وَسَارِعُوا إِلَىٰ مَغْفِرَةٍ مِّن رَّبِّكُمْ وَجَنَّةٍ عَرْضُهَا السَّمَاوَاتُ وَالْأَرْضُ أُعِدَّتْ لِلْمُتَّقِينَ
And hasten to forgiveness from your Lord and a garden as wide as the heavens and earth, prepared for the righteous(Surah Ale-Imran: 133)
Jannah is prepared for the Muttaqeen – The Righteous. But in this ayah, Allah is first inviting us to all those avenues that will be a cause of our forgiveness. And what are they?
1.Istighfaar. Seeking forgiveness using your tongue. So saying words such as…
سُبْحَانَ اللَّهِ وَبِحَمْدِهِ أَسْتَغْفِرُ اللَّهَ وَأَتُوبُ إِلَيْهِ
Allah is free from imperfection, and I begin with praising Him. I beg forgiveness from Allah and I turn to Him in repentance.
رَبِّ اغْفِرْ لِي وَتُبْ عَلَىَّ إِنَّكَ أَنْتَ التَّوَّابُ الرَّحِيمُ
My Lord! Forgive me and turn towards me (to accept my repentance). Indeed, You are the Oft-Returning with compassion and Ever Merciful.
Or those adhkaar that when you say them, becomes a means of forgiveness such as
سُبْحَانَ اللَّهِ وَبِحَمْدِهِ
Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “Whoever says, ‘Subhan Allahi wa bihamdihi,‘ one hundred times a day, will be forgiven all his sins even if they were as much as the foam of the sea. [Sahih al Bukhari]
2. Righteous Deeds. So performing righteous deeds, by virtue of which Allah will forgive you.
Abu Hurairah (ra) reported: The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “The five (daily) Salat (prayers) and the Friday (prayer) to the Friday (prayer) expiate whatever (minor sins) may be committed in between, so long as major sins are avoided.” [Muslim].
3. Forgiving Others. When you forgive and have mercy on others, Allah will forgive and have mercy on you as well.
Narrated Abdullah ibn Amr ibn al-‘As: The Prophet (ﷺ) said: “The Merciful is merciful to those who show mercy. If you show mercy to those who are on the earth, He Who is in the heaven will show mercy to you.” [Abu Dawud]
So rush towards Jannah, that is as wide as the heavens and earth!
When something is wide, it indicates vastness and spaciousness. If the width of Jannah is so big, we cannot imagine the height and length of it! So ask Allah for Jannah, and when you do, ask Him for the highest stations as we learn in the following hadith:
The Prophet (ﷺ) said: “In Paradise, there are a hundred levels, what is between every two levels is like what is between the heavens and the earth. Al-Firdaus is its highest level, and from it the four rivers of Paradise are made to flow forth. So when you ask Allah, ask Him for Al-Firdaus.” [Tirmidhi]
So we learn from this ayah that Jannah is prepared for the Muttaqeen, the righteous. And who are they? Read on…
الَّذِينَ يُنفِقُونَ فِي السَّرَّاءِ وَالضَّرَّاءِ وَالْكَاظِمِينَ الْغَيْظَ وَالْعَافِينَ عَنِ النَّاسِ ۗ وَاللَّهُ يُحِبُّ الْمُحْسِنِينَ
Who spend [in the cause of Allah ] during ease and hardship and who restrain anger and who pardon the people – and Allah loves the doers of good;(Surah Ale-Imran: 134)
So the first quality of the muttaqeen as we in this ayah is that they spend both in times of ease and in hardship.
Spending when you have surplus wealth is easy. But spending when your finances are constrained is difficult. But a Muttaqee doesn’t wait for the “perfect” moment to spend. They spend all the time, despite their circumstances!
Their second quality is that they control their anger, without unleashing it. Which again is not something easy.
Think of the last time you became angry. How did you react? What did you say, what did you do, how did you behave? Sometimes in our moment of anger, we say and do things that we begin to regret once we have calmed down right?
Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) as saying: “The strong-man is not one who wrestles well but the strong man is one who controls himself when he is in a fit of rage.” (Sahih Muslim)
As difficult as it is to control your anger, you have to do it. Channelise it positively, bite your lip if you have to, hold yourself back.
Abu Hurairah (ra) reported: “A man asked the Prophet (ﷺ) to give him advice, and he (ﷺ) said, ‘Do not get angry.’ The man repeated that several times and he (ﷺ) replied (every time), ‘Do not get angry.'” (Sahih al Bukhari)
Such an important advise! “Do not get angry” Why? Because anger is like a live coal of fire, which Shaytan kindles it in the heart of man. When this fire is raging inside the person, he just wants to throw these balls of flame towards the one he’s angry with. And when he does this, he is only harming himself!
So the Muttaqeen are not people who “never ever” get angry. They do. But they just don’t let it spill over. They restrain themselves from exploding or reacting aggressively.
Here are five ways you can control your anger:
- Seek refuge in Allah from Shaytan by saying أَعُوْذُ بِاللٌّهِ مِنَ الشَّيْطَانِ الرَّجِيمِ
- Perform Wudhu
- Change your position
- Become quiet and adopt silence. “When any one of you is angry, he should remain silent” [Ahmad]
- Do something positive.
The third quality of the Muttaqeen is that they pardon the people. And this is to do with personal matters.
So they don’t take revenge on the person who caused them to become angry in the first place. Instead they forgive and overlook.
And Allah loves the Muhsineen, the doers of good.
And what is ihsan? It includes doing good in return for someone’s evil. So the people mentioned in this ayah, not only suppress their anger, and pardon, but they also do good in return! Isn’t that amazing?
But that’s not all…
وَالَّذِينَ إِذَا فَعَلُوا فَاحِشَةً أَوْ ظَلَمُوا أَنفُسَهُمْ ذَكَرُوا اللَّهَ فَاسْتَغْفَرُوا لِذُنُوبِهِمْ وَمَن يَغْفِرُ الذُّنُوبَ إِلَّا اللَّهُ وَلَمْ يُصِرُّوا عَلَىٰ مَا فَعَلُوا وَهُمْ يَعْلَمُونَ
And those who, when they commit an immorality or wrong themselves [by transgression], remember Allah and seek forgiveness for their sins – and who can forgive sins except Allah ? – and [who] do not persist in what they have done while they know.(Surah Ale-Imran: 135)
Here Allah is describing some more qualities
When they commit an immoral action or wrong themselves, they remember Allah and seek forgiveness for their sins. They remember Allah with their hearts, their tongues and their limbs.
In their hearts they remember the greatness of Allah, they think about His punishment, and this leads to them seeking forgiveness.
They remember Allah on their tongues so that it also becomes a means of forgiveness for them.
And finally they remember Allah through their actions. So they do all those things that leads to the expiation of sins, such as giving sadaqah.
The Prophet (ﷺ) said: “Sadaqah (charity) extinguishes sins just as water extinguishes fire” [Tirmidhi]
Every person sins, but the solution is to seek forgiveness
And remember, you need to be quick in seeking forgiveness and refrain from persisting in the sin. And it is Allah alone who forgives our sins
Narrated Anas bin Malik: Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “Allah is more pleased with the repentance of His slave than anyone of you is pleased with finding his camel which he had lost in the desert.” (Sahih al Bukhari)
أُولَٰئِكَ جَزَاؤُهُم مَّغْفِرَةٌ مِّن رَّبِّهِمْ وَجَنَّاتٌ تَجْرِي مِن تَحْتِهَا الْأَنْهَارُ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا ۚ وَنِعْمَ أَجْرُ الْعَامِلِينَ
Those – their reward is forgiveness from their Lord and gardens beneath which rivers flow [in Paradise], wherein they will abide eternally; and excellent is the reward of the [righteous] workers.(Surah Ale-Imran: 136)
Here Allah is praising their reward. And this shows the magnitude of the reward. The people who were described in the above ayaat, worked hard. And for their work, Allah gave them this Ajr.
Remember Jannah is for those who worked for it, not for those who just dream about it.