Ahadith 2410 – 2412 (below) are repeats. See linked text for related posts.
Volume 4, Book 51, Number 17 :
Narrated by Anas (radiallaahu `anhu)
The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) saw a man driving a Badana (i.e. camel for sacrifice) and said to him, “Ride on it.” The man said, “O Allah’s Apostle! It is a Badana.” (The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) repeated his order) and on the third or fourth time he said, “Ride it, “woe to you!” (or said: “May Allah be merciful to you).”
Volume 4, Book 51, Number 18 :
Narrated by Abu Huraira (radiallaahu `anhu)
Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) saw a man driving a Badana and said to him, “Ride on it,” and on the second or the third time he added, “Woe to you.”
Volume 4, Book 51, Number 19 :
Narrated by Ibn ‘Abbas (radiallaahu `anhu)
The mother of Sad bin ‘Ubada (radiallaahu `anhu) died in his absence. He said, “O Allah’s Apostle! My mother died in my absence; will it be of any benefit for her if I give Sadaqa on her behalf?” The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said, “Yes,” Sad (radiallaahu `anhu) said, “I make you a witness that I gave my garden called Al Makhraf in charity on her behalf.”
Volume 4, Book 51, Number 20 :
Narrated by Kab bin Malik (radiallaahu `anhu)
I said, “O Allah’s Apostle! For the acceptance of my repentance I wish to give all my property in charity for Allah’s sake through His Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam).” He said, “It is better for you to keep some of the property for yourself.” I said, “Then I will keep my share in Khaibar.”
The story of Ka’b’s (radiallaahu `anhu) repentance is most beautiful. He narrated it in his own words to his son who then narrated it further, and it’s recorded in Bukhari and Muslim. We’ll come to the story after this point: it is mustahabb (liked) to give charity after committing a sin (and repenting).
It was narrated that Ka‘b ibn ‘Ajrah (may Allah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said to me:
“Charity extinguishes sin as water extinguishes fire.”
Al-Tirmidhi (614); classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Sunan al-Tirmidhi.
The Story of Ka’b’s (radiallaahu `anhu) Repentance
After the Conquest of Makkah, Caeser – Ruler of Byzantium, which was considered the greatest military force on earth at the time – could no longer turn a blind eye to the activities of the Muslims. He was anxiously aware of the Arab tribes’ expectations of independence, and their hopes of getting free from his reign and influence. They could not ignore the alliance of the Arab tribes on his borders to the Muslims. So he concluded that the demolition of the Muslims’ power had grown an urgent necessity. This decision of his should, in his opinion, be achieved before the Muslims become too powerful to conquer, and raise troubles and unrest in the adjacent Arab territories. Thus, Caeser raised a huge army of Byzantine and pro-Roman Ghassanide tribes to launch a decisive bloody battle against the Muslims. News of this army reached the Muslims and much fear spread in their hearts. After much deliberating on the situation, the Messenger of Allah sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam made up his mind and ordered his companions to prepare for war. No sooner had the Muslims heard the voice of the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam calling them to fight the Byzantines, than they rushed to comply with his orders. Almost all the Muslims responded positively. Only those who had weakness in their hearts favoured to stay behind. They were only three people. Their story is told below:
Due to its particular circumstances, this invasion was a particularly severe trial provided by Allah only to try the believers’ faith and sort them out from the others. This is Allah’s permanent Will in such circumstances. In this respect He says:
“Allah will not leave the believers in the state in which you are in now, until He distinguishes the wicked from the good … “[Al-Qur’an 3:179]
Lagging behind and hanging back from full participation in that invasion amounted to a degree of hypocrisy. Whenever the Messenger of Allah sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was informed of a man’s lingering, he would say: “Leave him alone! If Allah knows him to be good, He will enable him to follow you; but if he were not so, Allah would relieve us of him.”
