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Thursday, July 14, 2005

Violated Repentance

By Adil Salahi

Q. Someone was so upset about repeatedly committing a sinful act, and he pledged himself before God never to repeat it again, earnestly seeking God's forgiveness. However, sometime later, he committed the same sin again, but he was so upset at having violated such an earnest pledge. The thought of being a hypocrite has been haunting him. He made the same pledge to God again, but he is so scared of weakening in his resolve once more before temptation. Please comment.

A. The first thing I would like to say to this man is that he is not a hypocrite. His feelings are genuine and his regret that he is weakening before the temptation of sin is evidence of that. So, he should drive this notion out of his mind, because it could become his weak point through which Satan could tempt him into more sin. Satan may whisper to him that he is not a good believer, and that God will punish him anyway; so he may just as well enjoy the sinful act again. The punishment will be the same. This is one of the ways Satan could tempt people into evil action. Therefore, we must guard against leaving him such an opening. This man should take the opposite way and try to persuade himself that he is only weakening once at a time. He is genuine in his repentance, and God will, if He so pleases, accept his repentance.

What we need to realise is that God accepts repentance when it is genuine and accompanied with a clear resolve not to repeat the same sin again. This man has been doing that. His eagerness at the time of repentance is clear evidence of that. Therefore, God accepts his repentance, if He so pleases. He should be assured of that. It is true that he has been weakening time and again, even after such a very serious repentance coupled with a firm pledge, but this is something he could not have known at the time when he repented. Therefore, God does not take the later action to invalidate the previous one. He accepts the repentance as genuine and forgives on its basis. When the person weakens and commits the sin again, only the new sin is recorded against him. Therefore, he should not despair. He should again resolve to be firmer this time and he should repent and seek forgiveness anew. Even if this happens several times, he must not despair. He should listen to God's own words: "You servants of Mine who have transgressed against your own selves! Do not despair of God's mercy; for, God forgives all sins. Most certainly He alone is much-forgiving, merciful." (39: 53)

Having said that, this man should try to take some steps that could be of help in avoiding the temptation. Suppose that he is guilty of drinking with his friends. He should stop going out with those friends who drink. He must choose instead some friends who do not drink and associate with them more closely. In fact, he should always associate with people who are righteous and who would encourage him to be more diligent in observing his Islamic duties and avoiding sin. If his problem is one of sex, he should avoid any situation that offers temptation. Moreover, he should always keep himself busy. Having loads of spare time is a factor that could lead to temptation and weakness.

O Allah, O Sufficer of the isolated and weak and Protector against terrifying affairs! Offenses have isolated me, so there is none to be my companion. I am too weak for Thy wrath and there is none to strengthen me. I have approached the terror of meeting Thee and there is none to still my fear. I beg for Your Mercy! Ameen
Push On Dua!


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