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April 19, 2004
Ya Allah, please forgive me.

by Ibn Muzaffar Syed Hussain

An article over the weekend told us how we should have Subhanallah on our tongues all the time. I had posted to that article and said that having Astaghfirullah on our tongues is necessary also. In fact, considering the state of the Ummah today, I think it is the most important word we can say every day. For if it wasn't for Allah's Maghfirah, then none of us would even be able to do any good ever. Sinning makes the hearts hard and persistence in sinning may lead a person to Kufr. However, it is that guilt that comes with sinning, if we have any guilt, that leads a Muslim to ask for Allah's Forgiveness.

We all know that we commit sins daily, whether knowingly or unknowingly. The unknowing sins we won't be held accountable for...maybe. But the knowing sins, and we know when we sin, for how many of them do we repent? I don't want to make this a long article, just as a little reminder that we really need to ask Allah to forgive us.

Imam Ghazali (may he rest in peace), in his book Minhajul 'Abideen, says that we should offer repentance - ask Allah to forgive us - for two reasons. The first is that the person who repents is facilitated to worship Allah (subhaanahu wa ta'ala), because like I said before sinning causes a person to be deprived of the virtue and facility of worship. As the translation of the book says, "The burden of sins retards the prayers and activities of good deeds and servitude to Allah." This retardation of prayers and good deeds leads to hardening of the heart, which in turn leads to, as stated earlier, "...to infidelity and permanent misfortune." May Allah protect us from that.

The second reason that Imam Ghazali states is that thru repentance, "...worship and obedience find access to the Divine Court of Allah." To understand that statement is like saying that if a person owes a debt to another person, then the creditor will not accept any gifts from the debtor but would like the amount of money back. In the same way, how can Allah accept the 'gift' of worship when sincere repentance has not been made for the sins committed by the worshipper? As Imam Ghazali states, "How can this gift of worship be accepted when obligatory duties are outstanding against the man and he is occupied with optional prayers?" It's the story today. Many of us miss our fardh prayers but we'll stay up at night during Ramadan to do nafl prayers. The intention is nice and all but what answer do we have for missing our faraa'id? Do we bother to even make them up or do we just think that if we do enough nafl worship, it'll make up for the missed OBLIGATORY 'ibadah?

Sorry to burst your bubbles brothers and sisters but there is no room for nafl worship when our obligatory worship is so lacking. Forget about worship, we commit sins every day, most of which we are aware, yet at the end of the day before we go to sleep how many of us sit or stand in front of Allah and ask Him to forgive us for any sins we have committed throughout the day? If we only realized the power and the beauty of forgiveness, we would be in sujood the whole day begging for His Forgiveness and Mercy.

Allah says in Surah Baqarah, "When My servants ask thee concerning Me, I am indeed close (to them): I listen to the prayer of every suppliant when he calleth on Me: Let them also, with a will, Listen to My call, and believe in Me: That they may walk in the right way." (2:186). In this beautiful Ayah, and all His Ayahs are beautiful, He is practically telling us to call on Him - for forgiveness, for mercy, for anything we desire - and He will answer us. It might not be in the way we like or when we like, but He will answer our prayer. Many scholars have said though, and we must keep this in mind as well when our prayers don't seem to be answered, that many times prayers are NOT answered because the person asking commits so many sins.

If we first don't ask to be forgiven, then how do we expect Allah to fulfill all our desires? We pray yet our day-to-day activities are full of sin. It's easy for us to get that job which involves riba or some other haram act. It's easy for us to eat non-Halal, when the Prophet Muhammad (may Allah's peace and blessings be upon him and his family), that the halal is clear and the haram is clear so stay away from that which is not clear. When there is halal meat available, is it really necessary to follow our nufoos and go eat meat at the local McDonald's or Burger King? If we can't sacrifice that much for Allah, we really expect him to answer our Du'as?

Last week's meeting was about backbiting. Did we ever analyze how much we backbite? It's like a hobby for some people. What about gossip, suspicion, or even spreading rumors? Do we not know that all of these acts is considered sinning? Just because everyone does it doesn't make it right. Read about Islam and learn to believe in Allah and His Rules and Ordinances.

