Let the tears burst out!
World-renowned scholar – Hassan Al Basri (R) was sitting on the upper floor of a Masjid, reciting Qur’an. Introspecting about the past and musing on the Hereafter, his heart softened and tears gushed out from his eyes. When he looked, a few of tear drops fell on the person who was sitting downstairs. Looking to the top, he asked Hasan Al Basri: “ Is this clean water, brother?” The humble reply of Hasan Al Basri was thus: “Brother, go and clean your cloths. Those are the tears of a sinner.”
How do we feel when we cleanse our face with fresh, cold water after it was sullied by dust and filth? The joy we would feel thereby, that feeling is what thouba (repentance) gives to a believer. When a believer cleanses his mind and life, which is blemished by the stain of sins, with the pure water of thouba, he would feel a delight beyond description. Constantly, Allah invites us to experience that delight.
Believers are not freed from committing sins, but what make them distinctive is ‘Thouba’. Allah says in Qur’an:
And those who, when they commit an immorality or wrong themselves [by transgression], remember Allah and seek forgiveness for their sins – and who can forgive sins except Allah ? – and [who] do not persist in what they have done while they know. [Qur'an 3:135].
Who do not persist in what they have done- they are those who shine through constant repentance (Thouba), who cleanse themselves from the lingering stains of sins.
When returning after Salah from Masjid Nabawi, a few people inquired to the profound scholar Ibrahimul Adham: “We are supplicating a lot. However, our supplications are not answered, why is it so?”
Ibrahimul Ad’ham replied: “You believe in Allah, but not enslaving to Him. You do believe in Prophet, but not following his path. You recite Qur’an, but not reflecting its teachings. You know that Heaven is the final abode of true believers, but not striving hard to obtain it. You believe that Hellfire is the final abode of wrongdoers, but not trying to save yourself from that. You learned that Satan is the enemy of mankind. Instead of making Satan your enemy you befriend him. You know that death is certain but not preparing yourself to embrace that reality. You do funeral for your dead parents and relatives but do not take lesson from it. You do not refrain from sins, nor you do repentance. You dig out others’ mistakes and wrongdoings. Tell me, how will Allah accept your supplications?” [Adapted from Imaam Ibnu Jauzi, Swiffathu-swaffva]
Don’t these words penetrate deep into our hearts? Think honestly. How much do those things that we believe in influence us? A true believer will not live in sluggishness after committing a sin. That sin will make deep wounds in his mind. It will spread like fire and burn like a coal in his inner self. That mind will be disturbed until he supplicates such that his tears are drained off and until he enters into the ways of pureness through constant repentance. That’s the proof that Imaan (faith) still lives in his heart. On the other hand, if our hearts do not wrench because of the sins we have committed – no matter big or small- that proves that Imaan has extinguished from our inner self.
We think that a small grain of dust will not cause us troubles. And we just ignore it. As it increases, the ‘small’ turn into big. It lingers our beautiful raiment; ailments step in.
No sin is trivial. Even a minute granule of sin can deteriorate our hearts. Prophet(PBUH) had warned that even a word uttered carelessly, which displeases Allah, could lead one to the pits of Hellfire. Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet (PBUH); said, “A slave (of Allah) may utter a word which pleases Allah without giving it much importance, and because of that Allah will raise him to degrees (of reward): a slave (of Allah) may utter a word (carelessly) which displeases Allah without thinking of its gravity and because of that he will be thrown into the Hell-Fire.” [Sahih Bukhari English : Vol. 8, Book 76, Hadith 485]
Every battle against evil is tough to win. It is difficult to bridle our own whims. If we let our whims and wishes wander freely, terrible will be the consequence. See the words of a poet “Our mind is like a newborn. If you set it free, even at youth, it would still be under nursing”. To conquer our minds and organs, we need to fight a strong internal battle. The well-known Tabe’e, Abdullah Bin Abi zakaryia Al Qusaee says: “I am trying hard for last 20 years to control and purify my tongue”. Another Tabe’e Farqwid Bin Mukadir says: “I am striving hard for last 40 years, to bridle the whims of my mind.”
Repentance (Thouba) is a journey back– the journeying of a sluggish man back into origin with a repenting mind. Swimming back through the stream of tears, repenting for the words told and for the sins committed, let’s march into the sanctitude of repentance. Move ahead with a cleansed in and out. Supplicate by wearing the raiment of tears. Mistakes can happen, however Allah loves repenters and He loves forgiving. Through the day and night, He is awaiting His slaves’ supplications. Do our repentance reach that Lord who awaits with boundless love and mercy? – Think, think honestly.
Allalh will forgive to anyone who invocates; “Astaghfirullah al-’Adheemal-ladhi la ilaha illa Huwal-Hayyul-Qayyum wa atubu ilaih ”. Even if he has committed sins as much as the the foam of an ocean, still he will be forgiven. [Abu Dawud- 2:85/ Tirmidhi 5:569]
أَسْتَغْفِرُ اللَّهَ الْعَظِيمَ الَّذِي لاَ إِلَهَ إِلاَّ هُوَ الْحَيُّ الْْقَيُّومُ وَ أَتُوبُ إِلَيْهِ (I seek the forgiveness of Allah the Mighty, Whom there is none worthy of worship except Him, The Living, The Eternal, and I repent unto Him)