The 9 Characteristics of ‘Ibad-ur Rahman (6/10) – Not Committing Shirk, Murder, and Fornication

A Project in collaboration with The Ideal Muslimah.
Articles authored for The Ideal Muslimah are available here.

To read in chronological order, please click the links below:
Pg 1 | Pg 2 | Pg 3Pg 4 | Pg 5 | Pg 6 | Pg 7 | Pg 8 | Pg 9Pg 10

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ibadur-rahman-6

بسم الله الرحمن الرحیم

And those who invoke not any other god along with Allah,
nor kill such person as Allah has forbidden except for just cause,
nor commit illegal sexual intercourse
– and whoever does this shall receive the punishment.

The torment will be doubled to him on the Day of Resurrection,
and he will abide therein in disgrace.

Except those who repent and believe and do righteous deeds,
for those, Allah will change their sins into good deeds,
and Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.

And whosoever repents and does righteous good deeds,
then verily, he repents towards Allah with true repentance.
[Surah Al-Furqan 25:68-71]

🌸 Sixth Characteristic: They do not commit shirk, murder, and zina (adultery)

The ayah that we will be discussing today is another characteristic of ‘Ibad-ur Rahman. It also talks about the absolutely immense virtue of those who sincerely repent – who may have fallen into so many sins, but they regret for committing them, and they desist from committing them, and they firmly decide not to commit them ever again.

Notice that all of the sins mentioned in this ayah are major sins: shirk, murder, and zina. Similarly, there is a hadith that speaks about these same types of sins:

Narrated ‘Abdullah: I asked the Prophet ﷺ, “What is the greatest sin in the Sight of Allah?”
He said, “That you set up a rival unto Allah though He Alone created you.”
I said, “That is indeed a great sin.” Then asked, “What is next?”
He said, “To kill your son lest he should share your food with you.”
I asked, “What is next?”
He said, “To commit illegal sexual intercourse with the wife of your neighbor.”
[Sahih Bukhari]

The above hadith teaches us that some of the greatest sins in the sight of Allah are three: Shirk, Murder, Zina. All of these major sins destroy something in one way or another: shirk is a sin that destroys one’s Deen, murder is a sin that destroys a soul, and zina is a sin that destroys honor.

What we learn from this ayah, together with the context of the above hadith, are the following:

  1. Shirk, Murder, and Zina are 3 major sins that are very heavy in the sight of Allah s.w.t.
  2. The ‘Ibad-ur Rahman are those who avoid these 3 major sins.
  3. The ‘Ibad-ur Rahman may also include those who have actually committed these sins in the past, but they have sincerely repented to Allah (we will discuss about sincere repentance at the end of this article).

Severe Penalty: ‘Athama’ and Doubled Torment
Allah s.w.t. next gives us a severe warning to those who commit these sins:

And those who invoke not any other god along with Allah,
nor kill such person as Allah has forbidden except for just cause,
nor commit illegal sexual intercourse
– and whoever does this shall receive the punishment [athama].
[Surah Al-Furqan 25:68]

Scholars said that [athama] is:
(1) a valley in Hell; or
(2) a valley in Hell exclusively for those who commit unlawful sexual acts where they will be punished; or
(3) punishment.

The passage continues:

The torment will be doubled to him on the Day of Resurrection,
and he will abide therein in disgrace.
[Surah Al-Furqan 25:69]

How can a Muslim do shirk, murder, or zina, when it is already clear in this Deen that all these three things are forbidden? How can a Muslim know all of these, yet still does it? Those who commit these sins will be punished heavily, severely. Their torments will be doubled on the Day of Resurrection, meaning that their torments will be repetitive and will be intensified. These people will be thrown into Jahannam in disgrace and humiliation. They will constantly be humiliated because shirk, murder, and zina are themselves humiliating crimes – they take away the dignity of a human being one way or another.

Subhanallah. May Allah protect us from these torments.

Allah s.w.t. is extremely angry at these people. He has given us a very intense warning so that we steer clear from these three major sins. This harsh warning is actually a Mercy of Allah s.w.t.; He is informing us in advance of the consequences of committing these sins. Indeed, the wise Muslims will take heed of the warnings of their Rabb.

