Archive for the ‘Repentance’ Category

Dispropotionate expiation?

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014

I have a question regarding fasting. I heard that if one were to intentionally break 1 day of their fast without any good reason then they would have to fast 60 consecutive days. Now when I heard this I was a little surprised as I never heard of such a thing. But when I looked it up on the internet I found out that it is a real thing.

Now I read it was from a hadith but a lot of hadiths out there aren’t authentic and have a lot of problems. This particular hadith in my initial opinion contradicts the Quran where Allah says that he doesn’t want to ‘burden us more than we can bear,’. And where the prophet says in a hadith that ‘this religion is easy and to not make it hard on yourself’. With that said, 60 days of fasting for only missing one fast is a little excessive for me and doesn’t seem like a fair thing. And I don’t think that that is something Allah wants for us.

So can you please clear up this issue for me and explain this hadith and this whole “60 day fast for only missing 1 fast type thing”?

Both Adam and Satan disobeyed a direct order from God. Yet, God forgave Adam and gave him a second chance, while He cursed Satan till the Day of Judgment. Why?

The difference between the two is that Adam recognized his error, regretted it and begged God to forgive him. Satan, on the other hand, refused to acknowledge that he did anything wrong and did not even attempt an apology to God. Adam knew his place; Satan deemed himself too big. Adam admitted his mistake; Satan argued with God. Adam bowed his head; Satan thumbed his nose. Adam submitted; Satan arrogated.

When you say “missed one day of fasting”, you’re not being accurate. Missing implies inability or forgetfulness. When one can fast but won’t, it’s not called missing, it’s called defiance. Missing is excusable; defiance is not.

That is why the expiation (“Kaffaara”) is different for each. The expiation for excusable breaking of the fast is one day of fasting later, or feeding a poor person a day’s worth of meals. The expiation of inexcusable breaking of the fast is to fast two consecutive months or feed sixty poor people. It is to teach the sinner humility before God. God does not benefit an iota from our worship. We do. It is in the best interest of the servant of God to be reminded of his place whenever he transgresses. If God leaves a sinner to himself, then know that the sinner is a lost cause, a hopeless case.

That is why the expiation, as harsh as it looks, is not disproportionate at all, nor unfair, nor contrasting God’s grace. Rather, it is tough love. A needed training of the believer who was headed the wrong way.

As for the hadeeth that tells us what the expiation is for inexcusable breaking of the fast, it was narrated by Abu-Hurayra and reported by Al-Bukhaari, Muslim, Abu-Daawood and Ibn Hibbaan. It is authentic. However, it is specific about mating during the fasting day. Scholars have concluded, however, that other inexcusable acts may be expiated the same way by analogy (Qiyaas). In other words, mating is just one example.

The expiation, according to this hadeeth is (a) freeing a slave, or, if not possible, (b) fasting two consecutive months, or, if not possible, (c) feeding of sixty poor persons.

On repentance and forgiveness

Sunday, December 4th, 2011

Assalamu Alaikum WR WB

I have a doubt regarding Istigfar (seeking forgiveness) and Tawba (repentance).

I know both of them are different from each other. But I don’t have a proper understanding on them…

But, when it comes to “Repentance” , most of us make it in our own ways, without knowing about the differences which are there behind these two terms..

So, If you can explain to us what really they are from the beginning, it would be a beneficial piece of information for many of us Insha Allah.

Fee Amanillah (in the safety of God)

Wa Alaykum Assalaamu WR WB.

Simply put, Tawba (repentance) must follow Istighfaar (asking God for forgiveness), or else the latter was insincere! God says in the holy Quran,

“And ask forgiveness of your Lord and then repent to Him. Indeed, my Lord is Merciful and Affectionate.” (11:90)

A believer asks God for forgiveness out of regret. He or she recognizes or suspects they sinned and it is a scary thought. Who best to relieve that fear but Al-Ghafoor (the Most Forgiving), Ar-Raheem (the Most Merciful)?

That recognition is a sign of faith that is still alive. But it is not sufficient to have faith. Action must confirm it. Repentance confirms the guilt feeling that prompted Istighfaar. Without repentance, the sin does not go away, rather tends to be repeated. And it may not be forgiven.

