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Repentance is an ethical obligation

Repentance is an ethical obligation

Repentance is an ethical obligation

The ulama and scholars have written many books about ethics. They have divided morals into two parts: virtues and vices. They have classified pride, haughtiness, selfishness and the like under vices, and they have put humbleness under the virtues. They have discussed this subject in detail. Sin is a result of man’s haughtiness before Allah, whereas repentance is the delicious fruit of humbleness. Haughtiness occupied Iblis when Allah ordered him to prostrate himself before Adam (s). Then Iblis was cursed and exiled from the sanctum of the Divine mercy. It was haughtiness before the Divine order.

But the repentance of Adam (s) and his wife, which had been accepted by Allah, was the fruit of humbleness and submission to the Almighty; therefore the ulama have said that haughtiness was the reason behind driving man out of the Paradise and keeping him away from the mercy of Allah. Therefore, it is obligatory to avoid pride and haughtiness because humbleness and submission to Allah lead us near to Allah and encourage us to obey and worship Allah. They also lead us to apologize before Allah for our sins and disobediences and then to repent and turn to Allah. We have to be servile and submissive to Allah and to turn to Allah with crying eyes and fearing heart. We have to determine sincerely to give up sins forever and to repair all we have committed before.

It has been mentioned in the following Hadith qudsi[1] that Allah talked to Prophet Moses (s) saying, “O son of Imran, give Me from your eyes tears, from your heart reverence, from your body submission and then call upon Me in the darkness of nights you will find me near and responding.”[2]

The Holy Qur'an, when talking about Iblis, says:

“He said: What hindered you so that you did not prostrate when I commanded you? He said: I am better than he: Thou hast created me of fire, while him Thou didst create of dust. He said: Then get forth from this (state), for it does not befit you to behave proudly therein. Go forth; therefore, surely you are of the abject ones.” (7:12-13)

The Holy Qur'an shows that the misery, meanness and exiling from the mercy of Allah , which had happened to Iblis, are the poisonous fruits of haughtiness before the orders of Allah ; the haughtiness that caused him to get out of the sanctum of Allah’s mercy and fall down into the valley of meanness and punishment. Hence, we must avoid pride and haughtiness because this satanic state prevents us from obeying the orders of Allah the Almighty.

Allah has said about Adam (s) and his wife:

They said: Our Lord! We have been unjust to ourselves, and if Thou forgive us not, and have (not) mercy on us, we shall certainly be of the losers.” Qur’an 7:23

Thus, the Holy Qur'an has mentioned Adam (s) and his wife’s confession of disobedience and their asking for forgiveness and mercy of Allah as good and desirable. It means that the Holy Qur'an has mentioned this confession as a kind of repentance and turning (to Allah) by Adam (s) and his wife. The Sura of al-Baqara, verse 37 mentions the acceptance of this repentance too. We must pay attention to the fact that confession and turning to Allah are precious results of spiritual humbleness, hearty reverence and psychological submission. According to the ulama, pride and haughtiness make a dark screen between us and our Creator, but humbleness and submissiveness make a paved way and an open door between believers and Allah. Holding on to pride and haughtiness is a great sin, whereas avoiding them is a great obligation. It is necessary that we should be humble before Allah and other people. We should make use of this humbleness to purify our hearts and souls from the dregs of sin and the darkness of disobedience and to grace our souls with worship and obedience. Repenting of sins is, indeed, a sign of being humble before Allah the Almighty and of being free from pride and haughtiness. Repentance is one of the fundamental moral obligations.

We read in the traditions that talk about pride and haughtiness that Hakeem has said, “Once I asked Abu Abdullah (Imam as-Sadiq (s)) about the least sign of atheism and he said, “Pride is the least of it.”[3]

Al-Husayn bin al-Ala’ has said, “I have heard Imam as-Sadiq (s) saying, “Pride may be in the evil people of every kind. Pride is the dress (aspect) of Allah and whoever tries to put on the dress of Allah, Allah will make him meaner and lower.”[4]

Imam al-Baqir (s) has said, “Glory is the dress of Allah and pride is His loincloth and whoever gets something of that, Allah will throw him into Hell.”[5]

Imam as-Sadiq (s) has said about humbleness, “In the Heaven there are two angels responsible for people; whoever (of people) becomes humble before Allah, they exalt him and whoever becomes proud, they lower him.”[6]

The Prophet (s) has said, “Whoever is humble before Allah, Allah exalts him, whoever is proud, Allah lowers him, whoever is moderate in his living, Allah bestows more blessings on him, whoever wastes, Allah deprives him of blessings and whoever remembers death much Allah loves him.”[7]

In a Qudsi tradition, Allah said to Prophet David (s), “O Dawood (David), the closest people to Allah are the humble ones and the farthest people from Allah are the haughty ones.”[8]

[1] Hadith Qudsi (sacred, or holy tradition or divine tradition) is a class of traditions which give words spoken by Allah, as distinguished from prophetic traditions which give the words of the Prophet. It contains Allah’s words, it differs from the Qur'an which was revealed through the medium of Gabriel, is inimitable, is recited in the prayers and may not be touched or recited by the ceremonially unclean.

[2] Biharul Anwar, vol.13, p.361.

[3] Usool Al-Kafi, vol.5 p.214.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid., p.216.

[6] Ibid.,vol.4 p.366.

[7] Usool Al-Kafi, vol.4 p.366.

[8] Ibid. p.372.

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