In truth, repentance is Islam and the levels of emaan [faith]. And man cannot be independent of its stages in his life. Thus, fortunate is he who had made it mandatory to travel toward Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala and the Hereafter. And wretched is he who has left it and pushed it behind his back.
And there are many virtues of repentance, of which some are these:
1. It is the mean to acquire the love of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says, “Indeed, Allah loves those who are constantly repentant and loves those who purify themselves.” [al-Baqarah 2: 222]
Tawbah is not a one time act rather one should make it a habit and keep turning to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala again and again.
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala loves those who turn to Him in repentance and keep themselves clean from physical impurity as well as the filth of the heart. This is a person who finds anything unclean on his body, he goes and washes it off. Likewise, when he fears a black spot on his heart he makes istighfar to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala.
2. It is the means for success
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says, “And turn to Allah in repentance, all of you, O believers, that you might succeed.” [an-Nur 24: 31]
Everyone desires success in both the worlds. He who is inspired to repent should know that he is on the path of success. How frightening then it is, if one is not inspired to repent? May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala protect us, aameen.
3. It is the means for acceptance of deeds and forgiveness of sins
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says, “And it is He who accepts repentance from his servants and pardons misdeeds…” [ash-Shu’raa 45 : 25]
And Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala said, “And he who repents and does righteousness does indeed turn to Allah with [accepted] repentance.” [Al-Furqan 25 : 71]
Man errs due to the obedience to its nafs [soul] or another person. Tawbah is a way to get out of the slavery of nafs, Satan or another human being and become a true slave of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala alone.
4. It is the means to enter Jannah and saves ourselves from Fire
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says, “But there came after them successors who neglected prayer and pursued desires; so they are going to meet evil – Except those who repent, believe and do righteousness; for those will enter Paradise and will not be wronged at all.” [Mariam 19: 59-60]
Negligence toward obligatory duties is sin. Sleeping is a need but sleeping at odd times or sleeping late and missing Fajr prayer snatches the pleasure of worship. Likewise, overeating in Ramadan makes one miss their Taraweeh or stand with laziness. We need to pay attention toward beautifying our prayers and not just get done with them.
It requires Tawbah and paying attention to our prayers. The repentant and those who reform their ways will enter Paradise. This is the hope that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala gives us. We should thank Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala for giving us the tawfeeq [ability] to repent and protect ourselves from conceit.
5. It is a means for forgiveness
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says, “But those who committed misdeeds and then repented after them and believed – indeed your Lord, thereafter, is Forgiving and Merciful.” [al-A’raf 7: 153]
Through Tawbah, not only does Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala forgive us, but it is also a mean for gaining His mercy. SubhanAllah!
6. It is the means for turning sins into good deeds
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala said, “And whoever should do that will meet a penalty. Multiplied for him is the punishment on the Day of Resurrection, and he will abide therein humiliated – Except for those who repent, believe and do righteous work. For them Allah will replace their evil deeds with good. And ever is Allah Forgiving and Merciful.” [al-Furqan : 68-70]
And the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “He who repented is like him who has no sin on him.”
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala desires that we should be cleansed of our filth. Therefore, we too need to be sincere in our repentance.
7. It is the means for attaining all good
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala said, “So if you repent, that is best for you…” [at-Tawbah 9: 3]
And Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala said, “So if they repent, it is better for them…” [at-Tawbah 9: 74]
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala showers His blessings on the one who repents. If we want to be blessed then we must make Tawbah.
8. It is the means for faith and great reward
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala said, “Except for those who repent, correct themselves, hold fast to Allah, and are sincere in their religion for Allah, for those will be with the believers. And Allah is going to give the believers a great reward.” [an-Nisa 4: 146]
When a person believes his emaan is weak or his conduct is improper, then he must repent and reform his way. He should strengthen his bond with Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala and get out of the wrong doings that he is in.