Nobody stayed behind except those who were either hindered by a serious excuse or the hypocrites who told lies to Allah and His Messenger. Some of those hypocrites’ lingering was due to an excuse based on forgery and delusion. Some others tarried, but didn’t ask for instant permission. But there were three believers who unjustifiably lingered. They were the ones whose faith Allah tried, but later He returned to them in Mercy and accepted their repentance. One of the believers’ stories is recorded in an authentic hadeeth:
It has been related by ‘Abdullah ibn Ka’ab ibn Malik, who became Ka’ab’s guide from amongst his children – when he became blind. He said: I heard Ka’ab ibn Malik speaking about the incident concerning his non-participation during the Battle of Tabuk. Ka’ab said:
“I was not absent from the Messenger of Allah sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam during any campaign that he fought in, except the Battle of Tabuk. Nevertheless, I was absent from the Battle of Badr. However, no individual was admonished for non-participation. Indeed, the Messenger of Allah sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam departed in search of a caravan of the Quraysh, thereafter certain events took place until Allah assembled the two armies unexpectedly. Verily, I witnessed the night of Al-‘Aqabah (the Pledge) with the Messenger of Allah sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, the night wherein we pledged our allegiance to Islam. Furthermore I would not exchange it for participation in the Battle of Badr, regardless of the fact that the Battle of Badr is deemed more noteworthy amongst the people. In relation to my news: I had never before been stronger nor wealthier than at the time I remained behind the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam during that campaign. By Allah – I had never before been in possession of two she-camels, until the time of the battle.”
The Messenger of Allah sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam would conceal his intention to embark upon a military expedition by making reference to other campaigns, until the time for that expedition arrived.
The Messenger of Allah sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam conducted that expedition during a season of extreme heat, undertaking a lengthy journey through desert terrain. In addition, the enemy was great in number. Thus, the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, clarified the matter to the Muslims, in order that they prepare themselves adequately for their campaign, and he informed them of their intended destination. The Messenger of Allah sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was accompanied by a considerable number of Muslims, whose names could not be recorded in a book. Ka’ab continued:
“Any individual who wished to remain absent would assume that his absence would pass unnoticed, unless it was revealed by Allah by means of Divine Revelation. The Messenger of Allah sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam undertook that expedition during a season wherein the fruit had ripened and the shade had become pleasant.
“The Messenger of Allah sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and the Muslims equipped themselves with the necessary provisions. I too departed in order to prepare myself, however I returned without accomplishing anything. I would say to myself: I am able to prepare myself. Hence, I continued to postpone my preparations. However the people occupied themselves in earnest with the journey, until the day arrived wherein the Messenger of Allah sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and the Muslims proceeded to depart. However I had not completed any part of my preparations. I said to myself: I shall prepare myself in one or two days after his departure, and then I will join them.
“The morning after their departure, I set out in order to equip myself. However, I returned without completing anything. The following morning, I set out again, nevertheless, but I returned without accomplishing anything. This continued until they hastened towards the battle, and the campaign had passed by. Nevertheless, I intended to depart and reach them, would that I had done so! However, I was not destined to do that.
“After the departure of the Messenger of Allah sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam I would enter amongst the people and it would become a cause of sadness for me. For I did not see except the one suspected of being a hypocrite, or the weak and infirm whom Allah had excused from participation.
“The Messenger of Allah sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam did not remember me until he arrived in Tabuk. He was sitting amongst his people in Tabuk and asked, ‘What happened to Ka’ab?’ A man from amongst the tribe of Bani Salimah responded: ‘O Messenger of Allah, he was hindered by his garments and pleasure for his clothes and his self.’
“Mu’adh ibn Jabal said: ‘What a wretched statement you have uttered. O Messenger of Allah, we do not know of him save goodness.’
“Hence, the Messenger of Allah sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam became silent. Whilst he was in that position, he saw a man clothed in a white garment real in essence (not merely a desert mirage). The Messenger of Allah sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said: ‘May it be Abu Khaythama al-Ansari, he was the one who donated a measure of dates when the Munafiqin (Hypocrites) defamed him.’ “
Ka’ab ibn Malik continued:
“When I learned that he had turned in order to return, I was consumed by distress, and started therefore to invent lies. I started to question myself: With what can I avoid his anger tomorrow? I sought assistance from every individual of sound mind and judgment from amongst my family.
“When it was mentioned that the Messenger of Allah’s sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam arrival was imminent, the false excuses vanished from my mind. I recognized that I could not liberate myself from this predicament by means of falsehood. I therefore resolved to speak the truth.
“The Messenger of Allah sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam arrived the following morning. It was a practice of the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam that upon returning from a journey, he would proceed towards the Mosque and perform a two rak’ah prayer therein, and then sit amongst the people. After those matters had taken place, the absentees approached him. They started to present their excuses and take oaths to that effect. There were over eighty men in number. The Messenger of Allah sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallamaccepted their excuses, their oaths, and sought forgiveness on their behalf. In addition, he entrusted unto Allah their secret affairs. Thereafter I approached him, and conveyed the greeting upon him. He smiled – the smile of the one enraged. Then he said: ‘Come forward.’ I therefore approached him walking until I was sitting before him. Then he said: ‘What prevented you from accompanying us? Had you not purchased a riding animal?’
