Questions and Answers on Tawbah from Ibn Taymiyah

As it comes in Majmoo’ al-Fataawa of Ibn Taymiyah:

وسئل رحمه الله عن قوله : { ما أصر من استغفر وإن عاد في اليوم والليلة سبعين مرة } . ـ

And he – may Allah have mercy on him – was asked about the statement of the Prophet, “Nothing persists for the one who makes istighfaar (seeking Allah’s forgiveness) even if he returns (to the sin) seventy times in a day and a night.”

هل المراد ذكر الاستغفار باللفظ ؟ أو أنه إذا استغفر ينوي بالقلب أن لا يعود إلى الذنب ؟ وهل إذا تاب من الذنب وعزم بالقلب أن لا يعود إليه وأقام مدة ثم وقع فيه أفيكون ذلك الذنب القديم يضاف إلى الثاني ؟ أو يكون مغفورا بالتوبة المتقدمة ؟ وهل التائب من شرب الخمر ولبس الحرير يشربه في الآخرة ؟ ويلبس الحرير في الآخرة ؟ والتوبة النصوح ما شرطها ؟ . ـ

Is the intended meaning of al-istighfaar mentioning its wording? Or is that when one seeks forgiveness while intending in his heart not to return to that sin?

And if one repents from a sin and resolves in his heart not to return to it and is established on this for a period of them but then it does occur, then is that previous sin added to that later one, or is it forgiven by way of the previous tawbah?

And will the one who repented from drinking alcohol and wearing silk drink it in the hereafter and wear silk in the hereafter?

And sincere tawbah – what are its conditions?

So he responded:

فأجاب : الحمد لله . بل المراد الاستغفار بالقلب مع اللسان فإن التائب من الذنب كمن لا ذنب له كما في الحديث الآخر : { لا كبيرة مع الاستغفار ولا صغيرة مع الإصرار } ” فإذا أصر على الصغيرة صارت كبيرة وإذا تاب منها غفرت . ـ

al-Hamdulillaah. No, rather the intended meaning of al-istighfaar is with the heart along with the tongue, for verily the one who repents from a sin is like the one who did not sin, as it is in another hadeeth, “There is no major sin in the face of al-istighfaar, and there is no minor sin in the face of persisting upon it.” So if one persists upon a minor sin then it becomes a major sin, and if one repents of it then it is forgiven.

قال تعالى : { والذين إذا فعلوا فاحشة أو ظلموا أنفسهم ذكروا الله فاستغفروا لذنوبهم } الآية . [ ص: 700 ] وإذا تاب توبة صحيحة غفرت ذنوبه فإن عاد إلى الذنب فعليه أن يتوب أيضا . وإذا تاب قبل الله توبته أيضا . ـ

And Allah said:

وَالَّذِينَ إِذَا فَعَلُوا فَاحِشَةً أَوْ ظَلَمُوا أَنفُسَهُمْ ذَكَرُ‌وا اللَّـهَ فَاسْتَغْفَرُ‌وا لِذُنُوبِهِمْ وَمَن يَغْفِرُ‌ الذُّنُوبَ إِلَّا اللَّـهُ وَلَمْ يُصِرُّ‌وا عَلَىٰ مَا فَعَلُوا وَهُمْ يَعْلَمُونَ

And those who, when they commit an immorality or wrong themselves [by transgression], remember Allah and make istighfaar for their sins – and who can forgive sins except Allah? – and [who] do not persist in what they have done while they know. [3:135]

And when one repents with a sincere tawbah then his sins are forgiven. And if he returns to that sin, then it is incumbent upon him to repent again. And when he repents, then Allah accepts his repentance again.

