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A Post By Request: The Second Ten Days of Ramadan

October 20, 2005

 

Someone asked me to write a few words on how to take advantage of the
2nd ten days of Ramadan–the days of forgiveness–by mentioning a few
practical things one can do during this time. His main query was: “We
know these are the days of forgiveness, but what exactly can we do
during this time to help achieve that forgiveness? If you could write a
little bit about that, I think it would be really helpful for many
people. JazakAllah Kheir in advance.”

Now, I’m no shaykh… even for me to consider myself a student of
knowledge is an insult to true students of knowledge, so this is more nasihah
(advice) to myself than it is for everyone else. If anyone wishes to
read it and benefit, alhamdulillah, I hope I’ll get rewarded for that.

1. One way to seek forgiveness is to first remind and make one’s self
aware of one’s past sins. This is helpful to make one feel ashamed and
truly penitent in front of Allah, and to develop humility and sincerity
in asking Allah for forgiveness. Now, this is not for the sake of
self-flagellation about such matters–be watchful of extremism in all
matters. But, mentally enumerating (or if it helps, then one can write
out) one’s past sins is perhaps the best place to start. Especially
when one thinks about the sins one has done privately and is embarassed
about, this helps to truly evoke a sense of shamefulness and regret.
This is because one should be cheerful that Allah has already given one
a mercy in that this sin was not made public and that one was not
humiliated in front of others. Considering this, one can truly
appreciate the scope of Allah’s mercy and forgiveness for in a way, one
has already been spared humiliation by having the sin(s) kept hidden.
Therefore, such contemplation about both public and private sins will Inshallah develop a beneficial mindset in asking for
forgiveness.

2.Thinking about such matters, and even asking for forgiveness, is best
done privately, in a quiet area, and in the depths of the night when
everyone is sleeping and one is truly alone with God. Allocate a
specific portion of these days for such reflection and contemplation

3. As for specific du’as, the Prophetic du’a of sayyid al-istighfar
(the master of seeking forgiveness) is my personal favorite and should
be recited as often as possible with as much sincerity one can generate:

اَللَّهُمَّ أَنْتَ رَبِّي لاَ إِلَهَ إِلاَّ أَنْتَ خَلَقْتَنِيْ، وَ أَناَ
عَبْدُكَ، وَأَناَ عَلَى عَهْدِكَ وَوَعْدِكَ مَا اسْتَطَعْ
أَعُوْذُ بِـكَ مِنْ شَرِّ مـَا صَنَعْـتُ،  أَبُوْءُ لَكَ بِنِعْمَتِكَ
عَلَيَّ، وَأَبُوْءُ بِذَنْبِيْ فاَغْفِرْ لِيْ، فَاِنَّهُ لاَ يَغْفِرُ
الذُّنُوْبَ إِلاَّ أَنْتَ.


translation: O Allah, You are my Lord, there is no God except You, You
have created me, and I am Your slave and I am on your Covenant and
Promise to the best of my ability; I seek refuge in You from the evil
that I have committed, I admit to you Your favors on me and I confess
to You my sins, so forgive me, for indeed there is no one who forgives
except for You. The Prophet (salallahu `alayhi wa sallam) said about
this du’a: “…If somebody recites it during the day with firm faith in
it, and dies on the same day before the evening, he will be from the
people of Paradise; and if somebody recites it at night with firm faith
in it, and dies before the morning, he will be from the people of
Paradise (Bukhari)”

Also useful is to emphatically utter a simple Astaghfirullah during the
above contemplation as one remembers each sin. There are many other
helpful du’as out there; I’d recommend the collection of du’as of Hasan
al-Basri (translated by Mufti Abdur Rahman bin Yusuf)

4. As much as one asks for forgiveness from Allah, one should also
sincerely and emphatically ask that Allah also grant one the courage,
the resilience, the forebearance, the wisdom, the foresight, the
companionship, the means, the circumstances, and ability to stay from
such sins in the future. This is key, for simply asking for forgiveness
is only half the battle; the real challenge is to abdandon such sins
forever. For this, one must ask Allah to remove the pleasure of the sin
and replace it with hatred for the sin in one’s heart.

