Story of Firawn & Musa AS
Allah SWT mentions in His Holy Book many times the incident of Firawn (Pharoah), & Musa AS. Firawn was one of the worst tyrants to live on this earth. Yet what does Allah do with Firawn initially? Allah SWT instructs two people to go to him. Two prophets, the best beings to walk on earth. One of the five arch prophets (ulul ‘azm), Musa AS. And what does he instruct them to do? To speak to him “with gentle speech that perhaps he may be reminded or fear [Allah].” (Surah Taha, Verse 44)
Well if Allah has this mercy over Firawn, over Firawn of ALL people, then what makes us think we don’t have a share of that mercy?
Question is: why do we have such a skewed perception of Allah SWT?
We’ve unfortunately painted a picture to each other that is so far removed from the Quran. That is despite: 113/114 of the chapters of the Qur’an opening up with “In the name of The Most Gracious, The Most Merciful.”
Above his throne, it is written “my mercy supersedes overcomes my wrath.”
That in Surah Al Anaam, Verse 54, Allah SWT says “Your Lord has decreed upon Himself mercy.”
Allah SWT’s Mercy to a Sinning Slave
“Say: O my servants! who have transgressed against themselves (by sinning), do not despair of the mercy of Allah; surely Allah forgives all sins; surely He is the Forgiving the Merciful.”
Allah SWT instantly opens it up with MY servant, not ‘o wrongdoer’, or ‘transgressor’, or ‘sinner’ no he says, “my servants” à shows how personal it is, like a mother calling to her own child.
Then notice how ‘asrafu’ isn’t just simply translated as ‘the one who transgresses upon themselves [by sinning]’ but indicates intensity, the worst of transgressions. It is on the structure of intensification in, a superlative of sorts.
Those who have transgressed with the worst sins, DON’T despair in mercy of Allah. Don’t even think about it. He forgives ALL sins. No doubt, he is the repeatedly, excessively, forgiving and the ever, always merciful.
‘Aneebu ilaa rabikum’ is typically translated as “turn to your master in repentance”, but in fact, anibu means turn your heart back to your master, whereas physically turning back would be ‘tubu’ (repent). Inaaba is used only for heart. So it begins even with the intention, even before we leave this room!
Beautiful hadith Qudsi that summarises this (Sahih Muslim, Book 32, Number 6246)
“O My servants, you commit sins by day and by night, and I forgive all sins, so seek forgiveness from Me and I shall forgive you. O My servants, you will not be able to harm Me so as to bring any harm to Me and you will not be able to benefit Me so as to bring any benefit to Me.
O My servants, if the first of you and the last of you, and the humans of you and the jinn of you, were all as pious as the most pious heart of any individual amongst you, then this would not increase My Kingdom in anything.
O My servants, if the first of you and the last of you, and the humans of you and the jinn of you, were all as wicked as the most wicked heart of any individual amongst you, then this would not decrease My Kingdom in anything.
O My servants, if the first of you and the last of you, and the humans of you and the jinn of you, were all to stand together in one place and ask of Me, and I were to give everyone what he requested, then that would not decrease what I Possess, except what is decreased of the ocean when a needle is dipped into it.
O My servants, it is but your deeds that I account for you, and then recompense you for. So he who finds good, let him praise Allah, and he who finds other than that, let him blame no one but himself.”
1) Don’t despair in the mercy of Allah for that is the biggest trap of the Shaytaan.
Problem that affects modern youth, brothers and sisters, is the trap of Shaytaan. It’s important to know about Allah’s mercy – once we know, how can we despair in it?
When we make a mistake, Shaytan says disgusting human being, what face will take, ashamed, so he takes advantage of this human tendency of guilt. He will make you feel worthless, even to the extent that you’re not deserving of putting your forehead to the ground to pray — but if you knew the value of that, you’d be praying all day. It is a privilege that most of the creation don’t have the blessing of doing!
In an authenticated narration, the Prophet SAW said “The Shaytan said to Allah SWT: ‘By Your Glory O Lord, I will keep trying to misguide Your slaves so long as their souls are in their bodies.’ Allah said, ‘By My Glory and Majesty, I will continue to forgive them so long as they ask My forgiveness.” Shaytaan continue to lead astray, Almighty will continue to forgive.
2) Have husn-al-dhaan in Allah
Have good expectations of Allah. Allah SWT says: “I am just as My slave thinks I am.” (i.e. I am able to do for him what he thinks I can do for him). A beautiful hadith that exemplifies this:
On day of jugement, person dragged to hell about to be thrown: “My lord I never expected this from you.” Allah ask slave: “what did you expect from me, you committed sin, you fell short, you ultimately had a choice” person replies “I expected that your mercy could even reach someone like me.” Allah will say let my slave go free.
This is even manifested as a practical example shown by the fact when we do good deed, the minimum is 10 rewards. This can be multiplied up to 700 & even beyond. And yet when we do a bad deed, we only get equivalent of that. And when you’re about to do bad deed, but stop, then get a good deed. And to top it all off, when we intend good deed but don’t get to fulfil the action for whatever reason, we get the reward for the intention.
3) Turn your hearts. Change. Forget the past.
Remember anibu is to do with changing your heart back to Allah. Beauty of this in our religion, is that one can decide to turn back to allah even sitting in this khutbah; you may have not done anything yet i.e. haven’t physically changed anything in lifestyle, the way you earn money, or the way you behave, but just the sincere intention in heart can be a huge step forward.
Don’t lose hope; remember so long as your breathing allah wants you to be alive, giving you this chance until you pass away.
Leave you with one last true story told me by a shaykh.
In Riyadh, which is the capital city of Saudi, it is very busy, particularly during rush hour times so can take couple hours to get from one side of city to the other. There was a taxi driver doing his errands, & was taking a group of youth on a journey. Told them, look, journey is going to take a while, so let’s pray Asr on the way.
They replied, ‘look you can pray, we don’t pray so we’ll wait for you.’ When it came to it, taxi driver said, look, you can commit every single sin in the book, but whatever you do, just pray (the logic being that Shaytaan wants you to lose your connection, ‘silah’ – root word of salah – to Allah, & not feel worthy, even if don’t feel sweetness in next 5 weeks, months, year, decade, still continue as it’ll be a witness for you on the day of judgement).
Anyhow, they said okay fine, but you lead the prayer. So, they prayed ‘Asr, & finished, & the imam (taxi driver) noticed one of the youth was still in sujood (maybe some new found kushoo’?). But he wasn’t getting up. He had passed on to the next life.
Guy next to him hysterically crying, taxi driver asks, pretty good way to go out considering it’s in sujood, (the closest point a servant will be to Allah SWT in this dunya), & guy (his brother) replies, I’m not crying because he died, but because that was the first time he had prayer in 14 years!