The two terms, as you well know, are emphasized frequently in the Quran and the Hadeeth. This verse is a perfect example,

“And those who, when they committed a debauchery or wronged themselves, remembered God and sought forgiveness for their sins – and who forgives sins except God? – and [who] did not persist in what they have done while they know.” (3:135)

The key words “did not persist” are what repentance is. It is the harder of the two! In fact, God tells us in the Quran that He helps out repentants when He sees that they are ready for it:

“…and their souls confined them and they were certain that there is no refuge from God except in Him. Then He eased it up on them so that they may repent” (9:118)

Truthful repentance (Tawba Nasooha) is done in three stages, as Sheikh Sha`raawi, may God bless his soul, clearly explains in this video,

Truthful Repentance

God knows very well how hard repentance is. That is why the Prophet (PBUH) has said، “All the children of Adam are oft-sinners, and the best of the oft-sinners are the oft-repentants.” Narrated by Anas ibn Maalik and rated Hasan (Sound) by Ibn Hajar and Al-Albaani.

Thus, believers can rest assured that just as they sin often, they should ask for forgiveness often and repent often. If they break their repentance and sin again, it’s not the end of the world. God is Al-Haleem (the Forbearing), At-Tawwaab (the One who keeps accepting repentance) and Al-Ghaffaar (the Oft-Forgiving). May He include us in His wide Grace.

The complex soul

Sunday, October 30th, 2011

Assalamu Alaikum WR WB Akhi.

Just need a clarification on this issue.

I had to attend a lecture today in my school and the shaikh was saying that we have 03 types of Nafs
01 Nafsul Ammara
02 Nafsul Lawwama
03 Nafsul Mudhdhima

The third one is the worst one ever, and each level of Nafs has 07 different “Sub- Nafs” , all together 27 sub stuffs, and that why people throw 21 stones at the Hajj per head…

Is this analogy true??

Plus, Is there any doubtful issues regarding the Hajar Al Aaswad stone… I mean, people say that thee is no valid proof for it to be sent down from the heaven, Plz do throw light on this issue as well. Insha Allah

Fee Amanillah

Wa Alaykum Assalaam WR WB (and upon you may be peace, the Mercy of God and His Blessings).

There are no sub-nafses 🙂 There is only one Nafs (self/soul). But it has two sides, as mentioned in the Quran:
(1) An-Nafs Al-Lawwaama (the chastising self/soul) and
(2) An-Nafs Al-Ammaaratu bis-Soo’ (the sin-inducing self/soul).

The third mention of Nafs, An-Nafs Al-Mutma’inna (the tranquil self/soul) is the one where the chastising side of it has won over the sin-inducing side.

Whenever one lets the sin-inducing side of one’s soul win over, one is doing wrong to one’s soul (Zhaalimun li-Nafsih), because the soul wants to submit to God and do good and man fails it.

As for the black stone, there are narrations that say that it was sent down from Paradise and was originally white as snow. These hadeeths range between Sound (Hasan) and weak in authenticity. Neither Al-Bukhaari nor Muslim have reported it. In matters of Aqeeda (theology), don’t crowd your head with less than authentic texts.

What about the Sufis..The three levels of the soul..could the lecturer have been alluding to those constructs?

Possibly. I’m not acquainted with this Sufi teaching, but if they are referring to Islam, Eeman (faith) and Ihsaan (Benevolence), then these are three promotions of the same soul, hence the attribute “levels.”

What these promotions are based on is a hadeeth of the Prophet (PBUH) in which it is narrated that a man wearing all white, whom nobody recognized, and who did not look like he’s been traveling, dropped in on the Prophet (PBUH) while he was sitting down with several people. The man greeted the Prophet (PBUH) and sat very close to him. He asked the Prophet (PBUH), “What is Islam?” The Prophet (PBUH) answered him by telling him of the five pillars of Islam. The man replied, “Right!” People were puzzled by this man asking the Prophet (PBUH) and then confirming his answer! Then the man asked the Prophet (PBUH), “What is Eemaan (faith)?” The Prophet (PBUH) answered him with the six pillars of faith. The man again replied, “Right!” Finally the man asked him, “What is Ihsaan (benevolence)?” The Prophet (PBUH) answered, “Ihsaan is to worship God as if you see Him. Though you don’t see Him, He sees you!” The man smiled and said again, “Right!” Then he bid farewell to the group and left. The Prophet (PBUH) then said, “Do you know who that was? It was Jibreel (Gabriel); he came to teach you your religion!” Narrated by Umar ibn Al-Khattaab and reported by Muslim who rated it authentic.

