Thursday 18th of April 2024
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“And most surely I am most Forgiving to him who repents and believes and does good, then continues to follow the right direction.” Qur'an, 20:82.

Sins and the ability to repent

Mothers do not give birth to sinful children, and children do not come to this world defiled with sins.

When a baby comes to this life for the first time, his mind is empty of any knowledge, intellect and information. He is completely ignorant of what is around him. When he comes to this world, he does not know anything, save crying and suckling. At the same time when he cries or suckles his mother’s breast, he is ignorant of that too. Gradually instincts, feelings and lusts move into the circle of his physiological being and these bodily activities enter into the field of his life. Then the baby begins to learn from the external environment and surroundings and from the conduct of the others what is necessary for him to survive in this life.

As for the body of a baby, it is liable to different kinds of diseases and calamities throughout his life. The same is said about his intellect, soul, spirit and heart. Concerning morals, he is also liable to commit sins and vices. Hence, sins are accidental to man just as diseases that attack his body. Sin is something accidental and not spontaneous.

Bodily diseases can be cured by following the instructions of a doctor but intellect, spirit and soul, when diseased, can be cured by following the instructions of Allah the Almighty and obeying His orders.

If a sinner knows his state and notices his wrongdoing and he knows what he should do and what he should not do, he must get ready to repent, to turn to Allah and to follow the instructions of the “Spiritual Doctor” and then he will get out of the circle of sin to the circle of Allah’s mercy. Thus, he gets free of sins and becomes pure, as he has been born.

A sinner cannot pretend that he is unable to repent because he, who is able to commit sins, is undoubtedly able to repent of those sins too.

Yes, if we who are able to eat, drink, come and go, talk, get married, work, play sports, travel and associate with other people will curb our appetites or activities if a doctor asks us to in order to avoid disease, then we should be able to avoid sins and falling into the abyss of corruption and disobedience.

If sinners make excuses for not repenting, Allah will not accept their excuses. If sinners and disobeyers refuse to repent now, Allah will not invite them to repent later.

Sinners must accept the fact that they are able to refrain from sin in any case and any condition. The Qur’anic verses show that Allah is kind to His people, and He accepts their repentance and forgives sinners even if their sins are as vast as the sands of deserts. In fact, Allah may recompense sins with good doings.

Sinners must perceive that if they do not hasten to stop committing sin and being disobedient, and they do not purify their inner beings from sin’s dregs, then Allah will torture them severely and punish them for their sins and crimes with the worst punishment.

Allah talks about Himself in the Holy Qur'an by saying:

The Forgiver of the faults and the Acceptor of repentance, Severe to punish…” (40:3)

Imam Ali (s) described Allah the Almighty in the Iftitah supplication by saying, “I have ascertained that You are the most Merciful of the merciful at the time of forgiveness and mercy, and You are the severest Punisher at the time of punishment and revenge.”(  Mafateeh al-Jinan, by Abbas al-Qummi, Iftitah Du’a.)

Allah declares to His sinful people His saying:

Say: O my servants! who have acted extravagantly against their own souls, do not despair of the mercy of Allah; surely Allah forgives the faults altogether; surely He is the Forgiving the Merciful.” Qur’an 39:53

Hence, if we understand the verses of the Qur'an that give us the good news that we have the ability to refrain from sins, and that Allah accepts our repentance and is forgiving and merciful, then we have no excuse if we delay repenting and keep on committing sins. Therefore repenting of sins is a prompt, moral, and rational obligation for all sinners.

If sinners do not hasten to repent, and they refuse to repair what they have committed and to purify themselves from the filth of sin and disobedience, then, in the afterlife, when they stand before Allah they will not be excused by appealing to reason, conscience or wisdom. The Day of Resurrection will come, when sinners will stand with deep regret, calling loudly:

…were there only a returning for me, I should be of the doers of good.” Qur’an, 39:58

Allah will reply to them:

Aye! My revelations came to you, but you rejected them, and you were proud and you were one of the unbelievers.” Qur’an 39:59

On that day, no excuses will be accepted from sinners. Faith and good deeds alone will save them from the torture. Allah emphasizes the inevitable end of such people when saying:

And had those who are unjust all that is in the earth and the like of it with it, they would certainly offer it as ransom (to be saved) from the evil of the punishment on the day of resurrection; and what they never thought of shall become plain to them from Allah.” Qur’an 39:47

Imam Ali (s) stresses in Du’a Kumayl that there will be no excuse accepted from a sinner when not repenting and turning to Allah and that Allah has completed His authority over people by saying, “…You have the authority over me in all of that and I have no excuse before Your judgment against me…”(  Mafateeh al-Jinan, Du’a Kumayl (Kumayl Supplication).

