We live in very changing times.  We just have to turn on the news and see all the tribulations that are affecting both Muslim and non Muslim.  And in these testing times it is very easy to become despondent and despair at the situation that we find ourselves  in.  Indeed much more difficult times lie ahead but we must never forget the Mercy of Allah.  For the next few weeks I will talk about the Mercy of Allah so that when we make dua we have an idea of what it means to invoke Allah’s Mercy.

Never Despair in the Mercy of Allah – Forgiveness: Islamic Perspective

‘When Allah completed the creation, He wrote in His Book which is with Him on His Throne, ‘My Mercy overpowers My Anger.’

Allah’s Forgiveness:
Allah is the most Forgiving. There are many names of Allah given in the Qur’an. Some of these names are related to His mercy and forgiveness. Let me mention some of these names.

al-Ghafoor: The most Forgiving
This name occurs in the Qur’an more than seventy times. There are other names from the same root, such as Ghafir and Ghaffar. The meaning of the “ghafara” is to cover, to hide and from it comes the meaning “to excuse”, “to pardon”, “to remit” and “to forgive”. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala does all these things. In the Qur’an, it is mentioned that Allah does not forgive shirk (without repentance) but He may forgive every other sin for whomsoever He wills. (al-Nisa’ 4:116) We must turn to Allah to seek His forgiveness.

al-’Afuw: This is another aspect of forgiveness
This name occurs in the Qur’an five times. Literally the word ‘Afw means “to release” “to heal”, “to restore”, “to remit”. Thus in relation to Allah it means “to release us from the burden of punishment due to our sins and mistakes”, “to restore our honor after we have dishonored ourselves by committing sins and making mistakes.” Sometimes in the Qur’an both names: ‘Afuw and Ghafoor come together.

al-Tawwab: The Acceptor of repentance
This name of Allah is mentioned in the Qur’an about 11 times. Allah accepts the repentance of those who sincerely repent and turn to him. The word “tawwab” gives the sense of “oft-returning” which means that Allah again and again accepts the repentance. We make sins and mistakes then we repent, He accepts our repentance. Then again we commit sins and make mistakes and when we repent, He again very kindly accepts us and gives us another chance.

al-Haleem: The Clement
This name is mentioned fifteen times in the Qur’an. This means that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala is not quick to judgment. He gives time. He forebears and is patient to see His servant to return to Him.

al-Rahman and al-Rahim: The most Merciful and Compassionate
These names are the most frequently mentioned in the Qur’an. Al-Rahman is mentioned 57 times and al-Raheem is mentioned 115 times. al-Rahman indicates that Allah’s mercy is abundant and plenty and al-Raheem indicates that this is always the case with Allah. He is full of love and mercy and He is ever Merciful.

The Qur’an teaches that Allah is a Judge and He also punishes, but Allah is not bound to punish. The justice of Allah, according to Qur’an is that Allah does not and will not inflict undue punishment on any person. He will not ignore the good of any person. But if He wishes to forgive any sinner, He has full freedom to do that. His Mercy is unlimited and His Love is infinite.

There are many verses in the Qur’an and sayings of the Prophet -peace be upon him- on the love, mercy and forgiveness of Allah. In one of the prayers that the Prophet taught, he said, “O Allah, You are most Forgiving One, You love to forgive, so forgive me.” . We need Allah’s mercy and forgiveness all the time. It is wrong to assume at any time that one will find eternal salvation without the forgiveness of Allah.

Human Forgiveness in Islam:
Just as it is important to believe in the mercy and forgiveness of Allah, it is also necessary to base human relations on forgiveness. We cannot expect Allah’s forgiveness unless we also forgive those who do wrong to us. Forgiving each other, even forgiving one’s enemies is one of the most important Islamic teaching. In the Qur’an Allah has described the Believers as “those who avoid major sins and acts of indecencies and when they are angry they forgive.” (42:37) Later in the same Sûrah Allah says, “The reward of the evil is the evil thereof, but whosoever forgives and makes amends, his reward is upon Allah.” (al-Shura 42:40) In another place the Qur’an says, “If you punish, then punish with the like of that wherewith you were afflicted. But if you endure patiently, indeed it is better for the patient. Endure you patiently. Your patience is not except through the help of Allah.” (16:126-127)

Today InshAllah I will continue my discussion on the Mercy of Allah SWT.

The 100 Levels of Allah Almighty’s Mercy

Verily, there are one hundred (parts of) mercy for Allah, and it is one part of this mercy by virtue of which there is mutual love between the people and ninety-nine reserved for the Day of Resurrection. So we have Allah’s Mercy to look forward to on the Day of Judgement.

So we can only see 1/100 th of Allah Mercy on Earth but on the day of Judgment we will see 100 Parts of his Mercy. We read every Bis-millah-nir-Rahman nir-Raheem.  Rahman is for this World. Raheem is for the Next World.

‘Allah will not be Merciful to those who are not Merciful to mankind’ So as Muslims we need to always be polite, humble, patient, loving and well mannered when we deal with others, whether they are Muslims or non-Muslims.

