By A. Helwa
“Truly by token of time, humankind is in loss..”(Qur’an 103:1-2)
“Half of life is lost in charming others. The other half is lost in going through anxieties caused by others. Leave this play. You have played enough.” ~Rumi
No matter how far astray we have gone, no matter how far from God we have wandered, no matter how many sins we have committed, no matter what we have done or said, there is no place too far for God’s infinite forgiveness and mercy to reach. One of the greatest gifts God has given us is the practice of tawba. One of the most commonly associated words with the Arabic word tawba is “repentance,” but tawba actually more literally means “to return.” Tawba is a helpful reminder that our everlasting spirits cannot be irreparable stained by our mortal actions or words.
Our path of return to God begins exactly where we are. We are not meant to be worthy of God before we turn to faith, but rather it is through God’s all-encompassing mercy (Ar-Rahman) that we are made worthy. In other words, there is no such thing as being too bad, too lost, or too broken for a God who created everything in existence to fix and repair. Rumi says, “’Water says to the dirty, ‘Come here.’ The dirty one says, ‘I am ashamed.’ Water says, ‘How will your shame be washed away without me?’” Even if we keep making the same mistake or falling for the same temptation, God calls us to keep seeking the cleansing waters of His mercy.
The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said, “Satan said: ‘By Your might, Oh Lord, I will continue to mislead the children of Adam, as long as their souls are in their bodies.’ The Lord said: ‘By My might and majesty, I will continue to forgive them, as long as they seek my forgiveness.’” (Ahmad) Ultimately, our greatest loss is living a life without asking God for forgiveness.
Do not be discouraged if you find yourself facing a problem or temptation that you thought you had already conquered. Spiritual progress follows the shape of a spiral: even when it seems like you are going back to where you started, you can actually be ascending in a deeper way. The practice of tawba is a means of spiritual course correction, in which we realign our hearts and intention toward Allah.
Becoming more spiritual and God-conscious does not mean we’re no longer tested with the voices and thoughts of temptation conjured by our ego, but rather that we have more awareness around the voices that call us toward darkness, shame, and separation. Just as the starts are always in the sky, but we only can see them in the darkness of the night, the voices of the ego and Devil may remain present. The difference between someone close to God and someone turned away from God is not in whether or not they are tempted, but rather in where they are focusing their attention.
As the Qur’an says, “Except those who repent and believe, and do righteous deeds, for those, Allah will change their sins into good deeds, and Allah is All-Forgiving, Most Merciful” (25:70).
This blog is an excerpt from A. Helwa’s recently published best-selling book, “Secrets of Divine Love: A Spiritual Journey into the Heart of Islam.” Her book is available on Amazon.com
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About A. Helwa
A. Helwa believes that every single person on Earth is deeply loved by the Divine. She is a writer who has inspired hundreds of thousands of readers through her passionate, poetic, and love-based approach to spirituality. Her popular blog @quranquotesdaily, was established while obtaining her Masters in Divinity, as a means of helping others overcome personal and spiritual struggles on their journey of experiencing divine love.
With over 15 years of experience writing and speaking on Islam and spiritual development, A. Helwa draws from her personal experiences and traditional sources to help her readers access ‘Divine love in everyday life.’