Habib Najib bin Toha as-Seggaf, at the closing of the 8th Mawlid Kubro celebration hosted by Al-Jenderami Foundation in Dengkil, Malaysia, reminded the audience on the importance of keeping one's tawba. He said, "you should be grateful that Allah has invited you to this auspicious occasion, celebrating the mawlid as proof of your love for Rasulullah s.a.w. You may have come to such an event many times, so with such great blessings that you have been given, there must be evidence of your attachment to Allah and Rasulullah s.a.w. If you truly love Allah and Rasulullah s.a.w you would not go back to your old poor habits, you would progress and become a better person. You will not engage in deeds that would incur the wrath of Allah. You will not commit anything that would displease Rasulullah s.a.w. There must be some kind of proof of your tawba, of you turning from the old you, to the new you. So keep your repentance and be grateful for Allah's blessings."
O son, what else could I add to this strong message from such venerable 'aleem and 'areef like Habib Najib, other than quote the sayings of Imam al-Haddad who said:
"Remorse (nadam) is the turning of the heart, in sorrow and regret, away from something which the servant has committed, and which angers God the Exalted, such as sins or the neglect of obligatory acts. It may also occur following an excessive involvement in permissible pleasures or the neglect of supererogatory devotions. A sincere remorse is one which leads to perservering in earnest, and avoiding neglectfulness. When sound, it includes nearly all the conditions of repentance (tawba), which is why the Prophet s.a.w has said: "Remorse is repentance." Those who are remorseful about their misbehavior, but still persist in it, are only jesting, and their remorse will not avail them.
Seeking forgiveness (istighfar) means asking God to forgive, which in turn means His concealing the misdeed (from the eyes of others). When God, by His grace, forgives a sin, he neither exposes its doer to shame, nor punishes him for it, whether in this world or in the next. The highest kind of forgiveness is for God to place a veil, a barrier, between the servant and sins, until it is as though he were free of them. In the context of Prophethood this veil is termed as 'inerrancy' ('isma); and in that of sainthood, 'protection' (hifz). This is the meaning of God's saying, addressed to the Master of Inerrant s.a.w: 'Ask forgiveness of your sin, and for believing men and women.' (Qur'an 47:19) And: 'That God may forgive you, your former and subsequent sin.' (Qur'an 48:2) It is well known that the Prophet was not liable to sin. But He here reminds him of His favouring him with His protection from everything that would distance him from Him, and commands him to pray to Him in that manner; prayer in this context being the consequence of thankfulness and thankfulness being the cause of further increase. 'If you are thankful, I shall give you more.' (Qur'an 14:7) And God knows best."
O son, how many times have we failed to thank Him for covering up our sins? How many times have we committed sins, repented and went back to doing them again?! How many times have we knowingly revealed our misdeeds to people when Allah Himself has promised to veil our sins? By doing so, we have shamed ourselves whereas God in His mercy commits to grant pardon and not shame us in this world and in the hereafter! Allahu Allah!
allazi la ilaha illa huwal hayyul qayyum
wa atu bu ilaih
min kulli zanbin 'azeem
zahiran wa bathinan
sirran wa jahran
# Imam al-Haddad quote is from: 'Gifts for the Seeker'. Translated from the Arabic by Mostafa al-Badawi. Publisher credit: Fons Vitae # Istighfar: As practised by Habib Ali bin Jaafar al-Idrus who taught it to Shaykh Abdul Aziz Shafie.