وقد تنازع العلماء في التائب من الكفر إذا ارتد بعد إسلامه ثم تاب بعد الردة وأسلم . هل يعود عمله الأول ؟ على ” قولين ” مبناهما أن الردة هل تحبط العمل مطلقا أو تحبطه بشرط الموت عليها . فمذهب أبي حنيفة ومالك أنها تحبطه مطلقا . ومذهب الشافعي أنها تحبطه بشرط الموت عليها . ـ

And the scholars have disputed regarding the one who repents from al-kufr if he apostatized after his Islam and then repented after his apostasy and re-entered into Islam – are his previous deeds returned to him? The two opinions are respectively built on whether apostasy renders deeds null and void in an absolute sense or whether it renders them null and void on the condition that one dies upon that state [of apostasy]. So the madhhab of Abu Haneefah and Maalik is that it renders them null and void in an absolute sense. And the madhhab of al-Shaafi’ee is that is renders them null and void on the condition that one dies upon that state.

والردة ضد التوبة وليس من السيئات ما يمحو جميع الحسنات إلا الردة وقد قال تعالى : { توبوا إلى الله توبة نصوحا } قال عمر بن الخطاب رضي الله عنه { توبة نصوحا } أن يتوب ثم لا يعود فهذه التوبة الواجبة التامة . ـ

And apostasy is the opposite of al-tawbah, and there is no sin that erases all of one’s good deeds except for apostasy. And Allah has said:

تُوبُوا إِلَى اللَّـهِ تَوْبَةً نَّصُوحًا

Repent to Allah with tawbah nasoohah (sincere repentance) [66:8]

‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab (may Allah be pleased with him) said, “Tawbah nasoohah is that you repent and then you do not return to it, for this is the obligatory and complete repentance.”

ومن تاب من شرب الخمر ولبس الحرير فإنه يلبس ذلك في الآخرة كما جاء في الحديث الصحيح : { من شرب الخمر ثم لم يتب منها حرمها } ” وقد ذهب بعض الناس كبعض أصحاب أحمد : إلى أنه لا يشربها مطلقا وقد أخطئوا الصواب . الذي عليه جمهور المسلمين . ـ

And whoever repents from drinking alcohol and wearing silk, then verily he will wear that in the hereafter, just as comes in the saheeh hadeeth, “Whoever drinks alcohol and then does not repent from it, it will be made impermissible for him [in the hereafter].” And some of the people, such as some of the companions of Ahmad [ibn Hanbal], have posited that he will not drink it at all, and they have erred from the correct position. And this is what the majority of the Muslims are upon.

[Majmoo’ al-Fataawa 11/700-701]

See also: A clarification on the annulment of one’s deeds: Tafsir al-Shinqitee [forthcoming]

See also: Allah does not forgive shirk but he forgives what is less than that: Tafsir al-Shinqitee

See also: Do any sins remain after entering Islam?: Ibn Taymiyah

See also: A Clarification on the Annulment of One’s Deeds: Tafsir al-Shinqitee

See also: “Whoever does evil or wrongs himself but then seeks Allah’s forgiveness…”: Tafsir al-Sa’di

See also: The rewards of obedience, and the different categories of people in respect to that: Tafsir al-Shinqitee

See also: Four Means of Attaining Allah’s Forgiveness: Imam al-Sa’di

See also: The relationship between al-Tawheed and al-istighfaar: Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali

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8 thoughts on “Questions and Answers on Tawbah from Ibn Taymiyah

  1. Pingback: Do any sins remain after entering Islam?: Ibn Taymiyah | Tulayhah

  2. Pingback: Four Means of Attaining Allah’s Forgiveness: Imam al-Sa’di | Tulayhah

  3. Pingback: Allah implores the disbelievers to repent: Tafsir al-Shinqitee | Tulayhah

  4. Pingback: “Except the people of Yunus”: Tafsir al-Sa’di | Tulayhah

  5. Pingback: Allah does not forgive shirk but he forgives what is less than that: Tafsir al-Shinqitee | Tulayhah

  6. Pingback: A Clarification on the Annulment of One’s Deeds: Tafsir al-Shinqitee | Tulayhah

  7. Pingback: “Whoever does evil or wrongs himself but then seeks Allah’s forgiveness…”: Tafsir al-Sa’di | Tulayhah

  8. Pingback: Taking the Means to Allah’s Forgiveness: Tafsir al-Sa’di | Tulayhah

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