Tawbah

Relationship with Allah (العلاقة مع الله)
AT-TAWBAH التوبة

 Definition of Tawbah

  • It means that one feels regret and filled with remorse for her sins, goes back to Allah with the intention to obey Him
  • It is a feeling and an action. After committing a certain sin, then you get a feeling of sorrow and being sorry for having done that sin and you want to go back to Allah to ask Him for forgiveness

Repentance is obligatory for all humans. Human, in general, after committing a sin, needs to repent because you need a road to go back. Allah ﷻ is telling all the people to repent so that they will be successful. He also said that Allah ﷻ loves those who repent and those who are purify themselves. The knowledge that you know the result of your sin is what leads you to repentance. You have to be fast in your repentance. As soon as you got the knowledge and understanding that you have done something wrong, you have to repent immediately. Do not leave it for a long time because you do not know what will happen. For other people, they leave it until the moment of death. Allah ﷻ said that waiting until the last moment of your life and you repent, that is not right. One should repent immediately. In teaching the new Muslim, emphasize the importance of repentance. Repentance is the main door in going back to Allah ﷻ, either she committed a sin by ignorance or by knowing it but she committed the sin anyway. She needs to know that there is a way back to Him. Some people say there is no forgiveness but Allah Almighty is saying otherwise. He is The One who forgives and The One who accepts repentance.

One of Allah’s names is At-Tawwab. One of the chapters of the holy Qur’an is titled At-Tawbah (chapter 9, verses 129)

4 categories that make a person commit a sin

All these feelings trigger you to commit a sin.

  1. Feeling like big (arrogance…)
  2. Feeling like a devil (envy, jealousy, cheating…)
  3. Feeling like an animal (sexual desire, gluttony, usury…)
  4. Feeling like wild (anger, attacking people…)

6 reasons that make a small sin into a big sin

Minor sins can easily lead someone to commit a major sin, and repeatedly committing a minor sin will change its status to that of a major sin.

  1. Insistence on the sin. You do the sin regularly. Habitual sinning causes a Muslim to lose faith and disregard the commandments of Allah. “Nay, their hearts have been sealed by the sins they have accumulated.” [Al-Mutaffifin: 14]
  2. Thinking that the sin is so small. You cannot say it is just a minor issue, there is no harm done. Remember Allah at all times as this helps refrain from sins of the tongue, heart, mind and hands. The Muslim should not look at how small or great the sin is, rather he should look at the greatness and might of the One Whom he is disobeying. Minor sins are not, however, to be taken lightly, as disobeying Allah is always a serious matter. Allah says: “You counted it a little thing, while with Allah it was very great.” [An-Nur 24:15]
  3. Feeling happy on doing it. You brag about doing that sin.
  4. Taking it easy that Allah ﷻ has covered your sins. You cannot say that because no one knows about your sin so you continue doing it.
  5. When you do the sin in public without any fear.
  6. If you are a person of knowledge (scholar, preacher, teacher…) that people look up to you guidance.

4 Levels Of People In Their Repentance

  1. Nafs Al-Mutma’innah: one who commits a sin and feels sorry for it and goes back to Allah ﷻ and repent and never come back to it (the sin). This is At-Tawbah An-Nasuhah (sincere repentance). Tawbah Nasuh means a pure, sincere repentance that perfectly reforms and improves the one who feels it. Nasuh (lit: pure, sincere, reforming, improving, repairing). “O you who believe! Turn to God in true, sincere repentance.” [At-Tahrim 66:8]. “…God is always ready to accept repentance, He is full of mercy.” [An-Nisa 4:16]. They are the strongest. They live the rest of their lives trying to erase that sin. If you have committed one sin and repented, that sin is the reason for you not to commit any other sin again.
  1. Nafs Al-Lawwamah: one who does not do the major sins but she gets tested over and over again by small sins. Trials come in her life on all sides, and every time she commits a sin, she feels bad and keeps blaming herself why she did that. And that keeps her in a state of repentance all the time. 
  2. Nafs Al-Ammarah Bis Su: one who commits a sin and she keeps doing it. Every time she stops, her desire overtakes her. She commits a sin out of her weakness. She delays her repentance because she is not capable of stopping the act.
  3. One who commits a sin and keeps doing it but she does not repent from it.

3 things to do after sinning

Allah will forgive your sins when you do 1 or 2 of the following or you do 3 altogether, to clean your sins and to ask for forgiveness.

  1. By doing acts of worship: Salah, Sawm, Zakat, Sadaqah…
  2. By heart: feeling the guilt and sorrow and hoping that Allah ﷻ will forgive you for that sin.
  3. By acknowledging that you have sinned and repenting by your tongue

The treatments for not insisting on committing the sin. 

