Mercy of God
By: Sayyid Jan Ali Kazmi
An act by the practice of which the willpower of a man is strengthened is that a man should repent on his previous sins or crime and feel sorry for his wrong deeds. Moreover when a person feels sorry then no matter how large is the amount of his sins, even if they are equal to the height of the skies and the width of the whole wide earth, and even more then these, even then a person should not be despondent (hopeless) of the mercy and forgiveness of God. It is because God has said Himself:
“O man! Whatever is the amount of your sin, do not be despondent of my mercy, for despondency (hopelessness) is the greatest of all sins.”
Thus a man should never be despondent and disappointed that his sins are so great that they cannot be forgiven because it is the promise of God Himself that,
“O my people even if your sins reach the skies and are greater that the entire (whole) creations of the universe even then your sins cannot be greater than My forgiveness and My mercy.”
Thus in no condition should a man be despondent because God has not closed the door of lamentation (weeping) and forgiveness for any body. There are three doors, which God does not close for any body, one is the door of regret and forgiveness, second is the door of prayers and the third is the door of thanksgiving. God says in the Quran, “If you give thanks then I will increase your blessings.”
Repentance of a Sinner
There was once a very ill reputed (alleged) criminal (wrongdoer), a murderer a great offender and convict, who used to rob ships. Once a ship was about to sink, only a woman succeeded in saving her life with the help of a wood log (plank) and the log reached the bank of the river. When the thief saw that the woman was alone he went to her and robbed her of her belongings. Then he wanted to seduce (rape) that woman, when he saw that the woman was trembling (shaking) with fear and was also crying, he asked her the reason of her fear. She replied that the reason is that, “I am committing a sin and my God is watching me … because wherever a man commits a sin God is watching him. The entire universe is the court of God; we cannot hide from God anywhere in the universe.”
These words entered the heart of the thief like an arrow, and he thought that it is me who is committing the sin and it is her who is fearful. The woman is helpless and it is me who am the male- factor (villain) or the evil-doer and even then she is fearful of the act.
He thought what a great sinner he has been, how disobedient and ungrateful of his Creator, thus from that very moment he began true repentance for his crimes. He sent the woman back to her country, and he himself went to the mountains and bowed his head to the ground (prostrated) in adoration (love) and started to cry after remembering all his past sins and crimes. The sins, which he had been committed by his hands, how, he had robbed and oppressed the poor people, the rapes he had committed. Thus he began to cry on each and every sin one after the other, and continuously asked for forgive- ness from his God. Because it is the promise of God that:
“O man! The sin which makes you feel sorry and shed (drop) tears, I clear-out the punishment of that sin in this world and the punishment of that sin in your grave. Then if a fire is created out of that sin for you I extinguish it (put it out), or if a serpent (snake) or a poisonous bug (insect) is created for you out of that sin I terminate it (finish it) also. If there is a punishment for you on the Day of the Judgment I clarify (explain) it for you.”
Thus the thief renounced (gave up) and felt sorry for each and every sin he had committed since he had reached adulthood (maturity). However still in his heart he was restless thinking that he is a murderer, a criminal, a thief a rapist, who knows if God had accepted his repentance or not. In the meantime he saw a devoted (faithful) worshipper there and he went to him to make acquaintance (friends) with him thinking that this devotee should pray for him and show him the right way of repentance and to teach him more prayers in this regard. Now the devotee and this thief prepared to go back to the town, the weather was very hot and the devotee (follower) asked the thief to pray to God that it might rain so that the strain (tension) of the heat breaks. The thief cried and said that, “I am a criminal; you are a pious (dutiful) person so you should pray instead of me, because you are a devotee and God will hear your prayers.”
