Tag Archives: remorse

To Be Sinless, Or To Sin Less


By Zaynub Zafar

Attitude 1: ” Oh no! I’ve done it yet again. And after all those promises to Allah- there’s no point trying to stop.!…”

Attitude 2: “It’s OK, no big deal really. I mean sure, it’s bad, but it’s a minor sin. Besides, everyone does it. I will repent later. Can’t be that bad…”

We have two groups of people (not just these two…), when it comes to the concept of sinning. Because it is Shaytan’s way, always, to either make the believer very laid-back about sinning regarding deen (as in the case of attitude 2), or extremely zealous (attitude 1). Needless to say, both are unhealthy for our religious commitments; moderation, my dear readers, is the key.

At times, for that mental satisfaction of ‘saving’ ourselves from sinning, we feel it is alright to commit minor sins here and there. Our attitude is very relaxed; we do them comfortably and don’t even cringe. Au contraire’, such a phenomena can also have reverse effects, by making us extremely conscious about sinning, which is good, of course. But, it becomes a nuisance when even a single slip leads us to hopelessness and despair, and shatters our resolve. Because we want to be perfectionists. Flawless. Angelic. Impeccable- something that is quite impossible.

What then, should be the behaviour of a Muslim towards sinning? Well, simply put, we are required to ‘sin less’ and not be sinless.


 Let me explain further.

Allah never asked us to be perfect, all we were told to do was to TRY. So as long as we try our very best, with pure intentions, that’s all that matters really.

“Say: O ‘Ibaadi (My slaves) who have transgressed against themselves (by committing evil deeds and sins)! Despair not of the Mercy of Allaah, verily, Allaah forgives all sins. Truly, He is Oft‑Forgiving, Most Merciful.” [Quran; al-Zumar:53].

Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“And those who, when they have committed fahishah (illegal sexual intercourse) or wronged themselves with evil, remember Allah and ask forgiveness for their sins; — and none can forgive sins but Allah — and do not persist in what (wrong) they have done, while they know.” [Quran; al Imran:135-136]

Ibn Katheer said:

The words “and do not persist in what (wrong) they have done” mean: they repent from their sins and quickly turn to Allah, and they do not persist in their sins, rather they give it up, and if they do it again, they repent to Him again. (Tafseer Ibn Katheer)

Where major sins are concerned, we do need to run away, like we would normally run away from something disastrous. Dangerous. But every once in a while, everyone slips. To err is human after all, and while this shouldn’t be used an excuse to commit minor sins on and off, our nips and slips should lead us to REGRET and remorse- not DESPAIR. There is a difference between the two feelings. Regret is repentance. Regret will make us give up the sin, infuse the feeling of guilt and motivate us to do better next time. Despair will lead us to frustration, hopelessness and, in some cases, even to adopting evil as a lifestyle, because we see “no point” in trying…

And again, with minor sins, we need to be careful. We have to avoid them as well, because perpetual minor sinning continues to decrease our resistance towards the major sins and takes away the feeling of repentance, from one’s heart.

“Beware of minor sins, like a people who camped in the bottom of a valley, and one man brought a stick, another man brought a stick, and so on, until they managed to bake their bread. There are some insignificant sins which, once (they accumulate) and a person is questioned about them, they lead to his doom.” (Narrated by Ahmad, 2/223. Its isnaad is hasan)

To conclude, bear in mind, that you will commit minor sins from time to time. Don’t let that get you. Repent every time, plan again, refuel yourself with a new motivation and move on more intelligently. And don’t lose hope, even if you repeat the same sin a 1000 times. Just make sure you follow it up with SINCERE regret and repentance each time and the resolve to never go back to it again. Avoid sinning as much as possible. If it happens again, repeat the process. They say practice makes perfect. Practice good deeds, practice conscious efforts to diminish bad deeds and sins, and before you know it, you’ll be like that beautiful butterfly that left its gooey (and ugly) past behind.

It was said to al-Hasan al-Basri: ‘Would not any one of us feel ashamed before his Lord to seek forgiveness from his sin then go back to it, then seek forgiveness then go back to it? He said: The shaytan would like you to feel that way; never give up seeking forgiveness.’

Uplifting, isn’t it?

The Bottom line:

Being defeated by Shaytan every now and then is not defeat. Defeat is when we refuse to try. Keep trying. Because it’s hard to defeat someone who never stops trying.
Fall down seven times, stand up eight.

