The Conditions of Repentance


Verily, all Praise belongs to Allaah; we praise Him, we seek His help and we ask forgiveness from Him, and we seek refuge with Allaah from the evils of our souls and our bad deeds. Whom so ever Allaah guides, no one can lead him astray and whom so ever He misguides (because he does not want to receive guidance), then no one can guide him. And I bear witness that there is no deity worthy of worship in truth except Allaah, He is the One and there is no associate with Him and I bear witness that Muhammad (Sallallahu alayhi wassallam) is the is His slave and His Messenger, may many peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him and his family and his companions.

Tawbah is returning from sinning, back to obedience and it is obligatory. Allaah says in the Quran:

“And all of you beg Allah to forgive you all, O believers, that you may be successful.” [Surah an-Nur 24:31]

So it is obligatory upon a Muslim if he commits a sin to hasten to repent to Allaah Azza wa Jal. Allaah responds to the one who repents.

“And verily, I am indeed Forgiving to him who repents, believes (in My Oneness, and associates none in worship with Me) and does righteous good deeds, and then remains constant in doing them, (till his death).” [Surah Taha 20:82]

This is from the excellence of Allaah – Azza wa Jal. Allaah ordered with repentance and promised that He responds to the one who repents. He forgives a person his sins. However, repentance is not just on the tongue, repentance has conditions, which are necessary to be implemented. The conditions are as follows:

The First condition: leaving off the sin and keeping away from it. It cannot be said repent to Allaah while he does not keep away from the sin and leave it.

The Second condition: to have firm determination of not to return to that sin again. If a person repents to Allaah but he has in his intention to return to the sin at a later date, then his repentance is only temporary, which Allaah Ta’ala does not accept.

The Third condition: that he regrets of what preceded, visualises this sin and fears it, he does not say I have repented and that is it. So he should be fearful of that sin, should have regret of what occurred from him.

These are the conditions for repentance, if they are present then Allaah – Subhanahu wa Ta’ala – accepts repentance as He promised.

Allaah the Most High knows the state of the hearts.

“Allah knows the fraud of the eyes, and all that the breasts conceal.” [Surah Ghafir 40:19]

And in another ayah, Allaah the Most High states,

“”O My slaves who believe! Certainly, spacious is My earth. Therefore worship Me (Alone).” Everyone shall taste the death. Then unto Us you shall be returned.” [Surah al-Ankabut 29:56]

“O My slaves”; which slaves? The ones who believed in Allah. This is because even the disbelievers are the slaves of Allaah, this entire universe gives servitude to Allaah but here Allaah has specifically addressed his believing slaves. “O My slaves who believe”.

There is a very beautiful incident present in Sahih Bukhari, which further elaborates on the conditions of tawbah (repentance).

It is mentioned in Sahih Bukhari that there was a man who committed 99 murders. After a period of time, he wanted to do Tawbah (repent). He felt heaviness in his heart as such he asked the people that he wants to repent, so to whom must he go for guidance?

Who do the common folk know? They go towards ascetics. People seldom go to the scholars and this has been happening in every age and not just in our age. There were Sufis in that era too similar to the Sufis who are widespread today. So understand that whoever was an ascetic, even though he had no knowledge but did worship, who performed worship as an exercise. So someone told him that such and such person is an ascetic, a slave (worshipper) so go to him and he will guide you. This is because people look at what is apparent and not what is hidden. They consider that the person who is apparently involved in worship day and night is right.

And another person who has knowledge, even though he performs worship but his worship is not apparent to the people so the people flock towards such people and the effect of their da’wah is more because they intermingle more with people. Meaning that they go to people to perform exorcisms or something else. But the scholars do not do this. They do not call people towards themselves because they have knowledge that they have to connect the hearts of people with Allaah, the Most High.

You would observe if you take your child to the rightly guided scholars with knowledge and ask them to blow on him (ruqyah/blessings etc.), they will tell you to do it yourself, why have you come to us. So what will you say? You will say that they are very strict people, these Wahhabis. They show you a way, even though they may have some hardness in their manner of speaking, yet they show you a way. No matter even if you want to do ruqyah on your child. Are you distant from Allaah? Does Allaah the Most High not listen to you? Allaah says in the Quran:

“And when My slaves ask you (O Muhammad (Sallallahu alayhi wassallam)) concerning Me, then (answer them), I am indeed near (to them by My Knowledge). I respond to the invocations of the supplicant when he calls on Me (without any mediator or intercessor). So let them obey Me and believe in Me, so that they may be led aright.” [Surah al-Baqarah 2:186]

But if you go to a Sufi saint to get ruqyah done on your child, he will never return you and will surely perform the ruqyah. If you have any trouble for the second time with another child, you will go again. You will find such people in cities and towns where there are Deobandi and Barelvi madrasas in Asian countries that there will be a special queue after the Maghrib prayer. People are found to be standing there near the mosque, near the chamber; even though there is no shop there, there is nothing. Why they are standing here? Because Shaykh does ruqyah here. We have seen it with our own eyes. One can tell them that these are the ayaat of the Noble Quran and you can perform ruqyah using that.

