by Shaykh Muhammad Shareef bin Farid
Whether you are sunni, democratic, republican, socialist, tijaniyya, muridiyya, moderate, extremists, sufi or salafist…you all have to repent to Allah for all the reasons that you yourselves know too well.
We are about the enter into the sacred months of Rajab and Sha`baan, leading up to Ramadan. Let’s return to Allah, seeking forgiveness of our many sins, faults, mistakes and omissions, before the Gate or Door of repentance is forever closed!
Allah ta`ala says:
﴿ﻭَﺗُﻮﺑُﻮﺍْ ﺇِﻟَﻰ ﺍﻟﻠﻪِ ﺟَﻤِﻴْﻌﺎً ﺃَﻳُّﻬَﺎ ﺍَﻟْﻤُﺆْﻣِﻨُﻮْﻥَ ﻟَﻌَﻠَّﻜُﻢْ ﺗُﻔْﻠِﺤُﻮْﻥَ﴾
“Repent to Allah all together, O you believers so that you may be successful.” [Nuur: 31]
This verse means that all of the believers, as an individual a family, as a community and a nation are obligated to return back to obedience of Allah, and resort back to Him, so that all of you collectively can be redeemed from His divine punishment and attain His divine mercy.
The emphasizing phrase ‘jamee`an’ (all together), also means that as an individual you should repent entirely to Allah and not partially. You should repent with your entire being leaving nothing of your previous sins intact. In this verse Allah ta`ala explains that repentance is the key (miftaah) to all good and that the worldly and religious success of every believer is based upon the sincerity of their repentance.
Allah ta`ala says:
﴿ﺃَﻟَﻢْ ﻳَﻌْﻠَﻤُﻮﺍْ ﺃَﻥَّ ﺍﻟﻠﻪَ ﻳَﻘْﺒَﻞَ ﺍﻟﺘَّﻮْﺑَﺔَ ﻋَﻦْ ﻋِﺒَﺎﺩِﻩِ﴾
“Are they not aware that Allah accepts the repentance of His servants?” [Tawba: 104].
Repentance is what is desired from the children of Adam and repentance is what distinguishes humanity from the chief of demons, Iblis, because he cannot repent. He cannot acknowledge that he is wrong, so he cannot conceive of the idea of relenting to God and repenting. While, with Adam, his vicegerency (khilaafa) and leadership over the earth was a direct result of his repentance.
The meaning of repentance is resorting back and returning to Allah from a life of disobedience to a life of obedience. The etymology of the word ‘tawba’ is from verb ‘taaba’ (to relent); and means the act of returning from a life of sin.
After knowledge, repentance is the first of the stations of the spiritual wayfarer (saalik), the spiritual disciple (mureed) and the knowers of Allah (`aarif) after knowledge. It is the consensus of the learned scholars of Islam to place repentance because the essence of any actions and deeds must be first backed my knowledge. This knowledge includes knowing and acknowledging that one has committed reprehensible acts in order to repent from them and seek forgiveness.
In fact, before our common ancestor, Adam, had a reason to repent, Allah had already given him knowledge by His words: “And I taught Adam all the Names”. This knowledge was given to him was prior to his being deceived by Satan into disobeying Allah. So, knowledge is prior to repentance because it is knowledge which makes the servant aware that they have gone beyond the limits of Allah and must repent and return to His obedience.
Shaykh Abdullahi Dan Fodio said that repentance is what washes the darkness of the heart, renews actions and gives one’s deeds the fresh smell of Divine acceptance. He also said that Allah made repentance the covering which veils the nakedness of one’s evil deeds. It is the only purification which can cleanse the impurities of errors.
Repentance is the eraser which wipes away the evils of the past and it is the ameliorator which corrects and amends the future. It is for this reason that the sages are agreed that the first of the stations after knowledge is repentance, and the last of the stations prior to direct gnosis of Allah, is repentance. For, no good deeds or actions can be accepted by the Absolute Being except by means of putting forward repentance.
Shehu Uthman Dan Fodio said that repentance (tawba) is incumbent upon humanity for two reasons.
 It is necessary prerequisite in order to attain success in obedience to Allah, because the misfortune of sins causes two types of deprivations: [a] withholding a person from doing good deeds, [b] with holding a person from having zeal and eagerness in obeying Allah.
 Repentance is necessary in order for your worship to be accepted by Allah. This is because Allah, like any creditor never accepts a gift in return for a payment of a debt.
What the Shehu means here is that that our obedience to Allah is a debt which we owe Him. The word debt (dain) has the same linguistic root as the word deen (way of life). Thus, your way of life is Islam. Whoever adheres to the bounds of Islam by performing the obligations and avoiding the prohibitions will have paid back His debt to Allah in a timely fashion.
