Salman Spiritual :: Towards the Inner Vision of the Truth :: An Ismaili Perspective

"Allah is the Protecting Guardian of those who believe. He bringeth them out of darkness into light." — Holy Qur'an 2:257

Treasures in the Last Ayat of Surah Baqara

According to the following hadith of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), all human beings commit sins, but the real believers repent for their sins and seek forgiveness from the Merciful Lord1:

"Anas reported God's messenger as saying, "All the sons of Adam are sinners, but the best of sinners are those who are given to repentance."

Believers are on a path of continual improvement. People do make mistakes, but believers analyze their mistakes and take positive actions to correct them. This examination is critical for creating purity in each and every action. In this way, believers develop a lifestyle which is firmly grounded in the principles of faith. Great believers follow the path of religion with insight because they understand the nature of outward and inward sins, and strive to remain pure and humble. However, as they are also human, they commit sins and have to seek forgiveness from Allah on a continual basis.

In the following dialog, Ahmed bin Asim has given excellent answers to the questions on the topic of sincere repentance put to him by one of his disciples2:

Question
Answer
How may I seek to draw near to God? By leaving the inward sins.
Why inward and not outward? Because if you avoid inward sins, the outward sins will be void.
What is the most harmful sin? The most harmful sin is the sin which you know to be a sin. And more harmful than this is to suppose that it is a virtuous act, while at all the time it is a sin.
What sin is most profitable to me? The sin which you keep before your eyes, weeping over it constantly until you depart from this world, so that you will have never committed the like again. This is sincere repentance.
What grace of Allah is most profitable to me? When He protects you from disobeying Him and assists you to obey him.

The Qur'an teaches us to continually seek forgiveness of sins and mercy of Allah. This is beautifully presented in a portion of the last ayat of Surah Baqara (Holy Qur'an 2:286)3:

[Sound Clip: real audio stream ]

Transliteration
English Translation
Laa yukalli-f 'allaahu naf-san 'illaa wus-'ahaa. Allah tasketh not a soul beyond its scope. Allah tasketh not a soul beyond its scope.
La-haa maa kasabat wa- 'alay -haa mak-tasabat. For it (is only) that which it hath earned, and against it (only) that which it hath deserved.
Rabbanaa laa tu-aa-khiznaaa 'in-nasiinaaa 'aw 'akhta'-naa. Our Lord! Condemn us not if we forget, or miss the mark!
Rabbanaa wa laa tahmil 'alay-naa 'is-ran-kamaa hamal-tahuu 'alal-laziina min-qab-linaa. Our Lord! Lay not on us such a burden as thou didst lay on those before us!
Rabbanaa wa laa tuhammil-naa maa laa taaqata lanaa bib. Our Lord! Impose not on us that which we have not the strength to bear!
Wa'-fu 'annaa, Wag-fir lanaa, war-ham-naa. Pardon us, absolve us and have mercy on us,
'Anta Mawlaanaa fan-surnaa 'alal-qaw-mil-kaafiriin. Thou, our Protector, and give us victory over the disbelieving folk.

The above verse of the Holy Qur'an describes a formula for material, spiritual and intellectual upliftment of believers. Allah continually elevates believers through His knowledge and mercy and loves believers who are firm in their practice of faith and seek forgiveness continually as described in the following hadith of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)4:

"(Hazrat) Ali reported God's messenger as saying, "God loves the believing servant who is severely tried and is penitent."

Those believers who follow these basic prinicples of faith will be rewarded handsomely as described by Imam Sultan Muhammad Shah, also known as Aga Khan III, 5:

"After death, Divine Justice will take into consideration the faith, the prayers, and the deeds of man. For the chosen, there is eternal life and spiritual felicity of Divine vision."

Let us now recite this prayer with humility, courage and conviction.

[Sound Clip: real audio stream ]

Transliteration
English Translation
A'uzu billahi minashaitanir rajim I seek refuge in Allah from the outcast Satan
Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim In the name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful
Laa yukalli-f 'allaahu naf-san 'illaa wus-'ahaa. Allah tasketh not a soul beyond its scope. Allah tasketh not a soul beyond its scope.
La-haa maa kasabat wa- 'alay -haa mak-tasabat. For it (is only) that which it hath earned, and against it (only) that which it hath deserved.
Rabbanaa laa tu-aa-khiznaaa 'in-nasiinaaa 'aw 'akhta'-naa. Our Lord! Condemn us not if we forget, or miss the mark!
Rabbanaa wa laa tahmil 'alay-naa 'is-ran-kamaa hamal-tahuu 'alal-laziina min-qab-linaa. Our Lord! Lay not on us such a burden as thou didst lay on those before us!
Rabbanaa wa laa tuhammil-naa maa laa taaqata lanaa bib. Our Lord! Impose not on us that which we have not the strength to bear!
Wa'-fu 'annaa, Wag-fir lanaa, war-ham-naa. Pardon us, absolve us and have mercy on us,
'Anta Mawlaanaa fan-surnaa 'alal-qaw-mil-kaafiriin. Thou, our Protector, and give us victory over the disbelieving folk.

The recitations of selected aya(t) of Holy Qur'an in Tarteel tune are by Shiekh Abdul Bassit Abdul Sumed and have been reproduced on this site with permission from MECAH Enterprises.

End Notes

  1. Robson, J., Book X. God's Names. Chapter III. Prayer for pardon and repentance. In: Mishkat al Masabih Vol. I (English translation with explanatory notes), 496.
  2. Arberry, A. J., Chapter 4. The Ascetics. In: Sufism: An account of the mystics of Islam, 43-44.
  3. A. Yusuf Ali, The Holy Qur'an, 116-117.
  4. Robson, J., Book X. God's Names. Chapter III. Prayer for pardon and repentance. In: Mishkat al Masabih Vol. I (English translation with explanatory notes), 501.
  5. Aga Khan III, Memoirs of Aga Khan, v.

References

  1. Aga Khan III. Memoirs of Aga Khan. Cassell, London, 1954.
  2. Arberry, A. J., Sufism: An account of the mystics of Islam, Mandala Books, London, 1979.
  3. Robson, J. Mishkat al Masabih Vol. I (English translation with explanatory notes), Sh. Muhammad Ashraf, Lahore, r1990.
  4. Yusuf Ali, A. The Holy Qur'an (translation and commentary). American Trust Publications, 1977.

Article by Dr. Noorallah Juma
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