Sunday 25 October 2020

Believers, turn to Allah in sincere repentance; for He may expunge your evil deeds

Repentance is a powerful tool in the hands of believers for when they sin, they immediately seek forgiveness of their sins and wrongdoings from Allah and repent. Allah has reassured believers that He would continue to accept their repentance and forgive them till the angel of death knocks at their door.

In the 8th verse of Surah 66. At-Tahrim, a picture painting of the Day of Resurrection has been done and believers are forewarned that those who repented sincerely in their worldly life have a chance that Allah may forgive them and reward them the Gardens of Paradise and that they will not be disgraced:

يٰۤاَيُّهَا الَّذِيۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا تُوۡبُوۡۤا اِلَى اللّٰهِ تَوۡبَةً نَّصُوۡحًا ؕ عَسٰى رَبُّكُمۡ اَنۡ يُّكَفِّرَ عَنۡكُمۡ سَيِّاٰتِكُمۡ وَيُدۡخِلَـكُمۡ جَنّٰتٍ تَجۡرِىۡ مِنۡ تَحۡتِهَا الۡاَنۡهٰرُ ۙ يَوۡمَ لَا يُخۡزِى اللّٰهُ النَّبِىَّ وَالَّذِيۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا مَعَهٗ​ ۚ نُوۡرُهُمۡ يَسۡعٰى بَيۡنَ اَيۡدِيۡهِمۡ وَبِاَيۡمَانِهِمۡ يَقُوۡلُوۡنَ رَبَّنَاۤ اَ تۡمِمۡ لَـنَا نُوۡرَنَا وَاغۡفِرۡ لَـنَا​ ۚ اِنَّكَ عَلٰى كُلِّ شَىۡءٍ قَدِيۡرٌ‏ 

Believers, turn to Allah in sincere repentance; maybe your Lord will expunge your evil deeds and admit you to the Gardens beneath which rivers flow. This will be on the Day when Allah will not disgrace the Prophet and those who have embraced faith and are with him; their light will be running before them and on their right hands, and they will say: “Our Lord, perfect for us our light and forgive us. Surely You have power over everything.

This verse actually has two parts: The first part is about Allah's reassurance to the believers that they will be pardoned if they had sincerely repented, and second part is about the light which will be shown to those lucky and rewarded believers who will be shown the light to paradise. We in this post will concentrate on the explanation of the first part. The second part is being explained in a separate post in our series of posts on  "Selected Invocations / Dua from Qur'ān."

Now coming over to the explanation of the Part I of this verse:

Literally, taubat an-nasuh-an " تَوۡبَةً نَّصُوۡحًا " may either mean that one should offer such true repentance as may have no tinge of pretense and hypocrisy in it, or that one should wish his own self well and repenting of sin should save oneself from the evil end, or that one should so adorn and improve his life after repentance as to become a cause of admonition for others, and seeing his example others also also reform themselves accordingly. These are the meanings of taubat an-nasuh which are indicated by its literal sense. As for its religious meaning, its explanation is found in the Hadith which Ibn Abi Hatim has related on the authority of Zirr bin Hubaish. He says: When I asked Ubayy bin Kaab the meaning of taubat an-nasuh, he said that he had asked the Prophet (peace be upon him) the same question, and he had replied: It implies that when you happen to commit an error, you should feel penitent for it, then should implore Allah for forgiveness remorsefully, and then should refrain from committing the same error again. 