Firstly, the people will return to Allaah the Most High (through this) and will also read the Quran. The Quran is kept above, they don’t touch it and they claim that they don’t know how to read the Quran. The one who does not know how to read Qul Huwa Allaahu (Surah Al Ikhlaas), then it is a shame as to how they call themselves Muslims. At least learn how to read this. You know Surah Al-Fatihah, then read Surah Al-Fatihah and do ruqyah.

Imam Ibn Al Qayyim said that he lived in Makkah for a period of time, for a few years. he would fall sick and would not visit a doctor rather just recite Surah Al-Fatihah and do ruqyah on himself (blow over himself) and he would get well. Only with Surah Al-Fatihah. He had faith that cure is granted by Allaah and one must make Allaah the source of cure so he recited Surah Al-Fatihah, there is cure in Surah Al-Fatihah and he was cured. Which Muslim does not know Surah Al-Fatihah? A person who prays must know Surah Al-Fatihah. We don’t say that you recite all the different ayaat of the Noble Quran (for ruqyah). You can recite Surah Al-Fatihah and the Qul (the three Surahs – Al Ikhlaas, Al Falaq and An Naas) and then perform ruqyah on the child (with it).

Anyway, coming back to the narration. The man went to that pious ascetic and told him that I have committed 99 murders so is there a way for my salvation/forgiveness? The ascetic replied that 99 murders and you have come to repent? Go away for there is no repentance for you. Is this a time to repent? So the man took his dagger out and completed his 100. The scholars state that the ascetic was not killed by the man but by his own ignorance. Subhan’Allaah. He had repented from murder, he wanted guidance and he did not want to murder. But when he found that the door is closed for him, then why spare the ascetic (meaning what use is the ascetic for) so let me complete the 100. So when he finished his 100 then after a few days, his heart again became tight (with regret) and he again asked people. People knew that he did not spare the ascetic man and they were scared of him that if they did not direct him, then he might kill them as well as he has already committed 100 murders. So they directed him to another man. Allaah the Most High was showing him the way as He wanted to guide him. Seeking out the means is necessary my brothers. Some people think that since guidance is in the Hands of Allaah, then one must just sit in the house, what is the need to go anywhere? Guidance will be acquired when you seek it by moving out of the house.

So they said that there is such and such scholar, so go to him. The man went to that scholar and said I have committed one hundred murders. The scholar replied that nothing can come between you and your Lord. Repent to your Lord and in-sha’Allaah, your Lord will accept your repentance. However, there is condition. It is that you must leave this place, this environment and go to another place. The city, the place where you live in, its environment has made you a murderer. If you repent and stay in the same place, then again chances are that in this same environment you may do a murder again. Do you know why? The relatives of those whom he murdered are still present there and he murdered 100 people. If he lives in the same city and same area, then after repenting, he would come closer to his Lord and start praying Salah, but will the ones seeking revenge spare him? They will compel him to commit more murders. So what was the wisdom? So that this person could repent in the right manner. In this there was a test for him from Allaah the Most High and in reality a solution for him to repent completely and leave that place.

What was the test? To migrate and leave his place. He has a house, children, a name. A person builds a house with great difficulty. Then there is the society and his name in it where people are scared of his name and he will have to leave all this. So, the condition was that if he wanted to repent then this was the only way. And look at the acceptance of repentance. When Allaah the Most High turns the heart then this is how He turns it. When he came out from there (the scholar’s house), he did not go towards his wife and children. To bid farewell to them or pick up some money or belongings. He had a house so (he did not think) to sell it. He went straight towards the land where the scholar advised him to go. Did he pass his test or not? Satan tried a lot to pull him towards his house but he did not go there. He went towards that land and this is called sacrifice.

It is from the wisdom of Allaah that death came upon him on the way. When death came upon him, he dragged himself to put his chest forward one or two times and then he died. The angels came to capture his soul and they were the angels of mercy and the angels of punishment. The angels of mercy said that we shall capture his soul as he has repented. The angels of punishment said that how can you take his soul when he is a murderer of 100 people. A quarrel broke out. To judge between them, Allaah sent down an angel from the skies and commanded him to measure the land. If he is near the good people then he shall be taken by the angels of mercy and if he had not covered a lot of distance and is near the evil people, then the angels of punishment will take him. The (appointed) angel had not reached the earth when Allaah commanded the earth that “O land of the good people, get closer (to the dead man). O land of the wicked people, get farther away”. So the angel came and started measuring. And he found that it was just a hand span closer. Which one?

The land of good people. And it was the same hand span which this man dragged himself forward during his last moments and his last breath. This last action in the final moments of this man were much liked by Allaah that this slave of His made one last try. There is repentance and then there is that when the soul has been taken from the feet and it is upon the chest, then what could he do? This is all he could do. He could only drag his chest forward. He dragged it forward as much as he could. So it is the justice of Allaah the Most High and His grace and mercy that even after committing a 100 murders, He pardoned him as soon as he repented even though he never prostrated. And his soul was taken by the angels of mercy.

There are many benefits (in this incident), one of the most important benefit here is as per our topic, about repenting to Allaah with sincerity and determination.

Souce: Some part above is an Extract translation of a lecture by Dr Murtaza bin Bakhsh, Jeddah, on al-Usool ath-Thalaatha.

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