In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
Some Salaf [pious predecessors] say that Tawbah has a beginning and an ending.
So, its beginning is:
First repentance should be from major sins then minor, then from disliked deeds, then from those deeds which are contradictory from the better, then (mulhuz?) good deeds, then from the statement that one has sincerely repented, then from all such thoughts which enter his heart which are other than the pleasure of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala.
And, the ending of repentance is:
Thus, he should also repent when for a moment he is negligent of the thought that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala is watching him.
It means that there should be a sequence in repentance. A person should start from major sins then minor sins. He should not stop there but hold himself accountable for his negligence – the time that he wasted in futile matters when he could spent it on good deeds. A person should also repent from considering himself righteous and cleansed of sins. This thought is from Shaytan. We don’t know who is righteous in the Sight of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala and whose repentance has been accepted.
It teaches us that we should remain within fear and hope throughout our lives.
To repent from major sins, one should know what they comprise of. Associating partners with Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, being disobedient to parents, adultery, lying, and slandering are a few examples.
Minor sins include wasting wealth. How conscious are we when shopping or dining out? The newly employed are not taught how to manage their earning – they use their salaries as extra pocket money and soon are seen buried in debts. We must learn money management and remember that we are accountable for how we spend our wealth.
What are disliked deeds? One example is: delaying Salah. We know that the best prayer is that which is offered with proper ablution at its appointed time. Sometimes we unnecessarily delay our prayers. We are watching a program or talking on phone, we look at the clock and see there is still time we continue doing what we are doing and delay the prayer until it almost expires. We need to cut down on unimportant actions and focus on that which is obligatory. Prayer is obligatory! Give it its due right and attention.
Disliked deeds also include not looking after personal hygiene. How many people know that it is from the Sunnah to keep ourselves clean? We should keep our nails trimmed and not let them grow like claws. If we begin preparing for our funeral, we can get into the habit of keeping our bodies cleansed of all kinds of filth. Staying clean is from the Fitrah [natural discourse], and Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala loves the Mutatahireen [those keep themselves pure from physical and spiritual impurity].
We also learn that one should protect their heart. We should not let any negative thoughts about Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala and His Creation enter our hearts.
One constant reminder that we get from these Tawbah posts is to talk less. The less a person talks about himself, the less mistakes he will make. We need to practice stop bragging about ourselves. Sometimes we share a good thought for another person, something that we plan to do, and just because of our sharing it with others we are unable to do it.
Instead of talking about ourselves, we should focus on the good deeds of others and aspire to be like them. When Shaytan reminds us of our piety, we should remind our soul of its sins.
May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala protect us from both negligence and conceit, aameen.