BY ISHOLA BALOGUN
The merits and rewards of ‘Tawbah’ repentance to Allah especially in this month cannot be exhausted. The Prophet in one of his messages told us that woe be unto any one who failed to utilise this month in seeking forgiveness of sins and in order to earn Allah’s pleasure. Allah the most high says in the Holy Quran: “Indeed Allah loves those who repent and purify themselves.“ Q2:222
“Say: O My slaves who have transgressed against themselves (by committing evil deeds and sins)! Despair not of the Mercy of Allah, verily, Allah forgives all sins. Truly, He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (Q39:53)
How do you go about it? First you need to show remorse and feel sorry for the sins you have committed. This means that you have to discontinue that act immediately and make a resolve not to go back to it again. You can help yourself by moving away from situations and environments that encourage sinful act.
Then seek forgiveness after every Salat and during the night. This will help us not only to be regular in our salat, but also to inculcate the habit of Tahajjud. The Prophet (s.a.w) said: “Allah, the Exalted, will continue to stretch out His Hand in the night so that the sinners of the day may repent, and continue to stretch His Hand in the daytime so that the sinners of the night may repent, until the sun rises from the west (start of day of judgment)”. [Sahih Muslim].
Again, the Quran says: “And Allah has the most excellent and perfect names, so worship and invoke Him by them” (Q7:180.While seeking forgiveness, Allah’s names concerning His Attributes of forgiveness and kindness should be used. Among the perfect Names of Allah, the Majestic and Most High, is Al-’Afuww (He who pardons), and Al-Ghafoor (He who forgives), and Al-Ghaffaar (The Oft-Forgiving).
Recite Astaghfirullah‘ 33 times after every salat or a minimum of 100 times a day as was reported in Sahih Muslim. And say Allahuma inaka afuuwu tuibu-l- afuuwa fa’afuwa nii. (Repeatedly)
Allah, the Majestic and Most High, loves our calling upon Him by His names and worshipping Him by that which His names demand. There is nothing wrong in weeping in the process of calling Allah for forgiveness if we are sincere about the fear of His punishment. “One who weeps out of fear of Allah, will not enter Hell till milk returns back in the udder…” [At-Tirmidhi].
Focusing on the obligatory acts and steering clear of what Allah has forbidden keeps us away from sins.
If an evil action has been done, it should be followed up with a good one. Righteous actions expiate the evil actions. The Prophet (s.a.w) said:
“The five daily prayers and one Jumu’ah to the next, and one Ramadan to the next Ramadan, is expiation for what lies between them as a long as one refrains from the major sins.” [Sahih Muslim]
And he said: “One Umrah to the next is an expiation for what is in between them.”. Are you on your way for Umrah?
Again, endeavour to exercise a lot of self control this can be done by reciting A’udhu Billahi min ash-shaytaan-i’r rajeem.
Remember that Prophet Adam (a.s) was misled by Shaytan into disobeying Allah. However, he regretted it considerably and repented very sincerely. Allah (SWT) showed His Mercy on them.
“Our Lord! We have wronged ourselves. If Thou forgive us not, and bestow not upon us Your Mercy, we shall certainly be of the losers.” (Q7:23) and Allah forgave them.
Allah says: “……. And his Lord pardoned him (accepted his repentance). Verily, He is the One Who forgives (accepts repentance), the Most Merciful.” (Q2:37).