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Never Lose Hope In Allah’s Mercy: IOK Ramadan Reflections Series #24

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IOK Ramadan Reflections Series #24: Never Lose Hope In Allah’s Mercy

On today’s episode of IOK’s Ramadan Reflections Series, I will be discussing verse number 39 of Sūrah Zumar (39). 

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It is a verse which is a personal favorite of mine. A verse in which Allah directly addresses each one of us. A verse that is supposed to give hope when a person transgresses the limits that Allah has placed upon them. When a person commits sin, when a person thinks that they are beyond the mercy of Allah because of their past, this verse gives hope. It is the despondency that Shaytan weaponizes to make sure that we do not turn back to Allah, that we stay distant from the mercy of Allah, even though the mercy of Allah and Allah is waiting to embrace us. Allah is calling to each of us, and he is addressing a very particular type of individual, one who has transgressed the limits on their soul. A person who has gone against their Fiṭra, who oppressed themselves by disobeying Allah. A person who feels distant from the mercy of Allah and feels they have no hope and no way to turn back to Allah. Allah is addressing each of us who has a past which is most of us. 

Allah says: “Say [and Allah is addressing the Prophet], Oh my servants, those who have transgressed the limits on their souls, do not lose hope in the mercy of Allah. Indeed, Allah forgives all sins. Indeed, Allah is most forgiving and most merciful.” (53:39)

We never can never lose hope in the mercy of Allah because Allah tells us not to. Allah will forgive all sins. Allah is guaranteeing a safe return for each of us if we turn back to Him. Allah is guaranteeing that He will forgive our sins if we reach out to Him sincerely. If we repent, are remorseful and regretful of our past, and ask Allah for a fresh start, Allah is ready to do so. 

Allah does not only forgive but also overlooks. It is not that our good deeds will be at a lower degree when we come back to Him after sinning. The person who has been as good as possible can earn the same degree of good deeds versus a person who turns back to Allah when they both do the same action with a sincere intention. Allah will not diminish the reward of what we do just because we had sinned in the past. This is a mercy of Allah. Allah created us imperfect because it is through our imperfections that we can recognize the perfection of Allah. Allah is the only being who is perfect, and He does not expect perfection from us. We cannot be perfect. We will make mistakes. We have made mistakes. We continue to make mistakes. Which is why Allah has given us the concept of repentance, that any time you make a mistake, you can turn back to Allah. Allah is waiting to embrace you. Allah’s mercy is waiting to embrace you. All you must do is turn back to Allah. 

It is not enough to just say Asthughfirullāh. It is not enough to just say that ‘O Allah, I feel bad about this’, but to also have a sincere regret, remorse, and to make a firm intention and commitment not to repeat that action. And when a person falls off the wagon and they make the mistake again, they commit that same sin again, despite repenting hundreds of times, if they are sincere and turn back to Allah, remorseful and regretful, Allah will forgive them. That is the mercy of Allah. Because when you think about how we as human beings are with each other, there is a limit to how much compassion a person can show. If a person makes a mistake once, you overlook it. They make another mistake, you overlook it. If they constantly make the same mistake over and over, even the most patient individual will eventually lose their patience. ‘Why did you not learn?’ ‘How did you not learn this yet?’ ‘Why are you still making the same mistake again?’ ‘You made the same mistake so many times. How do you not yet know to do it differently?’ But Allah does not ask us that question. Repentance is granted, no questions asked. If we only ask with a sincere heart and a regretful soul, Allah forgives us. Allah showers us with His mercy. 

Do not lose hope in the mercy of Allah. It is not befitting of a believer to lose hope in the mercy of Allah because the mercy of Allah is infinite. We know the very famous Hadith Qudsī of the Prophet [SAW] where he said that Allah said: “Indeed, my mercy overpowers my anger.” (Bukhārī) Allah becomes displeased with us every time we disobey Him. But when we ask for forgiveness and turn back to him, Allah forgives. Allah does not hold our past actions against us, and this is a way for each of us to feel hope.

When we turn back to Allah, we might feel that our past is too heavy, that our habits are too addictive, that our sins are too much, and that our disobedience is too persistent for us to have any chance of the mercy of Allah so we can start anew. No, Allah says, do not lose hope in the mercy of Allah. You ask Allah for forgiveness, and you repent. And you continue to do your best. And every time you fall off the wagon, you ask Allah to forgive you again. And Allah is waiting to forgive you again. The Prophet [SAW] said that Allah accepts the repentance of a slave until they reach the throes of death. (Tirmīdhī) Until the very last moments of a person’s existence in this world before they transition to the next, a person’s repentance is accepted. And this is a source of hope for all of us.

That our past mistakes will not be held against us, and it is not the case that we cannot turn back to Allah. That there is no hope for us in doing better, in becoming better individuals. Yes, we might have committed sins that we are deeply regretful and shameful of and may haunt us forever. But rather than looking at that as a liability, that should be looked at as an asset, because it is that very feeling of shame that should motivate us to turn to Allah. It should be taken as a sign that we still care about our Īmān, that we still care about our relationship with Allah. If I feel remorseful, regretful, and ashamed of having done something, it is because I care about how Allah sees me. It is because I care about how Allah will judge me on the Day of Judgment. 

Ibn Jawzī said, that when a person is about to commit a sin, Shaytan encourages him by reminding him of the mercy of Allah. That it is okay. Allah is merciful. You can commit this sin. It does not matter. It is just one sin. But when a person commits that sin, and the shame due to our Fiṭra comes in, Shaytan immediately pounces and says, ‘How can you disobey Allah when he has been so merciful towards you?’ ‘How can you disobey Allah?’ And then Shaytan reminds him of the anger of Allah. And it is precisely at that moment–where he hopes we will move away from Allah–that a person moves towards Allah. Many times, we might think ‘What is the purpose of going to the Masjid when I didn’t even wake up for Fajr?’ Or ‘What is the purpose of going to the Masjid when I have just committed this act of sin?’ It is precisely at that moment when a person should turn back to Allah. It is a verse we should remind ourselves of constantly, so that we know Allah’s mercy is waiting for us and that hope is never lost for the believers. 

May Allah guide us and protect us, may He give us knowledge that benefits us, and may He give us the ability to turn back to Him and seek His mercy, Ameen. 

Tonight’s Ramadan Reflections Series talk on Allah’s mercy was brought to you by the IOK Seminary Faculty. Catch up on previous videos or catch the next videos on the IOK Ramadan Reflections Series page.

Keep supporting MuslimMatters for the sake of Allah

Alhamdulillah, we're at over 850 supporters. Help us get to 900 supporters this month. All it takes is a small gift from a reader like you to keep us going, for just $2 / month.

The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

IOK Seminary Faculty train highly motivated and dedicated Muslim men and women in classical Islam and contemporary scholarship, giving them the tools to grow as individuals, effectively serve those around them, and preserve the Islamic tradition in the West.

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