We have inherited repentance from our father Adam and mother Eve

When Allah has created Adam as His caliph in the earth and when Adam’s body has become straight and the divine spirit has been breathed into it, he has become fit to be taught the names and then Allah has ordered the angels to prostrate themselves before Adam to glorify him. Then Allah has let him and his wife live in Paradise. Allah has permitted Adam and his wife to enjoy all the blessings of Paradise except a certain tree. Allah has forbidden him and his wife from approaching this tree and if they did they would be unjust:

“… and do not approach this tree, for then you will be of the unjust.” Qur'an, 2:35

But the Satan, who has refused to prostrate himself before Adam and has been driven out of Paradise, has whispered evil to Adam and Eve because of his grudge against them until he could deceive them to commit the sin; eating from that prohibited tree. Then their hidden private parts appeared and they (Adam and Eve) lost their high position and honorable rank near Allah because of obeying the Satan. Thus, they have been exiled from Paradise and driven away from the mercy of Allah.

The Satan has whispered evil to Adam and Eve out of his hidden complexes and in order to lead them to that prohibited tree to commit sin. He said to them, ‘O Adam and Eve, Allah has prevented you from this tree just because if you eat from its fruit, you will be two angels and then you will live in Paradise forever.’

In order to compact his evil whispering and to fix his plot into their hearts, the Satan took binding oaths that he wanted nothing save their goodness and advantage:

“And he swore to them both: Most surely, I am a sincere adviser to you.” Qur'an, 7:21

His evil whispering affected them and the fires of love of life broke out inside them. This desire made a thick screen between them and the prohibition of Allah and they fall in the trap of the Satan. They involved in disobedience and stretched their hands towards the prohibited tree after the Satan had seduced them. When they ate from the fruit of the tree, their private parts appeared to them and the dress of gravity, dignity and light had been taken off them. They began to cover their private parts with the leaves of trees. Then Allah called out to them:

“Did I not forbid you both from that tree and say to you that the Satan is your open enemy?” Qur'an, 7:22

Thus, Adam and Eve had been driven out of Paradise where the position of deputyship, knowledge and the prostration of the angels before Adam had no any use for them. They had come down from that exalted position to begin their life on the earth. But being away from the position of nearness (to the Lord), away from the angels, away from Paradise, paying no attention to the order of Allah the Almighty and obeying the Satan, altogether, had caused them a great sorrow, grief and regret; and hence they had got out of the horrible prison of selfishness and terrible suppression of desire because those selfishness and desire were the reason behind their becoming away from the mercy and care of their Beloved Lord and falling into the valley of deviation; therefore they could go out again to the horizon of the mercy, kindness and care of Allah; that horizon which was full of goodness and honor in the worldly life and deliverance and infinite success in the afterlife.

When Adam and Eve got out of Paradise in this way, they cried loudly, (Our Lord, we have been unjust to ourselves) and fallen into the prison of inadvertence and selfishness and slipped into the darkness of greediness and pride.

This attention and awakening were as the first step towards freedom and the cause for their rescue from the traps of the Satan in order to return to the mercy of Allah after being humble and submissive. If the Satan himself had become humble and submissive before Allah, he would have not come to his eternal fate of misery and wretchedness and he would have not fallen under the Divine curse and wrath forever.

We find that Adam and Eve, due to reason, sight and wakefulness and at the same time with regret, have not been impolite before Allah; they have not said to Him, ‘forgive us!’ but they have said,

“…and if Thou forgive us not, and have (not) mercy on us, we shall certainly be of the losers.” Qur'an, 7:23

After this advertence, humbleness, submissiveness, regret, crying, repenting and going out of the prison of selfishness to the wide horizon of Allah’s mercy, the doors of mercy have been opened for Adam and Eve and the divine care has come to save them from that misery and terrible fate:

“Then Adam received (some) words from his Lord, so He turned to him mercifully; surely He is Oft-returning (to mercy), the Merciful.” Qur'an, 2:37

The light of the Lord has entered into Adam’s heart through some words he has received and the perfect repentance has been realized via the connection between these three facts; “the light of the Lord”, “the words” and “the soul of Adam”. Repentance that can repair what one has missed through his past age is the light that will illuminate the way of future to a repentant.

It has narrated from Imam al-Baqir (s) that the words that Adam had received from Allah were, “O Allah, there is no god but You. Glory and praise be to You. My Lord, I have been unjust to myself; forgive me for You are the best Forgiver. O Allah, there is no god but You. Glory and praise be to You. My Lord, I have been unjust to myself; have mercy on me for You are the best Merciful One. O Allah, there is no god but You. Glory and praise be to You. My Lord, I have been unjust to myself; accept my repentance for You are the Oft-Returning, the Most Merciful”.(  Majma’ul Bayan, vol.1 p.89.)

It has been narrated that Adam had seen honored names written on the Throne and when he had asked about them, it had been said to him that they had been the most honored names near Allah. The names were Muhammad, Ali, Fatima, al-Hasan and al-Husayn. Adam had begged Allah to accept his repentance and to high his position by the means of these names.(  Majma’ul Bayan, vol.1 p.89.).

When the rains of the Divine inspirations fell as words to water the seed of love in Adam, confession of his sin and of being unjust to himself grew. Adam had nothing to do save to cry and to pray his Lord and then the tree of choice grew in the land of his soul and the flowers of repentance and turning (to Allah) bloomed:

“Then his Lord chose him, so He turned to him and guided (him).” Qur'an, 20:122




Refrence: Repentance, the cradle of mercy – by Professor Hossein Ansarian


source : Repentance, the cradle of mercy – by Professor Hossein Ansarian
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