English translation of Maktubat Imam Rabbani (selective 100) | Mujaddid Alf sani | Sheikh Ahmad sirhindi

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Tawba, wara and taqwa

This letter, written in Arabic to Khan-i Khanan 'rahmatullahi ta'ala alaih' a governor of India, explains tawba (repentance), inabat, wara' and taqwa.

I begin my letter with the Basmala. That is, to be able to write this letter, I trust myself to Allahu ta'ala, who is so merciful and bounteous, and I depend on Him. Every hamd, every thanks, belongs to Him by right. I send my salam to the good people whom He chooses and loves. Our valuable lives are elapsing into committing sins, making mistakes, and doing what is wrong. Therefore, it will be pleasant for us to converse on repentance, on hanging the head in shame towards Allahu ta'ala, and to talk about wara' and taqwa. Allahu ta'ala declares in the thirty-first ayat of Surat-un-Nur: "O Believers! You all repent and ask Allah's pardon! You can be saved only by repenting." He declares in the eighth ayat of Surat-ut-Tahrim, which is at the end of the twenty-eighth chapter of the Qur'an [the Qur'an consists of thirty chapters equal in page numbers], "O elite, who have iman! Return to Allahu ta'ala! Repent sincerely! That is, do not break your repentance! If you repent in this manner, maybe your Allah will forgive you and will put you into Paradise, where there are trees and villas under which water flows." He declares in the hundred and twentieth ayat of Surat-ul-Anam, "Abstain from sins, whether they are evident or secret." It is fard-i ayn [Actions, words, and thoughts which Allahu ta'ala clearly commands in the Qur'an are called fard (or fard). Fard-i-ayn means a fard which is obligatory for every Muslim. Every Muslims has to carry out the fard-i-ayn. Please compare to the explanation of "muakkad" in article 51.] for everybody to repent for his sins. Nobody can escape repentance. How can anyone ever escape it, despite the fact that all Prophets (alaihimussalawatu wattaslimat) used to repentance. Muhammad ('alaihi wa alaihimussalawat), who was the final and the greatest of all, stated: "A curtain [that prevents divine lights from coming] gets drawn across my heart. Therefore, I say istighfar [To ask Allah's pardon. To entreat Him for His forgiveness.] seventy times each day." If there are no human rights in the sin which is committed, if it is only between Allah and oneself, e.g. committing adultery, having alcoholic drinks, listening to musical instruments, looking at na-mahram women, holding the Qur'an without having an abdast (ritual ablution), getting stuck in corrupt beliefs, such as Rafidi, Wahhabi, and others, one can repent by regretting [what one has done], by saying istighfar, and by being ashamed, embarrassed towards Allahu ta'ala and begging His pardon. If one has omitted one of the fard without an excuse, for repenting, one has to perform that fard together with all of these.

[It is said in the book Targibussalat: "In a hadith ash-Sharif it was declared: 'If a person, without any excuse, performs a salat after its due time, he will be burned in Hell for as long as eighty huqba. One huqba is eighty years. One year in the Hereafter is three hundred and sixty days. One day is as long as eighty years of this world.' As the amount of time necessary for one to perform one's omitted prayers of namaz elapses, the sin of that one namaz gets bigger and bigger. Well then, if there are two or more omitted namaz, it will be all the more difficult. Omitted salats, no matter what their costs, must be performed as soon as possible, and one must invoke and feel repentance so much so that one will be forgiven. He who does not perform namaz should tremble and melt after seeing the greatness of Allahu ta'ala.]

If human rights are involved in a sin, for repenting, one should pay back his rights immediately, ask his forgiveness, do him favors and send prayers for him. If the one who has been deprived of his rights is dead, one should say prayers and istighfar for him, pay his rights back to his inheritors, and do them favors. If his children or other inheritors are not known, one should distribute money equaling the property or indemnity (against loss of life) to the poor and to the miskins [They are people who do not have more possessions than what they need for one day. It means 'very poor.'] as alms, and intending that its reward be given to the claimant of the rights, who has been tormented. Hadrat Ali 'radi-Allahu anh' said, "Hadrat Abu Bakr 'radi-Allahu anh' always told the truth. I heard him say that Rasulullah declared: "If a person who has committed a sin repents and performs abdast and then performs namaz and then says istighfar for that sin of his, Allahu ta'ala will certainly forgive him; Allahu ta'ala declares in the hundred and ninth ayat of Surat-un-Nisa: 'If a person commits a sin or torments himself and then repents and says istighfar, he will find Allahu ta'ala very merciful and forgiving'." Rasulullah said in a hadith, "If a person commits a sin and then repents, this repentance of his becomes an atonement for his sin. That is, it causes him to be forgiven." He declared in a hadith: "If the sinful person says istighfar and repents, then does that sin again, then says istighfar and repents again, and then does it a third time and repents again, it will be written down as a grave sin when he commits it the fourth time." He declared in a hadith: "Musawwifs perished." That is, those who put off repentance by saying, "I will repent later on," suffered a loss. Loqman Hakim 'radi-Allahu anh' was a wali or a prophet. He advised his son by saying, "Sonny, do not put off repentance until tomorrow. For death catches one abruptly." Imam-i Mujahid says, "The person who does not say tawba every morning and every evening torments himself." Abdullah Ibni Mubarak said, "To return one cent that has been obtained through haram means to its owner is more blessed than giving ten cents as alms." Our savants declare: "To return one cent that has been taken unjustly to its owner is more blessed than six hundred times of supererogatory Hajj (pilgrimage) that have been accepted." O our Allah! We have tormented ourselves. If you do not pity us, if you do not forgive us, we will fall into a very bad situation!

