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Candle Posts :: Motivational Gems for Higher Spiritual Enlightenment

:: Candle Post #125 :: The Immense Power of 'Astaghfirullah ::

Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim
In the name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful.

Ya Ali Madad. Through his firman made in Dubai on December 13, 2003, Noor Mowlana Hazar Imam has encouraged us to inform ourselves as to the practices and beliefs of our Tariqah. SalmanSpiritual.com has published several articles on piety, asking for forgiveness of sins and purification, and has produced a variety of audio products for these topics (see links below).

My personal search on the topic of 'astaghfirullah' (asking for forgiveness from Allah) has yielded more gems which could prove to very useful for the seekers and lovers of Light. I hope this knowledge and wisdom will help you in your personal search for higher spiritual enlightenment.

Table of Contents:

  1. Qur'anic Ayats on the Immense Power of 'Astaghfirullah'
  2. Why Should We Recite Astaghfirullah Continually?
  3. Examples of Sins That Are Being Committed
  4. How to Perform Sincere Repentance?
  5. The Three Stages of Repentance (Tauba)
  6. Why is Repentance Necessary?
  7. Istighfar of Noor Mowlana Murtaza Ali (a.s.)
  8. Examples of Prayers for Forgiveness
  9. Four Beautiful Names of Allah Pertaining to Forgiveness
  10. Links

Part 1: Qur'anic Ayats on the Enormous Power of 'Astaghfirullah'

Let us first reflect upon the following ayats from the Holy Qur'an:

"Then said I: "Seek ye the forgiveness of your Lord!
Verily He is the Most-Forgiving,
 
He will send (down) upon you the cloud raining in torrents,
 
And help you with wealth and sons (children),
and make for you rivers."
 
(S.V. Mir Ahmed Ali's translation, 71:10-12)

Note No. 2725 S.V. Mir Ahmed Ali's translation, page 1751:

"Ibne Abbas says that once a man told the First Holy Imam Ali-ibne Abi-Talib that he had sinned a great deal. Ali said 'Seek God's pardon.' Another one said that need has reduced him to destitution. Ali said 'Seek God's pardon.' Another one said that he had no issues (children). Ali said 'Seek God's pardon.' Similarly several others complained against their own difficulties and needs and to one and all of them, Ali said 'Seek God's pardon.' Ibne Abbas asked "O' Amirul-Momineen! how is it that you gave one and same reply in advice to every one of those who related to you different grievances and various needs." Ali replied, "Didst thou not read this verse?""

"A man asked the Fifth Holy Imam Muhammad Al-Baquir "Master! I have abundant wealth but no son. Is there a means to get this blessing of God?" The Holy Imam said "Seek pardon of God for 100 times every night for one year. Have you not read the verse in Sur-e-Nuh?" (Referred to this verse, i.e., 71:10, Surah Nuh, Ayat 10)

Istighfar is the act of seeking forgiveness from God. This act is generally done by repeating the Arabic word 'astaghfirullah', meaning "I seek forgiveness from Allah". From the teaching of Imam Muhammad Al-Baquir, it is a good habit to recite 'astaghfirullah' 100 times every night, especially in the early hours of the morning according to the following ayats of Holy Qur'an:

"Verily the pious one shall be in the gardens and (among the) springs,
 
Receiving (the enjoyment) what giveth them their Lord
Verily, they were ere (i.e., before) that the doers of good.
 
Little of the night was it that they used to sleep.
 
And in the (hours) ere (i.e. before) the dawn they prayed for forgiveness."
 
(S.V. Mir Ahmed Ali's translation, 51:15-18)

From the above, it is best to say 100 beads of 'Astaghfirullah' before sitting for bandagi because one must seek purification because this is a requirement for higher spiritual enlightenment.

This is clearly stated in the book entitled 'Flowers of Divine Knowledge' by Bahadurali Jamal Manji, Ph.D. This book is a translation of the Missionary Nasserbhai Abdullah's Gujrati book entitled 'Marifat Na Phool'. The excerpt is:

"Any person who has an earnest desire to embrace the holy Noor of the Imam, should initially purify his soul. Without the purity of the soul, it cannot make any progress. The degree of purity of the soul depends upon the number of honest and noble deeds performed." (p. 102)

Part 2: Why Should We Recite Astaghfirullah Continually?