“I responded: ‘Of course O Messenger of Allah. However, by Allah, if I was in the presence of any other man from amongst the inhabitants of this World, I would avoid His wrath by presenting an excuse for I have been granted the ability to speak in an eloquently persuasive manner. However, I am aware that if I utter a lie today in order to seek your pleasure, certainly Allah will cause you to become enraged with me in the future. Alternatively, if I inform you of the truth, thereby causing you to become angry, I may nevertheless hope for Allah’s Pardon. No, By Allah I have no excuse to present. I had never before been stronger nor wealthier than during the time I neglected to accompany you.’
“The Messenger of Allah sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam replied: ‘In relation to this man – he has spoken the truth. Therefore, stand until Allah pronounces judgment in this matter.’ I therefore stood, a group of men from the tribe of Bani Salimah became disorderly and started following me. They addressed me: ‘By Allah – we have not known you to commit a misdeed. Verily you erred in not excusing yourself before the Messenger of Allah sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam in a similar manner to the other absentees who excused themselves. The Messenger of Allah’s sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam action of seeking forgiveness for your misdeed would have been sufficient for you.’ They continued to reprimand me until I desired to return to the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and fabricate a lie against myself (contradict my story).
“However I questioned them, ‘Is there any other individual in a similar position?’ They responded, ‘Yes, there are two men who uttered the same statement as you and both received the same directive as you did. ‘I asked: ‘Who are these two men?’ They answered: ‘Murarah ibn al-Rabi’ and Hilal ibn Umayyah al-Waqifi.’
“By their statement, they had made reference to two virtuous men who had participated in the Battle of Badr, and were examples to be followed. After they had mentioned these two men I remained steadfast upon my original statement.
“Thereafter, the Messenger of Allah sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam prohibited the Muslims from speaking to us – namely the three individuals from amongst us who had neglected to accompany him.
“As a consequence the people avoided us and altered their conduct towards us, until the land wherein I lived appeared foreign, not one which I was familiar with. We remained in that state for a period of fifty nights. In relation to my companions – they surrendered themselves to their houses and remained seated therein, weeping. However, I was the youngest and most forbearing of the three, I would therefore exit the house in order to perform the prayer with the other Muslims.
“I would wander around the markets, yet no one would speak to me. I would approach the Messenger of Allah sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and convey the greeting upon him whilst he was sitting amidst his gatherings, which took place upon completion of the prayer. I would question myself: Did his lips move in the act of reciprocating the greeting upon me or not? Thereafter, I would perform the prayer close by him, and look towards him in a surreptitious manner. When I occupied myself with the prayer, he would turn towards me. However, when I looked in his direction, he would avoid me. When this period of estrangement lengthened, I set out to walk until I climbed upon the wall of Abu Qatadah’s garden. He was my cousin and amongst the most beloved of people to me. I conveyed the greeting upon him, and by Allah – he did not reciprocate the greeting upon me. Hence, I said: ‘O Abu Qatadah: I implore you by Allah, are you aware that I love Allah and His Messenger?’ He remained silent. I appealed to him by Allah a second time, however he remained silent. Then he responded: ‘Allah and His Messenger sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam are greater in knowledge.’ Thereupon tears flowed from my eyes, I turned away and climbed over the wall.”
“Whilst I was walking in the market in Madinah I saw a Christian farmer from amongst the farmers of Sham, who had traveled to Madinah in order to sell their produce. He said: ‘Who shall direct me to towards Ka’ab bin Malik?’ The people started to gesture towards me, until he approached me and presented me with a letter from the King of Ghassan, in which it was written:
‘To proceed, it has come to our attention that your companion has dealt with you in a harsh manner. Allah has not rendered this world for you as a dwelling of disgrace and degradation, nor one of loss and ruin. So join us and we shall bestow upon you comfort and consolation.’
“Upon reading the letter I said to myself: This too is a trial placed before me. I therefore placed the letter in the oven and created a fire by burning it therein.
