The Eminence of the Beloved
The Prophet of Mercy Muhammad Mustafa صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم
Abun-Noor Rashid ‘Ali ‘Attari Madani
اَنَا نَبِیُّ الرَّحْمَةِ، وَنَبِیُّ التَّوْبَةِ
‘I am a prophet of mercy and a prophet of repentance,’
(Shamail-e-Tirmizi, p. 214, Hadith 361).’
In this hadith, the Beloved of Allah صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم describes two of his qualities. We have already explored the Prophet’s mercy in the May and June 2021 issues. This month, we take a closer look at what it means to be ‘the prophet of repentance.’
Repentance is the first step to fostering a relationship with Allah Almighty. In previous nations, the punishment of sins was severe, often immediate, and even exposed. It is related that in some nations if a sin was committed at night, it would be written on the person’s door by the morning, (Noor-ul-Anwar, p. 175).
The advent of our Beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم brought a spiritual revolution. Now humanity was able to seek forgiveness whenever they desired, despite repeat offences, and the sinful were saved from immediate requital. Seldom do we find a soul who forgives repeat offences and has the forbearance to withhold immediate judgement. Yet, Allah Almighty forgives our sins, even if we keep falling into it, as long as we are ready to beg Him for pardon.
The grace and mercy of Allah Almighty, the Lord who sent the prophet of repentance to the world, is unbound, endless; even if a person repeats a sin seventy times, Allah Almighty will forgive him if he repents. Of course, sinning with the intention of repenting later is itself a blasphemous sin (Kufr), (Parday kay baray mayn Suwal Jawab, p. 302).
Repentance is a multi-dimensional act that involves much more than just seeking forgiveness for wrongdoing; it is a vehicle for drawing closer to Allah Almighty by acknowledging our weakness before Allah Almighty and our neediness of Him. The awliya repented many times a day as did the Beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم, (Muslim, p. 1111, Hadith 6858) for this very reason.
Imam Al-Ghazali رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه reports that the rights of Allah Almighty are many; more than can be fulfilled by us and therefore, it is only correct that we repent to Him upon waking up and before going to sleep, (Kimiya-e-Sa’adat, vol. 2, p. 763).
As it is such a powerful act of worship, repentance is encouraged throughout the Qur’an and hadith literature. For example:
1. Repentance is a means to attaining success, (part 18, Surah Al-Noor, verse 31).
2. The repentant person is beloved to Allah Almighty, (part 2, Surah Al-Baqarah, verse 222).
3. The repentant is deserving of the mercy of Allah Almighty, (Part 4, Surah Al-Nisa, verse 17; Part 6, Surah Al-Maa’idah, verse 39).
4. The sins of a repentant person transform into good deeds, (Part 19, Surah Al-Furqan, verse 70).
5. The sins of one who repents are erased, (Part 28, Surah Al-Tahreem, verse 8).
6. The repentant people will enter Paradise, (Part 16, Surah Al-Maryam, verse 60).
7. Repentance is a hallmark of an excellent person, (Ibn-e-Majah, vol. 4, p. 491, Hadith 4251).
8. Repentance provides relief during difficulties and grief and is a source of increased sustenance, (Abu Dawood, vol. 2, p. 122, Hadith 1518).
9. Repentance removes rust from the heart, (Majma’-ul-Bahrain, vol. 4, p. 272, Hadith 4739)
Even those guilty of the worst crimes and sins, such as female infanticide and oppression of the Muslims in Makkah, were forgiven by the prophet of repentance, Sayyiduna Muhammad صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم, when they sought pardon from him.
Before embracing Islam, ‘Ikramah, the son of Abu Jahal, fled to Yemen when Makkah was conquered. But his wife Umm Hakim, who had accepted Islam by then, apologised to the Beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم on behalf of her husband. The Beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم accepted the apology and forgave ‘Ikramah. When he eventually visited the Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم, he repented in person and the Holy Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم forgave him. Not only that, but when Sayyiduna ‘Ikramah رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ presented himself in front of the Holy Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم, he صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم stood up for him. And he صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم honoured the repentance of Sayyiduna ‘Ikramah رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ so much that he had told the honourable companions beforehand: ‘Ikramah is coming to you having accepted Islam; do not say anything negative about his father Abu Jahl in front of him,” (Imta’ Al-Asma’, vol. 1, p. 398; Dalaail-un-Nubuwwah-lil-Bayhaqi, vol. 5, p. 98).
Ka’b b. Zuhayr was a seasoned poet who had cast several verses deriding Islam and spreading propaganda against the State of Medina. Subsequently, a warrant was issued against him. His brother, Bujayr b. Zuhayr was a Muslim. He wrote to Ka’b, explaining that the Messenger of Allah صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم will forgive him if he accepts Islam. Despite his attempts to harm the Muslims, the Beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم readily forgave him when he visited Medina and asked for pardon. After accepting Islam, he wrote a timeless poem in praise of the Beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم which was dubbed the “Ode of the Cloak” (qasida burda) as the Beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم gifted a cloak to him, (Imta’ Al-Asma’, vol. 2, p. 88).
These verses are from that ode:
اُنْبِئْتُ اَنَّ رَسُوْلَ ﷲ ِاَوْعَدَنِیْ وَالْعَفْوُ عِنْدَ رَسُوْلِ ﷲ ِمَامُوْل
اِنِّیْ اَتَیْتُ رَسُوْلَ ﷲِمُعْتَذِرا وَالْعُذْرُ عِنْدَ رَسُوْلِ ﷲِ مَقْبُوْل
It has reached me that the Messenger of Allah صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم has commanded punishment for me and forgiveness is hoped for from the Messenger. And I presented myself in his court whilst apologising and apology is accepted in the court of the Messenger of Allah صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم, (Al-Majmu’ah-tul-Nabhaniyyah fi Al-Madaih Al-Nubuwwah, vol. 3, p. 6).
Wahshi, who martyred Sayyiduna Hamzah رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ in the Expedition of Uhud, also fled to Taif on the day that Makkah was conquered. Later, he visited the Holy Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم and accepted Islam with a delegation from Taif. The Honourable Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم accepted his repentance as well, despite the severity of what he had done in Uhud. During the reign of Sayyiduna Abu Bakr Al-Siddiq رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ, Sayyiduna Wahshi رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ killed Musaylamah Al-Kadh-dhab in the Expedition of Yamamah, (Subul-ul-Huda war Rashad, vol. 4, p. 217).
May Allah Almighty also grant us the ability to repent consistently and grant our repentance acceptance. اٰمین.
We will continue looking into the meanings and implications of this quality, prophet of repentance, in next month’s magazine.