Imam Abd Allah ibn Alawi al-Haddad (1634-1720 CE), was a great Sunni sage and a religious scholar of the Shafii School of Islamic jurisprudence. In his e-book titled 'The Book of Assistance', he has provided great insights succinctly:

"Renew your repentance frequently, for sins are numerous and a servant is never free, outwardly and inwardly, from a great number of rebellious acts, even if his state is good, behavior upright, and obedience continual. It should suffice you [to know] that the Messenger of God, may blessings and peace be upon him, infallible and absolutely perfect as he was, repented to God and asked for His forgiveness more than seventy times each day."(Pp. 105-106)

Part 3: Examples of Sins That Are Being Committed

I came across a YouTube presentation titled, 'Astaghfirullah Nasheed / English Subtitles' which shook me to my core. I have reproduced the lyrics below so that the readers may reflected upon these after viewing the video. I have become more conscious of my actions after viewing this video several times.

Astaghfirullah Nasheed / English Subtitles

1. I seek Allah's forgiveness for my sins and my imperfections.
By Allah, I still feel the tremor of my sins.
2. I seek Allah's forgiveness from a self that fights me
to commit sins and stop doing good deeds.
3. I seek Allah's forgiveness from the days that I wasted
and that passed away, and is from my life and for me.
4. I seek Allah's forgiveness for a day that I missed
Salah (prayers), and did not get up because of laziness.
5. I seek Allah's forgiveness for my sins and my imperfections
By Allah, I still feel the tremor of my sins.
6. I seek Allah's forgiveness from a self that fights me
to commit sins and stop doing good deeds.
7. I seek Allah's forgiveness for what I have brought with me:
my hypocritical piety and the deeds done in a hurry.
8. I seek Allah's forgiveness from the suspicions I raised,
the false suspicions, on purpose and out of my desire.
9. I seek Allah's forgiveness for my sins and my imperfections
By Allah, I still feel the tremor of my sins.
10. I seek Allah's forgiveness from a self that fights me
to commit sins and stop doing good deeds.
11. I seek Allah's forgiveness for what I used to do;
from all the disobedience in my early days.
12. I seek Allah's forgiveness from the self that incites me to sin
and Shaitaan that whispers in my heart.
13. I seek Allah's forgiveness for my sins and my imperfections
By Allah, I still feel the tremor of my sins.
14. I seek Allah's forgiveness from a self that fights me
to commit sins and stop doing good deeds.
15. I seek Allah's forgiveness for the sins that I committed out of my
emotions and ills of my speech and from my other defects.
16. I seek Allah's forgiveness for the days I snatched
rights of His creation, by oppression and by tricks.
17. I seek Allah's forgiveness for my sins and my imperfections
By Allah, I still feel the tremor of my sins.
18. I seek Allah's forgiveness from a self that fights me
to commit sins and stop doing good deeds.
19. I seek Allah's forgiveness for the legs I walked with
towards disobedience, and from my sins and defects.
20. I seek Allah's forgiveness from pride and arrogance
and show-off, be it in speech or action.
 

Part 4: How to Perform Sincere Repentance?

Imam al-Haddad, a Sunni sage, has provided great insights on this topic which are similar to other material which is found in Holy Ginans, Qasidas, and teachings of our Holy Imams which have been published on SalmanSpiritual.com. However, I have done this to demonstrate that there is diversity in Islam but, at the same time, there is consensus in the principles of personal search for higher spiritual enlightenment.

"Know that repentance cannot be sound unless the sin itself is renounced, remorse is felt, and there is present a determination never to repeat it for the rest of one's life. The true penitent is characterized by signs, among which are a softness of the heart, frequent weeping, adhering to obedience, and forsaking evil companions and places." (p. 105)

Here is a link to Imam al-Haddad's famous Qasida titled, 'Imam al-Haddad's Qasidah-Astaghfirullah Rabbal Baraya' which demonstrates his humility, submission and ardent plea for forgiveness of sins. I have reproduced the translation of lyrics below so that the readers may reflected upon these after viewing the video. The tune of the Qasida is really comforting and peaceful.

