Friday, November 5, 2010

On sinning, repenting and yaqin


O son, someone asked about combating the mind's tendency to reminisce the "pleasures of sins". None of us is unaffected by this sickness. We are all weak and we are always sinning. Even one who thinks he is not sinning falls into error. I shall speak from my own experience, not because I am holier than you,  InshaAllah.

We all know that iman fluctuates and that sometimes we fall into ma'siat unintentionally, sometimes knowingly but helplessly. La hawla wala quwata illah billah. It happens. If I were to draw a graph of the state of my obedience, it would look like a uniform cycle of ups and downs. Do not despair when you are on the low. It hurts I know because a struggle is always painful. I was suffering from a spiritual drought weeks before I attended the series of majlis ilm starting from the event with Muhaddith Shaykh Sayyid Salman al-Hussain right to the majalis with Habib Umar bin Hafiz last month.

I recalled Shaykh Sayyid Salman saying, 'if you fall into ma'siat, quickly seek repentance and you should feel ashamed that He could see all that you were doing.' I know we all know this and we have heard it so many times before. But to me, at that point of time, his words came as a much needed comfort to my bruised spirits. The effect was special because it came from someone as pious (waraq) and aleem like him. Attending majlis 'ilm or majlis zikr is one way to purify oneself. We are weak so we need barakah from habaib and mashaikh. We need their du'a. Their du'a is maqbul compared to ours because there could be traces of haram in us, our food, our clothes maybe, we know not.

At another majlis, I recalled one habib from Indonesia talking about yaqin. He narrated a story of a sahabi asking Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. about the state of one who has plenty of sins but who has yaqin. The Prophet said (something to this effect): that  the sons of Adam are always sinning but one who has yaqin towards Allah will seek to repent and he has confidence that Allah will forgive him, so he is in a better state than one who does not have as many sins yet lack yaqin.

O friend, try to build yaqin that He will help you in your struggle and that He will forgive you.

I recalled the episode of my major repentance when I was 26. It was exactly as described in one hadith qudsi. I fell into a grave error every two or three days and then I would pray, weep and repent my heart out but only to fall into error again the next day. It went on for months. I felt hopeless and helpless until I discovered this hadith qudsi:
"A servant [of Allah's] committed a sin and said: 'O Allah, forgive me my sin'. And He said: 'My servant has committed a sin and has known that he has a Lord who forgives sins and punishes for them.' Then he sinned again and said: 'O Lord, forgive me my sin'. And He said: 'My servant has committed a sin and has known that he has a Lord who forgives sins and punishes for them'. Then he sinned again and said: 'O Lord, forgive me my sin'. And He said: 'My servant has committed a sin and has known that he has a Lord who forgives sins and punishes for sins. Do what you wish, for I have forgiven you.'

I wept like mad upon reading this hadith. This hadith served as my turning point.  It had given me the chance I needed. It also gave me yaqin that I have a God who knows and is willing to forgive. Subhanallah! In hindsight, I realized that it was a gift. As though He purposely broke my heart to pieces so I would turn to Him. I swear by the saying that one who is heart broken is one who is nearest to Allah. I will also testify that one who repents is a beloved of Allah. I shall also testify that He fulfills His promise that He would replace all the bad deeds of one who repents with equal amount of good deeds, and more.

To the friend who asked me the question which inspired this posting, I pray Allah will enrich you with taat (obedience) and not ma'siat (disobedience/transgressions/wrongdoing). May Allah grant all of us with the sweetness of repentance and yaqin (certainty) that He is ever forgiving.

Wallahu 'alam.


  1. Ameen, Ameen to your dua. And thank you for the time you took to reply. I was praying lastnight that you would do so. May Allah swt grant you barakah in all walks of life.

    I was desperate to get out of this situation. I was going to tell you who I was but I think it is best I stay anonymous on this occasion. I dont know why. Perhaps I am too ashamed to reveal this is how I feel. I know only Allah swt is my helper, any other person is a weak creature like me, but what to do? Everything I have been doing up until now has not been working as the feeling do not subside, I pretend they are not there. But I know they are, as my siuation has not changed. So all I could do was resort to my friends - those whom would be able to provide fruitful advice inshallah.

    May Allah swt grant me the strength to get out of this. Its a horrible place to be.

    And Jumma Mubarak.

  2. Could you explain the terms ma'siat and taat?

    How does one build yaqin?

  3. Assalamualaikum warahmatullah wabarakatuh,
    My dear, I emphatize with you!
    I was referring to a du'a in Arabic when I quoted the two phrases 'taat' (obedience) and 'maksiat'(transgression/wrongdoing). "Allahumma aqnina bihalalika an haramika wa bithoatika an maksiatika wa bifadhlika amman siwak."
    "O Allah enrich us with all that is halal and not haram, with obedience and not disobedience, by means of Your bounty and not anyone else."

    Your struggle, my struggle, everyone's struggles all take a lifetime, it's a lifelong process. I saw one 'aleem talking on tv last night, he said Allah is not affected by our wrongdoings (obviously) and He knows we are bound to err. What He is more concerned about is the degree of efforts we take to abide by His orders and win His pleasures.

    Building yaqin towards Allah also take a lifetime. We have to start with acquiring knowledge about Him. There are 4 levels of yaqin i.e. ilmu yaqin, ainul yaqin, haqqul yaqin and kamal yaqin. We have a lot to learn don't we?
    But for now, the most important thing is to have husnul zan (positive attitude/expectations) towards Allah. This is easy on the tongue but many people including I, doubt Him at times. Astaghfirullah. That is why it is said that "half of those who have husnul zan towards Allah are in fact wali/saints." It's just not an easy thing to do.

    How do we protect ourselves, our minds, from the lures of sins? If someone coerce you to do anything bad, just dump him/her. Run. Escape. Think of the negative implications of not escaping. Don't linger on the pleasures of the nafs/body because they are all fleeting. Give it up for the sake of Allah and have confidence that He will reward your patience and sacrifice with something a lot better.
    Dear... I pray Allah will send you all the support you need. Pray "Allahumma a-inni ala zikrika wa shukrika wa husni ibadatika."
    O Allah, help me to remember you, to thank you and to worship you in the best of manners."