Friday 14 September 2018

Repentance - Astaghfar

Man has been made to err and it is the Divine blessing that forgives an erred man as if nothing bad has ever taken place. Though it looks so simple on the face of it, it isn't for everyone neither repents nor asks for forgiveness from one's heart. 

Repentance in Arabic is called "Astaghfar" - asking forgiveness of one's bad deeds, sins "Directly from ALLAH," with a solemn pledge NOT to repeat the sin or foul thing one has committed. For it is no one other than Allah, the creator of this universe, who has the sole authority and divine power to forgive someone earnestly ashamed of one's sins and misdeeds and seeking Allah's forgiveness, for it is Allah alone who on Day of Judgement would decide the ultimate fate of a man either to dwell happily in the gardens of paradise or burn in pain everyday in the blazing fire of hell.

Scroll down for a video that explains how one can know if his repentance / Tawba has been accepted.

Allah promises the believers that those who wholeheartedly confess and sincerely repent, would be forgiven:
But whosoever repents after his crime and does righteous good deeds (by obeying Allah), then verily, Allah will pardon him (accept his repentance). Verily, Allah is Oft Forgiving, Most Merciful." [Surah al-Maa’idah 5:39]  
The first act of sin ever committed by Prophet Adam and his wife Hawwa (Eve), when they enticed by condemned Satan ate the fruit of the tree they had been forbidden to go near by Allah. When they both realized what had they done, they repented earnestly and begged to forgiven for the sin they had committed. And Allah did forgive them:
“Then they both ate of that tree, and so their private parts appeared to them, and they began to stick on themselves the leaves from Paradise for their covering.  Thus did Adam disobey his Lord, so he went astray.  Then his Lord chose him, and turned to him with forgiveness and gave him guidance.” (Quran 20:121-122)
Even when Prophet Younis (peace be upon him) abandoned his people in disgust and boarded a ship which ran into to rough seas and he was thrown off board as a means to please angry gods, he had to repeatedly plead guilty when swallowed by a big fish and repented: “Oh my Lord! I have made a place of prayer where nobody else has even worshiped you.” [Surah Al-Anbya]. Thus Allah accepted his Tawba and the fish came ashore and vomited him out alive and unhurt. “So We answered his call, and delivered him from the distress. And thus We do deliver the believers (who believe in the Oneness of Allah, abstain from evil and work righteousness.)” (Surah Al-Anbya 21:88) 

Thus we see all those who repented and begged for forgiveness, Allah did forgave them. In Surah Az-Zumar [39:53] Allah says: Tell them, (O Prophet): “My servants who have committed excesses against themselves, do not despair of Allah's Mercy. Surely Allah forgives all sins. He is Most Forgiving, Most Merciful."

In the Book of Hadeeth [Muslim], Al-Agharr ibn Yasar al-Muzani is quoted has been saying that Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), the last Messenger of Allah said: O people! Turn in repentance towards Allah and ask His forgiveness. I turn towards Him a hundred times a day.”

So what do we do when we err, sin or do a wrong thing? Here are four steps one should so straightaway:
  • Refrain from recommitting a sin or misdeed immediately.
  • Regret from the heart of the heart for the sin so committed.
  • Beg for mercy and forgiveness from Allah (glorified and exalted be He).
  • Take a solemn pledge never to return to any sin or wrongdoing again.
Here it must be remembered that the sin / wrongdoing or transgression involved infringes on the rights of other (s), then one must return the infringed rights back to the individual to whom they belong. And then thereafter, try one's level best not to sin, err, or do a thing that is contrary to teachings of Islam.

Now watch the video below to know what are the indicators that one's repentance has been accepted - a thought provoking lecture by Dr Zakir Naik:

Photo | References: | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |
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