Imam al-Haddad's Qasidah-Astaghfirullah Rabbal Baraya

1. I seek forgiveness with Allah, The Lord of all creatures.
I seek forgiveness with Allah, of all the sins that I've made.
2. Fill me with Your knowledge, O Lord!
With questions and choices of me.
3. For my prayer and my agonizing supplications;
A witness of my poverty, A witness of my poverty.
4. I seek forgiveness with Allah, The Lord of all creatures
I seek forgiveness with Allah, of all the sins that I've made.
5. For this secret I make supplication
In times of ease and times of difficulty.
6. I am a slave whose pride
is in his poverty and obligation,
is in his poverty and obligation
7. I seek forgiveness with Allah, The Lord of all creatures
I seek forgiveness with Allah, of all the sins that I've made
8. Then fill me with Your knowledge, O Lord!
With questions and choices of me.
9. O God, The King
Indeed only You know how I've been doing,
Indeed only You know how I've been doing.
10. I seek forgiveness with Allah, The Lord of all creatures
I seek forgiveness with Allah, of all the sins that I've made
11. And what has settled in my heart!
of agonies & preoccupations
12. Save me with a gentleness
from You, O King of all creatures!
13. Astaghfirullah Rabbal Baraaya
I seek forgiveness with Allah, The Lord of all creatures
14. Astaghfirullah Minal Khataaya
I seek forgiveness with Allah, of all the sins that I've made

The following prayer also occurs on one of the slides.

O my Lord, I don't deserve The blessing of paradise,
Yet, I do not have the strength to withstand
the torments of hell fire.

Thus, accept my repentance and grant me
Thy forgiveness of my sins,
For Thou art the Forgiver of great sins.

Part 5: The Three Stages of Repentance (Tauba)

Here are a few excerpts from the book titled, 'Majalis and Tasbihat' by Alwaez Kamaluddin Ali Muhammad and Alwaeza Zarina Kamaluddin, published in 2009:

"Tauba is like a divine law which functions in the following way. When a person commits a mistake, its effects take place in three stages: beginning, middle and end.
  1. If it is in the initial stage, then refraining and keeping away from it is sufficient.
     
  2. If it has already started and is somewhere in the middle stage, then just stopping is not enough; One has to repair the damage.
     
  3. If it is in the final stage, then there is no option left but to wait for the consequences.

About the first stage the Holy Qur'an says:

"Forgiveness is only incumbent on Allah toward those who do evil in ignorance (and) then they turn quickly (in repentance) to Allah. These are they towards whom Allah relents. Allah is ever knower, Wise." (4:17)

Regarding the second stage the Holy Qur'an says:

"Save those who afterward repent and make amends, (for such). Lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful." (24:5)

Regarding the third stage the Holy Qur'an says:

"The forgiveness is not for those who do ill-deeds until, when death attends upon one of them, he said: Lo! I repent now; not yet for those who die while they are disbelievers. For such We have prepared a painful doom." (4:18)

Part 6: Why is Repentance Necessary?

Noor Mowlana Sultan Muhammad Shah (a.s.) has taught us through a firman made in Manjevdi on 28-12-1893 (Kalame-Imame Mubin, p.54):

"Jeo saaraa chhe ane gunah kare chhee, pan gunahaani taubaa nathi kartaa tethi, aakhratmaa gunaha wadhi pade chhe."

Literal translation: "Those who are good and commit sins but do not repent for their sins, then in the hereafter their sins will outweigh their good deeds".

A question arises: What is the impact of sins on the soul?