“When a period of forty out of fifty nights had passed, the messenger of the Messenger of Allah sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallamapproached me and said: ‘The Messenger of Allah sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam commands you to distance yourself from your wife.’ I said: ‘Should I divorce her, or what must I do?’ He responded: ‘No, distance yourself from her and do not approach her. The Prophetsallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam has issued a similar directive to your two companions.’ Hence, I said to my wife:
‘Go to your parents and remain with them until Allah passes judgment in this matter.’ “
“The wife of Hilal ibn Umayyah came to the Apostle of Allah sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and said: ‘O Messenger of Allah, verily Hilal bin Umayyah is an elderly man who is incapable of taking care of himself. Furthermore, he is not in possession of a servant, would you therefore object if I was to serve him?’ He responded: ‘No, but he must not approach you.’ She said: ‘By Allah, he has no desire for any matter. By Allah, he has not ceased to weep from the day this matter started until this time now.’ Some of my family members questioned me: ‘Why don’t you seek permission from the Messenger of Allah sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam concerning your wife, as he has granted permission for the wife of Hilal bin Umayyah to serve him?’ I responded: ‘By Allah, I shall not seek permission from the Messenger of Allah sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam concerning her. I am not aware of what the Messenger of Allah sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam would say if I sought his permission in relation to her whilst I am still a young man.’ I remained in that state for an additional ten nights, until fifty nights had been completed from the point that he had prohibited the people from speaking to us.
“On the morning of the fiftieth night, I performed the Fajr prayer upon the roof of one of our houses. I was experiencing a condition which Allah had mentioned in the Book:
‘My soul had become contracted, and the earth had contracted upon me despite its vastness.’
“Suddenly I heard a clear voice emanating from the direction of Mount Safa. Somebody announced with his loudest voice: ‘O Ka’ab bin Malik, I confer upon you glad tidings!’ I prostrated myself upon the ground. I realized that relief from this tribulation had arrived and that the Messenger of Allah sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam had indicated that Allah had granted us penitence. After the Fajr prayer, the people thereupon proceeded forth to congratulate us, and bearers of glad tidings departed to my two companions. A horseman raced towards me in order to congratulate me and a messenger from the tribe of Aslam raced towards the mountain and scaled it in order to make the announcement. I heard his voice before that of the horseman. When the individual whose voice I had heard approached me to convey the glad tidings, I removed my garments and clothed him in them. By Allah, on that day I was not in possession of any other garments, I therefore borrowed two items, clothed myself and proceeded towards the Messenger of Allahsallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. People started receiving me in groups, congratulating me upon the acceptance of my penitence. They said: ‘We congratulate you upon Allah’s acceptance of your repentance.’ When I entered the Mosque, the Messenger of Allahsallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was sitting, surrounded by people. Talhah ibn ‘Ubaydullah hastened towards me. He shook my hand, and congratulated me. By Allah, no one from amongst the Muhajirin (Emigrants) stood in order to greet me save him, and I shall never forget Talhah’s action in doing so.
“When I greeted the Messenger of Allah sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, his face was radiant with happiness, and he said: ‘I give you the glad tidings of the best day you have witnessed since your mother gave birth to you.’ I asked, ipation in that invasion amounted to a degree of hypocri’Is this from you or from Allah?’ He responded, ‘It is from Allah.’
“Whenever the Messenger of Allah sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam became delighted, his face became illuminated until it resembled a piece of the moon. We recognized that this matter was characteristic of him. When I sat before him, I said: ‘O Messenger of Allah, by virtue of the acceptance of my repentance, I shall donate the sum total of my wealth in charity for the sake of Allah and His Messenger.’ The Messenger of Allah sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam responded: ‘Retain a portion of your wealth, for it is better for you to do so.’ I said: ‘I shall retain a portion of my wealth in Khaybar. O Messenger of Allah, verily Allah has delivered me from this tribulation because I spoke the truth. My penitence therefore dictates that I shall speak only the truth as long as I live.’
