From Rasulullah ﷺ: The Beauty of Tawbah

by Ustaz Vincent Souleymane

If we really knew the merits of repentance, we would not stop practicing it. It is one of the most beloved acts of Allah. Indeed, our Creator does not ask us for perfection. He knows better than we do that we are not angels and that we sometimes make mistakes. We should of course try not to succumb to temptation and purify our hearts from evil tendencies.

But despite our efforts and our spiritual journey, we will stumble from time to time. Allah, exalted be He, knows this and never imposes the impossible on us. He asks us to return to Him when this happens. 

In a hadith reported by Muslim, according to Abu Hurayra, the Messenger of Allah ﷺ, said:

“By Him who holds my soul in His hand, if you did not sin, Allah would get rid of you, and He would bring people who sin, so that they would ask Him for forgiveness and He would forgive them.” [Muslim]

Allah is the Forgiver, He loves to forgive, and sin can be a blessing in disguise if it leads to sincere repentance. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ, expressed this love of the Almighty for the one who repents in very strong terms:

According to ‘Abdullah ibn Mass’ûd, may Allah be pleased with him, the Prophet ﷺ said,

“Allah’s joy for the believer’s repentance is more intense than that of a man who finds himself in a desert land with his mount loaded with his food and drink. This man has fallen asleep and when he wakes up, he finds that his mount has escaped. He calls to it until he feels thirsty. He then returns to his place and falls asleep waiting for death. Then he wakes up and sees his mount with its provisions returned to him. Allah’s joy at the believer’s repentance is greater than that of the man who has found his mount and his provisions.” [Muslim]

What joy a man in this situation must feel! A man who thought he would die of thirst in a short time!

It is therefore fundamental to repent every time we disobey, without ever despairing of Divine Mercy. If Allah accepts this return, then it is as if the sin had never been committed. The Prophet ﷺ said,

“He who repents of a sin is like one who has not committed it.” [Ibn Majah]

It may be that at the time of repentance, our enemy, Shaytan, will come up with excuses to dissuade us from seeking Allah’s forgiveness. We are about to do what he hates the most. 

We are about to do what he hates the most, and all sorts of wrong ideas come to mind, such as:

“It’s no use, you’ve already repented of this sin and you’ve done it again!”

“You know you will do it again, don’t be a hypocrite!”

These ideas are to be rejected, they only hide what Shaytan really wants to tell us: “Stay in evil with me! Stay in my way and do not return to your Creator!”

Among the pillars of repentance, there is the fact of having the intention not to do it again, which does not mean the certainty of succeeding. It is a sincere intention that is required. Even if we were to fall into the same sin later, we would have to repent sincerely again. In this way, little by little, we purify our hearts of the disease that causes us to commit this wrongdoing and will eventually not return to it in shaa Allah.

Vincent Souleymane, a French imam and shariah advisor at Muslim Pro, has devoted his time to study and enrich others with the knowledge of Islamic sciences ever since he converted to the religion in 1999. During his studies at the Oussoul Eddine Institute in Saint-Denis, he became aware of the importance of devotion to Allah and decided to continue his religious studies at the daroul ouloum achrafiya of the Island La Réunion and at the IESH of Château Chinon. Since then, Vincent Souleymane devotes himself to the Almighty by teaching Islam at the Oussoul Eddine Institute, as well as being an imam at the Fontenay sous Bois Mosque.

Translated by Elyssa Faucher.