Sinning may be recognized as a hereditary trait, for who resembles his father and does no evil? But if the father is restored after failing, let the emulation of him be at both poles, of the negative and the positive. Adam, may Allah exalt his mention, was struck with remorse and filled with repentance over his past deeds. Any of his children who follows him as a model of sinning only, and not in repentance, is mistaken.Dedication to untainted goodness is from the traits of the Angels. Devotion to uncorrected evil is in the nature of devils. But, returning to good and correctness after slipping into evil and fault is human. So, inherent in man’s nature is a duality of dis-position, two traits joining in him.
Every human being verifies his relationship with the Angel, Adam or the Devil. By keeping to the definition of man; the repentant proves he is related to Adam, may Allah exalt his mention, and the persisting in iniquity proves his relationship to the Devil. Confirmation of relationship to the Angels, however, by being exclusively dedicated to the good, is beyond the realm of possibility; for evil is firmly kneaded with good in man’s nature, and it can only be refined by one of the two fires: the fire of repentance, or the fire of Hell. And it is up to you now to choose the easier fire, and to be prompt in embarking on the lesser discomfort before the choice is with-drawn to give way to the inevitability of either Paradise or Hell.Since repentance holds such a place within the faith, it must be given the importance it deserves by explaining its true nature, requisites, motivation, manifestation, bene-fit, the difficulties barring it and the ways that facilitate it.
Repentance is a concept consisting of three successive and joined elements: knowledge, remorse and action. Knowledge is first, awareness second and action third. The first necessitates the second, and the second postulates the third.As for knowledge, it is the realization of the magnitude of the sin’s harm and its being a barrier between man and his Lord. If one realizes this with certainty, this realization will stir heartache as a result of the Beloved eluding him—because the heart is pained when it perceives the withdrawal of the Beloved. If the withdrawal occurred through one’s own action, he/she is regretful of that alienating behaviour. Such grief of the heart over behaviour alienating the Beloved is called Regret.When this anguish becomes overpowering, another inner state is induced, termed volition and aspiration towards new behaviour connected with the present, the past, and the future. Its connection with the present consists of the repudiation of the sin with which he was entwined. For the future, it involves the determination to abandon for-ever the sin which causes alienation from the Beloved. With regard to the past, it entails correction of what was omitted by doing good and performing the omitted act—if it is liable to such restoration.
Thus, knowledge is prerequisite and is the starting point of these blessings. By this knowledge I mean faith and certitude. To have faith is to accept as true that sins are a deadly poison. Certitude consists of the assurance of the acceptance of this truth, the removal of all doubt about it and finally its mastery over the heart so that whenever the illumination of this faith shines upon the heart it produces the fire of regret. It will, in turn, bring forth anguish as the heart perceives, through this illumi-nation of the light of faith, that it has become veiled from its Beloved. As one who was in darkness and on the verge of ruin, and, with the dispersal of clouds and the rending of a veil, the illumination of the sun shone and radiated upon him, and he saw his Beloved. Then the flames of love burn in his heart and these flames flare up in his will to rise to correct his ways.