Souls…well the Sufi’s have this one down…They spend more time on the inner journey…the rest break the world into the duyna and deen..the Sufi goes internal…they examine the soul from all aspects and dwell on polishing the heart to reach the soul and keep it clear. My question has always been..we become so hard on ourselves as the struggle against ourselves is really our test. You used the word promotion of souls. Yet, if there is promotion of soul there is the counterpart..the demotion of souls. And the hard part…to put this to test in the duyna..

Let me know what you think about my thoughts and InshaAllah, have a blessed day

You said the keyword that the Quran uses a lot: the heart. It is not that ticking muscle; it’s a metaphor for all that is not physical in us. It can be “sound”, as Abraham’s was,

“And among his (Noah’s) affiliates surely is Abraham. As he came to his Lord with a sound heart” (37:83-84)

A sound heart is our only savior,

“On a Day when neither wealth nor children will benefit [anyone], except him who came to his Lord with a sound heart.” (26:88-89)

The flip side is that a heart may rust from sins,

“No! Rather the rust has built up on their hearts because of what they have earned. No! They verily are from their Lord that Day are kept away.” (83:14-15)

The Prophet (PBUH) explained 83:14 like this, “When a worshiper sins, a dark stain is imprinted on his heart. When he quits and repents, it is polished away. If he comes back to it, it builds up. That is the Raan (build-up) that God mentions (in 83:14)”, narrated by Abu-Hurayra and reported by At-Tirmizhi who rated it soundly authentic.

Thus, demotion of the soul is done by sinning, and its promotion by good deeds and keeping rapport with God. Our hearts are capable of both…to the extreme:

“We have certainly created man in the best stature. Then We turned him back to the lowest of the low!” (95:4-5)

We can be saints and we can be devils. And the choice is entirely ours.

Is Sharia law cruel?

Saturday, June 4th, 2011

I am a peace-loving person by nature. I simply hate, hate, HATE violence. I can’t stand it. I can’t watch gory things. I know Islam is peaceful. But people have told me that I’m so brainwashed that I can’t understand that Shariah Law is really not the right thing. Please note that I’m not saying Shariah Law isn’t the right thing, I’m just confused at what my feelings are.

I’ll get down to the questions. Please understand however, that these questions are of curious nature, and not to offend people or try to refute Islam. I’m simply keeping an open mind when asking so I can answer others and so I can be contented; I’m asking it the way others have asked so blatantly, so it’s more relatable. Forgive me Allah, if I have transgressed.

Bless your heart, sister. There is no sin in asking. When God Almighty told the angels that He was about to create Adam, they asked why! They said,
“Will you put in it (the earth) whom will corrupt in it and shed blood?” (2:30)

God did not chastise them. He simply told them that He knows what they do not.

Dr. Jeffrey Lang put it well in the title of one of his excellent books, “Even Angels Ask.”

1) Why does Shariah Law have to be torture before death?/Painful death?/Death in a very painful way?

The only penalty that involves pain before death is crucifixion for Hiraaba (terrorism), as stated in 5:33. Terrorists do not deserve any mercy. The pain they cause their innocent victims deserves to be returned likewise. You do not have to watch the crucifixion of terrorists, but only to know that they have been justly punished.

2)Why does Islam practice an ‘eye-for-an-eye’ in these matters? Isn’t that a vengeful way out? Forgiveness in Islam was also heavily emphasized. I would think that a hurt family member would have wanted the killer killed.

Family members of a murder victim are offered three choices: (a) kill the convicted murderer, (b) take a ransom, or (c) pardon the murderer. That is Sharia law. The choice is not the judge’s or the jury’s, it’s the murder victim’s family’s. This makes provision for families who are unable to forgive. It also makes provision for families who will benefit more from punitive damages. It also does not leave out the pardon option you are looking for.

3)I’ve heard the church burnings of before were done to save the burning person from the even more dangerous “fires of Hell.” And then they say Islam wants the accused to be saved from an even greater danger (Hell), which is why the rapist for example, has to be set to death.

Nonsense. Rape is terrorism and adultery combined. The punishment for terrorism is one of four, as clearly stated in the Hiraaba verse, (5:33): (a) Killing, (b) crucifixion, (c) severing a hand and a foot on opposite sides, or (d) permanent deportation. The choice is left to the judge and is based on the severity of the crime. If the punishment for a rapist was death, that does not mean he is saved from Hell. That is God’s decision to make.

