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Thursday, July 03, 2003  

On Repentance (Tawbah) Part 2 of 3 I heard Abu Ali al-Daqqaq say, "A spiritual seeker repented and then his feelings cooled. He lapsed from his repentance. One day he was wondering what the decision on his case would be if he were to repent again. A voice from the unseen spoke to him and said, 'O so-and-so! You obeyed Us and We thanked you; then you abandoned Us and We gave you time. If you return to Us, We will accept you.' The youth returned to his resolve and completed it." When the servant abandons disobedience and the knot of persistence in it is loosened from his heart, a genuine remorse will come into his heart. He will regret his behavior and begin to grieve for what he has done to himself and for the ugly acts he has committed. His repentance is complete and struggle sincere when he has exchanged society for solitude and changed his association with bad friends into alienation and withdrawal from them, when his night passes into day with longing, and when in all his states he is embraced by real sadness. Then the rightness of the lesson he has learned will cancel the effects of his having slipped. The goodness of his repentance will heal the wounds inflicted by his offense. He will be distinguished from those like him by how emaciated he is which bears witness to the soundness of his state. The servant will never be able to carry through any of this until he has cleared himself by satisfying those he has wronged and has left behind what still attaches to him from his misdeeds. Certainly the first stage of repentance is the satisfaction of those who have been wronged insofar as the servant has power to give them their due or until their feelings change and they declare the thing lawful and themselves free of it. When this is not possible, the resolve in the servant's heart must be to give them their rights as soon as he can and he must turn to God with sincere supplication and prayer for them. The characteristics of the repentant include various attributes and states. All of these are counted as within the compass of repentance, for its soundness makes their different qualities shine. The differing remarks of the masters on the meaning of repentance point to this. I heard Abu Ali al-Daqqaq say, "Repentance has three parts: the first of these is tawbah, in the middle is inaba, and the last is awba." He makes tawbah a beginning and awba an end, with inaba between them. Everyone who repents from fear of the consequences of his actions possesses tawbah. Whoever repents from hope of reward possesses inaba. And whoever repents out of respect for the divine order, neither from desire of reward nor terror of punishment, possesses awba. It is also said that tawbah is the attribute of the believers - God Most High said, "So turn (tubu) to God together, O believers" [24:31], inaba is the attribute of the Friends of God and those who are brought close to Him. God Most High said, "Come with a repentant (munib) heart" [50:33] and awba is the attribute of the prophets and Messengers. God Most High said, "The best of servants is the repentant one (awwab)" [38:30, 44]. I heard Abu Abd al-Rahman al-Sulami say ... Junayd said, "Repentance has three meanings. The first is to feel regret. The second is to give up going back to what God has forbidden. The third is to make an effort to repair the wrongs that have been done." Sahl bin Abd Allah al-Tustari said, "Repentance means to stop procrastinating." I heard Muhammad bin al-Husayn say ... that Harith al-Muhasibi said, "I have never said, 'My God, I ask You to turn to me,' but I say, 'I ask You for the desire to turn to You [in repentance].'" Abu Abd Allah al-Shirazi informed us that ... Junayd said that one day he went to Sari al-Saqati. Seeing he was disturbed, he asked him what happened. Sari said, "A young man came to me and asked me about repentance. So I told him, 'It is that you not forget your sins!' He contradicted me, and said, 'No, rather repentance is that you do forget your sins.'" Junayd said that in his opinion the young man was correct. Sari asked why. Junayd said, "When I was in a state of estrangement from God, He transported me to a state of fidelity and to remember estrangement in a state of purity is itself estrangement." Sari was silent. I heard Abu Hatim al-Sijistani say that he heard ... that Sahl bin Abd Allah al-Tustari was asked about repentance and said, "It means not to forget your sins." Junayd was asked about repentance and said, "It means to forget your sins." Abu Nasr al-Sarraj said, "Sahl was referring to the state of disciples and novices which are constantly changing. As for Junayd, he pointed to the repentance of those who have reached the state of truth. They do not recall their sins because the majesty of God Most High has dominated their hearts and they are in continual remembrance of Him." He also observed that this is like when Ruwaym was asked about tawbah and said, "It is to repent from repenting," or when Dhu-l-Nun was asked about tawbah and said, "The repentance of the majority is from sins, while the repentance of the elect is from forgetfulness." Abu Husayn al-Nuri said, "Repentance is to turn away from everything other than God Almighty and Glorious." I heard Muhammad bin Ahmad bin Muhammad al-Sufi say that he heard Abd Allah bin Ali bin Muhammad al-Tamimi say, "What great differences there are among those who repent from their sins, among those who repent for moments of heedlessness or forgetfulness, and among those who repent from awareness of their own good deeds!" Al-Wasiti said, "Pure repentance does not allow any trace of disobedience, hidden or manifest, to remain in the one to whom it comes. If someone's repentance is pure, it does not matter where he spends the night or where he spends the day." -Imam Abu-l-Qasim al-Qushayri, Principles of Sufism (Risalah Qushayriyyah)



posted by SuFiSTiC | 7/03/2003 06:43:00 AM |
As for him who fears to stand before his Lord and restrains the ego its desires, the Garden is shelter.
(The Snatchers:40)
Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, "The Fire is surrounded by all kinds of desires and passions, while Paradise is surrounded by all kinds of disliked, undesirable things."
(Bukhari)
Whoever does good at night is rewarded during the day and whoever does good during the day is rewarded at night. Whoever is sincere in abandoning a desire is saved from catering to it. God is too noble to punish a heart that has abandoned a desire for His sake.
(Abu Sulayman ad-Darani)
Beware of your ego, and trust not its mischief;
The ego is worse than seventy devils.
(Arabic Poem)
Abu Bakar Balkhi
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I seek God's forgiveness, and do not claim that my intention in producing this Blog is confined to good religious purposes; how may I do so when I am aware of the hidden desires, egotistic passions, and worldly wishes that I harbour? I do not claim innocence for myself; the ego is indeed an inciter to evil, save when my Lord shows mercy; my Lord is indeed Forgiving, Merciful. O God! I seek Your protection against my committing idolatry [shirk] knowingly, and Your forgiveness for that of which I am not aware! I ask God to make me and all other believers benefit from this Blog and to render my production of it purely for the sake of His Noble Countenance.

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