This same meaning has been reported from Umar, Abdullah bin Masud and Abdullah bin Abbas also, and in a tradition Umar has defined taubat an-nasuh, thus: After offering repentance one should not even think of committing the sin, not to speak of repeating it. (Ibn Jarir). Ali once heard a desert Arab chanting the words of repentance and forgiveness quickly and mechanically and remarked: This is the repentance of the liars. The man asked: What is true repentance? Ali replied: It should be accompanied by six things
  • (1) You should feel penitent for the wrong you have done. 
  • (2) You should carry out the duties that you have ignored. 
  • (3) Restore the rights that you have usurped. 
  • (4) Ask forgiveness of him whom you have wronged. 
  • (5) Make a resolve not to repeat the sin again. 
  • (6) Consume yourself in obedience to Allah as you have so far been consuming it in wrongdoing, and cause it to taste the bitterness of obedience as you have so far been causing it to enjoy the sweet taste of disobedience and sin. (Al- Kashshaf).
In connection with repentance there are also some other points which should be well understood. (1) That repentance, in fact, is to show remorse for an act of disobedience only because it is a disobedience of Allah. Otherwise to make a resolve to refrain from a sin because it is harmful for health, for instance, or it is likely to cause defamation or financial loss, is no repentance. (2) That man should offer repentance as soon as he realizes that he has committed disobedience of Allah and should compensate for it without delay in whatever form possible and should not defer it in any way. (3) That violating one’s repentance again and making a jest of repentance and repeating the sin again and again of which one has repented, is a proof of the falsity of one’s repentance. For the essence of repentance is penitence, and breaking his repentance repeatedly is a sign that it has not been motivated by penitence. (4) that if the person who has repented sincerely and resolved not to repeat the sin again, happens to repeat it once again because of human weakness, it will not revive his past sin. However, he should offer a fresh repentance for the latter sin and should resolve more firmly that he would not commit the sin in future. (5) That it is not necessary to renew one’s repentance again every time one remembers the disobedience committed in the past, but if one’s self derives pleasure from the remembrance of the past, sinful life, one should offer repentance again and again until the remembrance of the sins causes remorse instead of pleasure and enjoyment. For the person who has actually repented of disobedience because of fear of God cannot derive pleasure from the thought that he has been disobeying God. His deriving pleasure from it is a sign that fear of God has not taken root in his heart.

The words of the verse deserve deep consideration. It has not been said that if you repeat, you will surely be forgiven and will certainly be admitted to Paradise, but that: If you offer true repentance, it may well be that Allah will treat you kindly. It means that it is not incumbent upon Allah to accept the repentance of the sinner and to grant him Paradise instead of subjecting him to punishment but it will be His kindness and compassion that He may forgive well as reward His servant. One should have hope of His forgiveness, but one should not commit a sin with the confidence that he will achieve forgiveness by repentance.

He will not allow the reward of their good deeds to go to waste. He will not let the disbelievers and the hypocrites taunt the believers that they had gained nothing in spite of their worship. Humiliation will be the fate of the rebels and the disobedient and not of the faithful and obedient.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
The opposition of sex against sex, individual or concerted, having been condemned , we are now exhorted to turn to the Light, and to realise that the good and righteous can retain their integrity even though their mates, in spite of all their example and precept, remain in evil and sin. Whatever may have been the faults of the past, unite in good deeds, and abandon petty sectional jealousies, and Allah will remove your difficulties and distresses, and all the evils from which you suffer. Indeed He will grant you the Bliss of Heaven and save you from any humiliation which you may have brought on yourselves by your conduct and on the revered Prophet and Teacher whose name you professed to take.

Here ends the explanation of the first part of the verse. The second part is about the light which will be shown to the rewarded believers in the pitch darkness of the Day of Resurrection which will lead them to the Paradise. And the believers will be running towards that light and hurrying up lest the light may fade away. For this, they will be constantly praying: O our Lord, forgive us our sins and let our light remain with us until we reach Paradise.   

Please refer to the explanation of the second portion of this verse that appear separately in our series of posts on "Selected Invocations / Dua from Qur'ān."
May Allah help us understand Qur'ān and help us to act upon the commandments of Allah contained therein. Aameen.

For more Selected Verses, please refer to our reference page: Selected Verses from the Qur'anYou may also refer to our Reference Pages for knowing more about Islam and Qur'ān.
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Reading the Qur'ān should be a daily obligation of a Muslim - Reading it with translation will make it meaningful. But reading its Exegesis / Tafsir will make you understand it fully.

An effort has been made to gather explanation / exegesis of the surahs of the Qur'ān from authentic sources and then present a least possible condensed explanation of the surah. In that:
  • The plain translation has been taken from the Qur'ān officially published by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. [1]
  • The exegesis of the chapters of the Quran is mainly based on the "Tafhim al-Qur'an - The Meaning of the Qur'an" by one of the most enlightened scholars of the Muslim World Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi. [2]  
In order to augment and add more explanation as already provided by [2], additional input has been interjected from following sources: 
  • Towards Understanding the Quran
  • Tafsir Ibn Khatir
  • Muhammad Asad Translation
  • Javed Ahmad Ghamidi / Al Mawrid
  • Al-Quran, Yusuf Ali Translation
  • Verse by Verse Qur'an Study Circle
In addition the references of  other sources which have been explored have also been given above. Those desirous of detailed explanations and tafsir (exegesis), may refer to these sites.

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