I found an answer to this question in the teaching of Missionary Nasserbhai Abdullah. The following excerpt is from the book entitled 'Flowers of Divine Knowledge' by Bahadurali Jamal Manji, Ph.D. which is a translation of the Gujrati book entitled 'Marifat Na Phool'. Here is an answer to the question (p. 25):

"The description of heaven and hell of the next world is explained in holy scriptures. The beginning of the same hell and heaven is our present life. As long as a person is alive he cannot see hell and heaven but invisibly its effects are experienced by the heart, just as a log floating in water can be easily pulled out. If the water dries up it becomes difficult to pull the same log. In the same manner, as long as we are alive, we do not experience the heaviness of our sins. But when the life comes to an end, it not only becomes difficult but also distressful to carry the weight of sins and evil actions."

A related question is: Who created hell?

Here is a thought provoking answer to the question from the above mentioned source (p. 25):

"We hear so many people say that God is Merciful, and ask then why has He created hell? Perhaps they do not know that the maker of hell is man himself. When a person in his lifetime accumulates the fire of evil qualities of jealousy, grudge, and anger in his heart, they are, after death, manifested in the form of the fire of hell that engulfs the soul. God is not happy to see the soul burning and suffering in the fire of hell. However, when a person in this life time develops such evil qualities as desire, anger, pride, lust, attachment to this illusive world, and jealousy, and performs evil actions, then the person is himself responsible for such actions and this an unchangeable law of God. And to that extent the soul will experience the punishment and reward of its deeds as to that intensity of quality it will have acted whether good or bad. God has control over this administration and the explanation that has been given in the scriptures is correct."

A final question for this section is: How should I prepare for the Chhanta ceremony in our Tariqah?

  1. Create awareness of the sins that have been committed. This requires that one should be vigilant of one's actions. Then one has to take a pledge of not committing the same sins again.
     
  2. If one has continually committed sins for some time that have caused damage, then these sins are only forgiven when actions are taken physically and spiritually to fix the damage. Here the repentance becomes more intense because one has to repair the physical and spiritual damage and at the same supplicate for forgiveness. This is generally a very slow process and for some sins, some mumins have spent a lifetime in repentance.
     
  3. Be quiet in the chhanta line and be attentive to your soul. Recite 'Astaghfirullah' abundantly and remember the vow that you have made to your soul. Then take chanta. This is a serious matter which needs continuous maintenance and improvement.

Here is an excerpt about repentance from the book titled 'Flowers of Divine Knowledge':

"Oh you! How did a human being become a sinner? If you had been a sinner would you have been granted a human form? A human being is righteous. In the creation of God he has a form and a status which is of the highest form. If one is drawn into committing sins by mistake then one should repent for the mercy of God. Even if one falls in error a thousand times, yet one should not give up begging for repentance in the holy presence of God. In doing so one becomes worthy of the mercy and pardon of God." (Pp. 107-108)

Part 7. Istighfar of Noor Mowlana Murtaza Ali (a.s.)

The following istighfar of Imam Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s) is from Sahifa Alawiyyah. The Arabic text and translation of this istighfar is listed as Dua 18 on this page

Al-Sahifa e Alaviya By Imam Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s)
Supplication 18: His Dua seeking forgiveness

O Allah, I seek Your forgiveness for those wrongdoings for which I had turned repentant unto you but have done again.

I seek your forgiveness for those deeds which I planned to do for your sake only but afterwards other interests not connected with You crept in, and I seek Your forgiveness for my taking advantage of the bounties, You gave me, in order to disobey You.

I seek forgiveness of Allah (who is) "There is no god save He, the Living, the Eternal, the knower of the unknown and known, the Beneficent, the Merciful." For all those sins which I have committed and for all those transgressions I perpetrated.

O Allah grant me perfect ability to use, follow and apply reason, astute and keen determination, preponderant genius, pure heart, all-embracing wisdom and beautiful elegant manners.

Let all these favours work for my good; let them not harm me, through your mercy, O the most Merciful.

Then say 5 times:

Astaghfirullaahal Lad'ee Laa Ilaaha Illaa Huwal Hayyul Qayyum Wa Atubu Ilayhi

I seek forgiveness of Allah. There is no god save He, the Living, the Eternal and I turn repentant unto Him.

Please note that 'Laa Ilaaha Illaa Huwal H'ayyul Qayyoom' is the first sentence of Ayatul Kursi (2:255), the most important ayat of the Holy Qur'an. So the above prayer has three components:

  1. Seeking forgiveness;
  2. Invoking the essence of Ayatul Kursi; and
  3. Supplicating our returning to Allah in repentance.