The devotee prayed and asked the thief to say “Amen (approval of prayer)” To which he replied with which tongue do I say Amen? I have committed every sin possible. At this the devotee said that it does not matter because you have repented and God is the most forgiving. The thief then said Amen, and at that moment a small cloud hovered (moved) over their heads. Now when they reached the city and both were about to depart, a strange thing happened that the cloud instead of going with the devotee started to follow the criminal. On seeing this, the thief started to cry endlessly and bowed his head before God, and pleaded”
“O my God you are so forgiving and Merciful, O my God I was ignorant (unaware) of your forgiveness and your mercy for a long time that you have accepted the prayer and repentance of this criminal….
Never be Disheartened by the Mercy of God
A man should never be disappointed from the mercy of God. The philosophy (thinking) behind this is that if a person gets disappointed of God’s mercy and especially a criminal, a murderer an evil doer feels helpless and disappointed then what could be its possible consequences (outcome)?
The result will be that he will commit more crimes, thinking that he has no place in the hereafter except the hell, if it be so then he will undertake more crimes in this world more thefts, more evils and more robberies. Therefore the society will grow from worse to worst, it is for this reason that God has said, “O evildoers and sinners, no matter what amount of crimes you have committed return to me, so that I would accept your laments and regrets.
Thus this is an incident (event) in which a murderer went to a learned person and an intellectual to make certain inquiries regarding his sins and the possibility of forgiveness.
Despondency is no Answer
The murderer confessed before the scholar that, “I have ten murders on my head, is my forgiveness possible? Will God forgive me? The intellectual said replied, “My God! …My God! Be away. You have killed ten innocent people …
Your place is in hell”. On hearing this, the murderer felt helpless, so he killed that scholar too, saying, “Ok, if I will not be forgiven then, you will be my eleventh murder. I have already killed ten people anyway.”
He asked another learned person, if he would be forgiven for his crimes, he also said that you would not be forgiven because you are a murderer and so he killed that man too.
At last, he came to a great scholar who said that God is the greatest of all forgivers, if you show true repentance (sorrow) He would forgive you. Thus a man should not be disappointed of the mercy of God because of the greatness of his crimes and evils.
There are thousands similar examples around us. The entire life of some people was caught in evildoings, sins and dishonesties. Then God showed them the path to guidance (righteousness) and instruction and through repentance they purified (cleansed) themselves and attained great status.
Amazing Story of the Israelite Devotee
Among the Israelites there was a great worshipper of God, the devils wanted to distract (divert) him from vigil (night worship) and praying but could not succeed. The devils took the assistance of other devils in their endeavour, but even then they could not succeed. At last all the head devils sat together to seek as to how this great worshipper and devotee can be distracted from the path of God. One of the devils suggested that he can be distracted through woman, but the head devil said that he couldn’t be distracted through a woman because he has purified the filth (dirt) of sex from his heart and in its place he has the light of wisdom. Instead of the trivial (small) pleasures he prefers everlasting pleasures, thus the temporary (short-term) pleasure sex cannot stop him from the everlasting pleasure of prayers. The other devil said that through wealth and money we can distract him, but the head devil said that this was also not possible because he has understood the reality (truth) of the world and he is guided by wisdom. He thinks of the world as a transient (passing) and fast ending business, he knows that this world cannot become a part of his personality (self) and that it is separate from his true self. But it is the good deeds, which become a part of man’s being.
At last the devils asked the head devil as to how he could be diverted. He said that he could be diverted through worship. The other devils asked in amaze- ment (surprise) “Through worship!”
“Yes,” said the head devil because neither in his heart there is no wish either of wealth, or of kingship (leader- ship), either popularity nor of woman, he thinks of all these things as trivial and useless and he has attained the fathomless (great) pleasures of worship and tasted the pleasure of true worship. Thus these trivial pleasures cannot deviate or distract him.
After this the head devil came to that devotee and began to worship besides him. At last the devotee was a human being who used to get tired, would sleep for some time, and went to take food but the worshipper saw that here is an even greater worshipper than himself, who, neither sleeps nor eat or drink. The devotee wished that he would be given the same status that he should be free of all the bounds (limits) of eating, drinking and sleeping. Now he had to ask the other devotee how was he able to acquire this status, the devotee came close to the devil that was disguised (concealed) and requested him to spare some time and be kind enough to answer his question. The devils on the other hand posed (pretended) to be so much engrossed in his worship that he finished one prayer and began another, completes one bow and commence (began) another. After great pleading (insistent) the devotee took some time from the disguised devil and asked him to tell him how he got to the present status? The devil replied,
“O Devotee you cannot reach my status of worship”, to which he asked, “Why not?”