Making Sincere Repentance
What if one of us had committed these sins in the past?
What about those who have truly regretted, and have abandoned the sins completely?
My dear brothers and sisters in Islam, do not despair the Mercy of Allah, for He s.w.t. says immediately in the next ayah:

Except those who repent, and believe,
and do righteous deeds [‘amila ‘amalan solihan]…
[Surah Al-Furqan 25:70]

Allah s.w.t. says that those who did shirk, or murdered someone, or did zina – or all three of them – but after that, they do the three conditions, Allah s.w.t. will forgive all of their sins. Those three conditions mentioned in this ayah are: Repent, Believe, and Do Righteous Deeds:

Condition #1: Make repentance
When someone fell into shirk, murder, and zina, he or she must repent sincerely [tawbatun nasuha] to Allah s.w.t. from those sins. Allah s.w.t. says in another surah:

O you who believe! Turn to Allah with sincere repentance [tawbatun nasuha]…
[Surah At-Tahrim 66:8]

[Tawbah] means to return or to turn to Allah, i.e. to repent, while [Nasuha] means sincere or true. Therefore, [tawbatun nasuha] means sincere repentance. According to Imam Al-Nawawi rahimahullah, there are 3 conditions of tawbatun nasuha:

1. One must give up the sin
2. One must regret having done it
3. One must resolve never to go back to it.

If one of these three is missing, then the repentance is not sincere. If the sin has to do with the rights of another person, then there are 4 conditions: the three mentioned above and restoring the rights of that person.

Do you still remember the definition of the word [‘Ibad] from our first post? [‘Ibad] means slaves of Allah s.w.t. who do sin, who do make mistakes, but they always repent to Allah whenever they fall into sins, and have a strong desire to constantly rectify themselves in becoming a better slave of Allah. Indeed, even ‘Ibad-ur Rahman make mistakes. But what sets them apart is that they do not take any of their sin lightly.

Thus, the ones who have sincerely repented are those who immediately desist completely from committing that sin, and regret for committing that sin, and have a strong resolute not to return to the sin ever again!

Condition #2: Strengthen our Iman
Fix our iman, become a good believer again.

Condition #3: Do Righteous Deeds that conform with the Qur’an and Sunnah.
Notice that Allah s.w.t. did not say [‘amila solihan] in this ayah, but He s.w.t. says [‘amila ‘amalan solihan] This is a grammar to emphasize the verb. What it means in simple English is that: Do not be wishy-washy, you need to be very serious and be very keen on doing righteous deeds from now on.

These are the three conditions that one must fulfill in order to attain Allah’s Forgiveness.

Replacement of Ugly Sins Into Good Deeds
The ayah continues:

Except those who repent, and believe, and do righteous deeds
– for those, Allah will change their sins into good deeds,
and Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.
[Surah Al-Furqan 25:70]

Subhanallah, what an amazing promise of Allah! Not only will Allah s.w.t. accept the repentance of those who have sincerely repented, but He s.w.t. will change their sins into good deeds!

Ibn al-Jawzi rahimahullah said that scholars have differences of opinions in regard to the meaning of this ayah:

The first opinion
“Allah will change their sins into good deeds” means that Allah will replace their previous acts of shirk with iman, their previous acts of murder with refraining oneself from doing it, and their previous acts of fornication with being chaste. All of these show that the replacement of good deeds happen in the dunya. Scholars who hold this opinion are Ibn Abbas, Sa’id bin Jubair, Mujahid, Qatadah, Adh Dhohak, and Ibnu Zaid.

The second opinion
The second opinion is that the conversion of sins into good deeds will happen in the akhirah. Scholars who hold this opinion are Salman r.a., Sa’id bin Al Musayyib, and ‘Ali bin Al Husain.

Regardless of the differences of opinions, both show how truly remarkable the virtue of believers who sincerely repent to Allah.

Hence, if we did any of these three sins, we must make sincere repentance to Allah, and we must fix our faith and become good believers again, and we must take our actions very, very seriously – really keen on doing good deeds from now onwards. If we do these, Allah will not just accept our repentance, but He s.w.t. will convert those mountains of sins into mountains of good deeds – subhanallah!

Do Not Despair The Mercy of Allah
The passage continues:

And whosoever repents and does righteous good deeds,
then verily, he repents towards Allah with true repentance.
[Surah Al-Furqan 25:71]

Here, Allah s.w.t. tells us how His Mercy extends to all of His creatures, and that whoever among them sincerely repents to Him, He will accept his repentance for any sin – great or small. This offer is for all sinners! This is like the Ayat:

And whoever does evil or wrongs himself
but afterwards seeks Allah’s Forgiveness,
he will find Allah Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.
[Surah An-Nisa 4:110]

Know they not that Allah accepts repentance from His slaves…
[Surah At-Tawbah 9:104]

Say: “O My slaves who have transgressed against themselves (by committing evil deeds & sins)! Despair not of the Mercy of Allah, verily Allah forgives all sins.
Truly, He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.”
[Surah Az-Zumar 39:53]

This passage of Surah Al-Furqan that we’re discussing today is so beautiful, because it tells us that at one point of time, the people who committed these major sins were the furthest away from Allah due to their transgressions. But the fact that they turn back to Allah and sincerely repent to Him, Allah s.w.t. in return will make them as those whom He calls Ibad-ur Rahman. Look at the Mercy of Allah s.w.t. to those who were once so far away, but have returned to Allah s.w.t.

