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Always time to be penitent, righteous

Responding to the divine commandment as contained in Qur’an 28:77 wherein Allah enjoins believers to seek the Home of the Hereafter using the wealth bestowed…

Responding to the divine commandment as contained in Qur’an 28:77 wherein Allah enjoins believers to seek the Home of the Hereafter using the wealth bestowed on them, man is naturally never without an ambition. Owing to several factors, he categorises his plans into long and short terms. At times, he’s compelled to defer some of his proposals to a much later date or time; either for lack of wherewithal or for reasons of convenience.

In the course of pursuing the desires of one’s heart, some of them life-long, a believer becomes the target of the devil, his worst enemy, who influences a believer to veer off the path of righteousness; causing him to transgress against Allah’s injunctions. Given the fact that the knowledge of certain things including the time and place of death of every living soul belong to Allah alone, it should be time to always repent from sins (big and small). Every time would also be time to do good no matter how little or much.

Procrastination, which is “a thief of time”, should not be on the agenda of believers no matter the pressures brought upon us by diverse yet compelling factors including hard times. Having believed in destiny (good or bad), the unceasing regime of inflation, front-back improvement in electricity supply from the public power source, an incredibly-devalued currency, and the lack of access to basic necessities of life such as primary healthcare services and quality education have all become persistent impediments to a happy living for many Nigerians.

As a result, people are compelled to postpone planned events or defer activities they wished were held within a most preferred period of their choice. Although salaries vanish from the hands of workers a few hours after receiving them, we must not as believers allow this feeling of procrastination to permeate our sense of optimism, hope, and repentance from sins. We may wish to postpone weddings, journeys, meetings, etc. But never should we attempt to adjourn till tomorrow the repentance from our sins of today.

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Only a person thinking and working under the influence of the devil, Shaytan, would choose to delay repentance from sins until, for example, he’s fulfilled. Fulfilment from materialistic perception would mean living in the comfort of all that is needed to be happy in this world. This is, however, a dangerous position as no single soul knows its appointed time of departure from this planet. It would be a grave mistake for anyone to reserve repentance, for example, from the sins he committed while holding a public office until after retirement.

Some sins particularly those involving the wrongs done to others are only forgivable after securing the necessary pardons from those that were wronged. How possible would it be to look for and find everyone that was wronged in the course of a public officer’s 35-year service? The same question goes to politicians, judges, businessmen, political office holders, engineers, medical doctors, architects, lecturers, landlords, technicians, drivers, and okada-riders who think repentance should be delayed until the end of their career. Since no one has the slightest idea of his life-span, it would always be time to be pertinent, righteous.

The same interrogation should be addressed to anyone who also thinks he cannot repent from adultery or fornication (Zinah) until probably after attaining old age. Allah (SWT) does not accept hypocritical repentances made when the individual has the physical strength and ability to indulge in sinful acts. Repentance, for instance, from the stealing public funds would be futile if it is done when a person is no longer in a privileged position, which hitherto availed him with unhindered access to such funds. Repentance from unlawful confiscation of other people’s property is similarly pointless if it is done after the individual has lost control of the power that once gave him the privilege to decide the fate of that which lawfully belong to others.

What assurances are there for anyone who chose to postpone repentance that he would live to see the date he has set aside for it? What happens if he dies before then? Life is shorter than always imagined. Also, what happens if you pass on before you attain old age which you probably set aside for repenting from sins? Of course, you would have missed the mercy promised by Allah (SWT) to those who honestly repent from sins when they still possessed the ability to indulge in them. Allah states in Qur’an 4:18 “Of no effect is the repentance of those who continue to do evil until death faces one of them, and he says, ‘Now have 1 repented indeed’; Nor of those who die rejecting faith: For them have we prepared a punishment most grievous.”

It is always time to abandon the path of unrighteousness because one never knows when the inevitable would come. Now is the best time for us to repent from our wrongdoings. Allah (SWT) states in Qur’an 4:17 “Allah accepts the repentance of those who do evil in ignorance and repent soon afterwards; to them will Allah turn in mercy: For Allah is full of knowledge and wisdom.” Allah accepts the repentance of evildoers so long as they promise not to go back to their evil deeds.

While some of us profess a particular form of evil, others specialize in assorted sins. If the sins committed by many of us were to be tied in bundles, some of us may need to hire trailers to help them carry the burdens of their sins. Yet, the door to Allah’s infinite mercy is always open to those who are prepared to repent. Imam Tirmidhi relates on the authority of Annas (RA) in the forty-second hadith of Annawawi’s forty traditions that the Prophet (SAW) said, “O son of Adam, so long as you call upon Me and hope in Me, I will forgive you for all that comes from you. O son of Adam, should your sins reach the horizon of the sky, even then if you asked My forgiveness, I should forgive you. O son of Adam, were you to come to Me with sins (so many they would) well-nigh fill the earth and then meet Me without associating anything with Me, I should come to you with a like size of forgiveness.” May Allah (SWT) guide us to repent from our sins so that we would be of the company of those granted mercy and forgiveness before the inevitable approaches us, amin.

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