Repentance and Patience

Peace, one and all…


Here are some musings inspired, in part, by my online retreat

Each new breath brings forth a new moment from God.  Each new breath brings forth a new opportunity for communion with that moment, and with the One Who wrought it.  Life is thus a series of moments, an always unfolding story of relationship and interaction.  To make the most of this ongoing flow, I must be patient.  I must wait at the Beloved’s bright door.

Patience is thus the acceptance and integration of life’s ever-breaking waves.  These lines of Hafez speak powerfully to me here:

‘If your patience is like that of Noah
in the sadness of the storm,
affliction will leave you and the hopes
of a thousand years will be fulfilled’

Unheplful deeds separate us from the seas of life, as though we turned from the ocean to face a dry and barren land.  To sin, therefore, is to see oneself as separated, as divorced, from the whole.  To sin is to ignore the revelation of each new moment, to deny this flow as it manifests itself in ourselves and in others.

Repentance is the deep, inward acceptance of all our unhelpful interruptions.  Repentance is therefore re-connection, where that which is time-bound is joined once more to that which is time-less.  To repent is to realise that our actions have eternal significance; that the things we do here, in this small world, reverberate throughout the cosmos.  Mevlana (God sanctify his noble soul) says it this way:

‘The undisciplined man doesn’t wrong himself alone –
he sets fire to the whole world’
(Masnavi I.79)

Life is not a series of random, discrete pieces but an integrated, united whole.  Repentance is thus the sound of the drop falling back into the ocean once more.  And God says in His glorious Book:


‘We have made every living thing out of water’ (21:30)

To truly live I must realise that I am a part of that Ocean; indeed, I am sustained and nourished by it in each living moment, as Mevlana says so beautifully here:

‘Though your life has almost passed,
this present moment is its root:
if it lacks moisture, water it with repentance.
Give the Living Water to the root of your life,
so that the tree of your life may flourish.
By this Water past mistakes are redeemed.
By this Water last year’s poison is made sweet’
(Rumi, Masnavi V.2222-2224)

May Allah al-Tawwab turn me back to Him once more, and may Hu bless all who pass by. 

And my last prayer is in praise of God, Sustainer of All Being. 

Ma’as salama,
Abdur Rahman




7 thoughts on “Repentance and Patience

  1. Salaams, Abdur, I’ve just returned to your blog after many months. I’m also following the online retreat from the Threshold Society, as a way into some disciplined spiritual routine after an unsettled time (it was great to see your name there, and inspired me to get back in contact here!) The zhikr and meditations on Rumi’s poetry are a wonderful help, and it’s by the grace of God that I stumbled upon the retreat in the first place – just what I need at this particular time.

    Thank you for your thoughts on repentance. I especially value this:

    “Repentance is the deep, inward acceptance of all our unhelpful interruptions. Repentance is therefore re-connection, where that which is time-bound is joined once more to that which is time-less. To repent is to realise that our actions have eternal significance; that the things we do here, in this small world, reverberate throughout the cosmos”

    This seems a holistic, ecological (spiritually as well as physically ecological) approach. Repentance is not about guilt, misery and self-blame, which can be self-indulgent and doesn’t necessarily lead to change. As I understand it, it is a turning-around, a turning back from a path that leads away from God, towards God, and is therefore essentially a positive and joyful process. I know I’ve been wrong, I know I’ve stumbled and lost the way many times, I know I have many weaknesses. But turning back is such a relief. God’s love and mercy is so great, encompassing and understanding my weakness, encouraging my strength. It makes me want to do better, especially when it comes to remembrance. I’m trying, anyway!



  2. Assalamu Alaikum Abdur Rahman, to you and your family.
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts. They are inspiring and uplifting.


  3. A beautiful post that made me almost weep with gratitude for the lesson of patience and repentance that I at least must learn anew each day. Thank you, and may Allah bless you and your family with ever increasing love and wisdom. Ameen.

    Ya Haqq!

  4. Hilary wrote many beautiful, correct words. Truly God’s majestical, inspiring love and mercy is tremendously great!

    God certainly understands our weaknesses and as we turn from selfish thinking and selfish behaviour He will definitely encourage and strengthen us. All the glory goes to God in this wonderful process of inspiring us to love Him and our neighbour more purely.

    However, because we are involved in a spiritual war the journey toward repentance is often excruciatingly painful.

    For example, turning from selfish addictive behaviour is no easy undertaking. Truthfully without God’s loving assistance no one would have success.
    God is love and even though we commit sinful acts we are still phenomenally precious in His sight!

    I’ve learnt that God is a God of ecconomy and He will allow us at times to feel guilty. For example after King David had committed adultery with Bathsheba God began working in tandem with Samuel to allow David to come to the realization that he had transgressed His divine law which states “thou shalt not commit adultery”.

    It was necessary for David to become convicted that he had sinned, so that he could then cooperate with God in the healing and cleansing process.

    Hilary, You are so right. Sleeping in a bed called “Misery and self-blame” is self-indulgent and it is very hard to get a good sleep in that horribly uncomfortable bed. When we feel miserable and are continually blaming ourself for something it is a good idea to invest in a bed called God’s spirit is joyful and He loves to forgive graciously.

    May God bless you all richly with a thirst for increased wisdom and love and continue to reveal to you that you are extremely precious in His sight.

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