My dear brothers and sisters in Islam, know that no sin is greater than Allah’s Mercy. All we need to do is return to Allah and repent sincerely. Those who sincerely repent to Allah in this world from all of sins, Allah s.w.t. says that He will accept their repentance. So never, ever despair of Allah’s Mercy, and never give up on yourselves.

But just remember one thing:
If your sins are a big deal to you, then they are small in the sight of Allah.
Allah will forgive them if you worry about your sins, take them seriously, and repent.
But if your sins are no big deal to you, then they’re a big deal to Allah.
If you don’t care about your sins, no matter how small that mistake may be, know that it will become a very big thing on the Day of Judgment.

Suffice that I end this article with the following quote:

“No sin remains minor when accompanied by persistence,
and no sin remains major when accompanied by the seeking of forgiveness.”

May Allah s.w.t. forgive all of our sins and shortcomings – Allahumma ameen.

Alhamdulillah we have covered the sixth characteristic of ‘Ibad-ur Rahman. We will continue with the subsequent characteristics in the next posts, insya Allah.

🌸 ‘Ibad-ur Rahman Characteristics Recap 🌸

6th Characteristic

The ‘Ibad-ur Rahman are those who avoid Shirk, Murder, and Zina. They may also include those who have actually committed these sins in the past, but have sincerely repented to Allah i.e. they regret for committing them, and they desist from committing them, and they decide firmly not to commit them ever again. After making sincere tawbah, they strengthen their iman, and they become serious in doing good deeds from there on.

________________
References:
Tafsir Ibn Kathir
Tafsir Surah Al-Furqan by Dr Abdullah Yasin
Rumaysho.com
Islamqa.info
Who Gets Allah’s Mercy by Ustadh Nouman Ali Khan

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The 9 Characteristics of ‘Ibad-ur Rahman (1/10) – Introduction

A Project in collaboration with The Ideal Muslimah.
Articles authored for The Ideal Muslimah are available here.

To read in chronological order, please click the links below:
Pg 1 | Pg 2 | Pg 3Pg 4 | Pg 5 | Pg 6 | Pg 7 | Pg 8 | Pg 9Pg 10

———- 🌺 ———-

Ibadur-Rahman 1

بسم الله الرحمن الرحیم

In the last several ayat of Surah Al-Furqan, Allah s.w.t. describes nine (9) beautiful characteristics of a special group of faithful, believing slaves called ‘Ibad-ur Rahman. Who or what is ‘Ibad-ur Rahman?

A slave of Allah s.w.t. in the Qur’an is referred to as [‘abd], and has 2 plurals: [‘Abeed – عَبِيدٌ] and [‘Ibaad – عِبَادٌ]. Both plurals in simple English translation mean “slaves (of Allah)”. However they actually carry a different meaning altogether from one another.

‘Ibaad VS ‘Abeed
The plural [‘Ibaad] refers to slaves of Allah s.w.t. who do fall into error, who do make mistakes – but they always repent to Allah for the sins they did. They have a strong desire to constantly rectify themselves, to continuously strive to be a better person than yesterday – all done solely for the sake of Allah.

Meanwhile, the plural [‘Abeed] also refers to slaves of Allah s.w.t. who err and make mistakes – but the difference is that this group do not want to rectify themselves nor want to repent. They have no desire in becoming better slaves of their Rabb.

[‘Ibaad] is what we should strive to be – slaves of Allah who are imperfect, but when fall into sin, they swiftly make tawbah and constantly want to rectify themselves.

