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Monday 20th of May 2019
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Respite for the Wrong Doers

The Glorious Quran quotes thus,
"And let not those who disbelieve think that Our granting them respite is better for their souls; We grant them respite only that they may add to their sins; and they shall have a disgraceful chastisement."
(Surah Aale Imran 3:178)

Imam Reza (a.s.) said,
"By Allah, they have not been punished with anything more severe than Imla (respite)." (Safinatun Behaar)

Imam Sajjad (a.s.) has mentioned in Dua-e-Makarimul Akhlaq:
"(O Allah). Give me such a life that my (long) life is spent in obedience to you. And when my life becomes a field of Satan take away my soul towards you (before I become eligible for Divine retribution)."

Istedraaj (Drawing Near)

Istedraaj is also included in Allah's plan. At times the respite granted by Allah also includes a new blessing. Allah bestows His bounties upon a person who has sinned so that he may feel ashamed of himself and make amends. Instead, the person often develops confidence and blatantly commits more sins. Such unfortunate people are mentioned in the following verse of Quran:
"And (as to) those who reject Our communications, We draw them near (to destruction) by degrees from whence they know not."
(Surah Araf 7:182)

It is recorded in Safinatul Behaar, "When Allah wishes good for a person and he commits a sin, Allah involves him in difficulties so that he may become aware that the cause of his problems is his own sin. He can then repent for it (immediately). When Allah wishes to punish a person who commits a sin, He gives him a new form of blessing so that he may be dazzled by the blessing and ignore repentance. This is what Allah means in the Ayat (quoted above)."

Istedraaj denotes failure to repent

When Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) was asked the meaning of "Istedraaj" he replied:
"When a person commits a sin he is given respite and a new blessing, then when he fails to repent he is slowly led towards destruction; about which he is heedless. This is known as Istedraj and 'Allah's Plan."
(Wasaelush Shia)

It is related from Amirul Momineen (a.s.) that he said:
"Certainly, those who are given an increase in wealth and property by Allah, should not think anything but that it is Istedraaj. They should not be fearless (of Allah's plan). Because calm precedes storm."
(Behaarul Anwaar)

Fearlessness of Allah's Plan

Allah possesses two kinds of qualities, the Jamali (good) and Jalali (severe). Example of Jamali qualities are His being Rahman (Beneficent), Raheem (Merciful), Kareem (Generous), Haleem (Magnanimous), Shakoor (Thankful), Ghafoor (one who forgives).

The Jalali qualities are His being Jabbar (Mighty), Qahhar (One who punishes), Muntaqim (One who retributes), Muzallil (One who degrades), Mutakabbir (Proud) and Shadeedul Iqab (Severe in punishing). Hence Allah informs of His good qualities and then warns of His Severity:
"Inform My servants that I am the Forgiving, The Merciful, and that My punishment - that is the painful punishment."
(Surah Hujarat 49:50)

Elsewhere Allah says,
"The Forgiver of faults and the Acceptor of repentance, severe to punish, Lord of bounty."
(Surah Momin 40:3)

Thus Allah is the most Merciful of the mercifuls in the matter of forgiveness and also the most severe in retribution.

 

Fear and Hope Are the Signs of Marefat

One who recognizes the boundless expanse of Allah's Mercy is bound to have great hopes; if he has repented, his sins will be forgiven, if he has worshipped Allah, his invocation will be accepted and Allah in His generosity will let him have the maximum benefits. Allah is known to be the 'Forgiver of sins' and 'Acceptor of prayers'. In the same way the knowledge of the severity of Allah's chastisement for every sin will make one tremble with fear. The fear of Allah inspires a person with Tawfeeq that insulates him from transgressing the bounds of prohibitions, and compels him towards sincere repentance. When we are in the throes of temptation to commit an aggression, we have to be extremely cautious not to give in. It may so happen that the particular sin we are about to commit will seal our fate and deprive us forever, of Allah's Mercy and forgiveness. It is narrated from Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.):
"One who intends to commit a sin (should control his selfish desires and) must not put it to practice. Certainly when (sometimes) a person commits a sin, Allah dislikes him and says: "By My Honour and Greatness I will not forgive you after this."
(Al Kafi)

Since there is a possibility that a sin may not be eligible for pardon, it is extremely important that we keep ourselves protected from every sin; be it big or small. In fact the sins which do not deserve to be pardoned are regarded as insignificant by the one who commits them.

Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) states:
"You must fear the small sins, for they are not pardoned."

