Of perhaps the greatest benefit to the Muslim in Ramadan is sincere repentance – turning to Allah, beseeching Him for forgiveness, and looking deep into ourselves to evaluate how we are conducting our lives.
Allah advises us:
“Say: ‘O My slaves who have transgressed against themselves (by committing evil deeds and sins)! Despair not of the Mercy of Allah, verily, Allah forgives all sins. Truly He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.’” (Surah Az-Zumar:53)
The door of repentance is always open, but where are those who will seek forgiveness?
Ramadan is a time for repentance and forgiveness. It is the month of tolerance and mercy. Surely our sins are many; and yet His compassion is even more. Our misdeeds are great but His Mercy is greater. Glory be to Him who continues to forgive us when we go astray, as long as we turn to Him and repent and ask Him to guide us to what is best. He, all praises and glory be to Him, tells us:
“And those who, when they have committed fahishah (grave sins such as 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.” (Surah Al-Imran:135)
Note that they do not ever persist in the wrong doing, for this would mean that the repentance was not sincere. If we make mistakes and acknowledge them, and pledge to change our ways, then Allah promises to forgive us. If we do not change our ways, we may not earn His forgiveness. Ramadan is an opportunity for us to gain Allah’s forgiveness and to change our ways to what is better.
Those who are sincere will find that all their previous sins throughout the year will be forgiven in Ramadan, if they avoid major sins. The shortcomings and faults of the entire year are therefore rectified. As human beings, we do err and commit sins, Allah knows this and gives us the opportunity to make amends. Those of us who do not repent and seek Allah’s forgiveness but persist in doing wrong, forsake Allah’s guidance on His Straight Path and fall astray.
This month of fasting is therefore an opportunity for us to sincerely repent to Allah, all praises and glory be to Him. Will we not take up this excellent opportunity? Take initiative with sincere repentance before your soul is taken away. Do not delay, for we do not know what tomorrow will bring. Many of the people who fasted with us last year, have returned to their Lord. If we fail to repent in Ramadan, when will we do so? Do not be like those Muslim who rectify themselves in Ramadan, only to go back to their ways after it departs. Their lives are spent pledging and then betraying. Allah the Almighty warns:
“And be not like her who undoes the thread which she has spun, after it has become strong, by taking your oaths as a means of deception…” (Surah An-Nahl:92)
When Ramadan ended, many of our predecessors used to cry. They felt for the passing of this blessed month, from which they gained so much. They purified their hearts and illuminated their souls, and sought forgiveness from their Lord during this month. O Allah, grant us what you granted our righteous predecessors, and enable us to earn your forgiveness in this blessed month, Ameen.