Repentance wipes out previous sins

Someone may say : I would like to repent, but what’s the certainty that I’ll be forgiven? I would like to change my ways but my mind is invaded by uncertainties. Were I to be sure of being forgiven surely I would repent. The Answer is, this thought is nothing new. It used to worry even the Companions of the Prophet SAW. Here are two instances.

The first is related by Imam Muslim, may Allah have mercy on him, the story of ‘Amr b. al-‘As . narrated by himself. Says he: “When Islam had taken root in my heart I went to the Prophet , on whom be peace, and said: ‘Spread out your hand so that I may take pledge.’ He thrust forward his right hand and I held it in mine (without taking the oath). He asked, ‘What’s the matter with you ‘Amr?’ I said, ‘Well. I would like to make it conditional.’ ‘And what’s the condition?’ he asked. I said, ‘That I be forgiven.’ He said, ‘Don’t you know ‘Amr that Islam wipes out previous sins… that hijrah wipes out previous sins… and that Hajj wipes out previous sins?’ “

The second has also been preserved by Imam Muslim. He reports Ibn ‘Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, as saying that some people of the pagans had committed many murders and had indulged in excessive adultery in the days of ignorance (that is prior to the appearance of the Prophet SAW). They came to the Prophet SAW and said: ‘What you offer, and call us to is quite appealing. But if you could only let us know if there is the possibility of atonement for our previous sins’. Allah, glorified be He, then revealed the verse “(The true servants of Allah are those) who do not call upon another god with Allah, who do not slay the soul Allah has forbidden, save by right, and do not adulterate. And whosoever does that, he shall(surely) meet the price of sin.” (Al-Furqan:68). This is a warning who engage in these acts.  But Allah also revealed: “Tell them, O My slaves who have wronged their souls: ‘Do not despair of Allah’s mercy.’ ” (Al-Zumar:53). So as long as you stop and repent to Allah then you can enjoy His Mercy.

Will Allah forgive me?

Sometimes a person asks: I would like to repent, but I have such a huge collection, and such a wide variety of evil deeds in my account that I do not know if Allah will forgive me.

Let me tell you in reply, that this is not your specific problem but that of many a young man/woman who wants to repent his/her sins. Let me give you the example of a young man. He started his career of sin at a very early age. By the time he had reached seventeen years of age there was not a sin – major or minor – that he had not committed teeming up with people of all sorts – young and old. He had even committed indecencies with a little girl adding to the list of thefts committed on various occasions. Then he repented, began to do his tahajjud, fast every Monday and Thursday, and read the Qur’an after every morning Prayer. But, he used to ask, is this repentance acceptable (to Allah)?

The answer to him and to every sinner is that we should always turn to the Qur’an and Sunnah to find out what they have to say about the problem at hand, and what is the cure and solution they offer. When we refer to the Qur’an in this regard we find that Allah, glorified be He, tells us: “Tell them (O Muhammad ): ‘O My slaves who have wronged their souls, do not despair of Allah’s mercy, for Allah will forgive all the sins. He is indeed very Forgiving, very Compassionate, Turn to Him then, and obey Him (in all your affairs).'” (Al-Zumar:53,54). This then is the Answer which does not need further elucidation.

As for the thought that the sins are so numerous that Allah may not forgive them, it arises, first of all, from a lack of faith and knowledge of the magnitude of Allah’s Mercy. Secondly, it is because of the lack of appreciation of Allah’s capability to forgive any number of sins. Thirdly, it indicates failure on the part of the penitent to come up with another important deed of the heart viz., “hope”. And fourthly, it is lack of appreciation of the way in which repentance can wipe out sins. we shall therefore, discuss each of these points a little more in detail.

As for the first, it should be enough to quote Allah Himself who says: “My mercy has encompassed everything.” (Al-A’raf:56)

As for the second, a hadith qudsi should be enough to quote. Said the Prophet  on whom be peace: “Says Allah, ‘He who knows (and believes) that I forgive all sins, then I do forgive all his sins, and do not care – so long as he does not suggest partners unto Me.” And the rule will be applied (continues the Prophet ) in the Hereafter.”

As for the third, another hadith should offer the cure. The Prophet SAW quotes Allah as having said: “Son of Adam! If your sins were to reach the limits of the sky, and then you seek My forgiveness, I shall forgive you, and I do not care. Son of Adam! If you will bring sins equal in volume to the earth and then you meet Me (on the day of Judgment) in the state that you would not have suggested partners unto Me, I shall give you in return forgiveness equal to the volume of the earth.”

And, as for the fourth, another hadith of the Prophet  should be enough for the purpose. Said he: “He who repented is like him who has no sin on him.”

After reading the above we learn the Power of Allah to forgive our sins.  However that shouldn’t mean that we are given the green light to commit all sorts of sins thinking that Allah will forgive us.  We don’t know when death will come to us and we don’t want to die when we are engaged in sin.  So we should try our best to be good Muslims, but we should also keep in mind that if we do transgress then we should follow a bad deed with a good deed, repent and move on trying again to be the best Muslim that we can be.

May Allah SWT make us of those who repent excessively, ameen.

By Rahil Mumtaz