5. Imam Zaid Shakir mentioned this at ISNA so I’ll add this in here as
well: he said that one way that a person can “undo” a sin is to perform
a good deed in the same exact spot. For example, if I swore at someone
at a certain spot, I should go there and glorify Allah at the same
spot, etc. This is because the very earth testifies either for us or
against us, so following up an ugly action with one that is beautiful
(as per the Qur’anic injunction) is definitely something one should
strive to do.

6. One of the most difficult barriers in attaining forgiveness is to be
forgiven by the ones that one has wronged. This is because when one
sins against Allah (for example, missing a prayer), then the only
barrier that remains between a person and his forgiveness is Allah…as
He is the Most Merciful, attaining His forgiveness is relatively easier
than attaining forgiveness for the second type of sin: a sin against
another human being. This is because there are now two barriers–the
one sinned against and Allah–and Allah will not forgive a person until
the one who was sinned against forgives the sinner. Thus, one should
ask for forgiveness from others so that there no barriers between one’s
self and Allah (I’ll use this as a segue here to ask for everyone’s
forgiveness if I have said or done anything, intentionally or
unintentionally, that has caused anyone distress or harm).

7. A followup to the above is that one should freely forgive those who
have sinned against them, whether they ask for it or not. This is
because those who do such an act are raised up in the ranks of God, for
they forgoed their right and instead chose forgiveness and mercy. For
such people, Allah too will (inshallah) similarly relent His right to
justice and instead envelop them in His Grace and Mercy. It is for this
reason (as per the hadith I’ve mentioned in the site disclaimer) that
going to sleep each night and declaring to one’s self and Allah that
one has forgiven everyone is such a virtuous act. Admittedly, it is
difficult to forgive others, especially when those who have wronged you
don’t come and ask for forgiveness. However, for those who want to be
raised in the ranks of Allah, they will strive with their own wishes
and forgive. A useful du’a to help remove that rancor/spite (ghil) that one may have for others can be found in the Qur’an (59:10).

8. If one has allocated some time to seek forgiveness, the process is
best done by first praising Allah, sending prayer on the Prophet,
asking for forgiveness, making other du’as, praising Allah again, and
ending with prayer on the Prophet. This is because it is said that the
only supplication that can never be rejected is prayer on the Prophet,
and hence to bundle one’s request for forgiveness in between prayers of
the Prophet is an efficient and effective way to have one’s
supplications not be rejected. Some scholars even say that one should
recite a supplication of forgiveness even before praising Allah and
sending prayer on the Prophet, such that one is purified of one’s sins
before glorifying God and praying on His Messenger.

9. One should ask for forgiveness of other Muslims, especially in their
absence. This is because the supplications that one makes for one’s
brother in his absence, the angels say Ameen to the requests and ask
that the supplicant also receive the same. Thus, asking for the
forgiveness of others gets the angels to say ameen for one’s own
forgiveness… how sweet is that. Yeah, so ask forgiveness for me, but
don’t tell me you did =).

10. Finally, to end the 10 points for 10 days (sorry, I’ve been busy
otherwise I shoulda posted this last Saturday itself), the most
important thing is to never doubt and despair the mercy and forgiveness
of Allah. This is because the Qur’an tells us that the only people who
ever despair of Allah’s mercy are the disbelievers, implying that if
one claims to be Muslim, it is forbidden for such a person to doubt in
the mercy and forgiveness of Allah. One should approach one’s Lord with
sincerity and humility, but most importantly, with a good opinion of
Allah. The famous Hadith Qudsi states, “I am as My servant thinks of
Me”–therefore, one should strive to have an opinion that one’s Lord is
not only forgiving, but that He loves to forgive. One should bear in
mind that the stores of His forgiveness are beyond our reckoning and
imagining–our Lord is not a stingy Lord: “Indeed thy Lord has a vast
forgiveness”. I’ll end this by saying something three times for the
sake of emphasis: never despair in the forgiveness of your Lord, never
despair in the forgiveness of your Lord, never despair in the
forgivness of your Lord.