“By Allah, I am not aware of any individual from amongst the Muslims whom Allah has blessed for speaking the truth more than myself, from the time wherein I mentioned those words of truth to the Messenger of Allah sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. In addition, I have never intended to utter a falsehood from the time wherein I mentioned those words of truth to the Messenger of Allahsallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam to the present day. Furthermore, I hope that Allah will protect me from uttering falsehood during the remaining portion of my life. Allah revealed the Verse to His Messenger:
“Allah has forgiven the Prophet, the Muhajirin, and the Ansar … be with those who are truthful … “ [Al-Qur’an 9:117-119]
“By Allah, after guiding me to Islam, Allah has not bestowed upon me a favour – greater in magnitude – than my statement of truth to the Apostle of Allah sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, and my action of not uttering a lie to him. For I would have destroyed myself, as those who uttered lies were destroyed. Allah ascribed to those who had uttered falsehood, a description more evil than he had ascribed to any other individual, when He revealed His Revelation. Allah, Blessed be He, the Most High stated:
‘They will swear by Allah to you when you return to them, that you may turn away from them. So turn away from them. Surely, they are impure, and Hell is their dwelling place – a recompense for that which they used to earn. They (the hypocrites) swear to you (Muslims) that you may be pleased with them, but if you are pleased with them, certainly Allah is not pleased with people who are rebellious.’ [Al-Qur’an 9:95-96]“
“We, the three who neglected to participate, differed from those whose excuses were accepted by the Messenger of Allah sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam when they swore to him to that effect. He accepted their pledge of allegiance and sought forgiveness for them. However, the Messenger of Allah sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam deferred our case until Allah passed judgment in relation to it. With reference to that, Allah said: ‘He also forgave the three who remained behind … ‘ [Qur’an 9:118]
“In this Verse Allah did not refer to our non-participation in the military expedition. However it refers to the postponement and deferment of the Messenger sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam in the act of passing judgment. In contrast to the one who took an oath before him and excused himself: an action which was accepted by the Messenger of Allah sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.”
In a different narration: The Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam departed for the Battle of Tabuk on Thursday, he would love to set out on a Thursday. In a further narration: He would not return from a journey save during the day time before noon. Upon arrival, he would proceed towards the Mosque and perform a two rak’ah prayer. Thereafter, he would sit.” [Collected: Bukhari (4418), Kitab al-Maghazi, and Muslim (2769), Kitab at-Tawbah]
Volume 3, Book 48, Number 816 :
Narrated by ‘Urwa bin Az-Zubair (radiallaahu `anhu)
A woman committed theft in the Ghazwa of the Conquest (of Mecca) and she was taken to the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) who ordered her hand to be cut off. ‘Aisha (radiallaahu `anhaa) said, “Her repentance was perfect and she was married (later) and used to come to me (after that) and I would present her needs to Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam).”
Volume 3, Book 48, Number 817 :
Narrated by Zaid bin Khalid (radiallaahu `anhu)
Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) ordered that an unmarried man who committed illegal sexual intercourse be scourged one hundred lashes and sent into exile for one year.
Can the testimony of a sinner be accepted?
In case of slander, Allah has prescribed three punishments. They are: the hadd punishment; rejection of testimony; and describing the slanderer as an evildoer (Faasiq). Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“And those who accuse chaste women, and produce not four witnesses, flog them with eighty stripes, and reject their testimony forever. They indeed are the Faasiqoon (liars, rebellious, disobedient to Allaah). Except those who repent thereafter and do righteous deeds; (for such) verily, Allaah is Oft‑Forgiving, Most Merciful.” [al-Noor 24:4-5].
With regard to the hadd punishment, the fuqaha’ are unanimously agreed that the hadd punishment for slander is eighty lashes if the slanderer is a free person [i.e., not a slave], man or woman, because Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“flog them with eighty stripes” [al-Noor 24:4].
As for his testimony not being accepted, the scholars are unanimously agreed that the testimony of the slanderer should not be accepted so long as he has not repented, because he has committed a major sin, namely slander, and has not repented from it, so he cannot be described as being of good character, and good character is a condition of testimony being accepted; and because he is a liar and an evildoer according to the text of the verse: “They indeed are the Faasiqoon (liars, rebellious, disobedient to Allaah).”
“Why did they not produce four witnesses? Since they (the slanderers) have not produced witnesses! Then with Allaah they are the liars” [al-Noor 24:13].
The testimony of the evildoer and liar cannot be accepted, because Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “And take as witness two just persons from among you (Muslims)” [al-Talaaq 65:2]. So it is stipulated that the witness should be of good character, and the evildoer and liar are not of good character.
If he repents from slander and admits that he was lying, then the majority of scholars (Maalik, al-Shaafa’i and Ahmad) are of the view that his testimony may be accepted. They said:
1. Because repentance erases the sins that came before it, so if he repents his sin and its effects are erased completely, and non-acceptance of testimony is one of the effects of that sin.
