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Thursday 27 April 2017
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How to start over after a life of sins?

People are difficult sometimes. Right? If you had an argument with someone, and then you try to talk to them again, you’ll feel like things are not the same anymore. They might not meet you with the same open arms and complete acceptance like before. And if you had several problems or downfalls with the same person, then that person might black-list you and make sure not to accept you back in his/her life because of your mistakes.

This is how we treat each other sometimes.

But this is NOT how Allah treats us!

Allah’s Name is ArRahman ArRaheem (The Continuously Merciful, The Especially Merciful), and He is indeed uniquely and exceedingly Merciful than any of His creation.

Look at this hadith…

Anas b. Malik reported that Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said:

“Verily, Allah is more pleased with the repentance of His slave than a person who has his camel in a waterless desert carrying his provision of food and drink and it is lost. He, having lost all hopes (to get that back), lies down in shade and is disappointed about his camel; when all of a sudden he finds that camel standing before him. He takes hold of its reins and then out of boundless joy blurts out: ‘O Allah, You are my slave and I am Your Rubb’.He commits this mistake out of extreme joy”. [Sahih Muslim]

This is actually saying that if you want to turn to Allah in repentance and you are embarrassed or ashamed of your sins and mistakes, Allah will never meet you with rejection or lack of trust. On the absolute contrary, He will be in extreme joy and He will be more pleased for you turning back to Him than you could ever imagine. Allah is telling you to never be embarrassed to come back to Him again and again and again, no matter how many times you have fallen or how long you have been away.

Remember this hadith?

Anas (May Allah be pleased with him) reported:

Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “Allah, the Exalted, has said: ‘O son of Adam, I forgive you as long as you pray to Me and hope for My forgiveness, whatever sins you have committed. O son of ‘Adam, I do not care if your sins reach the height of the heaven, then you ask for my forgiveness, I would forgive you. O son of ‘Adam, if you come to Me with an earth load of sins, and meet Me associating nothing to Me, I would match it with an earthload of forgiveness.”‘ [At- Tirmidhi]

This is part and parcel of this religion. No matter how many times you have sinned or how gravely you have sinned, you can ALWAYS come back to Allah in repentance, and He will always accept you…

“And it is He who accepts repentance from his servants and pardons misdeeds, and He knows what you do.” (Qur’an 42: 25)

Now, this doesn’t mean that we should abuse this mercy and this kindness. This does not mean that we should indulge in wrongdoing, sinning, heedlessness and being completely distant from fulfilling our purpose in life.

Allah Glorified and Exalted created us for a purpose. He created us and honored us with the ability to learn about Him, so much so than any other creation; He honored us with the ability to love Him more so than any other creation.

To learn, love, worship Allah and fulfill our relationship with Him and our purpose in life, we need to be consciously following the perfect plan He provided for us.

We need to be consciously engaging in a relationship with Him. It doesn’t make sense to ignore Him for the most part of our lives and then meet Him suddenly on the Day of Judgement and expect to be popped into Paradise while we haven’t fulfilled our purpose of creation. Right?

The Ultimate Mercy of Allah is granted for those who are sincerely making an effort to rectify their affairs. You just have to be consciously and sincerely seeking Allah and His path.

Allah says:

“But indeed, I am the Perpetual Forgiver of whoever repents and believes and does righteousness and then continues in guidance.” ( Qur’an 20: 82)

So the point is for us to be serious about our relationship with Allah and bettering ourselves.

If you do have this desire, but still engaged in sins, then what to do?

1.         First thing is to stop the sin. Do not persist on committing the sin or going back to it. Make conscious, serious effort to stop and quit the sin.

2.         Second, sincerely regret the sin. Regret is essential in showing sincerity. If you truly regret a wrongdoing, then you understand why Allah told us that it is harmful and you desire to make things right and find the halal and pure means that Allah subhanu wa Ta’la prescribed instead.

