Friday, June 10, 2011

Locks of Love

My five-year-old threw me for a curve the other day when she apologized for a fit she had a year ago when checking herself out in a beauty shop mirror.

"Remember when I was crying because the hairdresser didn't make my hair long when I went in for a haircut?" she asked sheepishly. "Awww, I'm sorry for that!"

Grabbing her in a bear hug, I marveled at her ability to realize the absurdity of her demand, feel remorse for causing me trouble and then offer a heartfelt apology.

At the same time, I couldn't help but reflect--especially in this sacred month of Rajab, which is associated with seeking forgiveness from God--on our duty to repent for all the sins we have commited.

God says: "And hasten to forgiveness from your Lord," (Quran 3:132) and "But those who do wrong but repent thereafter and (truly) believe,--verily thy Lord is thereafter Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful." (7: 153)

While striving to perfect ourselves on our journey to nearness to God, we are bound to make mistakes and get off course. In His Infinite Mercy, God offers us tawba (Arabic word for repentance which literally means "turn or return from one thing to another") as a U-turn to get back on the straight path to Him.

Like alerts on a navigation system, it is God who first turns to us by reminding us that we have erred. To those who heed His warning and do tawba, "He opens His arms," says scholar Hamza Sodagar. Indeed, God loves repentance and rewards those who do it by giving them abundance in this world and converting their bad deeds into good deeds for the Hereafter. 

To be accepted, tawba must include remorseful repentance over the past, firm determination not to repeat offenses, discharging the rights of people previously ignored and fulfillment of obligatory acts left undone.

"A sincere repenter never sins again as the milk drawn from the breast never can go back to its source," says Prophet Muhammad (S).

The sooner tawba is done the better.

"The springtime for tawba is the time of youth when the sins are fewer, the inner darkness of the heart incomplete, the conditions of tawba easier and their fulfillment less difficult," said Imam Khomeini, scholar and architect of the Islamic Revolution of Iran.

Of course, to up our chances of being forgiven by God we must liberally pardon those who wrong us.

Hussain, the son of Fatima (one of the four perfect women), demonstrated magnanimous clemency on the plains of Kerbala, where he and most male members of the Prophet's (S) family were killed while opposing the unjust ruler Yazid. At the eleventh hour, Hur, a high-ranking commander in Yazid's army, came to Hussain's tent and asked: "Is my repentance acceptable?"

Hussain said: "Hur! I have already forgiven you. Your mother named you Hur, which means free. You are free in this world and the Hereafter." Then Hussain added: "I consider you to be my honored guest."

Indeed, to be able to truly reform societies lost and heading in the wrong direction like Hussain did, we must continuously do tawba to rid ourselves of the oppressive sins that lead us astray.

Lately, my daughter's been fussing because her straight hair won't curl up into ringlets (like her friend's wavy locks do) when I pull it into ponytails.

I suppose I'll have to ride it out until she has another aha! moment.


Sarosh said...

Salam Salina, Jazaki Allah Khair for another beautiful blog! Masha Allah, you are dong an excellent job raising the kids so well. Subhan- Allah, its our innate nature as humans to sin. But our Rabb understands our weakness & repeatedly provides us avenues everyday through the blessed months, through salah and simply through the act of wadu 5 times a day, everyday to cleanse ourselves. Amazing!No sin is too big for HIS infinite mercy. Insha' Allah HE will forgive all our sins and grant all muslim brothers and sisters HIS shade in the Aakhira.

JAK again!May Allah bless your efforts.

Salina Khan said...

Thank you, Sarosh, for shedding more light on tawba! This saying gives me much hope: "The happiness of God for seeing a sinner repenting is much more than the joy of a lone traveler who finds his missing animal together with the provisions of journey in a dark night."

Anonymous said...

SA Sister! Wonderful blog, very informative, cute and even humorous at times!!

With love..

Salina Khan said...

Thank you, sister, for your kind words!

Anonymous said...

A thinking woman. A rare find.