Remember, where there’s a will, there’s a way.


When I asked for forgiveness..



“Ya Allah! I’ve lost my wallet! Where did it go? It was right here in my room.”

I nearly screamed while looking for my wallet in my totally messed-up room.  From morning till evening, I searched, searched and searched but could not find it.  Seeing my frustration, my sister advised me to ask forgiveness, and said that the problems that we face are usually a result of our sins.  I sarcastically said, “Yeah, right!”.

Seeing that I was unconvinced, my sister told me to listen to a lecture of Ustadh Raja Zia ul Haq which was based upon these verses:

“And (Noah a.s) said, ‘Ask forgiveness of your Lord. Indeed, He is ever a Perpetual Forgiver. He will send [rain from] the sky upon you in [continuing] showers. And give you increase in wealth and children and provide for you gardens and provide for you rivers. What is [the matter] with you that you do not attribute to Allah [due] grandeur.” (Surah Nuh :10-13)

Listening to the lecture, I got my concepts cleared that whatever evil comes our way is actually the result of our sins, and that asking for forgiveness is the way out.  We like to blame our tough situations on others, when we ourselves are the ones to be blamed in reality.  As I resolved to seek forgiveness from Allah sincerely, I remembered the Hadith:

“Allah is more pleased with the repentance of His slave than anyone of you would be on losing his camel in the desert and then suddenly finding it in front of him.” (Bukhari:6309)

I planned to spend the night seeking forgiveness and nearness of Allah.  I was about to perform ablution when I remembered that sleeping with my sister, I wouldn’t be able to keep the light on; so I went to grab the torch from my drawer to read Quran and duas (supplications) at night.

As soon as I opened the drawer of my side table, my eyes nearly popped out.  I had looked for the wallet, like five times in this drawer during the day, and there it was now, lying in the drawer.  I was stunned and mesmerized.  I showed the wallet to my sister as tears fell from my eyes.

I told her how only on resolving in my heart to ask for forgiveness, I had gotten the wallet back. All she said to me was:

“Remorse is repentance.”

which is actually a Hadith. (Ibn Majah:4252)

I would also like to share another incident with the readers.  I had been hearing since about four or five days that everywhere around our city, it had been raining and the weather was pleasant, but our city remained hot and dry.  My sister reminded me of a sinner at the time of Prophet Moses (‘alaihis salam) whose entire city was deprived of rain; but as soon as he asked for forgiveness, the rain came pouring down.

I also asked for forgiveness and slept.  That night, it rained heavily till the morning.  My sister woke me up, ecstatic that it was finally raining. Subhan Allah, it is a maxim:

“And (Noah a.s) said, ‘Ask forgiveness of your Lord. Indeed, He is ever a Perpetual Forgiver. He will send [rain from] the sky upon you in [continuing] showers” (Surah Nuh: 10-11)

Allah has taught us the way of asking forgiveness in Quran. He tells us how our parents (Adam and Eve ‘alaihimus salam) asked for forgiveness:

“They said: ‘Our Lord! We have wronged ourselves. If you do not forgive us and do not have mercy upon us, surely we are from the lost people.” (Surah al-‘Aaraaf: 23)

Prophet Muhammad (Sallalahu alaihi wasallam) taught us the best words for seeking forgiveness (Syed-ul-Istaghfar):

“O Allah! You are my Lord. There is no God but you. You created me and I am your slave, I keep your covenant and my pledge to you so far according to my ability. I seek refuge in you from the evil of creation. I recognize your blessings upon me and I recognize my misdeeds. Forgive me for surely, there is no one who may forgive sins but you.”
Whoever says it in the morning and dies before evening, he is in the people of Paradise; and whoever says it in the evening and dies before morning, he is in the people of Paradise. (Bukhari:6306)

There are 4 steps to seeking forgiveness:

1. Accepting your mistake and feeling remorseful.
2. Apologizing.
3. Replacing the bad deed with a good one.
4. Making a sincere intention not to do it again Insha Allah.

Is this too much to ask for?  Allah does not hold grudges and is ever ready to forgive.  He knows every sinner (who repents) has a future, and He does not care if the pious person had a past.

In a nut shell:

“Glad tidings for one who finds abundance of seeking forgiveness in his Book of deeds.” (Ibn Majah: 3818)|