It was narrated from Anas r.a. that Rasulallah ﷺ said:
“Every son of Adam commits sin,
and the best of those who commit sin are those who repent.”
[Sunan Ibn Majah | Grade: Hasan]

So immediately from the get-go, Allah s.w.t. is already letting us know that the people mentioned in the last few ayat of Surah Al-Furqan are special than the rest. But on top of that, not only does Allah call them [‘Ibad] – He s.w.t. also calls them ‘Ibad-ur Rahman. Think about it: Allah s.w.t. has many Beautiful Names, He could choose to call them ‘Ibadullah or ‘Ibad-ul Khaliq, yet He chooses to describe them as ‘Ibad-ur Rahman. Allah s.w.t. chooses to associate His Rahmah (Mercy) with this special group of ‘Ibad, subhanallah. And at the end of this series, we will discuss about the amazing rewards that will be granted upon these special slaves.

Every believer has aspirations to become better, and everyone has bad traits they want to get rid of. So as we go through the series, think deeply: Which of these traits that I do not have, that I have to work on? With that goal in mind, we will be discussing the 9 characteristics of ‘Ibad-ur Rahman in the next several posts, insya Allah.

May Allah s.w.t. help us all become ‘Ibad-ur Rahman.

Note: Some may have translated that there are between eight to thirteen characteristics of ‘Ibadur-Rahman mentioned in Surah Al-Furqan – these opinions do not contradict one another.

[Al-Fajr 89:27-30] Be ‘Ibaad, not ‘Abeed

fajr-27-30

A slave of Allah s.w.t. in the Qur’an is called [‘abd] and it has 2 plurals: [‘Abeed – عَبِيدٌ] and [‘Ibaad – عِبَادٌ]. Both plurals in simple English translation mean “slaves (of Allah)”. However, they actually carry an altogether different meaning from one another!

The plural [‘Ibaad] refers to slaves of Allah s.w.t. who err, who are sinful, who make mistakes – but they always repent to Allah, they have a strong desire to always rectify themselves, and they continuously strive to be a better person than yesterday. If they are already pious, they will struggle to become even better – and all of these are done solely for the sake of Allah s.w.t.

The plural [‘Abeed] also refers to slaves of Allah s.w.t. who err, who are sinful, make mistakes – but these people refuse to repent, they refuse to rectify themselves, and they have no desire in becoming better Muslims and better slaves of their Rabb.

There is no word in the Qur’an that refers to slaves of Allah who are sinless. With the exception of the Anbiya (prophets), every single resident of Jannah was a former sinner in this Dunya. All of us make mistakes. It was narrated from Anas r.a. that Rasulallah sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam said:

“Every son of Adam commits sin,
and the best of those who commit sin are those who repent.”
[Sunan Ibn Majah | Grade: Hasan]

Therefore, the best slaves of Allah s.w.t. are the [‘Ibaad] – those who do fall in error, but get back up quickly to make tawbah and rectify themselves. [‘Ibaad] is what we should strive to be, not [‘Abeed]. I loved how my ustadh drove this point home with the following ayat. Allah s.w.t. says:

“O (you) the one in (complete) rest and satisfaction!
Come back to your Rabb, Well-pleased and well-pleasing!
Enter you, then, among My slaves [‘Ibaadi],
and enter you My Paradise!”
[Al-Fajr 89: 27-30]

Notice that [‘Ibaad] is used, and notice its placement in the ayah:

“Enter you then among [‘Ibaadi],
and enter you My Paradise.”

There are many tafseer regarding this ayah, but the following is one of them: Before Allah s.w.t. allow us to enter His Jannah, we need to make sure we first enter, enroll, register ourselves – first and foremost – to be His [‘Ibaad]. Meaning, before we can ever dream to be invited to enter Jannah in the Akhirah, we need to rectify ourselves and persist in making tawbah while still in this Dunya. Subhanallah. It gives a whole different perspective!

Consider this hadith:

Rasulallah sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam said:
“Verily, Allah is more pleased with the repentance of His slave than a person who has his camel in a waterless desert carrying his provision of food and drink and it is lost.
He, having lost all hopes, lies down in shade and is disappointed about his camel; when all of a sudden he finds that camel standing before him. He takes hold of its reins and then out of boundless joy blurts out:
‘O Allah, You are my slave and I am Your Rabb’.
He commits this mistake out of extreme joy”.
[Sahih Muslim]

Allah s.w.t. is MORE PLEASED with the repentance of His slave than this man, who almost died out of hunger and thirst in a scorching desert! Indeed Allah s.w.t. loves to forgive, and loves those who make tawbah. Allah s.w.t. loves the [‘Ibaad] – who do make mistake, but who always return to Allah s.w.t. in humility and repentance.

May Allah s.w.t. help you and me become beloved slaves of our Rabb – Allahumma ameen.

[Madaarij us-Saalikeen] Istighfar & Tawbah

What’s the difference between Istighfar & Tawbah?

