Did you know that Ramadhan is divided into three important parts. The first 1o days of Ramadhan bring Allah's mercy, the second 10 days bring Allah's forgiveness and the last 10 days bring emancipation from Hell fire. Since we are still within the last few days of the 2nd part of Ramadhan I wanted to explore the concept of forgiveness.
In the course of my life there are many things I have done. I am human and I err. I accept that flaw in myself for it is a human condition and we all suffer from it. A week ago I was discussing with my friend, the concept of forgiveness circulated among Muslims. Let me clarify this now, this concept seems to be prevalent in Muslims who have basic or general knowledge of Islam. Our discussion centered on the unforgiveables i.e shirk, zina and murder. This post will be an account of what was said and what I learnt from research.
One of Allah's attributes is Al-Ghaffar, The Forgiver. Why then when people talk of the unforgiveables most of them believe that these are acts that cannot be forgiven? Allah is the only one who knows what is forgiveable and what isn't. Furthermore he knows who he forgives and who he doesn't. Who are we to pass judgment on others by saying "So and so is going to hell." ? We are liking ourselves to knowing what Allah knows. One of my fondest hadeeths is one I kept bringing back in the discussion. In the hadeeth it is said that when a believer asks for forgiveness Allah comes running. That in my mind says that Allah will forgive anything as long as the repenter is sincere.
The requirements for forgiveness are simple. First, you have to be sincere in the intentions then, you give up and avoid the sin you are repenting. You are also supposed to regret the sin and sincerely resolve to not repeat it for Allah's sake and from the fear of punishment. Allah will turn your bad deeds into good deeds if following the repentance, the believer engages in righteous deed. The last condition is restoring people's rights and property if the sin involved wrongdoing unto others. All these conditions, it goes without saying, have to happen before death.
“The torment will be doubled to him on the Day of Resurrection, and he will abide therein in disgrace; Except those who repent and believe (in Islamic Monotheism), and do righteous deeds; for those, Allaah will change their sins into good deeds, and Allaah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful” [al-Furqaan 25:69-70]The best time to ask for repentance, according to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), is during the last 1/3 of the night. Allah is said to be in the lowest part of heaven, "Who will call upon Me so that I may answer him? Who will ask Me so that I may give to him? Who will seek My forgiveness so that I may forgive him?’” (Narrated by Muslim, no. 758).
So my dear brothers and sisters, use this time (second part of Ramadhan) and ask for forgiveness because Allah is Oft-Forgiving and more so during this Holy Month. He alone knows what sincerity lies in our hearts when we beg for forgiveness. Inshallah may we be protected from any sins we commit and be forgiven for any we have commited. Amin.