Whoever falls short will have forfeited his contract with Allah and may be required to repay Him in the form of the torment at death, in the grave , on the Day of Rising, in the Reckoning and during the torment of the Fire. Allah is the sole King of the Day of Requital.
Shaykh Abdullahi Dan Fodio said that genuine repentance has twelve preconditions by which it is known:
 that the inner most core of the heart is determined or prevented from returning to thoughts and reminiscence of sins.
 genuine regret for past misdeeds
 absolute abandonment of any persistence in sins in the future
 restoring and making restitution of acts of injustice towards others
 rejecting procrastination in acts of obedience
 much seeking of forgiveness from Allah for past errors
 frankly acknowledging the repugnance of sins and their dangers
 fearing that while one has repented , that that repentance may be deficient in the eyes of Allah
 abandoning and avoiding all places where disobedience is easy and open
 abandoning and avoiding all of those who assists in committing acts of disobedience
 choosing as friends and companions the righteous and virtuous who can assist a person against the corrupt soul and its passions
 that an individual repents before death and that humanity collectively repent before the sun rises in the west.
While these twelve pre-requisites for repentance are true, they can be summed up in s singular character trait and that is REGRET. In this post-modernist world, people have been told to have no regrets and not to be pulled down by the past. While this is true, a person will never be genuinely repentant until they acknowledge their wrong and genuinely regret, feel shame and remorse for their errors.
It has been related by al-Hakim and al-Bayhaqi on the authority of Anas ibn Malik, while al-
Bukhari cited in his Tarikh along with Ibn Maja and Imam Ahmad in his Musnad on the authority of Abdallah ibn Mas`ud that the Messenger of Allah said:
)) ﺍﻟﻨَّﺪَﻡُ ﺗَﻮْﺑﺔٌ ((
“Remorse is repentance.”
Shehu Uthman Dan Fodio also said that the things which will prompt you towards repentance are three:
 remembrance of the result of shameless sins;
 remembrance of the severity of Allah’s punishment; and
 remembrance of the frailty of your own bodies.
If you were to persist in the remembrance of these three things, it would induce you towards sincere repentance (at-tawba an-nasuuh). Geunine repentance from sins which indicates its sincerity in the heart are that it should be done entirely out of esteem for Allah `izza wa jalla and being on one’s guard against His wrath.
One does not repent out of desire for worldly matters, out of fear of people, or out of desire for praise or fame. However, when a person truly repents, the sign of their repentance is that Allah ta`ala eventually improves their quality of life and gives them a sense of contentment. Indeed when a person truly repents then the very traces of sins are removed and are replaced with the sweet fragrance of divine acceptance and success.
It has been related by ad-Daylami on the authority of Anas ibn Malik, who said that the Messenger of Allah once said:
)) ﻣَﻦ ﺍِﺳْﺘِﺒْﻄَﺄَ ﺍﻟﺮِّﺯْﻕُ ﻓَﻠْﻴَﻜْﺜِﺮُ ﻣِﻦْ ﺍﻟﺘَّﻜْﺒِﻴْﺮِ ﻭَﻣَﻦْ ﻛَﺜَﺮَ ﻫَﻤًّﻪً ﻭَﻏَﻤُﻪُ ﻓَﻠْﻴَﻜْﺜِﺮُ ﻣِﻦَ ﺍﻟْﺈِﺳْﺘِﻐْﻔَﺎﺭِ ((
“Whoever is constricted in wealth, then they should increase in magnifying and glorifying Allah; and whoever is overcome with many anxieties and concerns, then they should increase in seeking forgiveness of Allah.”
Shehu Uthman Dan Fodio summed up sins into three divisions and then instructs us in a decisive method of repentance. These divisions of sins are:
 Leaving the obligations (tark’l-waajibaat) of Allah ta`ala like the prayer (salaat), fasting
(sawm), zakaat, atonement (kafara) or others from these. A person is obligated to make up as much of that as is possible.
 The sins which occur between a person and Allah subhaanahu, like consuming intoxicants
(sharab’l-khamr), playing wind instruments (darab’l-mazaamir), devouring compounded interest ( riba), and the like. A person should have regret for that and be determined in thier heart to never return to the like of that.
 The third are sins which occur between a person and other slaves of Allah. These sins are the most difficult of sins and are divided into those which were committed against someone’s property (maal), self (nafs), honor (`ird), women (hurma), and deen. A person should resolve those which are possible to resolve from what was mentioned.
As for those which are not possible to resolve, you should return to Allah with humiliation (tadara`u) and sincerity (sidq) in order that Allah may be pleased with you on the Day of Rising.