According to Ibn Al-Qayyim rahimahullah, Istighfar (seeking forgiveness) is mentioned in the Qur’an in 2 ways – either by itself, or coupled with Tawbah (repentance).

If Istighfar is mentioned by itself, then Istighfar IS Tawbah. And Istighfar is not merely covering up sins, as most people think, but it is total removal of sins. It fully removes the sin, undoes its effects and prevents its evil. The essence of istighfar is that it earns a person the prevention from the evil of that sin. It also saves one from the punishment of Allah.

When both Istighfar and Tawbah are used together (always Istighfar first, followed by Tawbah), then the first (Istighfar) means asking for safety from the evil and harm of what has occurred, and the second (Tawbah) means returning to Allah and begging for safety from the evil of what one fears in future.

So here we are concerned with two things:
– The sin that has already occurred, and Istighfar in its specific sense is to seek protection from its evil effects; and
– The repetition of the same sin in future which we fear, and Tawbah is the determination to not do it again.
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Reference:
Madaarij us-Saalikeen, by Ibn al-Qayyim rahimahullah

[Madaarij us-Saalikeen] The Believers Can Never Have Any Pleasure From Sins

The believers can never have any pleasure from sin. On the contrary, he would not even pursue sin, except with grief in his heart. But intoxication of desires obscures us from feeling this remorse. When the heart becomes empty from such grief and we are happy with the sin, then we should question our faith and weep for the death of our hearts.

If one were alive, he would be sad for the perpetration of any sin – big or small.

Indeed, the evil effects of sin – more times than not – go unnoticed in us. Hence diligence in constant self-evaluation is necessary in leading us away from sin and its destructive ends. Do this by focusing on the following:

1. Fear of dying before one is able to make tawbah.
2. Remorse about the good that was missed because of the disobedience of Allah.
3. Working seriously on regaining what has been missed.
________
Reference:
Madaarij us-Saalikeen, by Ibn al-Qayyim rahimahullah (paraphrased)

[Madaarij us-Saalikeen] Seeking Refuge from Sin

The first aspect of Tawbah is to see how one was taken away from seeking the pleasure of Allah, by committing sins. And then, he has to recognize that Allah didn’t safeguard him from sin. And he should ponder how happy he was while sinning, and being persistent on the sin – despite knowing full well that Allah ever watches over whatever is done in the heavens or on the earth. If he had sought refuge in Allah, he would not have gone away from the guidance of obedience:

“And whoever holds firmly to Allah, then he is indeed guided to a Right Path.”
[Ali Imran 3:101]

If one’s holding onto Allah is firm, he would never be forsaken by Allah:

“And hold firmly to Allah, He is your Protector
and what an excellent Protector and what an excellent Helper.”
[Al-Hajj 22:78]

In other words, whenever we hold firm to Him, He will become our Protector and He will support us against our nafs and the Shaytan. These 2 enemies, the nafs and Shaytan, are the ones that do not leave the slave for even a moment. Their enmity is more harmful to the slave than the enemies without. Attaining victory over such enemies is more difficult, and the slave’s need for such a victory is far more important.

The degree of help rendered to defeat these enemies is dependent upon the degree of our dependence and holding onto Allah. If we do not hold firmly to Allah, we will leave Allah’s protection. And this is indeed true loss. For Allah could have aided us in staying away from sins, however, because we deserted Him, we were allowed to listen and obey our nafs.

If He wished to protect us, the sin would not have found a way to get to us.

________
Reference:
Madaarij us-Saalikeen, by Ibn al-Qayyim rahimahullah (paraphrased)

[Madaarij us-Saalikeen] The Condition of Success Is Through Tawbah

screenshot-119

“The servant who seeks the pleasure of Allah never abandons tawbah. He remains in the state of tawbah until his death. Whatever his state of belief, the servant makes tawbah his constant companion.

“And turn to Allah altogether (make tawbah),
O you who believe so that you may succeed.”
[An-Nur 24:31]

Allah made success CONDITIONAL on perfecting such tawbah. No one can hope for success, except those who make tawbah.

He s.w.t. divides His servants only into 2 categories: The Repentant, and The Wrongdoer. There is no third category. Allah calls those who do not make tawbah as “zalimoon” (wrongdoers and transgressors) and no one is more of a wrongdoer and a transgressor than a person who does not repent for his evil actions.”
_________
Reference:
Excerpt from Madaarij us-Saalikeen, by Ibn al-Qayyim rahimahullah