Our Prophet said, "Allahu ta'ala declares: 'O My born servant! Do the fard I command; you will be the most devoted of human beings. Avoid the haram which I prohibit; you will be a man of wara'. Be contented with the sustenance that I give you; you will be the wealthiest of human beings; you will not need anybody." Our Prophet said to Abu Huraira 'radi-Allahu anh': "Be a man of wara' so that you may be the most abid (devoted) of human beings." Hadrat Hasan-i Basri 'rahmatullahi alaih' says, "Attaining wara' as much as a mote is more useful than a thousand supererogatory fasts and namaz." Abu Huraira 'radi-Allahu anh' said, "On the Day of Resurrection, those who are valuable in the presence of Allahu ta'ala are people of wara' and of zuhd." Allahu ta'ala said to Hadrat Musa 'alaihis-salam': "Among those who approach Me and who attain My love, there will not be anyone who approaches as close as people of wara do." Some great savants said, "If a person does not know the following ten things as fard for himself, he will not be a man of perfect wara': he should not backbite; he should not feel su'i-zan for Muslims, which means to distrust them and to think of them as bad persons; he should not make fun of anybody; he should not look at women and girls (that are forbidden for him by Islam); he should tell the truth; he should think of the gifts and blessings which Allahu ta'ala has endowed upon him so that he will not be self-conceited; he should spend his possessions on the halal; he should not spend them for the haram; he should desire rank and posts not for his nafs nor for his comfort, but because he knows them as positions for serving Muslims; he should know it as his first duty to perform the five times of namaz in their due time; he should learn well iman and the deeds communicated by the Ahl as-sunnat savants and adapt himself to them. O Allah! Increase the light of the right way which you have endowed upon us! Forgive us! You can do everything!"

My dear, mercy-worthy sir! If one is granted the lot of repenting for all of one's sins and having wara' and taqwa [that is, abstaining from all the haram and dubious], the great blessing, the exalted good luck will have been obtained. If this cannot be obtained, it will be a blessing as well to repent for some sins and to abstain from some of the harams. Maybe, the blessings and lights of some of them will spread among all and will open the way to repenting for all the sins and for being a man of perfect wara'. It was said, "If one thing cannot be obtained as a whole, one should not lose it all." O Allah! Grant us the lot of doing the things which Thou like! As alms for Muhammad Mustafa 'alaihi wa alaihim wa 'ala ali kullin min-as-salawati afdaluha wa min-at-taslimati akmaluha' who is the highest and master of prophets, the head of the travelers on the way of greatness and honor, do not make us cease from being in Thine religion and from obeying Thee!

[Billions of people have lived in this world. They have lived for a certain time period; afterwards, they have died. Some of them were rich, some were poor. Some of them were beautiful, some ugly. Some of them were cruel and some of them were kind. All of their characteristics are now non-existent and forgotten. Some were Believers - Muslims. The remaining ones were disbelievers - kafirs. All of them will either be non-existent eternally or after Doomsday those who do not believe will be tormented eternally. But there will be no torment for those who are Believers. Disbelievers will experience an everlasting and extremely severe punishment. Those who will pass away as Believers are now at ease, and they are experiencing inner happiness. As for disbelievers, they are afraid of the prospects of burning in fire eternally. O, human beings, think carefully! After a few years, you will be one of them. At that time, all of your life, activities and painstaking efforts will be an image or dream, as is the case with the years that have passed. Therefore, which party do you want to belong in? You cannot say that you do not want to belong to neither party. This is impossible. You will be among either one at any rate. Even if it is merely a probability, do you want to be burned eternally in a fire? Wisdom, knowledge, and science prevent the rejection of the existence of Allah and a belief regarding Paradise and Hell. Objective individuals are unable to assert that such things cannot happen. Those who do not believe are unable to show any documents or evidence supporting their rejection. However, the evidences that prove belief to be unavoidable is innumerable. World libraries are full of books which spell out these proofs. Deceived by their nafs and pleasures, they reject. They think of nothing except their pleasures. However, Islam does not prohibit pleasure itself. It prohibits the hazardous effects of certain pleasures. Therefore, the one who has wisdom obtains his pleasure through the means shown by Allahu ta'ala. He is adorned with the superior morality of Islam. He is helpful to everyone. He retaliates with goodness to those who act maliciously towards him. If he is unable to be benevolent at least, he should act with patience. He should not be destructive; he should be constructive. Thus, he will attain his pleasures, comfort and peace of mind. Besides, he will be spared the eternal torments of the next world. It is a proven fact that to be a Muslim and to have iman are prerequisite for peace of mind and happiness. To have iman is very easy. It is not necessary to give money to a certain place, to give goods, to do hard work, to receive permission from someone. Additionally, it is not necessary to declare it openly and to inform someone about your iman. Iman consists of learning six things and believing in them through the heart in a secret way. The one who has iman becomes submissive to Allahu ta'ala's commandments. In other words, he willingly practices without any compulsion. Thus, he becomes a Muslim. In short, every Believer (Mumin) is a Muslim. Every Muslim is a Believer (Mumin)].