Quran Journey Series- Reflections on Quranic verses: IX

Aug 5th, 2013 | By | Category: Quran Journey Series

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In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

 

(Say: “O ‘Ibadi (My slaves) who have transgressed against themselves (by committing evil deeds and sins)! Despair not of the Mercy of Allah, verily Allah forgives all sins. Truly, He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.) [Surah Al-Zumar, verse 53]

 

One of the greatest blessings bestowed upon errant fumbling slaves like us all is Allah’s promise of forgiveness which comes from His all-encompassing, inexhaustible mercy. In the very first verse of the Quran at the beginning of Surah Fateha, we are told of two of the primary attributes of Allah: Ar Rahman and Ar Raheem. Although both have the same root of  ‘rahm’ that bears the connotation of the mother’s womb and hence signifies tenderness, care, protection, nourishment, gentleness and ‘the love of seventy mothers and more…’ ; yet there are some important distinctions . ‘Ar Rahman’  means the One with the Highest, the most Extreme, Intense and Infinite Mercy. ‘Ar Raheem’  on the other hand, means the One whose Mercy is constant, endless, undimmed, ceaseless and eternal. Allah alone combines both these attributes to the degree of perfection_ He is Extremely Merciful, consistently.

For us_ too prone to sinning and forgetfulness_ this is good news. It gives hope, it lifts the spirits up, it promises us deliverance and salvation through His Mercy, it reassures us we can still start afresh, and that

`He who comes closer to Me one span, I come closer to him a cubit; and he who comes closer to Me a cubit, I come closer to him a fathom; and if he comes to Me walking, I come to him running”. [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

Forgiveness is the most beautiful aspect of Allah’s Mercy, and we all stand in greatest need of it. The promise of His Mercy even as we sin repeatedly comes as a cool draught in a day of heat and thirst; a healing, comfort and a soft balm on a wounded, sinned-against soul; a beacon of light at the end of a long dark tunnel. Alhamdulillah. For, where would we be without it?

“And if Allah had destroyed men for their inequity, He would not leave on the earth a single creature, but He respites them…” (Surah an-Nahl 16:61)

The Quran demonstrates a deep and insightful understanding and appreciation of psychology with all its vicissitudes. Allah knows our innate propensity for sin . Allah knows we are forgetful by our very natures. He knows we are liable to err and fall into sin, as was illustrated by the first sin of Adam (A.S). Just as Adam (A.S) was given hope of forgiveness through Allah’s Grace and Mercy, so are we blessed and delivered out of darkness and sin through His Mercy that lies in wait for us, and welcomes us with open arms, only if we relent, feel the twinge of guilt and remorse, realize our mistake and regret it.

The verse and its themes of Mercy and Forgiveness are particularly relevant with the commencement of the last ten days of Ramadan, when the Mercy of Allah is at its highest, its most intense, ready to be showered on those who seek it through worship, remembrance and repentance. Ramadan is a yearly season of forgiveness, a yearly flowering of faith, a yearly opportunity to reflect, to purify ourselves, to cleanse our spirits from too much of the temporal and worldly that smothered it the rest of the year; and a yearly high-tide of Allah’s forgiveness that we must make the best of. It is recommended to spend the odd nights of the last ten days of Ramadan in intense prayer, seeking Allah’s forgiveness, with the following recommended prayer:

Aisha (RA) said: I asked the Messenger of Allah (PBUH): ‘O Messenger of Allah, if I know what night is the night of Qadr, what should I say during it?’ He said: ‘Say: O Allah, You are pardoning and You love to pardon, so pardon me.’ “
(Ahmad, Ibn Majah, and Tirmidhi). “Allahumma innaka ‘afuwwun tuhibbul ‘afwa fa’fu ‘annee”

Those who miss the opportunity to make the best of it are unfortunate indeed:

Kaab Ibn Ujrah (RA) relates that Rasulullah (SAW)  climbed the first step of the pulpit, He (SAW) said “Aameen”, When He (SAW) ascended the second step, He (SAW) said “Aameen”, When He (SAW) climbed the third step, He (SAW) said “Aameen” When He (SAW) came down, We said “O Rasool of Allah (SAW), we have heard from you today something which we never heard before” He (SAW) said When I climbed the first step, the angel Jibraeel (A.S.) appeared before me and said “Destruction to him who found the blessed month of Ramdhan and let it pass by without gaining forgiveness.” Upon that I said ‘Aameen’.  (Haakim, Baihaqi)

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Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, “Allah says: `I am just as My slave thinks of Me when he remembers Me.’ By Allah! Allah is more pleased with the repentance of His slave than one of you who unexpectedly finds in the desert his lost camel. `He who comes closer to Me one span, I come closer to him a cubit; and he who comes closer to Me a cubit, I come closer to him a fathom; and if he comes to Me walking, I come to him running”.
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

Maryam Sakeenah

About the author

Maryam Sakeenah teaches Sociology, Literature and Islamic Studies in Lahore, Pakistan. She authored a book documenting Islamic and Oriental responses to the Clash of Civilizations thesis. Maryam is also a social worker running an organization providing free virtual primary education for the poor.

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