4)Why are apostates killed? Freedom of religion is emphasized in Islam, so why is there an apostasy rule? There are answers in my head, but I still can’t comprehend it.

They are not. This is one of the misconceptions about Sharia. There is no punishment for apostasy. See the posts in the Apostasy category for details. You are right; freedom of religion is guaranteed in Islam and mandated by God in the Quran.

5)Islam cannot change its rules. I accept Shariah Law, I guess, but it’s easier said than done. If I saw it with my own eyes, being carried out, I’m very scared of what will happen to my faith. Any way of understanding the wisdom behind Shariah Law?

Don’t see it. Most people are like you. The few penalties in Sharia that are tough are tough for the reasons I mentioned above. The punishment must suit the crime and there must be a visual deterrent to potential criminals who do witness a penalty carried out.

6)What does “stoning” mean?

It means throwing stones at someone until he or she dies. It is a Jewish custom that crept into Muslim society and it has no basis in Islam. It is another misconception about Sharia. Read this post for details, also check out the Misconceptions and Islamophobia categories, where many of your concerns are discussed and clarified. There is a lot of misunderstanding, even among Muslims, of what Sharia includes and doesn’t include.

7)Why doesn’t Islam offer rehabilitation for homosexuals? I’m not making my own rules, btw. Why is it stoning instead? What is the validity of this:

“Maududi vol. 2, p. 52, note 68):

. . . Ibn Abbas ruled that they be thrown headlong from the highest summit.”

The punishment in Islam for male homosexuality is discipline, not death, as clearly stated in 4:16. Any fatwa saying otherwise is in contradiction to the Quran, and therefore must not be considered. In fact, rehabilitation for homosexuals is precisely what the Quran encourages. In 4:15, God says that female homosexuals are to live under house arrest “until God makes for them a way out” (4:15). The house arrest gives rehab a chance. It also saves the women’s dignity and privacy and saves their families honor. Many exegetes have interpreted the “way out” as proper marriage. As for male homosexuals, 4:16 clearly states that if the two men repent and reform, then Muslims must not bother them anymore. That’s rehab, isn’t it? And it’s a far cry from killing them, wouldn’t you say?

Please understand that it is not my intention to mislead or offend, nau’uzubillah (seeking refuge in God from such). I myself have no proper knowledge on this matter. I believe in Islam; it has far too clear a message to ignore. I am trying to learn, since a lot of websites do not explain this matter satisfactorily to me. They don’t give proper reasons, therefore this doubt lingers on. May Allah Forgive me if I’ve said anything wrong.

Don’t stay in doubt and don’t settle for bad or half answers. I hope that you read my humble answer and that it is clear enough for you. Islam and its Sharia are innocent from the lousy interpretations Muslims and others have made of it.

Name your favorite thing about Islam

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

If you had to name only one positive thing about Islam, what would it be?

That the door of repentance is open until the sun rises from the west!

God is the Forbearing (Al-Haleem). He “descends” to the first heaven every night and asks, “Is there a repentant out there? I’ll accept his repentance. Is there any seeker of forgiveness out there? I’ll forgive him!”

Is hope lost for a repeat sinner?

Thursday, February 12th, 2009

I’m a mix of atheist, pagan and christian! I believe that sin is only crimes in which a victim suffers harm to life, limb or property. I have done many of what Islam considers sin. Is there any hope for people like me?

There is always hope.

First, it must be said that we humans cannot define sin. Only God has that authority. We cannot postulate about what God wants and we certainly cannot custom make religion. We can only know what God wants by reading His message to us and following the Messenger He sent to us.

The good news is that God has provided countless means of expiating sin and has repeatedly affirmed that He forgives and accepts repentance. God says in the holy Quran, “O My servants who have excessively sinned, do not despair of the mercy of God. Verily, God forgives all sins. He is the oft forgiving, the merciful one.” (39:53). And the prophet, peace be upon him said, “The door of repentance is open until the sun rises from the west!”

A person can at any time join that warm fold of God by accepting Islam. The prophet, peace be upon him said, “Islam buries deep what was before it.” When one accepts Islam, one starts anew. I fondly remember a Scottish lady who was telling her story of conversion. She said, “I’m a 65 year old baby!”