I hope this gives some idea of how much we sin and how much we need to repent every single day for the tens of sins we commit each day. I can name all of them but I hope I don't have to. Sinning has become so common because we don't have any belief in the Ghaib; if we firmly believed that we would be held accountable for EVERY SINGLE THING that we ever did in our life, then I don't think we would have the guts to do some of the actions we do. However, I also want to make it clear that we are also human and humans are prone to mistakes and errors. Honest mistakes we won't be held accountable for InshaAllah but it's the other actions that we do, because of the weakness in our Iman, is what we should beg forgiveness for. Remember that even the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) won't enter Jannah other than with Allah's Infinite Mercy.

Anything that I have said is right is from Allah, the Glorious, the Exalted and anything else is because I know nothing.

Allahumma a'izzal islaama wal muslimeen wa azhillashirka wal mushrikeen.

Rabbana isrif anna 'adhaaba jahannam. Inna 'adhaabaha kaana gharaama. Innaha sa'at mustaqarran wa muqama

Rabbana ighfirlana wa li-ikhwaninalladhina sabaquna bil-Iman wa la taj'al fi qulubina ghillallil ladhina amanu. Rabbana innaka Ra'ufun Rahim.


of and relating to...
Talal said

MashaAllah wa subhanAllah.

Akh Ibn Muzaffar,
There's really an inherently calm wisdom emanating from your writing. I love the place that it keeps in Hidaya, and it's SORELY missed when you abandon us :)


on April 19, 2004 11:50 PM
Ibn Muzaffar Syed Hussain said

Jazakallah.

Honestly I don't think my writing is that good but Alhamdulillah if others think it is. It's just what I see in myself and others, mostly myself. I don't ABANDON you guys, just you know get pre-occupied with med school studies :).

As for the meanings of the du'as:

Allahumma a'izzal islaama wal muslimeen wa azhillashirka wal mushrikeen
'Allah give respect to Islam and the Muslims and give disrespect to shirk and the Mushriks'

Rabbana isrif anna 'adhaaba jahannam. Inna 'adhaabaha kaana gharaama. Innaha sa'at mustaqarran wa muqama
'O Our Lord! turn away from us the chastisement of hell, surely the chastisement thereof is a lasting evil. Surely it is an evil abode and (an evil) place to stay in.'

Rabbana ighfirlana wa li-ikhwaninalladhina sabaquna bil-Iman wa la taj'al fi qulubina ghillallil ladhina amanu. Rabbana innaka Ra'ufun Rahim
'Our Lord! forgive us and those of our brethren who had precedence over us in faith, and do not allow any spite to remain in our hearts towards those who believe, Our Lord! surely Thou art Kind, Merciful'

on April 20, 2004 12:00 AM
Justoju said

Good stuff brother Ibn.

Its interesting how "astaghfirullah" is an inseperable shade of "subhanAllah", "alhamdulillah", and "Allahu Akbar". Concentration upon either one of these leads one to feel all of them.

Brother Gillette, please be more clear. What are you trying to say to us?

on April 20, 2004 12:48 AM
Gillette aka Hassan Khaja said

:-P

on April 20, 2004 12:00 PM
guest said

How do you know Allah has forgiven you?

on September 18, 2004 6:14 PM
Faisal Akhtar said

We can never be sure of what Allah SWT does and doesn't do. All we know is what he has revealed and he has told us that when a slave makes a sincere repentance and regretts his sins, he is automatically forgiven. The only way to know whether Allah swt has forgiven us is to look at our sincerity. If we are sincere then Allah swt is oft forgiving.

on September 18, 2004 9:44 PM
Abdulaziz said

Thanks very much for the information brother.

I hope to stop the many sins in my life, Insha Allah!

Your information was very comforting, may Allah bless you for that!!

on January 22, 2006 10:00 PM
naila fatima said

assalamualaikum bhai,

i spent 10 mins reading ur article. this made me close to my dear allah. i am happy now. i will never forget until my death to say Astaghfirullah when ever i can in the day night or anytime.

sister,
fatima.

on May 4, 2006 1:51 PM
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