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Acts of Heart
Part 5: Clearing Away the Harm of Your Sin
We all —at one time or another, to a greater or lesser degree— succumb to poorly intentioned acts of the heart (Part 1), and these lead to wrongdoing. The resulting actions of the tongue and limbs compromise our integrity. That is, they result in "sin."
This human condition is part of the design of our creation by Allah—not a curse that has befallen us by an act of Adam and Eve, the progenitors of our human race.
The Prophet (ﷺ) said:
"Every son of Adam repetitively commits sins, and the best of those who repetitively commit sins are the ones who often repent." (al-Tirmidhi)
He (ﷺ) also said:
"If you weren't to commit sins, Allah would have wiped you out of existence and replaced you by another people who would commit sins. They would ask forgiveness from Allah and He would forgive them." (Muslim)
Once a wrongdoing has occurred, our most praiseworthy, immediate response would be to examine the acts of our spiritual hearts and discover whether we have allowed this to happen deliberately or through lack of attention, and if so, how can we avoid a repetition of this fault? The more serious the sin, the more important it is to avoid it in the first place, or—God forbid, if it has already been committed— to 'fix' it without delay.
But first, are some sins more serious than others? What makes any wrongdoing serious?
However, one should not pretend that a minor sin is not harmful to his well-being and spiritual health, for even a minor sin can disrupt the functioning of a pure heart. Furthermore, there are various conditions that can cause a minor sin to turn into a major one. They include:
Repentance is invited for each and every sin.
Allah accepts a person's repentance as long as he is not already in the face of death, and, as long as the sun has not yet risen from the west. That is, 'deathbed repentance' is not acceptable, nor is that which takes place in the chaotic distress of the Last Hour — a time when when all will see with forced clarity their wrongful rejection of Allah and His requirements of them. It is in the mercy of our loving Lord that if one is truthful in seeking repentance, his sins can be changed into good deeds, even in extreme cases:
On the authority of Anas who said:
I heard the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) say: Allah the Almighty said: O son of Adam, so long as you call upon Me and ask of Me, I shall forgive you for what you have done, and I shall not mind. O son of Adam, were your sins to reach the clouds of the sky and were you then to ask forgiveness of Me, I would forgive you. O son of Adam, were you to come to Me with sins nearly as great as the earth and were you then to face Me, ascribing no partner to Me, I would bring you forgiveness nearly as great as it. (al-Tirmidhi, 34; Ahmad ibn Hanbal))
4) If the sin is related to the rights of another person, then ensuring that the rights are returned to those to whom the injustices were done.
We naturally want some assurance that we are on the right track. How are we to judge whether we are sincerely repenting and thus how closely we qualify for Allah to wipe out sins from our personal record?
Those who repent are of four types:
This is the 'RESPONSIBLE SOUL' but he must realize that the purity of his heart is in danger as long as he delays and gives respite to repentance. He needs to be aware that death may overtake him before his repentance takes place.
One of the greater signs of the Day of Judgment is that the sun will then rise from the west, and no longer from the east. Once this dramatic change has come into effect, no repentance will be accepted, and nobody's turn to faith will be accepted if they were to decide to accept the offer of submitting to Allah in Islam after this occurrence.
Consider this saying of Allah:
"...except those who repent and believe (in Islamic Monotheism), and do righteous deeds, for those, Allah will change their sins into good deeds, and Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful." [Surah al-Furqan, 25:70]
4) The one who repents and continues for a while then returns and commits sins without thinking of either repentance or remorse for what he has done. This soul is INCLINED TO EVIL, and there is a credible fear that he may have a bad ending.
Only the first category of the repentant believer is ideal and entirely acceptable for a committed Muslim. If you find yourself as belonging to the third or second categories, then make a concerted effort to upgrade to a higher category —as a temporary measure on your way to establishing the habit of sincere repentance (Category 1).
And if you recognize yourself as falling into the fourth group, then urgently and at all costs, throw yourself on the mercy of Allah and commit yourself in submission to His Guidance.
Behold, the only [true] religion in the sight of God is [man's] self-surrender unto Him; [Surah Âl-'Imrân, 3:19]