Thus, 'Astaghfirullaahal Lad'ee Laa Ilaaha Illaa Huwal Hayyul Qayyum Wa Atubu Ilayhi' is a very powerful prayer.

Part 8: Examples of Prayers for Forgiveness

There are a number of ways to seek forgiveness of Allah. Here are examples from Arabic language:

1. Astaghfirullah
 
I seek forgiveness of Allah
 
2. Astaghfirullahi Rabbi wa Atubu Ilayhi
 
Verily, I seek the forgiveness of Allah, who is my Lord and Sustainer, and I turn to Him in repentance.
 
3. Astaghfirullaahal Lad'ee
Laa Ilaaha Illaa Huwal Hayyul Qayyum
Wa Atubu Ilayhi

 
I seek forgiveness of Allah.
There is no god save He, the Living, the Eternal,
and I turn to Him in repentance.
 
4. Astaghfirullaahal Lad'ee
Laa Ilaaha Illaa Huwal Hayyul Qayyum
A'alimul Ghaybi Wash Saahaadatir
Rahmanir Raheem

 
I seek forgiveness of Allah.
There is no god save He, the Alive, the Eternal.
the knower of the unknown and known,
the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful.
 
5. Astaghfirullah Rabbal Baraaya
 
I seek forgiveness with Allah, the Lord of all creatures
 
6. Astaghfirullah Minal Khataaya
 
I seek forgiveness with Allah, of all the sins that I've made
 

Part 9: Four Beautiful Names of Allah Pertaining to Forgiveness
 
Four out of the 99 Beautiful names of Allah pertaining to forgiveness are:

014 Al-Ghaffaar

The Great Forgiver

He who is all forgiving, with His discreetness. Yaa-Ghaffaar
034

Al-Ghafuur

The Great Forgiver

He who forgives all with His discreetness. Yaa-Ghafuur
080

At-Tawwaab

The Ever-Acceptor of Repentance He is ever-ready to accept repentance of His creatures and to forgive them. Yaa-Tawwaab
082 Al-'Afuw The Supreme Pardoner He who pardons all who repent sincerely, as if they had no previous sin. Yaa-'Afuw

 
Part 10: Links:
  1. Download to the PDF version of Candle Posting 125 :: The Immense Power of 'Astaghfirullah' ::
  2. True and Sincere Repentance :: Teaching of NOOR Mowlana Murtaza Ali (a.s.)
  3. Astaghafirullahi Rabbi Wa Atubu Ilayhi
  4. Pir Hasan Kabirdin's Anant Akhado on the topic of repentance
  5. Ahmed bin Asim :: Q & A on the topic of sincere repentance
  6. The Door of Salvation :: Seeking Forgiveness
  7. The Connection Between Repentance and Enlightenment
  8. Seven Gems from Moti Venti
  9. What is Sincere Repentance and What Should We Repent For?)
  10. The Path for Returning to the Origin in the Ismaili Tariqah)
Ardent Supplications:
Ya Ali, Ya NOOR Mowlana Shah Karim Al-Hussaini Hazar Imam, create Sunshine in our hearts, light in our foreheads, and bless us all with the inner vision of the Truth!
 
Ya Ali, Ya NOOR Mowlana Shah Karim Al-Hussaini Hazar Imam, grant the global Jamat luminous (noorani) and spiritual (ruhani) tayid (help) to advance materially, spiritually and intellectually. Ameen.
 
Haizinda — Qayampaya
(Our Present Imam is Living and His NOOR is Eternal)

The lit candle represents the Light of Imamat. Let us actualize this Light into our spiritual hearts, heads, & consciences so that we may also be able to submit spiritual & luminous nazranas in the Diamond Jubilee.


Rakh Mowla je Noor te Yaqeen (Certainly, we trust in Mowla's Light only),
Noorallah Juma (noor-allah@salmanspiritual.com)
SalmanSpiritual.com
Thursday, March 6, 2014


 
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