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Repentance: An Extended Sense

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Tawbah is Quranic teaching which means ‘repentance’. When you make a mistake and do tawbah, the blessings of God will return to you. In the chapter Al-Tahrim — Prohibition, the Quran says: O believers, turn to God in sincere repentance, in the hope that your Lord will forgive you your bad deeds and admit you into gardens watered by running streams. (66:8) In this verse, The Quran declares that after engaging in genuine tawbah, one who has erred will be unburdened of the effect of his bad deeds. What is most important about this is that the wrongdoer will be granted forgiveness by God and will consequently be rewarded with Paradise in the hereafter. This divine blessing is not confined to the next world; in the extended sense, it also includes the present world. Family life and social life will also be blessed with the fruits of tawbah. 

If you make a mistake that arouses anger in another, but then you repent and say: ‘Please forgive me, I was wrong,’ this will certainly cause the aggrieved person to have a change of heart. Such an apology will, on the one hand, inculcate positivity in your soul and, on the other, it will promote a culture of love among the people you are living with. In family life as well as social life, untoward events are unavoidable. Such happenings sour relations and create a distance between people. The best solution is tawbah. Don’t wait for others to take the lead.

It is for you to come forward and say without hesitation: ‘I’m sorry, I was wrong.’This is the only way of maintaining normalcy among relatives, friends, acquaintances, and even strangers. Problems in social life invariably arise from some kind of wrong behavior. In reality, men are by nature egoists and women are emotional. A simple solution to having a tranquil social life is not to ruffle the ego of a man and not to neglect a woman’s emotions.

There is no social ill that cannot be set right by this two-point formula. But it must also be accepted that to err is human, so whenever you err and someone becomes negative towards you, do not hesitate but at once admit your mistake and say:‘Sorry, I was wrong.’ This short sentence will prove to be magical in its effect and the whole situation will instantly be normalized. This is the miracle of tawbah. Tawbah is an instrument of self-correction, initiating a process of self-assessment. This process is vital, as it enhances your intellectual caliber and increases your capacity for analysis. 

This, in turn, leads to spiritual development. People have no difficulty in saying:‘O God, forgive me.’But when it comes to a human problem, they are reluctant to say:‘O brother, please forgive me.’This kind of hesitation is against the spirit of faith.

A true man of faith will say to another: ‘Forgive me,’ just as easily as he says to God: ‘O Lord, forgive me.’Tawbah is an inner spirit, a readiness to atone for every kind of mistake.

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