Finally, I’ll end this with a poem that I post every Ramadan that I feel captures the above sentiments:

I saw my sins like the fires of Kisrah
Unyielding, growing, and seeming to live forever
But then I saw Your forgiveness to be like the Tigris and Euphrates
And the fires were quenched leaving only steam in their wake

Then I saw my sins like the midday sun
Scorching the parched desert of my barren soul
But then I saw Your forgiveness to be like a Syrian cloud
Lending its shade as it did to Bahîra’s visitor

Then I saw my sins like the monsoon clouds
Ominous, foreboding with their contents
But then I saw Your forgiveness to be like the breath of Isrâfîl
Scattering the clouds as men are scattered in the earth

Then I saw my sins like the Night of Deliverance
Full of death with its Stygian blackness
But then I saw Your forgiveness to be the Day of Deliverance
The night had led to the holy light of dawn

Then I saw my sins like a snake
Coiled and threatening those who would but see it
But then I saw Your forgiveness to be like the Indian mongoose
And the snake fled, gone forever to from whence it came

Then I saw my sins like the winters of Siberia
Lacking life with no hope in their perpetual twilight
But then I saw Your forgiveness to be like an Andalusian spring
And there were green buds on the dead branches of my spirit

Then I saw my sins like a dangerous rapid
Chaotic, with no safety for the one inside
But then I saw Your forgiveness to be like the waterfall’s end
Surely, all rapids end in the calmness of reflecting pools

Then I saw my sins like the hooting of a widowed owl
Miserable and unfortunate are the listeners!
But then I saw Your forgiveness to be like the song of the bulbul
Melodious, and how blessed are the favored listeners!

Then I saw my sins like the fleeting winds
Lacking purpose, going every such way
But then I saw Your forgiveness to be like a Western zephyr
Guiding me to a peaceful shore

Then I saw my sins like the spring hurricane
Destroying without purpose, leaving misery in its wake
But then I saw Your forgiveness to be like the hurricane’s eye
And Your calmness protected my inner soul

Then I saw my sins like the sun-dried gourd
Detestable to the palate of even the wayward soul
But then I saw Your forgiveness to be like clarified honey
And I felt no more bitterness after tasting Your sweetness

Then I saw my sins like the thrown rocks of Tâ’if
And the last vestiges of my humanity bled
But then I saw Your forgiveness to be like Jabal al-Tûr
And I witnessed the rocks glancing off the mountain into the wastes of futility

Then I saw my sins like the pain of Bilâl
Even the soul of the observer wretched at witnessing such agony
But then I saw Your forgiveness to be a hidden panacea
And the pain I once felt made me appreciate the Physician’s cure

Then I saw my sins like a bottomless ocean
And I sank, waiting to drown and reach the bottom
But then I saw Your forgiveness to be like a bed of pearls
And I remarked: Is this my ocean’s bottom?

O ye who would reproach me!
Understand then that my sinfulness has a purpose
For if I were not to sin
Then who would the Forgiver forgive?

Finally, Saqib decided to create this as a joke: http://kr156shutdown.ytmnd.com/

Currently Reading: Surah al-Furqan, Surah al-Shu`araa’, Surah al-Naml, Surah al-Qasas, Surah al-`Ankabut

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29 Comments
  1. Jazaakallah Khair Kamran for these helpful points during these 10 days of forgiveness. Really appreciate your efforts. I am requesting you in advance to please post some points on what can be done for the last 10 days as well 🙂 Thanks a lot! May Allah Bless you. Aaamen.

  2. Dude, you have got to be the most loquacious guy I know, but a good point nonetheless. Next time though, write it in modern english.

  3. jazakALlah khair… one prop for the post and one prop for surah ANKABUT!!

  4. i was hoping I’d come across something like this yestereday…

  5. Anonymous permalink

    duuude you’re no shaikh? Whatever.. YOU’RE MY SHAIKH!