Moreover the devil replied, “The reason for this is that you have never committed a sin in your life, I was once a great sinner, and when I remember my sins I neither like to sleep nor food and for this reason I never get tired of worshipping. But you have not committed any sins so you cannot reach this status”.
The devotee said, “Tell me what sort of sins I should commit what I should do?” the devils suggested, go to a certain place and have intercourse (sexual relation) with women there.
Trapped in the Devil’s Trap
Now this devotee got caught in the devils net (trap) and he came to a dancer woman and gave her money and said that he wanted to commit sin. But when the dancer woman looked at the illuminating (shining) face of that person she thought, that this person appears to be very pious person, how did he come to a place like this? The sinful women requested, “First answer me; you appear to be a very pious person why have you come here to commit sin?” The devotee said that a greater worshipper has come and he has said that, unless I commit sin and crime I cannot become a great worshipper, it is for this reason I have come here to commit sin. The woman was shocked and thought, “Oh God what sort of people are these? That in their love of God and His worship they become so indulged and blind that they think that after committing sin they would be able to worship even more eagerly (readily), Oh! But I have never bowed my head before God, never worshipped Him, and never followed His orders.”
That sinful woman said, “O man go back, it is Satan (devil) who is distracting you!”
She gave an example to the man and said, “Think if there are two clothes and both are new, then one of the clothes is torn and then it is mended again, and tell me which of the two pieces is better? The devotee said that cloth is better which is not mended. The woman said, “O man you will commit sin, then repent, it is just like that you will tear a piece of clothe and then mend it, it is actually Satan, which has distracted (troubled) you. The devotee returned and found out that it was in reality Satan who had planned this scheme (plan) against him.
On the other hand the sinful woman began true repentance and died after a few days, and a revelation came to the Prophet of that time that:
“O my Prophet, a woman has died in a certain market, goes and performs her funeral rites”. The Prophet replied, “O my Lord she is a renowned sinful woman, I am your Prophet why I should perform her funeral rites?”
To which God replied “O Prophet she had repented from her heart before her death and she had also guided one of my distracted man towards the right path before her death, and for this reason I have forgiven her all her sins.”
Now you can judge that even in the last parts of life God forgiveness. And especially if a sinner wants to clean his sins then the best way is that he should guide other sinners and bring them to the right path and thus save them from the punishments of hell and the punishments of sins.
Repentance during Life
Repentance is possible till a man is living. In the Holy books it is mentioned that if a person has seen the angle of death, then the doors of repentance are closed upon him. Like Pharaoh, when he was about to drown, the Pharaoh who was an oppressor and a non-believer, the pharaoh who called himself a god, even he wanted to repent at the last moment when he was drowning. But God Almighty called upon him and asked; “It’s now that you are penitent?”… Therefore penitence (regret) is possible only till a man has not seen the angle of death. At the approach of death, with the angle of death right before us, every one feels sorry and wishes forgiveness, but an abstemious (self-disciplined) or pious person repents before his death and it is these, whose repentance is accepted.
No one has any information about when death will come, how it will approach us and where it will come. The greatest intellectual and scholar, philosopher (thinker), abstemious person of the world Great Scholar Jaffer Sadiq (pbuh) was once asked by a person:
“O Great scholar why did God not tell us about our life on the earth, if we knew it we would have planned our lives better, now we have no idea whether we would live for eighty years or forty years, and there are so many things which are left undone?” To this the Great scholar replied,
“God Almighty, if he has not informed any one about the limit of his age, then He has two blessings to offer through this secret. The first blessing is that if a man would know about his age, for instance if we come to know that we would live for eighty years, think of what we would have done? No doubt, we would have committed sins for seventy nine years and in the last year of our life we would have returned to God and asked for forgiveness by His worship.”
