Ahmad ibn Ajiba on Repentance

Peace, one and all…

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A beautiful passage from a recent sohbet.  I found it both healing and profound, especially in conveying a sense of vision, of witnessing.  May it be of benefit to all who pass by.  Dem-i Hazret-i Mevlana

Repentance is the return from every deed that is ugly to one that is beautiful, from every trait that is base to one that is noble, or from a mind that is engrossed in the world to one that is immersed in consciousness of the divine.

Its conditions are that we regret [our sin], rid ourselves of it, and refuse to persist in it. Also, if our sin is one that has wronged another human being, we must try to correct that wrong, but our repentance may be accepted without having done so, just as repentance for one sin may be accepted even while another remains.

For the generality of believers, repentance is from sins, for the elect, it is from faults, and for the elect of the elect, it is from everything that distracts the soul from the divine presence.

Every station of the way necessitates repentance. In the station of repentance itself, another repentance is needed if the first one lacks sincerity. It is needed in the station of fear if we begin to have an illusory sense of security; in the station of hope if we experience feelings of despair; in the station of patience if we grow restless and worried; in the station of detachment if we are beset by cravings and desires; in the station of scrupulousness if we start looking for too much licence in the revealed law or are beset by covetousness; in the station of dependence on God if we start worrying about our future, about our choices, or about the means by which our worldly provision will come to us; in the station of contentment and submission when we become bitter and contrary in confronting our destiny; in the station of vigilance (muraqaba) for ill behaviour outwardly and ill thoughts inwardly; in the station of self-examination (muhasaba) for wasting our time with things that do not bring us closer to God; in the station of love when our hearts incline to other than the Beloved; in the station of contemplative vision (mushahada) if our innermost consciousness turns toward something other than the One perceived, or we become fixed on something in the sensory world, or cease our ascent along the pathways of the soul

Thus would the Prophet (as) ask forgiveness from God seventy or a hundred times in a single assembly.

As for ‘sincere repentance’ [Quran 66:8], it is comprised of four things: to ask forgiveness for sin with our voices, to abstain from it with our bodies, to rid our hearts of any desire to persist in it, and to stay away from bad companions. Sufyan al-Thawri said, ‘The signs of sincere repentance are four: meagreness, weakness, humility and solitude’.

Ahmad ibn Ajiba, The Book of Ascension to the Essential Truths of Sufism

Ask olsun! May love increase!

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