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Thursday, August 1, 2019

99 Attributes of Allah: At Tawwab - The Acceptor of Repentance


AT another forum, someone asked me "Which is the verse after reading of that you start to fear Allah?" - And I did not take a second to reply that instead of fearing Allah, the entire Qur'an tells me of the Creator Who is oft forgiving and merciful no matter how much sinful a man may be, provided he sincerely repents, for Allah is The Only Acceptor of Repentance.

 At Tawwāb "ٱلْتَّوَّابُ" is that attribute of Allah that reassures the sinner that there is Only He Who accepts our return to Him in absolute sincerity. 

يٰۤـاَيُّهَا الَّذِيۡنَ اٰمَنُوا اجۡتَنِبُوۡا كَثِيۡرًا مِّنَ الظَّنِّ اِنَّ بَعۡضَ الظَّنِّ اِثۡمٌ​ وَّلَا تَجَسَّسُوۡا وَلَا يَغۡتَبْ بَّعۡضُكُمۡ بَعۡضًا​ ؕ اَ يُحِبُّ اَحَدُكُمۡ اَنۡ يَّاۡكُلَ لَحۡمَ اَخِيۡهِ مَيۡتًا فَكَرِهۡتُمُوۡهُ​ ؕ وَاتَّقُوا اللّٰهَ​ ؕ اِنَّ اللّٰهَ تَوَّابٌ رَّحِيۡمٌ‏ 

"Believers, avoid being excessively suspicious, for some suspicion is a sin. Do not spy, nor backbite one another. Would any of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? You would surely detest it. Have fear of Allah. Surely Allah is much prone to accept repentance, is Most Compassionate." [Al Quran Surah Al-Hujurat 49:12 ] 

At Tawwāb is from the root t-w-b which has the following classical Arabic connotations:
  • to return
  • to return to goodness, to repent
  • to be repeatedly summoned or called
Te attribute At Tawwāb gives reassurance to the believers that the doors of repentance are never closed and in fact Allah looks forward to someone asking for repentance so that He in His extreme compassion for His subjects should accept a sincere repentance and forgive him.

Imam Al Ghazali in his book, "Al-Maqsad Al-Asna fi Sharah Asma' Allahu al-Husna" (also known as "The Best Means in Explaining Allah's Beautiful Names"), translates At Tawwāb as:
"He who constantly turns man to repentance". At Tawwāb is "the One Who keeps on facilitating the causes of repentance for His servants time and time again by showing them some of His signs, by conveying to them some of His Warnings and by revealing to them some of His deterrents and cautions with the Intent that they, having been apprised of the dangers of their sins, might be filled with fear by His frightening them and subsequently turn to repentance. Through (His) accepting (the evidence of their penitence), the Favour of Allah Most High (once again) reverts to them."
Thus At Tawwāb is Only He Who beckons for our return and forgives those who repent, firstly by helping them to repent and causing their hearts to turn towards Him. After they repent, He turns to them and accepts their repentance, pardoning their sins. Once Allah accepts the repentance of an individual through His infinite mercy, He can erase the sin altogether, and it is then as though there was no sin at all. 

The last verse of Surah An Nasr, The Victory' which by many is considered the last verse of the Qur'an which was revealed to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) on the eve of final victory over the pagans of Makkah, the Prophet of Allah has been commanded to:

فَسَبِّحۡ بِحَمۡدِ رَبِّكَ وَاسۡتَغۡفِرۡهُ​ ؕ اِنَّهٗ كَانَ تَوَّابًا‏ 

"Then exalt [Him] with praise of your Lord and ask forgiveness of Him. Indeed, He is ever Accepting of repentance." [Al Quran Surah An Nasr 110:3]

Allah in this command has taught Muslims an eternal lesson: Do not regard any of your worship, devotion or religious service as something superb; even if you have spent your entire life in the cause of Allah, you should always think that you could not do all that was required of you by your Lord. Likewise, when you attain some victory, you should not regard it as a result of some excellence in yourselves but as a result of only Allah’s bounty and favor. Then bowing humbly before your Lord, you should praise and glorify Him, and should repent and beg for His forgiveness instead of boasting and bragging of your success and victory.

Therefore, as sincere servants of Allah we must always be reassured that Allah is not in haste to punish an individual for his sins. He even at times overlooks sins and is constantly seeking our return to Him so that we may be forgiven. Therefore, while seeking Allah's forgiveness, we must also be oft forgiving for Allah forgives those who forgive others.

You may refer to our post "99 Attributes of Allah" for complete list of 99 attributes of Allah Almighty with meaning and explanation.

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