Time of Death Unknown
But God has not informed any one about the moment of his death so that man does not delay, and does not feel relaxed (comfortable) in asking for forgiveness. So run fast towards penitence, regret and forgiveness and the moment we have seen death then the doors of repentance is closed upon him. And the hereafter of a man is completely sabotaged (wrecked) and destroyed. Thus this is the blessing hidden in this secret of human death that a man should not delay in seeking forgiveness through penitence.
Beware of Sins
The Great scholar said that the second blessing is that a man should fear from committing sin, it is possible that death might approach when he is stealing this is the worst kind of death, which approaches in the act of committing a sin and a crime. It is possible that death might approach while killing someone, this is the worst kind of death and the doors of forgiveness are closed upon him. It is possible that death might approach while a person is womanizing, this is the worst kind of death and the doors of mercy are closed upon him. Thus these two blessings are hidden behind this secret. No one knows the time of death, when, how and where death is to approach man?
No man has any knowledge about it. God is the best of all the forgiver’s God Almighty states,” “if a person truly seeks forgiveness, I make him my beloved”. And the last Prophet of God says, “He who repents from his heart, is like the one who has never committed a sin. And if he repents from the heart he is similar to a new born out of the mother’s womb.” God wants that his creature should enter the doors of repentance and forgiveness by one means or the other. He provides them the chances himself.
Therefore, until the old age before death God wants that his men should die after seeking forgiveness. And God himself provides them with these chances. If a man is not ignorant and negligent and he contemplates (considers) a little on this issue he would find that more than once God provide him with situations (condition) that the man should be attracted towards repentance and forgiveness.
Story of a Sinner
This is a story of the times of Prophet Moses. God sent revelations on Prophet Moses that, in your city there lives a great sinner, cast him out of the city, and tell the people and his relatives that no one should meet or see him. No one should talk to him and there should be a social boycott (reject) against him. This sinner was thus thrown out of the city after great abasement (degradation). Now God knew that it was only in this way that he would enter the door of repentance. This man could have gone to some other city and spend the remaining years of his life but he did not go anywhere and he kept crying in the forests and the mountains, and kept asking for forgiveness for his sins. Often he used to bow his head and repeat a prayer, that “O God the world and the hereafter both belong to you… You are the King of the world and also the hereafter. Have mercy on me, have mercy on me the sinner, who has lost both the world and the hereafter. In the world you have debased (dishonoured) and disparaged (belittle) me and in
the hereafter I am entitled (allowed) to severe punishment because of my wrongdoing and my sins”. He used to cry endlessly remembering each and every sin he had committed. Then the time of his death approached, he died a death of solitude, a very humble (modest) and destitute death, death in the mountains and the forests, where there was no one to give him food or water, or to provide him medicine. Now judge for yourself that how merciful and forgiving is God Almighty, God addressed his angles at that moment:
“O MY angles make haste for one of my beloved men is dying a death of solitude (loneliness). One of the angles must go in the disguise of his father and, another angle, must be disguised as his mother. And take him in your lap as a mother takes a child in her lap and part his soul in a manner that he should not suffer the least pains.”
God is Great, and thus, in a very peaceful manner his soul departed. On the other hand a revelation came to Prophet Moses and God commanded, “O Moses, go to the jungle escorted (accompanied) with all you followers and the people of the city for a beloved of Mine has died, perform his funeral rites and say his funeral prayers yourself.” Now Prophet Moses went to the jungle with the town’s people and found that it was the same man whom God had ordered earlier to throw out of the city. Prophet Moses said “O God this is the sinner whom we had thrown out of the city at Your commands?”
To which God replied, “O Moses beware (be cautious) when you call him a sinner … he is not a sinner, for he has repented before death and, has thus become my beloved.”
This is the extent of the Mercy and the forgiveness of God Almighty.