The narrator asked, "What is meant by 'small'?" Imam replied;
"A person commits a sin which he considers to be insignificant and says, "I deserve admiration for I have not committed a sin as serious as that of the other person."
(Al Kafi)

Speech and Action Should Be Guarded By Divine Fear and Hope

Even if the sinner repents for his sins, he should continue to be fearful. It may be that his repentance has not fulfilled the necessary conditions. For example, he have made an intention of not repeating a sin, but later he does not remain firm upon it. We should therefore continue to live between fear and hope till the end of our lives, hoping for Allah's rewards for our good deeds and dreading the accountability of our sins committed knowingly or unintentionally.

One Must Fear the Acceptance of His Prayers

If a prayer is not accepted it should be feared that (maybe) it is because of our sins. And if it is granted, it may be that one is so disliked by Allah that He could not stand his invocation again and again and has thus accepted his prayers immediately.

Separation is the Most Painful Experience

If we are able to achieve success, be it material, intellectual or even spiritual, at all times we should be aware that our achievements are a Grace and Mercy from Allah, and not the result of our own capabilities. Thankfulness to Allah, alone earns Allah's approval. Pride and ingratitude will forever separate us from our Creator and this is the worst of the punishments.

Amirul Momineen Ali (a.s.) says in Dua-e-Kumail:
Suppose, My Lord! My Master! My Cherisher! I am able to endure your punishment, how can I endure separation from Thee. Suppose I am able to endure the heat of Thy fire, how can I endure not gazing upon Thy generosity.

How Should We Remain Till the End of our Lives

We should be very apprehensive and anxious about our end. We have seen good and pious people who, in the final stages of their lives, turned to evil. Let us implore the Merciful Lord to protect our faith, and let us die as believers.
"Therefore take a lesson, O you who have eyes!"
(Surah Hashr:2)

Everyone Shall Be Tested

We must also be fearful of the difficult test that we have to undergo. All the believers who have attained a high position have been in constant dread of failure when put to test. The respected Book of Allah has said:
"Do men think that they will be left alone on saying, 'We believe' and not be tried?"
(Surah Ankaboot:2)

Hazrat Ibrahim (a.s.) and the Fire

When Hazrat Ibrahim (a.s.) was tied to a catapult to be thrown into the blazing fire he said, "Allah is sufficient for me." When Ibrahim (a.s.) claimed that Allah's help was sufficient for him, and he did not need help from anyone else, Allah decided to test him and sent Jibraeel, who asked Ibrahim (a.s.) if he had any kind of wish so that it may be fulfilled. Ibrahim (a.s.) replied, "I do have a wish but not from you." Jibraeel said: "It is correct but express your wish to the one in whom you repose hope." Hazrat Ibrahim (a.s.) replied: "He is aware of my condition hence there is no need for me to say it verbally."

Successful When Tested

Hazrat Ibrahim (a.s.) deserves admiration. In the most difficult circumstances he refrained from showing his want, even to the trustworthy angel of revelation Jibraeel (a.s.). Thus he emerged successful from the most severe test. Hence the Divine verse says:
"And (of) Ibrahim who fulfilled (the commandments)."
(Surah Najm 53:37)

We must also not be heedless of the Divine test nor should we be fearless of Divine retribution. Even the most near ones to Allah, the angels, the prophets and the messengers were not careless in this regard. Especially in times of difficulties and calamities we have to be extra careful; constantly imploring Allah to prevent us from overstepping the boundaries prohibited by Him. Imam Sajjad (a.s.) says in the beginning of Dua-e-Abu Hamza Thumali:
"Do not punish my sins by letting me to be heedless of your retribution."

Tawfeeq is From Allah

Let it be very clear to us that whatever good we are able to do, is only due to Tawfeeq from Allah and we have to be most humbly grateful to Allah for this tawfeeq. Thanklessness in the matter may result not only in the loss of such opportunities in the future but may even nullify the good already done, and bring us disgrace.

Wise People Fear Allah

Those who realise the Greatness and the Majesty of Allah in comparison to their own worthlessness are more fearful of Allah. Only those who realise how utterly dismal and worthless they themselves are and how exalted and Supreme is their Creator, are fearful of Allah.

The Holy Quran says:
"Those of His servants only who are possessed of knowledge fear Allah."
(Surah Fatir:28)

The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) is reported to have said: "The fountain-head of wisdom is the fear of Allah."
(Wasaelush Shia)

The Prophet's (s.a.) Conversation With Umme Salma

Janabe Umme Salma says that she saw the Holy Prophet of Allah in a middle of the night standing in a corner of the house and entreating Allah: "O Allah! Whatever You have given me, do not take those blessings away. Never let me become the butt of criticism and jealousy of the enemies. O Allah! Never let me return to the vices from where You have extricated me. O Allah! Do not leave me (free) to myself even for a blink of the eye (for a moment)."

Umme Salma says: When I heard these words I began to weep uncontrollably. The Prophet asked the reason for my lamentation. I replied, "Why shouldn't I weep when you, who have attained such a high position , are invocating Allah in such a (humble) way?"

Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) said:
"Why should not I fear thus. When Allah left Hazrat Yunus (a.s.) on his own for a moment, what did happen." (That is, he remained in the belly of a whale).
(Behaarul Anwaar)

The Prophets (a.s.) and the Imams (a.s.) Were the Most Fearful

The Holy Quran commends the prophets in the following words:
"Surely they used to hasten, one with another, in deeds of goodness and to call upon Us, hoping and fearing; and they were humble before Us."
(Anbiya 21:90)

Regarding the Holy Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) the Divine words are:
"They fulfill vows and fear a day the evil of which shall be spreading far and wide."
(Surah Insan 76:7)

The fear of the Prophets and the Holy Imams, specially that of Ali (a.s.) is well-known. He used to lose consciousness due to the fear of Allah. Imam Zainul Abedeen (a.s.) expresses this fear most eloquently in the Duas of Sahifa-e-Sajjadiyah. If we are to record all such examples we shall be straying away from our aim. We hope that the examples given so far will be sufficient for the intelligent.

A Believer Lives Between Fear and Hope

A believer lives in a state of anxiety and optimism, (as prescribed by the traditions) He is fearful of Divine punishment and yet hopeful of Divine Mercy. The Holy Quran says:
"It is only the Shaitan that causes you to fear from his friends, but do not fear them, and fear Me if you are believers."
(Aale Imran 3:175)

This type of fear is obligatory for every Muslim. The fear which refrains him from even approaching sins. Allah, the Almighty addresses his Prophet (s.a.w.s.) in the Quranic Ayat,
"Say: Surely I fear, if I disobey my Lord, the chastisement of a grievous day."
(Surah Anam 6:15).

Hope Should Not Cause Arrogance

The trust and hope we repose in Allah's Mercy and generosity will certainly bring us additional bounties. But this trust should not assume proportions that make us feel confident and arrogant that we think, we shall not be punished. As is mentioned in Quran,
"Let not the arch-deceiver (Satan) deceive you respecting Allah."
(Surah Fatir 35:5)

Allah tells the polytheists in Surah Hadid,
"...the arch-deceiver (Satan) deceived you about Allah."
(Surah Hadid 57:14)

The exegesis of this ayat as recorded in "Minhajus Sadeqeen' is that Satan says, "Have complete faith in the magnanimity and the Mercy of Allah. He does not punish any one."

Hazrat Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a.s.) said,
"There is no believer who does not possess two lights in his heart. One is the light of fear and the other, the light of hope. None of these is heavier than the other. Both are equal."
(Al Kafi)

Action of Man Depicts Hope and Fear

It is related from Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) that he said, "A believer cannot have belief till both fear and hope are present in him. Nor can he be called as fearful and hopeful till he makes it evident in his actions."
(Al Kafi)

Man's psyche should contain a perfect balance of fear and hope. It is related from Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.):
"Hakim Luqman (r.a) advised his son in his will. 'If your deeds equal the good deeds of all men and Jinns, together, you must expect that you may yet be punished by Him. And you must hope in Allah so much that even if you carry the burden of the total sins of men and jinns, and approach Allah for forgiveness, He will pardon you.'
(Al Kafi)

A Lesson

Now I invite the readers to contemplate on this. Do we have true hope and real fear of Allah?

If we truly dread Allah's punishment then why are we not fearful of our sins?

Why is there a sluggishness in following the commands of the Masoomeen (a.s.)? If we truly regard ourselves to be desiring of Divine Mercy, why do we not strive for the goal? Why are our actions not directed towards absolute obedience and worship?

Yes, we do have genuine fear and hope with regard to the worldly affairs. This is evident in the excessive care, concern and caution we exercise to preserve our physical safety and material assets. Any sign of losing them, and we get restless till the danger is averted. If a worldly object is our goal we strive for it tirelessly and are not negligent for a moment.

By Allah! Let us look at the amount of efforts we put in our worldly affairsand honestly admit to ourselves whether we work even a fraction of it for the Hereafter. We most certainly do not. So let us resolve to divert some of our energies towards the fear and hope of the hereafter. If a sin has been committed, let us continuously feel remorse and weep for forgiveness, forgetting luxury and comforts, repenting till our last moment when we hear the good news.

"(As for) those who say: Our Lord is Allah, then continue in the right way, the angels descend upon them, saying: Fear not, nor be grieved, and receive good news of the Garden which you were promised."
(Surah Ha Mim 41:30)

Let us realise that it is obligatory for the believers to remain in fear of Allah till the end of their lives.

 

 

 


source : GREATER SINS\Shaheede Mehraab Ayatullah-ul-Uzma Al-Haaj Sayed Abdul Husain Dastghaib Shirazi (r.a.)
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