3.         Third, seek forgiveness of Allah and repent from the wrongdoing.

One of the ways to do that is to follow what was mentioned in this hadith:

The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings upon him) says: “There is no one who commits a sin then purifies himself well (does wudoo’/ablution) and stands and prays two rak’ahs (two units of prayer), then asks Allah for forgiveness, but Allah will forgive him.
Then he recited this verse: ‘And those who, when they have committed Faahishah (illegal sexual intercourse) or wronged themselves with evil, remember Allah and ask forgiveness for their sins; — and none can forgive sins but Allah — and do not persist in what (wrong) they have done, while they know’ (Qur’an 3:135).” [Abi Dawood]

So perform this prayer of repentance.

4.   Lastly, have a strong, sincere intention not to go back to the sin.

When you do the above successfully, you’ll have a fresh clean start, insha’Allah.

Now, you need to remember one very important point. Allah is your Ultimate Helper. No one can progress in this path without the Help and Mercy of Allah. There is a reason why we repeat the verse ” It is You we worship and You we ask for help.” ( Qur’an 1: 5) in Surat Al Fatiha 17 times everyday during the five daily prayers.

It is Allah who ultimately helps us on His path. He is not a faraway Goal, He is our ally and Helper if we truly want to better ourselves.

Actually, the fact that you want to repent to Allah means that HE is The One who wants you to return to Him and He wants to accept your repentance!
He says in the Qur’an:

“Then He turned to them so they could repent. Indeed, Allah is the Accepting of repentance, the Merciful.” (Qur’an Surat AtTawba, Chapter 9: 118)

So always remember that so long as you are serious and sincere in seeking Him, He will facilitate and open doors for you.

Now, what are things to remember on this path as you start over?

1- Establishing prayer: this is the most important thing to work on right now. This is the daily connection and commitment you have with Allah Almighty. It keeps you focused and always link you with Him. Also prayer is the first thing that the person will be asked about on The Day of Judgement. So take it seriously and make sure you do it consistently and on time.
Remember that prayer and Qur’an are interrelated. Your knowledge of the Qur’an and understanding of it will increase your concentration and your presence in prayer and the degree to which you really feel connected to Allah Almighty. When we truly listen and concentrate on the words of Allah and the fact that we’re standing between His Hands in prayer, then we will feel the love of Allah, awe of His Power and Might, the fear of misguidance, remembrance of the Day of Judgment, the closeness of death… and all the experiences that Allah  lets our hearts and bodies experience upon listening to His words.

So work on establishing your prayers.

2- Connecting more deeply with the Qur’an. Reading the Quran is a pleasure, guidance, cure, relief and mercy for the sincere seekers. Try to learn the meanings of what you read in depth. This will truly fill your heart and mind with awe of Allah and it will keep you focused on the straight path.

If there are Quranic tafsir sessions in your area, attend them. If there is an institute that organizes sessions on tadabbur Al Quran (pondering on the meaning of the Quran), then seek this opportunity.

There are several institutions online as well that help greatly with that, like Bayyinah Tv and Bayyinah Institute, they have short and quite interesting explanations of the Quran that will help transform your relationship with it greatly. Try to look for the meaning and explanation and linguistic beauty of the Qur’an to enrich your experience and aid you in connecting further with the word of Allah. There are plenty of resources available freely online. (Check Quran Weekly on YouTube for example).

3- Seek righteous companionship. It is a very important aspect of this path to have righteous friends that aid you on the path, remind you when you forget and uplift you when you feel down. See if you can volunteer in a nearby masjid, find charitable projects to volunteer in and help the poor/needy and the orphans. These are all activities that shall fill your time with goodness and introduce you to pious friends.

And don’t forget that first and foremost, you must seek Allah’s Help. Make sincere dua (supplication) to Allah to really help you and guide you and show you the way, and most definitely Allah is The Responsive and The Most Near.

So long as your soul is still in your body, there is still hope and Allah is opening the opportunities wide open for you. Seek the path of Allah because in it you will find ultimate and true peace, completion and satisfaction. You will find soothing pleasure, hope, meaning, purification and light that you haven’t experienced before through any other means. Allah gives us the path and the cure and His own Help and Support. So seek the opportunity and don’t waste it. Start now. Make dua to Allah and He will hear you and He will respond and He will open doors. Pray to Him constantly, listen to His words and understand them, be in the company or those who remember Him and seek Him, do righteous deeds as much as you can…. and you will find you entire life uplifted, filled with hope, meaning and purpose.

Just start and keep going… there is no hopelessness in this path.