  6. Awesoem post, MashAllah
    Question: How’d you get the Arabic font to work?

  7. salaamvery enlightingi just saw some funny pictures of you in the old yearbookslol

  8. jazakAllah khair muchos muchos.
    asalamu alaikum waramatullahi wabarakatuh.

  9. As Salam Alaikum:
    love the poem!
    Wa-Allahi the last stanza is awesome (mashaAllah).
    Good pointers as well….mind if I use a hadith from here and post it on my xanga?
    Allah Hafiz

  10. Arabic font doesn’t work for all browsers, best to use GIF files.
    Be careful; don’t call Kamran your “shaikh.” Might have been a joke but still. Kamran’s too bohla for that.

  11. Jazak’Allahu khair for the enlightening post…you should make du’a for everyone who gives you e-props =)

  12. nice post…i really liked #5…
    the way we have a habit of comitting sins…we should also make a habit of doing good deeds straight after it…. every saint has a past….every sinner has a future…
    also…was reading your comment on another xanga about reciting surahs in order….one reason it could be makrooh is because….who reads things backwards?…. when we start reading anything…we work our way down…top to bottom..and not bottom to top….and not backwards…hope you got that point…also there is a saying of Abdullah ibn Masud (R.A.) in which it’s mentioned not to recite the quran backwards….
    make dua for me bro…i’ve got the hardest pages of the 19th juz tomorrow!

  13. to mawlana nazim: my brother read your comment and goes, “what pages is he talking about? 19th juz is easy.”

  14. JazakAllah Khair bro

  15. JazzakAllah for the info KR…

  16. Anonymous permalink

    lol hey KR Only I ask ou religious questions… this post should be posted on my xanga

  17. This is awesome… if only you had posted this 5 days earlier

  18. May Allah reward you for posting this, and also the person who asked for this post.
    That site shut down thing is hilarious… lol

  19. jazaakumullahu khair.  i’m gonna send this info around to some friends.  more hassana for you for anyone that benefits from it, insha’Allah. 🙂

  20. those four kazzabat’s and one kazzaba….the hardest consecutive 5 pages in the quran…

  21. salaam, nice post…do one for the last ten days too.

  22. did you author that poem?

  23. Anonymous permalink

    Thanks KR I actually read that entire post.
    and even though you need to cheat in fantasy football to try and win, its okay you make it up with some decent posts like this one. YOure not a bad guy after all

  24. to everyone: jazakallah khayr for the kind words… a few responses to initial commentsto fazaileamal: i found it on a website and i just copy/pasted it… it should show up in most web browsers (at least it shows up in the great firefox… i dunno if it shows up in IE… which is another reason why IE stinks)kazim: this was modern english, dummyzp: if i’m a shaykh… God have mercy on the world then.to aa1: yes, feel free to use whatever part(s) of this post and any previous post you like. i’ve always encouraged “borrowing” material from this xanga, as per the info from the disclaimer.to mawlana nazim: hmm yeah, those are somewhat confusing, but they’re not THE most difficult pages… i still think that ruku in surah al-nisa’ that deals with the inheritance laws is the most difficult… even if one knows Arabic it’s dang near impossible to figure it out without reading it at least like 5-10 times.to realize: i’ll definitely try, inshallahto blessedmuslimah: yes, it may also be found in the table of contents under “all time favorite posts (#14)”finally, to hisham: whatever, youre succh a BABY for whining about that trade. Samir agreed to it, I agreed to it… i don’t see why you had to be such a loser and whine… i lost deuce mcallister for the YEAR son, i needed a quality RB. don’t be mad at me if samir agreed to the trade… i didn’t force him to accept. you’re just salty cause your team sucks.

  25. Anonymous permalink

    “…for me to consider myself a student of knowledge is an insult to true students of knowledge…”Haha…Sure is. Way to not show up to class in the last 2 weeks. Ultimate slacker.

  26. that’s it, I’m subscribing. JazakAllah Khair – I really enjoyed that post.

  27. May Allah shower you with baby squirrel love for posting this.  We all need reminders. 

  28. Anonymous permalink

    Good suggestions. number 5. crazy.lol.

  29. very nice kamran i appreciate the advice its great

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