Translated by Abd-Allah
Chapter 2: Repentance
16. Abu Mūsa Al-Ash’ari (may Allāh be pleased with him) reported: The Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “All, the Exalted, will continue to stretch out His Hand in the night so that the sinners of the day may repent, and continue to stretch His Hand in the daytime so that the sinners of the night may repent, until the sun rises from the west”. [Muslim].
17. Abu Hurayrah (raḍyAllāhu ‘anhu) narrated: Messenger of Allāh (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said, “He who repents before the sun rises from the west, Allāh will forgive him”. [Muslim].
18. ‘Abdullāh bin ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab (raḍyAllāhu ‘anhu) reported that: The Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said, “Allāh accepts a slave’s repentance as long as the latter is not on his death bed (that is, before the soul of the dying person reaches the throat)”. [Al-Tirmidhi, who categorized it as ḥadīth Hasan].
Shaykh Ibn Uthaymeen may Allāh have mercy on him says in his explanation of these aḥadīth:
These three aḥadīth which the author had mentioned, may Allāh have mercy on him, are all related to repentance.
As for the ḥadīth of Abu Mūsa, the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “Allāh, the Exalted, will continue to stretch out His Hand in the night so that the sinners of the day may repent, and continue to stretch His Hand in the daytime so that the sinners of the night may repent, until the sun rises from the west”.
It is from the Generosity of Allāh, Glorified and Exalted, that He accepts (one’s) repentance even if it is late. So if the person commits a sin during the day, then Allāh ta‘āla accepts his repentance even if he repents at night. Similarly, if the person sins at night and then repents during the day then Allāh ta‘āla accepts his repentance. In fact, He, Almighty, stretches His Hand to receive this repentance from His believing servant.
In this ḥadīth there is evidence that Allāh, subḥānahu wa ta‘āla, loves repentance, and we have already mentioned in the previous ḥadīth -the story of the man who lost his camel and then found it- that Allāh is more happy with the repentance of His believing servant when he repents to Him than the man who had found his lost camel.
From the benefits of the ḥadīth of Abu Mūsa is the affirmation that Allāh ta‘āla has a Hand. Rather, He has two Hands, subḥānahu wa ta‘āla, as He said:
“The Jews say: “Allāh’s hand is tied up.” Be their hands tied up and be they accursed for the (blasphemy) they utter. Nay, both His Hands are widely outstretched.” [Sūrat’l-Mā’idah 5:64]. This Hand which Allāh has affirmed for Himself- rather, the two Hands- we are required believe in them, and the fact that they are affirmed for Allāh.
However, it is not permissible for us to imagine that they are like our hands, because Allāh says in His Book:
There is nothing whatever like unto Him, and He is the Hearer, the Seer [Al-Shu‘arā’ 42:11], Hence, everything you come across from the attributes of Allāh then affirm it for Allāh, subḥānahu wa ta‘āla, without comparing it to the attributes of the creation, because there is nothing like Allāh, neither in relation to His essence nor to His attributes, subḥānahu wa ta‘āla.
From the benefits of this ḥadīth: is that Allāh, subḥānahu wa ta‘āla, accepts the repentance of the servant even if it is late. However, hastening to repent is obligatory, since a person does not know, for death may surprise him and he dies before repenting. So the obligation is to hasten (to repent), but even if it is delayed, Allāh will accept the repentance of His servant.
In this ḥadīth (of Abu Hurayrah) there is evidence that once the sun rises from the west, the (time for) acceptance of repentance is over. But, a questioner may ask, ‘does the sun rise from the west? It is known that the sun rises from the east!’
To this we say: Yes, this (the sun rising from the East) is what is known, and this has been the case ever since Allah created it until this day of ours. However, towards the end of times Allāh will command the sun to go back from where it came so (its) cycle will be inverted and it will rise from the West, and when the people see it they will all believe, even the disbelievers (such as) the Jews, Christians, Buddhists, Communists, and others, they will all believe. However, the one who did not believe before the sun rises from the West then his belief will not benefit him.
Everyone will repents as well, but the repentance of one who did not repent before the sun rises from the West will not be accepted, because this Sign will be witnessed by everyone, and once the Warning Signs arrive then neither repentance nor belief shall be of any benefit!
As for the ḥadīth of ‘Abdullāh bin Umar: “Allāh accepts a slave’s repentance as long as the latter is not on his death bed”, meaning: as long as the soul has not reached the throat. But if the soul has reached the throat then there is no repentance, as per His saying:
وَلَيْسَتِ التَّوْبَةُ لِلَّذِينَ يَعْمَلُونَ السَّيِّئَاتِ حَتَّى إِذَا حَضَرَ أَحَدَهُمُ الْمَوْتُ قَالَ إِنِّي تُبْتُ الآنَ وَلا الَّذِينَ يَمُوتُونَ وَهُمْ كُفَّارٌ أُوْلَـئِكَ أَعْتَدْنَا لَهُمْ عَذَاباً أَلِيماً
(And repentance is not for those who go on doing evil deeds, until when death comes to one of them, he says: Surely now I repent) [Sūrat’l-Nisā’ 4:18].
So upon you, O my fellow Muslim, is to hasten to repent to Allāh ‘azza wa jal from your sins, and to desist from what you have been entangled with from disobedience, and to perform what you have been neglecting from the obligations, and to ask Allāh to accept your repentance.
And Allāh is the source of success.