Forgiveness falls like rain, washing away everything
Sometimes I wonder if I should just acquire a fake foot and keep it in my mouth, to save me the agonizing trouble of putting it there over and over again. I have good intentions (don’t we all?) but I end up putting my foot in my mouth way more than others. Sigh. Just yesterday, an episode which I shouldn’t write about (not here anyway) happened that left me feeling really sad and regretful. Ever had the feeling of wanting to crouch in a corner and never emerge? To rot there and cry? A sick feeling of knowing you were in fact totally, embarrassingly, painfully wrong?
There is one place in the world, where you can be wrong, and still be right. I am talking of a place where you can admit your guilt, admit your mistakes, and still be elevated. It’s a secure place, where the very epitome of humanity is catered to, that quintessential quality of making mistakes.
Not to rouse your curiosity any further – I am talking of course about Allah, and how He can grant forgiveness to anyone, no matter how lowly or base. I’m sure anyone reading this hasn’t done worse stuff than this guy: 99 murders and counting – and still granted forgiveness by The Merciful!
Hadrat Abū Sa‘īd al-Khudrī (may Allāh be pleased with him) relates that the Holy Prophet Muhammad (may Allāh’s blessings and peace be upon him) said: A person from amongst a nation of the past, having slain ninety-nine persons, inquired as to who was the most learned person in the world. He was directed to a monk (who had given up the world). He went to the hermit and said: I have killed ninety-nine persons. Is there any chance of repentance left for me?” The hermit answered: “No”. The man killed the hermit also and completed his century of victims.
The killer asked again, “Who is the most learned person in this world?” He was directed to a learned man. Accordingly he went to him and said. I have killed one hundred persons. Is there any hope of repentance left for me? The learned man said, “Yes, nothing can stand between you and repentance: proceed to such and such a land. In this land are (pious) people who worship Allāh. Join them in their worship of Allāh and do not return to your home country because it is an evil place.
The man started for this land. He had covered only half the distance when he met with his death. A dispute arose between the angel of mercy and the angel of torment as to who should take charge of his soul. The former pleaded that he had come as a penitent turning towards Allāh, and the latter contended that the deceased had never done a good deed.
Then there arrived an angel disguised as a human and the contending angels agreed that he should be the arbiter between them. He directed them to measure the distance between the two lands. To whichever he is nearer, to that one he belongs. So they carried out the measurement and found the land of pious persons to be closer. The angel of mercy thus took charge of him. (Bukhārī and Muslim)
Right, beautiful hadith wasn’t it? So the point I was trying to make was – when we slipup, sometimes with our tongues and sometimes with our actions, we generally loathe the fact that we have to bow down to people and beg their forgiveness. Someone who makes errors is not treated with respect (generally) and when you do something wrong, people automatically look at you judgementally and think “Hmm, she’s the one who cheated with me! Cheat!” But with Allah, things are different. Instead of being looked down upon, our misgivings become a means of being closer to our Creator.
Consider this: Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, “By the One in Whose Hand my soul is! If you do not commit sins, Allah would replace you with a people who would commit sins and seek forgiveness from Allah; and Allah will certainly forgive them.” Muslim].
Commentators have explained that this hadith does not imply that Allah likes us sinning, but that Allah loves it when we humble ourselves before Him and admit our mistakes and apologize sincerely. When we forget our ego and ourselves, we come closer to Allah. And when someone is in Allah’s good books, things fall into place automatically, and even when they don’t, you don’t feel quite so bad and you find the strength you need to combat your problems.
Allah is the only friend who isn’t judgemental about anything at any time, and loves us even if we are totally messed up – inside and outside. And with Him, it’s totally okay to be wrong, if you sincerely want to be right again.