9. It is the means for blessings from the heavens and increasing one’s strength
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala said, “And O my people, ask forgiveness of your Lord and then repent to Him. He will send (rain from) the sky upon you in showers and increase you in strength (added) to your strength. And do not turn away, (being) criminals.” [Hud 11: 52]
This includes physical, spiritual and collective strength. When blessings increase, a person naturally becomes strong. Then why should one not repent?
10. It is the means for getting supplications from the angels
As Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala said, “Those [angels] who carry the Throne and those around it exalt (Allah) with praise of their Lord and believe in Him and ask forgiveness for those who have believed, [saying], ‘Our Lord, You have encompassed all things in mercy and knowledge, so forgive those who have repented and followed Your way and protect them from the punishment of Hellfire.’” [Ghafir 40: 7]
Imagine, the angels interceding for us!
11. From its virtues is such obedience as is desired by Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala
And as Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala said, “Allah wants to accept your repentance…” [an-Nisa 4: 27]
It is desired by Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala that a person repents so that He can bless him.
12. From its virtues is that Allah azwa jala is pleased with him
As the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “Verily, Allah is more pleased with the repentance of His slave than a person who has his camel in a waterless desert carrying his provision of food and drink and it is lost. He, having lost all hopes (to get that back), lies down in shade and is disappointed about his camel; when all of a sudden he finds that camel standing before him. He takes hold of its reins and then out of boundless joy blurts out: ‘O Allah, You are my slave and I am Your Rabb.’”
He erred in the extremity of happiness.
Imagine you were standing at the edge of a cliff about to fall down and someone extends their hand to pull you back. How would you feel? You will be overjoyed. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala is more pleased than this person when his slaves turns to Him in sincerity. This is why we learn that in a calamity we are advised to do istighfar. Don’t treat it as a wazeefa but be sincere in your repentance. Ask Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala to show you your mistake.
13. Likewise, repentance is the mean for the heart’s light and radiance
The Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “Indeed, when a slave (of Allah) commits a sin, a black dot is put on his heart. If he gives up that sin and seeks forgiveness and turns with repentance, then the heart is cleaned. And if he commits more sins, then the blackness of the heart increases till it covers the whole heart. This is that rust, which Allah mentions in the ayah:
‘No! Rather, the stain has covered their hearts of that which they were earning. [al-Mutaffifeen 83: 14]’”
So, O My Dear Brother!
To every intellectual, it is obligatory to hasten toward that which has these virtues and fruits.
Send for yourself such repentance (in the Court of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala) which brings hopes.
Before death and before the ceasing of the tongues.
Be the first to repent, before the ceasing of the souls.
Because it is the reserve of those humble ones who do good deeds.
How many times it happens that we do not consider minor sins as sins? Many people do not consider being deprived from offering prayers, reciting the Qur’an daily or attending Islamic study circles, a result of their sins. They call it restriction of time, but the reality is if we are unable to pray or exceed in good deeds then the blockade has been placed due to our sins. We need to repent consistently, so that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala opens up our ways.
Another sin that we commit is that not only are we unable to attend religious gatherings, we stop others as well. We tell them of shopping malls and exhibitions, but we don’t join them in attending study circles.
Moreover, when people live collectively sometimes they are a mean for others’ disturbance. For example, it is prayer time and a person in the house turns on the television or music in high volume. How callous we are! People do not consider it a sin, however, this is a Satanic act.
People spend their New Year eve in partying or sending wishes and presents but what about prayers? If it is the beginning of Muharram, then we should be getting ready to fast the next entire week instead of focusing on celebrations. Why we are not inclined to increase our scales and only think of the pleasures of this world?
What about the bad thoughts about other people that occupy our hearts? Do we consider it a sin? Not many of us do! For some of us, our favorite pastime is talking about others. Not only are we wasting our time but also others’ time. But do we consider this a sin?
The reason we lose pleasure in our prayers or miss religious circles is because we don’t look at our minor sins that have blocked our way.
If after learning all these virtues one does not repent then he is truly unfortunate.
May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala allow us to see our sins as sins, and keep us away from them. May He allow us to make the best of our time and skills, aameen.