Repent for your Sins, Attain Forgiveness through Good Treatment of your Parents and Rectify your Life by Occupying yourself with Righteous Deeds (Al-Adab Al-Mufrad: The Man who Killed a Woman and Wanted to Repent)

In the name of Allah, the Most Merciful, the Bestower of Mercy. 

Let us continue with this tremendous work of Imām al-Bukhārī (rahimahullāhu ta’ālā) titled “al-Adab al-Mufrad” with the explanation of ash-Shaykh al-‘Allāmah Zayd bin Muhammad al-Madkhalī (rahimahullāhu ta’ālā) with additional comments from myself (Abu Khadeejah).

From the hadīths of Imām al-Bukhārī in “Al-Adab Al-Mufrad” on the Prophetic manners of the Prophet (sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) we have the next hadeeth that he narrates with his chain of narration: Imām Al-Bukhari said, 

Sa’īd ibn Abī Maryam narrated to us, saying that Muhammad bin Ja’far bin Abī Kathīr informed us, saying that Zayd bin Aslam informed us from ‘Atā’ bin Yasār from Ibn ‘Abbās (radhiyallāhu ‘anhumā) that a man came to ‘Abdullāh Ibn ‘Abbās and he said,

“I asked a woman to marry me and she refused. Then another man asked her and she agreed to marry him instead. Upon that, I became very jealous over her and I killed her. Is there any repentance for me?”

‘Abdullāh Ibn ‘Abbās said to the man, “Is your mother still alive?” He said, “No.” Then, ‘Abdullāh Ibn ‘Abbās said to him, “Repent to Allāh, the Mighty and Majestic, and draw close to Him.” [Meaning: with righteous deeds as much as you can and as much as you are able to.]

So ‘Atā’ said, “So I went and I asked ‘Abdullāh ibn ‘Abbās and I said to him, “Why did you ask him whether his mother was alive?” So ‘Abdullāh ibn ‘Abbās said, “Because I know of no deed that brings a person nearer to Allāh more than being good to one’s mother.”

This narration is mawqūf, meaning that it’s a narration that is the statement of a companion of Allāh’s Messenger (sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam). So this is a mawqūf athar (narration) of the companion of Allāh’s Messenger (sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam)—and he was his cousin and near relative, ‘Abdullāh ibn ‘Abbās (radhiyallāhu ‘anhumā). And, in this narration, he extoled the rights of the mother to the repentant sinner.

And we have already come across the hadīth wherein a man asked the Messenger of Allāh (sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) about who deserves his good treatment the most and the Prophet (sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) stated, “Your mother, your mother, your mother”. Then on the fourth occasion, he said, “Your father, then the nearest relative, and then the next nearest relative.”

So this proves that the mother has the greatest right after Allāh and His Messenger, meaning, after Allāh is obeyed and his Messenger (sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) is obeyed. And this good conduct is over and above the rest of the people, including the father, one’s children the rest of the relatives.

This narration is also a proof that the doors of repentance are open for a sinner whilst he is still alive. So long as you’re alive, you can repent to Allāh (subhānahu wa ta’ālā). And you should never despair at the mercy of Allāh—that is not allowed, my brothers and my sisters. A believer does not despair, regardless of what he has done. And he is encouraged to make tawbah, to repent to Allāh. And a person should do that regardless, just as the Prophet (sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) used to repent to Allāh more than a hundred times in a day. And Allāh will accept the tawbah of a person as long as he is sincere and truthful in his tawbah and as long as he meets its conditions. And the conditions of repenting to Allāh (subhānahu wa ta’ālā) must be fulfilled, and they are as follows:

When a person sins and he wishes to repent, the first thing that he must do is stop sinning without exception: stop lying, stop stealing, stop dealing in ribā’, stop fornicating, stop listening to music, stop backbiting, stop slandering. Whatever it is that you are committing of sin, cease from it immediately. That’s the first condition of repentance. How can a person expect Allāh to accept his repentance, yet he continues to sin?

Secondly, be resolute in not returning back to the sin. Meaning: have that desire and that resolve in your heart that you will not repeat the sin. And a person may ask, “Well, if I have that resolute desire and intention not to return back to the sin and I go back to the sin, doesn’t that make me a bad person?” Yes, it does. Then what do you do? Go back to the beginning: stop the sin and resolve not to return back to that sin again. Don’t say to yourself, “Well, I did resolve not to return back to the sin but I sinned. Then what’s the point in repenting if I know that I’m going to do it again?” Rather, next time, try harder not to do it again, try harder not to be deceived by shaytān. So be resolute in not repeating it.

Thirdly, feel remorse and sorry for what you have done. When you get that feeling of guilt, that feeling that shakes your heart and causes your heart to tremble and waver after committing that sin then that’s a good indication that your heart is still beating correctly. So you feel remorse and sadness for what you have done.

