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The Reality of Sincere Repentance (Tawbah): Part 1

O you who believe! Turn (in repentance) to Allah with sincere repentance; Perhaps your Lord will remove your evil from you…﴿ (Holy Qur'an, 66: 8)

The Prophet of Allah (pbuh&hh) said: There are four signs of one who is repentant:

1) He is sincere to God in his actions

2) He shuns falsehood

3) He is firmly attached to truth and

4) He is eager to do well. [Al-Harani, Tuhaf al-`Uqool, p. 20]

Imam Jafar Sadiq (A.S) said: “When a servant turns to God with sincere repentance (tawbatun nasuh), God loves him and covers him (i.e. his sins) in the world and the Hereafter.” I said, “And how does He cover him?” The Imam (A.S) replied, “He makes the two angels (assigned to write his deeds) forget that which they have written of his sins. Then He inspires his limbs (saying), ‘Conceal his sins,’ and He inspires places of the earth (saying), ‘Conceal the sins that he used to commit over you.’ Then he meets God in such a manner that there is nothing to bear witness against him regarding any sin.” [Al-Kulayni, al-Kafi,kitab al-'iman wa al-kufr, bab al-Tawbah, hadith #1]

The Reality of Tawbah

Tawbah means return to the soul’s initial spirituality after the light of its human nature (fitrah) and its spirit has been covered by the darkness of sins and disobedience. The human soul in its initial state has neither any spiritual virtues nor any vices. It is capable of reaching any station, but in its original state it is pure, sinless and has an intrinsic luminosity.

The perpetration of sins causes obscurity within the heart, and the light of intrin­sic nature is extinguished and converted into darkness. However, before total darkness envelops the heart, if a person awakens from the slumber of negligence and makes repentance, the soul gradually returns from the darkness to the light of its original nature and essential spirituality.

This is mentioned in the famous hadith from Imam Baqir (A.S): “One who repents from sin is like the one who has not sinned...” [Al-Kulayni, al-Kafi, kitab al-Iman wa al-kufr, bab al-Tawbah, hadith #10]

The Essentials and Conditions Required for Tawbah

Tawbah is not accepted from one who merely declares, “I repent.” There are a number of conditions that must be fulfilled before the acceptance of Tawbah. These are mentioned below in the following hadith:

It is narrated that someone said: Astaghfirullah (I seek God’s forgiveness) before Imam ‘Ali (A.S). Imam told him. "May your mother mourn for you! Do you know what istighfar is? Verily istighfar is a degree of the 'illiyyun (people of high station) and it is a word that means six things. First is remorse over the past. Second, the resolution not to return to it ever. Third, to return to creatures their (formerly usurped) rights so that you meet God Almighty in a state of purity in which no one has any claim against you. Fourth, that you fulfill every duty that you neglected in order to satisfy your obligation in respect to it. Fifth, that you attend to the flesh of your body that has grown on unlawful nourishment so that it melts away as a result of grief and mourning and your skin adheres to your bones, after which new flesh grows in its place. Sixth, that you make your body taste the pain of obedience in the same way as it earlier tasted the pleasure of sins. When you have done these things then say Astaghfirul­lah! [Nahjul-balagha, saying # 417]

This noble tradition mentions two prerequisites for Tawbah (remorse and resolution), two important conditions for its acceptance (returning the rights of creatures and of the Creator), and finally two points for the perfection of repentance.

Tawbatun Nasuh (Sincere Repentance)

According to great researcher al-Shaykh al-Bahai (qs), there are several meanings of tawbatun nasuh. A few of them are mentioned below:

• Tawbah that 'advises' the people, i.e. it invites them to simulate him (the repenter) on account of the good effect produced in the repenter, or Tawbah that ‘counsels' the repenter to root out sins and never return to them again.

• Tawbah that is done purely for God’s sake, similar to the pure honey that is free from wax, and thus called `asalun nasuh. Sincerity requires that the remorse should be on account of the ugliness of sins and the displeasure of God, and not from fear of the hellfire.

• The word nasuh is also related to nasabah which means tailoring, because Tawbah sews together the body of faith which is torn by sin, and because it joins the penitent person to God’s awliya' (friends) and His lovers in the same way that separate pieces of cloth are joined together by tailoring.

• Yet another interpretation says that nasuh is an attribute of the penitent and tawbatun nasuh is a Tawbah whose performer admonishes himself to take part in a perfect repentance until the effects of sins are totally purged from the heart. This task is only attained by causing the soul to taste regret and grief and by clearing its darkness caused by past sins with the light of virtuous actions.

* Source: imamreza.net

1019 View | 21-08-2013 | 13:51


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