If we are genuinely remorseful for our sins, God is forever compassionate.
By Sadia Dehlvi
The Sufis teach that if you are aware of your humility, then you are among the arrogant ones. One of the evils in modern societies is racism, believing that one is born superior and hatred for those who belong to different faiths, culture and creeds. This arrogance comes from the Devil and pushes one away from being touched by the Divine Mercy. The Quran clearly says: “I will divert My signs from those who show arrogance.” It denounces such false claims of superiority, proclaiming that the only rank that matters is one’s relationship with God. “Indeed, the most honourable of you in the sight of God is the most God-fearing of you. God is all knowing and all aware”.
Imam Junayd of Baghdad, the 10th century Sufi taught, “before attempting to know God, one must empty the heart of arrogance”. The Sufis teach that if you are aware of your humility, then you are among the arrogant ones. Humility by nature leads to gratitude, for when one is humble before God, only then one can recognise the vast mercy bestowed upon us by the Almighty.
Moses once asked Allah: “Oh my Lord! Who is the most deserving of your wrath and displeasure?” He said: “It is one whose heart is filled with arrogance, tongue abusive, eyes lustful, hands miserly and whose character is doubtful”. Prophet Muhammad had famously said: “No one who has the weight of a seed of arrogance in his heart will enter paradise.”
If we are genuinely remorseful for our sins, God is forever compassionate. Forgiveness and mercy are the dominant themes that run through the whole of the holy Quran.
A true repentance is an awakening of the heart in making a connection with God. Islam accords a high rank to those who forgive while in a position to retaliate. Abu Said Abi Khair writes: “He who is not my friend “ may God be his friend. And he who bears ill will against me, may his joys increase. He who puts thorns in my way on account of enmity. May every flower that blossoms in the garden of his life be without thorns.”
Sufi masters remind followers that the door of taubah, repentance remains open till doomsday. True repentance includes rectifying the wrong or seeking forgiveness or returning their trust, which was betrayed. Only after forgiveness is sought and accepted, can one grow in spirituality. Rumi’s mausoleum in Konya has his famous verse inscribed on it, “Come back, come back, even if you have broken your repentance a thousand times.”
(Sadia Dehlvi is a Delhi-based writer and author of Sufism: The Heart of Islam).