwards. He forbade me (to eat of the fruits of) the tree, but I disobeyed Him. Myself! Myself! Go to someone else; go to Nooh.’
They will go to Nooh and say, ‘O Nooh! You are the first (of Allaah’s Messengers) on earth, and Allaah has named you a grateful slave. Intercede for us with your Rabb. Don’t you see in what state we are? Don’t you see what condition we have reached?’ He will say, ‘Today my Rabb is angry as He has never been before, nor will He be angrier afterwards. I had the chance to make one accepted invocation, and I made it against my nation. Myself! Myself! Go to someone else; go to Ibraaheem (‘Alayhis-salaam).’
They will go to Ibraaheem and say, ‘O Ibraaheem! You are the Prophet of Allaah and His Khaleel (beloved) from mankind of the earth; intercede for us with your Rabb. Don’t you see in what state we are? Don’t you see what condition we have reached?’ Ibraaheem will say to them, ‘My Rabb today has become angry as He has never been before, nor will He be angrier afterwards.’ Then he mentioned three lies. ‘Myself! Myself! Go to someone else; go to Musa (‘Alayhis salaam)’
They will go to Musa and say, ‘O Musa! You are the Messenger of Allaah. Allaah has distinguished you with His message and His Speech. Intercede for us with Your Rabb. Don’t you see in what state we are? Don’t you see what condition we have reached?’ He will say, ‘My Rabb today has become angry as He has never been before, nor will He be angrier afterwards. I killed a man whom I was not ordered to kill. Myself! Myself! Go to someone else; go to ‘Iesa (Jesus).’
They will go to ‘Iesa (‘Alayhis-salaam) and say, ‘O ‘Iesa! You are the Messenger of Allaah and you spoke to people when you were an infant in the cradle, and were born by His Command which He cast on Maryam, and you were a soul that He created. Intercede for us with your Rabb. Don’t you see in what state we are? Don’t you see what condition we have reached?’ ‘Iesa will say, ‘My Rabb today has become angry as He has never been before, nor will He be angrier afterwards. (‘Iesa does not mention any sin, but says) Myself! Myself! Go to someone else; go to Muhammad (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam).’
They will come to me and say, ‘O Muhammad! You are the Messenger of Allaah and the last of His Prophets. Allaah has forgiven your past and future sins. Intercede for us with your Rabb. Don’t you see in what state we are? Don’t you see what condition we have reached?’ Then I will go beneath Allaah’s Throne and fall in prostration before my Rabb. Then Allaah will inspire in me, forms of praises and commendations to Him as He has never inspired anybody before me. Then He will say: ‘O Muhammad! Raise your head. Ask, and it will be granted. Intercede! It will be accepted.’ So I raise my head and say, ‘O My Rabb! My followers! My followers!’ It will be said, ‘O Muhammad! Usher those of your followers who have no accounts, through the right side gate of the gates of Jannah; and they will share the other gates with the rest of the people.’
‘By the One in Whose Hand is my life, the distance between every two shutters of Jannah is like the distance between Makkah and Hajar [or between Makkah and Busra (in Syria)].’” [al-Bukhaari]
‘Iesa (Jesus, the son of Maryam) (‘Alayhis salaam) guided the people to Prophet Muhammad (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and mentioned his (the latter) perfect servitude to Allaah and Allaah’s complete forgiveness for him. There is no lineage between the creation and the Creator except mere servitude and neediness of the slave of Him, and mere beneficence and generosity from the Lord (Azza wa jall).
It is affirmed in the Saheehain that the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “The deeds of anyone of you will not save you [from Hell-fire].” They said: “Even you, O Allaah’s Messenger?” He (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “No, even I (will not be saved) unless and until Allaah protects me with His Grace and His Mercy.” [Al-Bukhaari and Muslim]
He (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) also said: “By Allaah! I seek Allaah’s forgiveness and turn to Him in repentance more than seventy times a day.” [Al-Bukhaari]
He (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) also said: “Sometimes I perceive a veil over my heart, and I supplicate Allaah for forgiveness a hundred times in a day.” [Muslim]
Because of his (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) perfect servitude to Allaah, his perfect love for Him and showing neediness to Allaah, and for his perfect repentance and seeking forgiveness, he (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) became the best of the creation with Allaah (Ta’ala).
Indeed, all the good is from Allaah and nothing is from the creature, rather, he (the slave) is in need and poor in all aspects and Allaah is Self-Sufficient, in no need of him in any aspect. Yet despite that, He (Ta’ala) is good to him in all aspects. As the slave increases in humility, humbleness and servitude, he increases in nearness to Allaah and exaltedness with Him. Of that (servitude) is his repentance and seeking forgiveness. It is reported in a Hadeeth that the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “All the sons of Adam are committing wrong, and the best of those who commit wrong are those who repent.”” [Ibn Maajah and at-Tirmidhi] [End quote-Majmoo’ al-Fatawa by Ibn Taymiyyah]
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