by Ayesha Zaka
We have reached Ramadan, the beautiful and blessed month of forgiveness alhamdolillah. The sins of the year have corrupted and corroded our hearts. How we yearn for a clean slate and pure hearts!
The morning and evening zikr that we will cover in this episode is based on seeking forgiveness. The words of the zikr as mentioned in the hadith are:
اَللّٰھُمَّ اَنْتَ رَبِّیْ، لَا اِلٰهَ اِلَّا اَنْتَ خَلَقْتَنِیْ وَ اَنَا عَبْدُکَ وَ اَنَا عَلٰی عَھْدِکَ وَ وَعْدِکَ مَا اسْتَطَعْتُ اَعُوْذُبِکَ مِنْ شَرِّ مَا صَنَعْتُ اَبُوْءُ لَکَ بِنِعْمَتِکَ عَلَیَّ وَ اَبُوْءُ بِذَنْبِیْ فَاغْفِرْلِیْ اِنَّهُ لَا یَغْفِرُ الذُّنُوْبَ اِلَّا اَنْتَ۔
‘O Allah, You are my Lord. None has the right to be worshipped except You. You created me, and I am Your slave. And I am faithful to my covenant and my promise as far as I am able. I seek Your refuge from the evil of what I have done. I acknowledge before You all the favours that You have bestowed upon me. And I confess all my sins to You. So forgive me, since none can forgive sins except You.’
The Prophet (sallalahu ‘alaihi wasallam) said,
“The noblest and most excellent manner of seeking forgiveness is that the servant says: (Arabic words quoted above)”
He also said: “Whoever says it in the day, with firm conviction in it, and dies in that day before evening – then he is from the people of Paradise. Whoever says it in the night, with firm conviction in it, and he dies before the Morning – then he is from the people of Paradise.”
Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 8, Book 75, Number 318
Since none of us know when we will die, this zikr should definitely adorn every morning and every evening of ours.
We can only recite it with ‘full conviction’ (mentioned in the hadith) if we ponder deeply over the words. So, let’s start thinking about these short and powerful sentences which have been described in the hadith as Sayyid ul Istighfar- the most excellent manner of seeking forgiveness!
O Allah, You are my Rabb.
That is why I turn to You and only You. You are my Rabb, whom else could I turn to even if I were the most sinful of human beings?
None has the right to be worshipped except You.
I stand firm upon Tauheed. I slip again and again and again. But I acknowledge and recognize that it is only You who truly deserves my obedience and worship. There is no one else- not society, not my nafs, not my family- who deserves this worship.
You created me, and I am Your slave.
I was nothing at all. Zilch. You actually created me from scratch in the most miraculous of manners. You own me! I am Yours. I have no right to rebel against you in the least. My position is only to hear and obey.
And I am faithful to my covenant and my promise as far as I am able.
I am weak and I make mistakes. Yet I try as much as I can to stay true to the words that my tongue utter. To stay true to my claim of being a Muslim-submitted to You. And also to stay true to the covenant that is embedded in my subconscious, the covenant that my soul bore testimony to, long before my birth.
I seek Your refuge from the evil of what I have done.
My evil deeds have ruined me. They have severed my relationship with you. They have stolen the sweetness of my Salah. They have robbed me of the tears of Tahajjud. They have messed up my life, and made me anxious, lost and depressed. Save me from myself! My own evil deeds are my worst enemies. Save me from their consequences in this world and the next.
I acknowledge before You all the favours that You have bestowed upon me.
What an Excellent Master you are to a miserable slave! How subtly you still rescue me from my whirlpool of troubles. How generously you shower your blessings on me day and night. How beautifully you conceal my sins from the creation. I acknowledge this with a heart filled with gratitude and humility.
And I confess all my sins to You.
Ahhh! What a relief that it’s all just between me and My Master. I don’t need to confess to a priest or Imam. Before You, I am exposed- my hidden is apparent. From You, I cannot hide. I confess all my evil, shameful acts before You. I will not give Iblees-like justifications. I will not be arrogant on my sins. I come to You with a broken heart, filled with remorse and regret.
So forgive me, since none can forgive sins except You.
Forgive me. There is no one else to whom I could turn to for the forgiveness of my sins. No power on earth can erase my sins or save me from Your Punishment. Please forgive me. I beg for Your forgiveness, with the humility and persistence of a beggar who has no other door to knock at!