As for a decisive method of making repentance, Shehu Uthman Dan Fodio said that after the above you should go and wash your garments, make the complete ritual bath (ghusl), and pray four rak`ats superogatory prayers.
Then with genuine humility, fear of Allah and remorse, place your face upon the earth in a place which is free of the watchful gaze of all except Allah subhaanahu wa ta`ala. As a sign of regret, throw dust upon your head and roll your face, which is the most honorable of your limbs, in the dirt – with tears flowing, sorrowing heart, and with a loud voice mention every one of your sins, one by one if possible.
Look at your sins with the same shame that you will be forced to see them on the Day of Judgment. Enumerate your sins and reckon them just as you will be reckoned on the Day of Reckoning.
Then you should rebuke and reprimand your disobedient soul (nafs) by saying: “O self! Are you not ashamed?! Will you not repent?! Can you withstand the punishment of Allah subhaanahu wa ta`ala?! Do you have anything which can endure the wrath of Allah `izza wa jalla?!” You should mention this over and over again.
Then with tears flowing you should raise your hands to the Merciful Lord and say:
ﺇِﻟَﺎﻫِﻲ ﻋَﺒْﺪُﻙَ ﺍَﻟْﻤُﺬْﻧِﺐُ ﺃَﺗَﺎﻙَ ﺑِﺎﻟْﻌُﺬْﺭِ، ﻓَﺎَﻋْﻒُ ﻋَﻨِّﻲ ﺑِﺠُﻮﺩِﻙَ ﻭَﺗَﻘَﺒَّﻠْﻨِﻲ ﺑِﻔَﻀْﻠِﻚَ، ﻭَﺍَﻧْﻈُﺮْ ﺇِﻟَﻲَّ ﺑِﺮَﺣْﻤَﺘِﻚَ، ﺍَﻟﻠَّﻬُﻢَّ ﺍَﻏْﻔِﺮْ ﻟِﻲ ﻣَﺎ ﺳَﻠَﻒَ ﻣِﻦَ ﺍَﻟﺬُّﻧُﻮﺏِ، ﻭَﺍَﻋْﺼِﻤْﻨِﻲ ﻓِﻴﻤَﺎ ﺑَﻘِﻰَ ﻣِﻦَ ﺍَﻷَﺟْﻞِ، ﻓَﺈِﻥَّ ﺍَﻟْﺨَﻴْﺮَ ﻛُﻠَّﻪُ ﺑِﻴَﺪِﻙَ، ﻭَﺃَﻧْﺖَ ﺑِﻨَﺎ ﺭَﺅُﻑٌ ﺭَﺣِﻴﻢٌ
“My Allah! Your rebellious slave has returned to Your door. Your disobedient slave has returned to correction. My Allah! Your sinful slave comes with his excuses. So pardon me by Your generosity. Accept me by Your bounty. Look down upon me with Your mercy. O Allah! Forgive me for what has past from sins and protect me from what remains of my years. Truly all good is in Your hands and to us You are the Kind and Merciful.”
Then make the supplication of distress and hardship (du`a as-shidda), which is:
ﻳَﺎ ﻣُﺠَﻠِّﻲ ﻋَﻈَﺎﺋِﻢَ ﺍَﻷُﻣُﻮﺭِ، ﻳَﺎ ﻣُﻨْﺘَﻬَﻰ ﻫِﻤَﺔَ ﺍَﻟْﻤَﻬْﻤُﻮﻣِﻴﻦ،َ ﻳَﺎ ﻣَﻦْ ﺇِﺫَﺍ ﺃَﺭَﺍﺩَ ﺃَﻣْﺮً ﻓَﺈِﻧَّﻤَﺎ ﻳَﻘُﻮﻝُ ﻟَﻪُ ” ﻛُﻦْ ” ﻓَﻴَﻜُﻮﻥُ، ﺃَﺣَﺎﻃَﺖْ ﺑِﻨَﺎ ﺫُﻧُﻮﺑُﻨَﺎ، ﻭَﺃَﻧْﺖَ ﺍَﻟْﻤَﺪْﺧُﻮﺭُ ﻟَﻬَﺎ، ﻳَﺎ ﻣَﺪْﺧُﻮﺭ ﻟِﻜُﻞِّ ﺷِﺪَّﺓٍ ﻛُﻨْﺖُ ﺃَﺩَّﺧِﺮُﻙَ ﺑِﻬَﺬّﺍ ﺍِﻟﺴَّﺎﻋَﺔِ، ﻓَﺘُﺐْ ﻋَﻠَﻲَّ، ﺇِﻧَّﻚَ ﺃَﻧْﺖَ ﺍَﻟﺘَّﻮَﺍﺏُ ﺍَﻟﺮَّﺣِﻴﻢُ
“O Discloser of the greatest of matters! O Goal of the aspirations of the distressed! O He who when He desires a matter, says to it, Be! And it is! Our sins have besieged us and You are the One who stores them. O Gatherer of every distress! I am seeking Your preservation in this moment, so relent towards me. Verily You are the Relenting the Merciful.”