Fourthly, ask Allāh’s forgiveness and He is the Oft-Forgiving, the Most Merciful, and the Mercy giving. And He is the One who accepts the tawbah of the one who turns to Him in repentance—He is at-Tawwāb: the One who repeatedly accepts from the one who asks Him for forgiveness.

Repentance is accepted by Allāh (subhānahu wa ta’ālā) so long as the conditions are met. If the repentance is truthful and sincere, then Allāh will accept it. It doesn’t matter what sin you have committed. And the greatest of all sins is Shirk, to associate partners with Allāh in worship. So if a Muslim falls into Shirk or he apostates from the religion and then he realizes that what he has done is wrong and he wishes to repent, then he can repent, and his repentance is accepted as long as he leaves his apostasy and he returns to Islām. He re-enters into the Islām with the shahādatayn and he resolves to never go back to this apostasy. And he asks Allāh to forgive him. And of course, he feels remorse, as occurs in a hadīth,

النَّدَمُ تَوْبَةٌ

“To regret is itself repentance.” [Sunan ibn Mājah, authenticated by Al-Albāni]

So even if the mushrik makes tawbah and he returns back from his Shirk or from his kufr, his unbelief, then his repentance is accepted. And there is no greater crime than Shirk. So there is no barrier between a sinner and his repenting.

And there is a well-known hadeeth from the Prophet (sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) that he narrated about a man among Banī Isrā’īl, a man amongst the children of Israel, who had killed ninety-nine people. He was a murderer who had killed people in large numbers and he wanted to repent. He wanted to ask a person of knowledge, a scholar, so he asked the people and they directed him to a worshipper, a monk, not a scholar. They thought that that man since he was a worshipper of Allāh, would give him the right answer. And this is from the deceptions that the people can fall into, that they consider a person who establishes his prayer, who is practising with a beard, or wearing a hijāb to be a person of knowledge. And that is not the case. An ‘ābid (worshipper) and an ‘ālim (scholar) are not the same. No doubt, a scholar must be a worshipper of Allāh otherwise the people will mistrust him and he causes destruction upon himself, that he has knowledge but he doesn’t act. So every ‘ālim should be an ‘ābid (otherwise he is not trusted), but not every ‘ābid is an ‘ālim and this is well known. How many righteous people that we find praying in the front rows of the masājid, and fasting the month of Ramadhān, fasting Mondays and Thursdays, and doing many righteous deeds but they are not scholars. They don’t have knowledge of the Sharī’ah. They are acting upon what they know and they are good worshippers of Allāh. But they are not scholars.

These people sent him to an ‘ābid, a worshipper, a monk. So he said to him, “I’ve killed ninety-nine people, is there any repentance for me?” So the monk said to him, “There is no repentance for you.” Ninety-nine people? There is no chance for repentance for you. So the man killed the monk and he made his victims a hundred people.

Then he felt remorse for what he had done and he went back to the people and he said to them that he needs to ask a question about tawbah. So he wanted to be directed to a person of knowledge. This time the people directed him to an ‘ālim. There he asked the same question, “Is there any repentance for me?”

So the ‘ālim said, “And who is it who can come between you and seeking tawbah?” What barrier can there be placed between you and repentance from Allah? So then he taught him and he guided him to repentance. And he said to him, “Leave this land that you’re living in and migrate. Where you are staying is an evil land. This land is a land of evil-doers. Go to such-and-such a people’s land (meaning, go to another town) and worship Allāh among with them.”

So the man left, happy. He left out to the town to which the scholar had guided him to. So when he had reached about halfway, his time was written for him and he died. He died even before he had reached his destination. So the angels of mercy disputed with the angels of punishment. The angels of mercy said, “He came repentant, so he deserves mercy.” The angels of torment said, “He did no good deeds whatsoever.” So they wanted for him to be punished because all they knew from him is that he had killed a hundred people. But the angels of mercy knew that he had repented to Allāh, and this was part of his repentance, to leave the land where there was evil and evil-doers and to go to a place where there were righteous people so he could worship alongside them. And this is another indication of the fact that living in a place where there are wrong-doers, and living among evil companionship has a great effect upon a person’s character. Also where you send your children has an effect on their characters. Here we have clear evidence of a man that had killed a hundred people and he wanted Allāh to forgive him. So he was sent by the scholar to a land where the people were righteous because companionship has a huge effect on how a person behaves.

So when these angels disputed among themselves, Allāh sent to them an angel in the form of a human being to judge between them, as to who should take this man. So the angel judged and he said, “He will be counted among the people that he died closest to.”

Who did he died closest to? Meaning, measure the distance. Is he closer to the land of sin or to the land of the righteous? So if his death took place whilst being closest to the land that he was traveling to then the angels of mercy will take him and if he died closer to the evil land that he’d left, then the angels of torment and punishment will take him.

