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Targheeb and Tarheeb
  Ibn al-Qayyim on How to Rectify Oneself
Author: Shaikh Abdul-Malik al-Jazaa'iree
Source: Madaarik un-Nadhar Fis-Siyaasah (Trans. Abu Iyaad)
Article ID : TZK050010  [22453]  
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Abdul-Malik Ibn Ahmad al-Mubaarak said [1]: "Ibn al-Qayyim - rahimahullaah - said, in al-Fawaa'id (Chapter: How you rectify your condition)":

"Get up (and hurry) in entering upon Allaah and accompanying Him in the Home of Peace, without any tiredness, hardship or fatigue - but in fact by the nearest of paths and the most easiest (of them). And this is (by realising) that you are in a time between two times which is (what constitutes) your life, and this is the present time which is between what has passed and what is yet to come. Then that which has passed, you can correct by repentance, remorse and seeking forgiveness. This is something in which there will be no tiredness, fatigue, or any straining efforts (required on your behalf). It is (nothing but) the action of the heart."

"I say: Whatever of your time has passed in disobedience to Allaah, it is possible for you bring it back (and amend it). And it has been said: 'Time is like a sword, if you don't cut it, it will cut you'. And this is correct wisdom save that Allaah has excepted the repenters from this. For whatever time they have wasted in committing zinaa, even murder, in fact, even shirk - then whoever repents from them will find his scroll (of deeds) not just white and plain (free of those evils) but good deeds will have been written on it in replacement of those evil deeds, as if his time had been adorned with them. And nothing is impossible for Allaah, He is the One who said: " And those who invoke not any other ilâh (god) along with Allâh, nor kill such life as Allâh has forbidden, except for just cause, nor commit illegal sexual intercourse and whoever does this shall receive the punishment. The torment will be doubled to him on the Day of Resurrection, and he will abide therein in disgrace; Except those who repent and believe (in Islâmic Monotheism), and do righteous deeds, for those, Allâh will change their sins into good deeds, and Allâh is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful." [Furqaan 68-70]."

And Ibn al-Qayyim said:

"And your restraining yourself from sins in what has yet to come (in the future). (This) restraint of yours is but mere abandonment and relaxation and does not involve (any) actions from the limbs or the efforts which cause you difficulties and hardship. It is but (firm) resolution and a strong and firm intention (which allows your) body, heart and your inner-self to rest. So whatever has passed you by, you amend by repentance and you correct what has yet to come with restraint, resolution (of one's will) and (firm) intention."

"I say: From this you will learn about the secret of the connection between repentance and seeking forgiveness, as occurs in the like of Allaah's saying: "Will they not repent to Allâh and ask His Forgiveness? For Allâh is Oft­Forgiving, Most Merciful. [Maai'dah 74]" Seeking forgiveness (here) has the meaning of 'abandoning what has preceded (from your actions)' and repentance (here) is with the meaning 'not persisting (in those actions) in the future' and Allaah has combined both of these in a single verse when He said: "And those who, when they have committed Fahishah (illegal sexual intercourse etc.) or wronged themselves with evil, remember Allâh and ask forgiveness for their sins; - and none can forgive sins but Allâh - And do not persist in what (wrong) they have done, while they know. [Aali Imraan 135]".

And Ibn al-Qayyim said:

"And in both of these there is no hardship or tiredness for the limbs, however the concern is for your life - and that is the time, (at present), which is between two times. If you waste it, you will have wasted your happiness and your (means of) safety and if you safeguard it, along with correcting the (other) two times which are before it and after it with what has been mentioned, you will be saved and you will succeed with ease, pleasure and bliss."

I say: And this will show you the secret of Allaah's making the amending of one's conduct (Islaah) a condition for (true) repentance, which if it (i.e. repentance) is performed (freely and properly), will also include the seeking of forgiveness, as occurrs in the saying of Allaah: "Your Lord has written Mercy for Himself, so that, if any of you does evil in ignorance, and thereafter repents and does righteous good deeds (by obeying Allâh), then surely, He is Oft­Forgiving, Most Merciful. [An'aam 6:54]" and in His saying: "Except for those who repent after that and do righteous deeds. Verily, Allâh is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.[Aali Imraan 89]" Therefore, amending one's conduct (here) is with the meaning of amending the present time (in which you are in), and it has been said:

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