If weakness is behind committing a sin then power is indeed behind repentance. It’s God’s wisdom to create us vulnerable to sin as the hadeeth states, “Every son of Adam is of sin.” Yet at the same time, He (SW) made us able to purify ourselves in a very simple ritual – a mental status of remorse with a verbal declaration of asking for forgiveness from the One and only One Who can grant forgiveness, Allah (SW). “And best of sinners are those of repentance.”

The power of repentance is centralized in the factor that a person recognizes his mistakes and then directs his attention to God alone seeking forgiveness, thus declaring on one side his true essence of weakness and on the other side empowerment by repentance. {Moreover, God desires to grant you repentance, while those who follow

[their] passions desire that you should fall a great fall away [from faith]} 4:27. If our father Adam (AS) fell into sin then we will, and if repentance brought Adam (AS) back close to God then it can for us as well.

The power of repentance is demonstrated first in the ability to take on any sin regardless of how huge it was. The Prophet (SAAW) spoke of a Holy Hadith in which Allah (SW) said: “O son of Adam, if your sins rose high to endless [sight of your vision of the] sky and you asked Me forgiveness, I would forgive you without burden.” In another instance the Prophet (SAAW) told a story about a person who killed a hundred people, yet with only his intention of repentance, he was granted forgiveness and Heaven. When God described believers He mentioned the characteristic of being repentant first: {Such are the repentant, the worshipful, the praise-giving; those who go out [in God’s cause], who bow [to Him alone] and who bow [their faces] down to the ground [in Prayer to Him]; those who enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong, and who [diligently] observe the ordained limits of God. So give glad tidings to the believers [of everlasting delight in Paradise]} 9:112.

The power of repentance is also demonstrated in the mental status that brings people out from the darkness of feeling low and humiliated to the light of feeling fresh and energized to perform good deeds as proof of the genuine soul of the one who repents. This happens first by knowing that repentance is something between the person and His Lord only. A Muslim does not require any third party to seek forgiveness from God. Secondly, when the person has full faith of Allah (SW) being the All-Forgiving, the All-Merciful, it brings trust in Allah (SW) to seek His forgiveness. With these two points in mind, Islam urged people to keep their sins to themselves and work on their weaknesses through repentance without exposure. The Prophet (SAAW) turned away three times from Ma’ez (RAA) when he came to confess his sin of fornication. In another incident, Aiesha (RAA) was approached by a woman speaking of a sin and Aiesha (RAA) said: “If one committed a sin she should not tell of it, and let her ask forgiveness and repent, for people mortify and they don’t change (their minds) and God changes (to forgiveness) and never mortifies.”

Life is about objectivity, optimism, and investing in good deeds. Sins can pull people back into negativity, pessimism and increasing bad deeds. The power of repentance settles also in the ability of bringing self-confidence into someone’s heart and makes him believe in himself, a needed aspect to move forward and perform good deeds. That could only be felt if sinners knew that Allah (SW) not only forgave them but rather turned their sins into good deeds! After listing all types of major sins in Surat Al-Furqan, Allah (SW) said: {Except for whoever repents, and believes, and does righteous deeds. For [the likes of] them, then, God will substitute their misdeeds with good deeds} 25:70.

Finally the power of repentance is echoed in the chance to reflect on the Names and Attributes of God, the Almighty. How would someone understand the true meaning of Allah’s name (SW) the All-Merciful or the All-Beneficent without the feeling of true necessity for such an attribute of God to work for him? The amazing Hadith of the Prophet (SAAW) helps us understand this equation as it states, “If you were not to sin, Allah would remove you and bring people who will sin and ask forgiveness.”

The power of repentance should not be understood as simply limited to acts of evil and the ability to erase them! The power of repentance is demonstrated in the everlasting elevation of perfecting our deeds and repenting from any shortcomings we have made when performing them.

Tawbah is Khair, repentance is good. And before anything else it is an answer to the call of our Creator, and if only for that it would be powerful enough. {O you who believe, repent to God with a most sincere repentance.} 66:8

By Sh. Kifah Mustapha

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1 Narrated by Tirmizi
2 Narrated by Tirmizi
3 Narrated by Tirmizi
4 Narrated by Muslim
5 Narrated by Kharae’ti in Makarem Akhlaq