In a narration, it was stated that he was closer to the land of the righteous by the distance of the height of his chest. He was closer just that small distance to the land of the righteous people.

In another narration, it occurs that Allāh (subhānahu wa ta’ālā) stretched the land that he was coming from so that it seemed that he was closer to the land that he was going to. This shows the mercy of Allāh (subhānahu wa ta’ālā). When the angels measured they found that he was closer to the land that he was going to, so the angels of mercy took him. And this is proof of the vast mercy of Allāh and that Allāh will accept the repentance of the one who truly repents.

So whatever sins are committed by a person that are between him and Allāh, then Allāh forgives all sins and He will not punish a person who is true in his repentance. Because the one who repents from a sin is like the one who did not sin in the first place, as occurs in a narration of Ibn Mas’ood that Allah’s Messenger (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) said:

التَّائِبُ مِنْ الذَّنْبِ كَمَنْ لَا ذَنْبَ لَهُ

“The one who repented from sin is like the one who has no sin.” (Ibn Mājah, no. 4250, Al-Bayhaqi in As-Sunan, 20561, declared saheeh by Al-Albani in Saheeh Al-Jāmi’, 3008) And that is the beauty and the greatness of repentance in the life of the Muslim.

As for the sins that are connected to the rights of the people then from those rights is the spilling of blood. When someone’s blood has been spilled, then there are three rights that need to be considered.

Firstly, the right of the person who was killed. Secondly, the right of the guardian or the next of kin, and that is established either through retribution or through blood money. And thirdly, it is the right of Allāh. As it relates to the right of Allāh, then that is forgiven through sincere and truthful repentance, because he has disobeyed Allāh and he has spilled blood that Allāh has forbidden for him to spill. And Allāh has threatened to punish such people. But if he makes tawbah, then concerning that right of Allāh, Allāh will forgive him.

As for the right of the guardian of the one who was killed, then, if it was a deliberate killing, there are three affairs before him: either retribution by demanding the execution of the murderer. Secondly, he can give up his right, meaning, give up the right of execution in favour of blood money. And thirdly, is that neither of the two is done.

Therefore, there remains the right of the killed person that is left to be exacted on the Day of Judgment. And then the killed person will complain in front of Allāh about his killer and he will not allow him to be left alone. And judgement is in accordance to the heart of the repentant killer in terms of his īmān and the truthfulness of his repentance when he was in the world—and likewise, Allāh’s pleasure with his opponent, meaning the murdered person with what he wants. So, therefore, the rights will be fulfilled and exacted on the Day of Judgment in accordance to the repentance of the person, the right of the person whose blood has been spilt—and Allāh (subhānahu wa ta’ālā) is the best of judges.

And the point here is that ‘Abdullāh ibn ‘Abbās gave the man the opportunity to repent to Allāh for the deliberate killing of the woman because she refused to marry him and instead chose to marry someone else. And there is no doubt that the deliberate killing of a person is a great crime in the sight of Allāh and it should never be diminished or belittled. Allāh (subhānahu wa ta’ālā) has mentioned:

وَمَن يَقْتُلْ مُؤْمِنًۭا مُّتَعَمِّدًۭا فَجَزَآؤُهُۥ جَهَنَّمُ خَـٰلِدًۭا فِيهَا وَغَضِبَ ٱللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَلَعَنَهُۥ وَأَعَدَّ لَهُۥ عَذَابًا عَظِيمًۭا

“Whoever deliberately kills a believer, then his recompense is the Hell-fire, to remain therein for an extended period of time along with Allāh’s anger upon him, and His curse and Allāh has prepared for him a very severe punishment.” [Sūrat an-Nisā’: 93]

So this is the statement of Allāh (subhānahu wa ta’ālā) with regards to killing. The killing of a believer, or the killing of anyone, is a huge affair. Yet alongside this, the killer is not prevented from repentance. So even though Allāh (subhānahu wa ta’ālā) has stated this, it doesn’t mean that the doors of tawbah are closed to him. So ‘Abdullāh ibn ‘Abbās (radiyallāhu ‘anhumā) guided him and asked him whether his mother was alive so as to direct him to being good to her and being dutiful to her, because being good to one’s mother is from the best of deeds due to which a person is rewarded and his sins are expiated and his level in the sight of Allāh is raised. So when the man had said that his mother was no longer alive, ‘Abdullāh ibn ‘Abbās directed him to do good deeds as much as he was able to do. And to be true and sincere in his repentance. And indeed Allāh is Oft-Forgiving and He is the One who bestows His Mercy.

