Ramadan and Repentance

Ramadan and Repentance

One of the greatest blessings which Allah bestows upon His servants is that He gives them an opportunity to turn to Him in repentance. He also made repentance a safe resort and secure refuge which is sought by sinners, who confess their sins, hope for Allah’s mercy, and regret for the evil deeds. They will find in their closeness to their Lord something which removes the gloominess of sins and lightens the darkness of heart, so that their life will change from miserable and evil disobedience to luminous and blessed obedience.

Allah calls and commands His servants to repent to Him no matter how great their sins and evil deeds are and promises them to accept their repentance and to change their evil deeds into good deeds. This is out of Allah’s mercy and kindness towards His servants.

Repentance has a very high and importance status which accompanies Allah’s servants until their death, as it acts like their beginning and end. Therefore, Allah commands the believers and upright people to repent to Him after believing in Him, showing patience, and striving is His cause, and makes success depend on repentance. Allah, the Almighty, says: {And turn to Allah in repentance, all of you, O believers, that you might succeed.} [Quran 24: 31] Allah divides His servants into penitents and wrongdoers, as He says: {And whoever does not repent - then it is those who are the wrongdoers.} [Quran 49: 11]

It was authentically reported that the Prophet, sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam, said: “Allah, the Almighty, will continue to stretch out His Hand in the night so that the sinners of the day may repent, and continue to stretch His Hand in the daytime so that the sinners of the night may repent, until the sun rises from the west.” [Muslim]

The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) whom Allah forgave his former and later sins, said: “O people, turn in repentance to Allah and beg pardon of Him. I turn to Him in repentance a hundred times a day.” [Muslim] Therefore, what about sinners and wrongdoers?

Sincere repentance erases evil deeds and sins no matter how great they are, even disbelief and polytheism, as no sin is too great for Allah to forgive. Allah, the Almighty, says: {Say to those who have disbelieved [that] if they cease, what has previously occurred will be forgiven for them. But if they return [to hostility] - then the precedent of the former [rebellious] peoples has already taken place.} [Quran 8: 38] Allah also called those who killed prophets and committed great sins to repent to Him, as He says: {Allah is the third of three} [Quran 5: 73] And: {Who say that Allah is Christ, the son of Mary} [Quran 5: 17] Allah, the Almighty, gave those people an opportunity to forgive their sins, as He says: {So will they not repent to Allah and seek His forgiveness? And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.} [Quran 5: 74]

According to the Sacred Hadith, Allah says: “My servants, you commit sins night and day, and I am there to pardon your sins, so beg pardon from Me so that I should grant you pardon.” [Muslim] According to another Sacred Hadith, Allah says: “O Son of Adam, I do not care even if your sins should pile up to the sky and you should beg pardon of Me, I would forgive you. O Son of Adam, if you come to me with earth-wide sins and meet Me, not associating anything with Me, I would come to you with an earth-wide forgiveness.” [At-Tirmidhi]

Ramadan is the greatest season for repentance, forgiveness, and expiation of sins. According to a Hadith reported by Muslim from Abu Hurairah  may  Allah  be  pleased  with  him the Messenger of Allah, sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam, said: “Five prayers, from one Friday prayer to (the next) Friday prayer, and from Ramadan to (the next) Ramadan are expiation (of the sins committed in between their intervals) if major sins are not committed.” In addition, fasting and offering prayer at night during Ramadan and at Lailat Al-Qadr (Night of Decree) in specific, out of faith and seeking reward from Allah, expiate all the former sins. Allah’s servant can find help during Ramadan which he cannot find in any other month, due to the availability of numerous opportunities to obey Allah, people’s hearts draw closer to Allah, the gates of Paradise are opened, the gates of Hell are closed, reasons for evil are limited, and devils are chained. All these matters can help a person repent and turn back to Allah.

Therefore, the deprived and helpless person is the one who misses this opportunity and does not have his sins forgiven during this month. Accordingly, he deserves to be humiliated and distanced from Allah’s mercy, according to Jibril’s supplication and the Prophet’s Ta’min (saying “Amen”). Jibril said: “O Muhammad may Allah distance [from His Mercy] the one who lives through Ramadan, yet does not attain the forgiveness of Allah, say: ‘Amen.’” So the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said: “Amen.” [At-Tabarani]

The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said: “May he be abased who passes through the whole of Ramadan before his sins are forgiven.” [At-Tirmidhi]

If Allah, the Almighty, calls His servants at every time to repent to Him sincerely, then repenting to Allah during Ramadan takes precedence over the other months, because it is the month during which tears are shed, sins are erased, and people are set free from Hell. If a person does not repent during Ramadan, when will he repent?

Repentance has six conditions to be accepted:

First: It should be sincere to Allah, the Almighty.

Second: It should take place before the sun rises from the west; if it does, repentance will not be accepted. Allah, the Almighty, says: {The Day that some of the signs of your Lord will come no soul will benefit from its faith as long as it had not believed before or had earned through its faith some good. Say, "Wait. Indeed, we [also] are waiting.} [Quran 6: 158] Allah also accepts His servant’s repentance as long as he has not given his spirit in death, according to what the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said.

Third: The penitent should avoid committing the sin from which he repents; if he still commits the sin, repentance will not be valid.

Fourth: The penitent should regret for his evil deeds; regret is the greatest pillar of repentance. It was authentically reported from the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said: “Regret is repentance.” [Ibn Majah]

Fifth: The penitent should determine not to return to sins in the future.

Sixth: The penitent should restore people’s rights and absolve himself, if the sin is related to people’s rights.

O fasting brother, during this blessed month, we should decrease our sins, stop committing acts of disobedience and evil deeds, and repent sincerely to Allah. Ramadan should be a season for us to rectify our deeds, reform our path, and call ourselves to account. If we find that we do good deeds, we should praise Allah and increase these deeds; otherwise, we should repent to Allah, seek His forgiveness, and do more good deeds.

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