O slave of Allaah, Allaah has opened the gate of repentance for you, so why not enter it? It was reported that repentance has a gate whose width is like the distance between East and West [according to another report: its width is like the distance travelled in seventy years]. It will not be closed until the sun rises from the West. (Reported by al-Tabaraani in al-Kabeer; see Saheeh al-Jaami’, 2177).
Listen to the call of Allaah: “O My slaves, you err night and day, but I forgive all sins, so ask Me for forgiveness and I will forgive you.” (Reported by Muslim). So why not seek forgiveness?
Allaah stretches forth His hand at night to forgive those who have done wrong during the day, and He stretches forth His hand by day to forgive those who have done wrong during the night. Allaah loves our apologies and pleas, so why not turn to Him?
How beautiful to Allaah are the words of the one who repents: “O Allaah, I ask You by Your power and by my own shame to have mercy on me. I ask You by Your strength and my own weakness, by Your self-sufficiency and my own dependence. To You I submit my lying, sinful forelock. You have many slaves besides me, but I have no Master except You. I have no refuge or escape from You except with You. I beseech you in the manner of a poor and destitute man, I pray to you with the prayer of one who is humble, I call upon you with the supplication of one who is blind and afraid. This is a plea from one whose head is humbled before You, whose nose is in the dust, whose eyes are filled with tears and whose heart has submitted to You.”
It was reported that one of the righteous people was passing through the street when he saw an open door out of which came a boy who was crying and weeping, followed by his mother who was pushing him out. She shut the door in his face, and went back inside. The boy went a short distance away, and stood there, thinking, but he could find no other refuge than the house from which he had been expelled and no one else who would care for him as his mother would. Broken hearted, he went back, and found the door still locked. So he lay down on the doorstep and went to sleep, with the tear marks still streaking his face. A little while later, his mother came out. When she saw him in this state, she could not help herself. She embraced him, kissed him and started to weep, saying: “O my son, where did you go? Who would care for you except me? Didn’t I tell you not to disobey me and not to make me punish you, when Allaah has made me merciful and caring towards you?” Then she picked him up and went back inside.
But the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) told us: “Allaah is more compassionate towards His slaves than this mother towards her child.” (Reported by Muslim).
There is no comparison between a mother’s compassion and the Mercy of Allaah, which encompasses everything. Allaah rejoices when His slave repents to Him, and we can never despair of goodness from a Lord who is rejoices. Allaah rejoices more over the repentance of a slave when he repents to Him than a man who was travelling through the wilderness and stopped to camp awhile in an isolated and dangerous place, but he had his camel by his side, with his food and drink loaded on it. He sought out the shade of a tree, where he lay down and went to sleep. When he woke up, his camel had disappeared, so he went looking for it. He came to a hill and climbed it, but he could not see anything. He climbed another hill and looked around, but he could not see anything. When heat and thirst overcame him, he said: “Let me go back to where I was and sleep there until I die.” He went back to the tree and lay down in its shade, despairing of ever seeing his camel again. Whilst he was lying there, he opened his eyes, and saw his camel standing next to him, with its halter dangling and his food and drink still loaded on it, so he grabbed hold of its halter. Allaah rejoices even more when the believer repents to Him than this man rejoiced over the return of his camel and his supplies.”
(Compiled from saheeh reports; see Tarteeb Saheeh al-Jaami’, 4/368)
You should know that sincere repentance brings contrition and humility before Allaah, and the pleading of the one who repents is dearly beloved to the Lord of the Worlds.
The believing slave still remembers his sin, and is filled with sorrow and regret. He follows his error with so many acts of obedience and goodness that Shaytaan may even say, “Would that I had never led him into this sin in the first place!” Thus some of those who repent may become better after repenting than they ever were before.
Allaah will never forsake His slave who turns to Him in repentance.
Imagine a boy living with his father, who gives him the best food and drink, dresses him in the finest clothes, gives him the best possible upbringing, and gives him money to spend. He takes care of all the boy’s interests. But one day his father sends him on an errand, and an enemy comes and captures the boy, ties him up and carries him off to enemy territory. Now the way he is treated is the opposite of the kind treatment his father gave him. Whenever he remembers his father’s kindness, his heart is filled with anguish and grief because of the blessings that he has lost. It so happens that while he is still a prisoner of the enemy, and about to be executed by them, he suddenly turns towards his father’s home, and he sees his father standing nearby. He runs to him and throws himself into his arms, crying “O my father, O my father! Look what has happened to your son!” with tears streaming down his cheeks. He clings tightly to his father even though the enemy runs after him to snatch him back, and catches up with him.
Do you think the father will give the boy back to the enemy and abandon him? What then do you think of One Who is more merciful towards His slaves than any father or mother towards a child? How do you think Allaah will respond when a slave flees from his enemies and throws himself at His door, rolling in the dust and weeping, saying “O Lord, have mercy upon the one who has no one to show him mercy except You, no supporter except You, no place of refuge except You, no helper except You, one who is poor and in need of You, one who beseeches You. You are his place of refuge, You are his Source of protection. There is no escape or refuge from You except with You…”?
Let us move on, then, to good and righteous deeds, to the company of righteous people, to avoiding deviation after having been guided aright. May Allaah be with you.