Imam al-Shaafa’i said in al-Umm (7/94):
If he admits that he lied, his testimony may then be accepted, but if he does not do that then his testimony cannot be accepted, until he does that, because the sin for which his testimony is rejected is slander, but if he admits that he was lying then he has repented. End quote.
2. Because the expression “forever” in the verse applies so long as he persists in evildoing. Hence after that the verse mentions after the ruling that he is an evildoer: “and reject their testimony forever. They indeed are the Faasiqoon (liars, rebellious, disobedient to Allaah).” If the description of evildoer ceases to apply to him, then the reason for rejecting his testimony also ceases to exist.
3. It was narrated from ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him) that he said to those who had slandered al-Mugheerah ibn Shu’bah, after he had carried out the hadd punishment of flogging on them: “Whoever repents, his testimony will be accepted.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari in a mu’allaq majzoom report.
His repentance means that he admits that he was lying about the slandered person whom he accused of zina. Hence the words of ‘Umar according to Ibn Jareer were, “Whoever admits that he was lying, his testimony will be accepted.”
If the slanderer repents and mends his ways, his testimony will be accepted, like any other Muslim of good character.
Al-Mughni (12/386); al-Majmoo’ (22/98-101).
Taken from IslamQA
This is a guest post by Sr. Amara Zulfiqar, co-owner at Writer’s Guild.
Reading Omer’s article “Work Hard for the Rest of your Life” inspired me to pour my heart out with respect to faith. Please excuse me if anyone is offended by the content of the article. That was never the intention. I am an average girl who doesn’t cover up, not because I don’t believe in it but because I’ve somehow never felt the need. I believe my faith was stronger a few months ago and I’ve made mistakes, some knowingly, others unknowingly. Despite all of that I know I’m one of the very few people who are blessed because I know Allah loves me. I always manage to get out of things even if it is at the last minute but somehow Allah always comes to my rescue whether I’ve asked for His help or not (I always do though).
On the outlook, I’m a very worldly person and perhaps very worldly wise as well. I don’t like interfering in people’s matters for the simple reason that it’s not my problem and people don’t like meddlers. I will help people close to me to the extent that I’m not imposing myself on them because again, I don’t want to suffocate them. The reason why I’ve started on this note is because I wanted to define what “average” meant when I said I’m an average girl. I have these flaws along with many others. Others might have different flaws but at the end of the day that is what makes us human: to err.
Technically, when you make mistakes and realise them, it draws you closer to Allah and makes you more God-fearing. That is the natural, the logical outcome. But what if you don’t feel the remorse of committing thought-out, intentional sins but you know you should, and to compensate for them, you revert to the Quran, read it for meaning so that somehow your heart is true when it asks for forgiveness. And yet, the heart lacks the light. What if you pray five times a day to seek that light and yet it escapes you? You are doing all the right things, taking the right steps, why then does the heart not find light?
I am not complaining. I know something is amiss. And that something is lacking in me. I have to figure that out and nobody can figure it out for me. But these are the dilemmas of an average person. They are caught between a material reality and the religious implications of following such a reality.
As far as working hard is concerned, I do not believe it is true that there is a single person who is not in some capacity trying to get salvation and spiritual insight. Some find that in helping others, some are exceptional to their parents, and still others are good at making people happy. Whatever the means, the end remains the same: filling the spiritual void which in turn pleases Allah. But again it all boils down to one thing: it is more what the society requires out of you rather than the religion. Your priorities are what only you can set straight.
I was fortunate enough to have a discussion with one of my friends the other day on sinning. I was discussing how I can’t pray because I have sinned so much that I feel like a hypocrite standing on the prayer mat. I mean how can I face Allah when I have committed so many sins knowingly? I have incessantly lied, slandered, gossiped and much more. I have rebelled in the most sinful ways to get back at people, not because I was angry at Allah but because I was disappointed in people. And yet in doing so I displeased Allah. I seek forgiveness and yet, again, my forgiveness lacks that truth and sincerity it should have. So I feel I am not sincere or pure enough to stand in front of Allah and seek His forgiveness or His pleasure in some way. I remember once calling one of my friends Faustus, Faustus who had sinned so much that he never asked for forgiveness because he believed he wouldn’t get it. Later I realised, I am Faustus.
And on this my friend told me that is exactly what Shaitan wants you believe. That there is no remorse, there is no way out and your sins are so grave that there is no redemption. And I realised that is exactly what I had been feeling all along. That I will not be forgiven which is why my seeking forgiveness lacked the sincerity that it should have.