  1. By reminding her verses and Ahadith about the rulings for Halal and Haram and its punishments
  2. By telling her about the stories of the prophets and righteous people might wake up her heart and make her stop committing a sin
  3. By telling her that the punishment could be faster, and it could be in this life now and not in the hereafter

Stages of Repentance

  • Repentance means regaining one’s essential purity after every spiritual impurity, and engaging in frequent self-renewal.
  • Feeling sincere remorse and regret
  • Being frightened whenever one remembers past sins
  • Trying to eradicate injustice and support justice
  • Reviewing one’s responsibilities and doing obligations previously neglected
  • Reforming oneself by removing spiritual defects caused by deviation and error
  • Regretting the times when one did not remember Allah. Those who are close to Him are always alert so that their thoughts and feelings are not tainted by things that intervene between themselves and Allah

The Benefits Of Sincere Repentance

  • It is the most noble and beloved form of obedience in the eyes of Allah. He loves those who repent and it is because of His love for His creation that He tests them with sins so that He may shower His blessings and favors upon them after they repent.
  • It has a status being amongst the beloved through his repentance that no other form of worship has. This is why Allah is extremely happy when a servant repents just as a traveler is happy when he finds his lost mount in the desert.
  • It brings about humbleness and a sense of helplessness that is not easily acquired through other forms of worship.
  • A glad tiding for those who repent and combine their repentance with faith and good deeds. “Except those who repent, have faith and good deeds, those Allah will charge their sins for good deeds. Certainly Allah is most forgiving and merciful.” [Al-Furqan 25:70]

The repenting person should remember three facts

Repentance is to repent from the heart, to train the heart into obedience and to make a firm resolution never to commit the sin again.

  1. The grave consequence of sins
  2. The painful punishment for sins
  3. The helplessness of the servant with regards to these two things

2 things should immediately be done after sinning

  1. Action of the heart, to sincerely regret the sins of the past.
  2. Action of the body, to bring up some good deeds, starting two units of prayer of repentance.
  • There is not a man who makes ablution (and does it well, but sins fall off the limbs of the body with the last drop of water. And doing the ablution well includes saying the Bismillah in the beginning, and say a Dua after it such as: I bear witness that there is no deity save Allah , the one, and I also bear witness that Muhammad is his slave and messenger. O’ Allah! make me of the repenting, and make me of the purified.”
  • Offer two Rak’ats of prayer. Performs them in full presence of mind and heart. Commits no mistake within the prayers. Does not speak to himself within them. Recites the prayer-words in them well and in humility. Then seeks Allah’s forgiveness.
  • Abu Bakr (radiyallahu anhu) says: “I heard the  Prophet ﷺ say: ‘There is not a man who, when he commits a sin, rises, makes ablution, and offers two units of prayers, but Allah forgives his sins.’ Then he recited the verse: ‘Those (are the true believers) who, when they commit an evil deed, or wrong their souls, remember Allah, and seek forgiveness for their sins – and who but Allah forgives sins? They do not insist upon the sins they have committed, and they know (that Allah is forgiving).'”  [Ali Imran 3:135]

The Result

  1. His past sins are forgiven.
  2. He is assured paradise.
  • Then, as these things have been achieved he should now increase his good deeds to the extent possible.
  • “He who commits some evil deeds, and then turns to doing good deeds is like the man who had on him a tight-fitting coat of mail made of steel, so tight, it would almost choke him. Then he did a good deed and it opened up a little more until it became so loose as to fall off to the ground.”

Committing A Sin Against Allah

In case a sin related to Allah, which does not involve anyone else, is committed there are 3 conditions for the repentance of the sinner to be accepted. Repentance of a person will be imperfect even if a single condition is omitted.

  1. That he refrain from committing the same sin again.
  2. That he feel ashamed at what he has done.
  3. That he makes a firm intention of not committing that sin again.

Committing A Sin Against Someone

The theologians have added one more condition to the 3 stated above.

     4.  That is if one has taken something that does not belong to him he should return it.

If he has committed backbiting regarding someone or he has hurt someone’s feelings or even sworn at someone he will have to ask for forgiveness from the person first and then from Allah. There is no way these sins can be forgiven without the forgiveness of the person concerned, because these are the rights of human beings

The door of repentance is open

  • A person who repents constantly and is determined not to commit the sin again but still commits it will not be counted among the persistent and stubborn.
  • “Repentance has a door whose span is the distance between East and West.“ [Hadith] (in another version, its span is the distance travelled in 70 years)
  • Listen to the call of Allah, “O’ my slaves! You sin morning and evening and I forgive all your sins. So call on Me, I’ll forgive you all your sins.”

The door of repentance is close

  1. When the soul comes out of the body
  2. When the sun rises in the west. “It will not be closed until the sun rises from the west.”
  3. On the Day of Judgment. “… or that some of the Signs of your Lord should come (i.e. portents of the Hour e.g., arising of the sun from the west)! The day that some of the Signs of your Lord do come, no good will it do to a person to believe then, if he believed not before, nor earned good (by performing deeds of righteousness) through his Faith …” [Al-An’am 6:158]

4 witnesses against a sinner

When one commits a sin four witnesses are against him, which have been proven from the Qur’an. The only method to be saved from these witnesses is through Tawbah.

  1. The ground
  2. The limbs
  3. The angels
  4. Our record of deeds

A story of a mother and a child, of disobedience, punishment, return, forgiveness and unbound love

A woman came out with a child who was crying and pleading while she was pushing him out. She left him outside the house and slammed the door on his face. The child left the door and walked a distance. Then he stopped, looked about, began to think, and not finding any other place but his own house where he could take shelter nor anyone who would care for him as his mother would, he returned to his house dejected, sad. He found the door shut. He sat at the sill, put his cheek on the threshold and slept with tear marks on his cheeks. He was in this state when the mother opened the door. When she saw him in this state, she could not control herself. She bent down, grabbed him to her bosom, began to kiss him and said, in tears, “Oh my boy! My dear child! My soul! Where were you? Didn’t I tell you not to disobey me? Do my bidding, and don’t force me to punish you, while I hate to do that.” Then she carried the child back and closed the door behind her.