While reciting this supplication you should be imagining all your sins in front of you and with weeping eyes, remorse and fearful regret you should recite the supplication of our spiritual master AL-KHIDR Ahmad Balyaa ibn Mulkaan alayhi as-salaam:
ﻳَﺎ ﻣَﻦ ﻻَ ﻳَﺸْﻐُﻠُﻪُ ﺳَﻤْﻊٌ ﻋَﻦ ﺳَﻤْﻊٍ، ﻳَﺎ ﻣَﻦ ﻻَ ﺗُﻌَﻄِّﻠُﻪُ ﺍَﻟْﻤَﺴَﺎﺋِﻞُ، ﻳَﺎ ﻣَﻦ ﻻَ ﻳُﺒْﺮِﻣُﻪُ ﺍِﻟْﺤَﺎﺡُ ﺍَﻟْﻤُﻠِﺤِّﻴﻦَ، ﺍَﺫِﻗْﻨَﺎ ﺑَﺮْﺩَ ﻋَﻔْﻮِﻙَ ﻭَﺣَﻼَﻭَﺓَ ﺭَﺣْﻤَﺘِﻚَ، ﺇِﻧَّﻚَ ﻋَﻠَﻰ ﻛُﻞِّ ﺷَﻲْﺀٍ ﻗَﺪِﻳﺮٌ
O He who is not preoccupied with hearing from hearing others! O He who is not hindered by those who ask! O He who is not annoyed by the insistence of those who are insistent! Let us drink the coolness of Your pardon and the sweetness of Your mercy. Verily You have power over all things.”
This supplication is an immense key to the door of repentance and opens the gates of divine mercy. It has been related by ad-Dinari on the authority of Muhammad ibn Yahya who said once when Ali ibn Abi Talib was making the tawwaf of the Ka`ba when he noticed a man holding on to the hem of the covering of the Ka`ba saying above supplication:
ﻳَﺎ ﻣَﻦ ﻻَ ﻳَﺸْﻐُﻠُﻪُ ﺳَﻤْﻊٌ ﻋَﻦ ﺳَﻤْﻊٍ، ﻳَﺎ ﻣَﻦ ﻻَ ﺗُﻌَﻄِّﻠُﻪُ ﺍَﻟْﺴَّﺎﺋِﻠُﻮﻥَ، ﻳَﺎ ﻣَﻦ ﻻَ ﻳُﺒْﺮِﻣُﻪُ ﺍِﻟْﺤَﺎﺡُ ﺍَﻟْﻤُﻠِﺤِّﻴﻦَ، ﺍَﺫِﻗْﻨَﺎ ﺑَﺮْﺩَ ﻋَﻔْﻮِﻙَ ﻭَﺣَﻼَﻭَﺓَ ﺭَﺣْﻤَﺘِﻚَ ،
“O He who is not preoccupied with hearing from hearing others! O He who is not hendered by those who ask! O He who is not annoyed by the insistence of those who are insistent! Let us drink the coolness of Your pardon and the sweetness of Your mercy”
Ali asked the man: “O servant of Allah, is this your supplication?” The man said: “Did you hear what I said?” Ali said: “Yes”. The man then said: “I supplicate Allah with this supplication after every prayer, for by the One in whose Hand is the soul of al-Khidr, if you possessed sins equal to the number of the stars in the galaxy, to the number of rains from heaven, and to the number of the stones and sand pebbles on the earth, Allah would still forgive you faster than the blinking of an eye.”
So, this is a powerful supplication which should not be neglected.
Then Shehu Uthman Dan Fodio tells us: “Then you should make much prayers upon the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace and ask forgiveness for all the believing men and women. When you have done this and returned to the obedience of Allah `izza wa jalla, it is then you will have repented with a sincere repentance.
You will have left sins being purified of them like the day your mother gave birth to you.
Allah subhaanahu wa ta`ala will love you and pour down upon you His reward and recompense. He will make descend upon you innumerable blessings (baraka) and mercy (rahma). You will have earned trust (amnun), and sincerity (al-ikhlaas) and be saved from the torment of disobedience (ghussati al-ma`aasi) and its affliction in this world and the Hereafter. Allah is the Sole Owner of success and guidance is from His bounty and favor.”
O Allah make it so, and send Your most sublime blessings and most perfect peace upon the Reason that You created creation, our master Muhammad, upon him be blessings and peace forever without end; and forgive and be merciful to the Umma of Muhammad with an overflowing and universal mercy.