It is strange how when I was reading Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe, this had occurred to me. That how stupid can a person be not to believe in the mercy of God. And yet perhaps the shame and disappointment you feel is so great that I found myself in a similar position. I had also conjured up my own Mephistopheles. Fortunately for me, I received my guiding light before it was too late. It’s a beginning, perhaps starting from scratch.
“Why this is hell, nor am I out of it.
Think’st thou that I, who saw the face of God,
And tasted the eternal joys of Heaven,
Am not tormented with ten thousand hells
In being deprived of everlasting bliss?”
The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus by Chritopher Marlowe
So this was the topic I chose in “On The Spot Essay” writing competition at Shifa Interscholastic Tournament 2013, held at Faisal Mosque on the 9th and 10th of February. Alhamdulillah I came 3rd in this. So I thought maybe it’s worth sharing in sha Allah.
Why do I need to strictly follow the commands of Allah? Why do I need wear Hijab? Why do I have to pray 5 times a day? Why this? Why that? – a million questions surrounding Islam. Some of them pop-up in our heads sometimes and some of them put forth by Atheists. As Muslims our usual reply is that because Allah is the creator and HE created us. So consequently we should do whatever HE tells us to. But even those who are saying this are sometimes not so sure themselves about it, or they’re unable to give sufficient reasons for following the commands of Allah and returning to HIM. As a result, we are unable to properly convey this message most of the times. So let’s see some of the basic reasons, through logic and rationality, which would make our Emaan stronger and would in’sha’Allah help us convince more people to follow Islam. Allah SWT has told us many times in the Quran that why do you not give thought?
We are living on the planet earth. A small planet compared to some of the giants of the solar system. The solar system being a small part of the galaxy Milky Way, and this galaxy being a small part of the universe we live in. Funny thing is scientists say we are only able to see about 4% of the universe, and the rest is still a mystery. Then why is it that man does not ponder over this amazing structure of the universe, the order present in it, and the very origin of it!
We know that everything that begins to exist has a cause. It is now an established FACT that the universe does indeed have a beginning, since the concept of infinity does not apply to even a SINGLE real situation in the universe. So if the universe has a beginning then it must have a cause. Now what is the nature of that cause? The universe is finite, so the cause must be infinite. The universe has a beginning – so the cause must have no beginning (and no end, since the universe is indeed going to end one day). Finally, that “cause” must not be a part of the universe, for the Creator cannot be a part of the creation. Just like a piece of cake cannot create a whole cake. These are just a few examples among the millions of others including the amazing order of the universe, the fine tuning of the universe, the mind blowing design and so on. When we ponder upon these, we come to the conclusion that there HAS TO BE SOMEONE who created all this. There are other reasons through which we can prove that this Creator, whom we know in Islam as Allah, has to be ONE, but let’s not get into those right now.
Now comes the question that if there’s a Creator then what does He want from us? That is where the Quran steps in, this absolutely amazing book – the only book that has never been changed. This is the only book that has no flaws and which no human can create. This is a challenge from Allah SWT Himself. As Allah says in the Quran that if you think that this Quran is the work of some man then produce a verse like it! And if you cannot, and surely you will not be able to, then fear the fire whose fuel is men and stones. People in the past have all tried and failed. The Quran is just too amazing. People have died trying to prove the Quran wrong but haven’t been able to do so. This is the only book that has been memorized cover to cover by millions of people around the world. Look at it from any perspective, be it linguistic, historical, cultural, or any other for that matter, the Quran never ceases to amaze you. Allah says in Surah Yousuf, “We have sent this down as an Arabic Quran, that perhaps you will give thought.” So if we know that Allah is the Creator and we know that the Quran is HIS word, then it’s only sensible to follow the commands of Allah given in the Quran.
Many Muslims now-a-days are in a state worse than the disbelievers. They say we believe but their actions do not prove it. That is because we have abandoned the Quran. We have forsaken the book of Allah. We have failed to realize HIS favors upon us and so we are ungrateful and are suffering today. Allah says in Surah Ibraheem, (the interpretation of the meaning is) that if you are grateful to your Lord, He will surely increase (HIS favors upon) you…
Allah has mentioned HIS favors upon man and then Allah says, in the same Surah
“And He gave you all that you asked of HIM. And if you should count the favors of Allah, you could not enumerate them. Indeed, mankind is Unjust and Ungrateful.”
