Is it weird that I consider you as my friend? Perhaps but regardless, I wanted to share some thoughts on the topic of repentance with all of you.
As you know, we are human beings and thus we are full of mistakes and sins. We were not created with the same ability as the angels to remain constantly in a state of obedience, worship, submission and sin-less.
Allaah says in the Qur'an:
This is one of my favorite verses and probably one of those that keep me from falling into depression everytime I slide in the wrong direction. I still remember how happy and humbled I was the first time I read this verse and believe me, I get the same reaction every single time. (I am specifically talking about the highlighted part)
There are many many verses and narrations from the Prophet (peace be upon him) that give us, sinners, hope and help to overcome our errors. But the verse I quote above must be the one that honestly has kept me going all these years.
You see, people tend to have different reactions when they commit a sin. You have those who deny it and pretend nothing happened. You also have those who get sad and become heavy-hearted. You have those who advertise their sins to the public (if it was a private sin). You have those who don't even realise that they are sinning. We are all at different stages and obviously, our reactions are going to differ accordingly.
Once we admit that we are bound to fall into sins, the next thing we must plan in our minds is how we are going to get out of the mess the day it happens. The longer you remain in the mess, the longer your heart will remain clouded and your judgement will deceive you.
It is easy to feel like a useless piece of crap when we don't seem to remain free from sins and some of us give up the fight. I have actually seen a lot of sisters who were very practicing slowly leave the deen behind their backs. One reason for this, I believe, is that they didn't realise that repentance is a huge part of a Muslim's life. We should never think that because we commit such-and-such sin too often that we are not suitable for a religious lifestyle.
If that was the case, I wouldn't be religious or practicing a lot time ago (God forbid). I feel like my life is exactly this: repenting, repenting, repenting. The above mentioned verse helps me a lot. It says that the good deeds delete the bad ones. So, here Allaah gives us a solution to our problem.
Do a good deed that will overtake your bad deed, this is also an advice of the Prophet in a well-known narration. Trust me, even though it sounds so easy.. it's not. You may feel like a hypocrite: 'Oh what's the point in attending this lecture when I just missed fajr..' or 'what's the point in wearing my hijab when I just did such&such'. You just need to switch off these whispers and trust in the words of your Creator. Your good deeds will delete your bad ones.
I thank Allaah that I have been able, more or less, to make this verse a pillar in my spiritual life because otherwise not only I would have been paralyzed with a darkened heart but I would probably keep furthering myself from God. I always push myself to literally, sometimes, force myself to go a good thing in order to set me back up. The ''turn off the engine and start again'', kind of analogy.
I remember back in the day when I was involved in the da'wah and used to prepare short reminders to the sisters, the immense inner battle within me. My wounded sould wondering how it could face these innocent sisters who wanted to hear from me something that would bring them closer to Allaah when I, in my own conscience, was struggling to attain that very goal. It was extremely tough but I often went ahead with it.
The fear and worry of hypocrisy is always present. You know when you tell someone to do something or to refrain from a bad thing yet... minutes later or days later, you see yourself in that vey same situation doing the opposite of what you were saying. Then you wonder 'what's the point of commanding the good and forbidding the evil if I'm contradicting myself in private?!'
That's indeed a valid point and alhamdulilaah our religion is amazing. One day, our teacher told us something that again, made me so happy, there is this principle in jurisprudence that (I am going to paraphrase it because I do not have my notes with me): 'commending the good and forbidding the evil doesn't require you to abide by it'. In other words, you can advise someone to stop something haram because it is haraam yet you may be involved in it. Does it make sense? It's better to forbid a haraam even though you may be doing it than not say anything. InshAllaah, I will try and find the actual principle.
A lot of people think that they can't be really practicing or religious because they commit sins. This is silly, even religious people sin. The secret in the repentance, that's all. Actually, we need to repent even when we don't sin.
Wasn't the Prophet (peace be upon him) sinless? -Yes, he was
Didn't he (peace be upon him) kept his tongue reiterating 'I seek forgiveness from Allah' more than 70 times a day? -Yes, indeed
This topic of repentance is one of my favorites to read on, to talk about, to listen to because I rely on it for my own safety. Do you know how happy Allaah is when we repent from our sins? What is more important than our Creator being happy with us after we transgressed His Limits?
Never worry that Allaah will run out of patience with your disobedience. Sometimes, it's easy to feel so overwhelmed and depressed.. thinking 'what's the point? I'll get back to this again' but remember the verse above. Do a good deed (repentance is a good deed, going to the masjid is a good deed, helping someone out is a good deed, giving sadaqa is a good deed, helping your parents is a good deed) first.
A Muslim who doesn't repent regularly is a mushkilah (problematic) because it means that his/her sins are accumulating, his/her heart is darkening yet he/she isn't doing something about it. Be weary of being like that. It's dangerous, you may never find the way back.
Think of our hearts like clothes. When your clothes get dirty, the smart one puts it in the wash immediately because otherwise the stains become stubborn and difficult to remove. He also adds the nice smelling fabric softener so he can wear it the very next day. While the silly person, goes out with the dirty clothes days and days on end, sometimes months or years without realizing how dirty and smelly he has become.
The other risk in not repenting is committing sin after sin. As the Prophet (peace upon him) said, sins open doors to other sins.. an endless vicious cycle. The best thing is that as soon as you fall into a sin, big or small (doesn't matter), close the door without waiting and follow the sin with a good deed. Perhaps it will eliminate it..
Guys, I feel like I have lengthened this post but believe me, I am talking to my own self. I am reprimanding my soul through this and I am reminding myself that if there's anything at all I need to attach myself to in this dunya, then it is: repentance.
May those endowed with a sound mind, attentive ears and living heart take benefit..