And this is what is necessary for the scholars and the people of knowledge: that they not cause the people to despair from the mercy of Allāh because that is the way of the khawārij. Muslims, and especially the scholars, do not make the people despair from the Mercy of Allāh. But rather, they show them the doors that lead to good deeds: you can make tahajjud, you can give in sadaqah, you can be good to your mother, you can be good to your children, you can donate to the masjid, you can help the needy, you can pray your daily prayers and ask Allāh to forgive you, you can make dhikr, you can read the Qur’ān, you can attend the circles of knowledge. How many doors of good can you open for the sinner instead of causing him to despair?

And this is what you find, sometimes, with people who don’t know how to give advice. You go to the wrong person, to the one who is not qualified to be giving answers. So this is like onto the man who had killed ninety-nine men and he went to the monk. And the monk, in reality, as many of the scholars have stated brought his own destruction upon himself because ignorance can lead to your own destruction. The monk gave an answer that was not based upon knowledge, but it was based upon ignorance that caused his own downfall. Not to say that it was legitimate for the man to kill him, of course not. By killing the monk, he had murdered a hundred people. But nevertheless, a person who is dispensing knowledge and teaching the people must teach based upon wisdom and the Sunnah of Allāh’s Messenger (sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and he must give guidance that will make the people optimistic in terms of things that they can do to remove sins from themselves. Yes, they can be reminded of their crimes, and their sins, and their shortfalls so as to encourage them and they can say, “You committed sins, you need to repent. Fear Allāh.” There is no harm in admonishing the people and admonishing them with the fear of Allāh and inculcating in them this taqwa of Allāh and reminding them of the fear of Allāh (subhānahu wa ta’ālā) and the judgment of Allāh that is impending.

But the scholar balances that out with advise that reaches their hearts, that which will cause them to repent and not despair in the Mercy of Allah. The scholar shows them the doors that will lead them to good deeds and direct them to that which will lead them to Allāh. Allāh (subhānahu wa ta’ālā) has named Himself al-Ghafūr (the Oft-Forgiving) and ar-Rahīm (the Bestower of Mercy). He forgives the sins of the sinners and He is Merciful to those whom the devils (from mankind and jinn) have deceived and caused to stumble with sins that are destructive and major.

So what is the role of the righteous? What is the role of the teachers? What is the role of the scholars and the tullāb al-‘ilm (students of knowledge)? Their job is to guide the people to change their behaviour from that which is destructive to that which is better for them in this life and in the Hereafter. Ask him or ask her, “Do you have a mother? Do you have a father? Then be good to them because it is from the best of deeds.” And repent to Allāh, meaning, seek Allāh’s forgiveness, fulfill the conditions of tawbah and then busy yourself with serving your mother. The more that you serve your mother, the more time you spend with her, the less you are in bad company. The more that you are worshipping and making dhikr, the more you busy yourself with righteous deeds, the more you are studying, reading the Qur’ān, reading hadīth, listening to the classes online or in person of the scholars and sheikhs and reading books of knowledge, the less time you have to busy yourselves with sinful matters.

So I advise myself and yourselves to take every opportunity that Allāh has given you, don’t waste it because you don’t know how long you’re going to be on this earth. Serve your families and serve “your mother, your mother, your mother”, and your father, and your relatives, and your children. Serve them and look after them, and pray, and make tahajjud, and read the Qur’ān, and read the hadīth, and busy yourselves with knowledge and keep away from those other superfluous affairs, such as checking your phone every two minutes or checking your social media status every five minutes or listening or watching that which is at the least questionable in terms of its permissibility on your screens.

Benefit yourselves with the affairs of the Next Life. Shaykh ‘Abdul ‘Azīz ibn Bāz (rahimahullāhu ta’ālā) stated with regard to those people who waste their time attending and frequenting the cinemas and watching movies, “It’s a waste of time, it involves listening to music, it involves temptation and fitnah and it brings about no religious benefit whatsoever.” And in these times the Muslim is in severe need of occupying his time with that which will benefit him and his family and the Muslim Ummah. Watching useless movies and films and visiting the cinemas and so on is a barrier to the remembrance of Allāh and it becomes a barrier to fulfilling the obligations that are due to Allāh. So why waste your time because you don’t have long upon this earth, my brothers and my sisters. And you don’t have much time with your parents either because the way of the world and the Sunnah of Allāh is that parents die before their children. And when the parents die, the children will always wish that they had done more—that extra hour, that extra day, that extra act of servitude, that extra kiss upon the forehead of the mother or on her hand, or that embrace. All of that is regretted after the death of the parents.

So use your time wisely, bārakallāhu fīkum.

Wa subhānaka Allāhumma wa bihamdik, ash-hadu an lā ilāha illā Ant, astaghfiruka wa atūbu Ilayk.

And all praise is due to Allah, Lord of all creation, and may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family and all his Companions.

(Class by Abu Khadeejah. Transcribed by Umm Hidaayah, may Allah reward her)

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