It’s true that when you start walking on the path of Allah you have to face some difficulties, since that is what most people are afraid of. But Allah always tests the believers, to see if they really believe. Allah says in the Quran (interpretation of the meaning):
“Do people think that they will say “we believe” and they will not be tested?”
Allah also says in Surah Al-Baqarah:
“Surely We will test you with something of Fear, loss of Health, Lives and Fruit. But give Glad Tidings to the Patient (As-Sabiroon). Who, when disaster strikes them, say “Indeed to Allah we belong and Indeed to HIM we shall return.”
The life of this world is temporary and it is going to end. Allah has said in Surah Rehman (interpretation of the meaning):
“Everything will perish…”
But the life of the hereafter is forever. So brothers and sisters do not let the Shaitaan fool you, as that is his job! Allah mentions what he would say on the day of Judgement in Surah Ibraheem (interpretation of the meaning):
“And Shaitaan will say when the matter has been decided, Indeed Allah promised you a promise of truth and I promised you too, but I deceived you. But I had no authority over you, I only called you and you responded to me. So do not blame me, but blame yourselves. I cannot come for your aid and you cannot come for my aid. Indeed, I deny your association of me with Allah before. Indeed, for the wrongdoers is a painful punishment.”
And what would be the reward of those who believed in their Lord? Allah says in the Quran, that their reward is
“..Gardens underneath which rivers flow, wherein they will abide forever..”
Is it not enough proof for us to change our lives? Are the words of Allah SWT not clear enough? Do we still have any doubt about it? No, I believe not. It is only the tricks of Shaitaan that a person falls into. It is inevitable that human beings would fall into sin. As according to an authentic Hadith of the Prophet PBUH, if we did not sin, Allah would remove us and would create a creation that would sin and then repent to Allah. This is how much Allah loves repentance. So it’s never too late. The doors of Jannah are still open for us. We are still alive and breathing by the Grace of Allah. According to another authentic Hadith of the Prophet PBUH, when a slave repents and returns to Allah, Allah is happier than a person who is travelling with a camel and he lies down for a while and his camel wanders away. He searches for it desperately and tries to find it but he cannot. Then when he has lost all hope he sees the camel strolling towards him. He is so happy to see this sight, for his life has just been saved, that in his joy he says “O Allah, I am your Rabb and you are my slave.” The Prophet of Allah PBUH said that Allah is HAPPIER than this guy! SubhanAllah! This is how much Allah loves us! This is how much HE wants us to return to HIM and gain Jannah! Allah is the most merciful, the especially merciful. But HE is also Al-Jabbaar! HE is also THE JUST. So we need not take Allah’s mercy for granted and leave our lives hanging on a thread hoping that Allah would forgive us. We need to work hard. We need to do all that is in our power and THEN put our trust in Allah! That is what Allah requires from us and that is what we need to do.
All good is from Allah SWT and only the mistakes are mine.
Narrated Ibn Mas’ud:
A man kissed a woman (unlawfully) and then went to the Prophet and informed him. Allah revealed:
And offer prayers perfectly at the two ends of the day and in some hours of the night (i.e. the five compulsory prayers). Verily! good deeds remove (annul) the evil deeds (small sins) (11.114). The man asked Allah’s Apostle, “Is it for me?” He said, “It is for all my followers.”
Lately you’ve been feeling this burden on your chest. This sin that you committed, knowingly or unknowingly. You crossed your limits. You disobeyed your Lord. Now you want your way back. A way to somehow press ‘delete’ on your past. You want to share the burden and feel lightened. But you can’t. You can’t tell anyone. No one would understand.
Stop right there! There is someone. The one who’s been there all along. The one who understands you and your circumstances. The one who’s been hiding your sin from others. The one who always listens. He’s waiting for you to come back. He’s waiting for your repentance. A sincere one. Just do it.
Repentance is such a blessing. It automatically removes your burden. But what after that? What’s the guarantee that you won’t slip again? You did it once, you might do it again. If you fear yourself, ask Allah to keep you strong. And carry on.
To feel better, pray. To increase your strength, do more good deeds. For verily, good deeds remove the evil ones.
And remember, there’s no way of knowing (for sure) if your repentance was accepted or not. But that’s the good thing about it. A believer is always somewhere in between fear and hope. The fear that Allah won’t forgive him, and the hope that He’s the Oft-Forgiving, that He shall forgive him.
Allah is the always Merciful, the Oft-Forgiving (not Always-Forgiving).