Prayer is the cornerstone of Islam. It is the second pillar of Islam according to the well-known hadith:
“Islam has been built on five pillars: To bear witness that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is His Messenger; to perform the salah…” “Islam has been built on five pillars: To bear witness that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is His Messenger; to perform the salah…”
Also, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) is reported to have said:
“Between man and disbelief is the negligence of prayer.”
Thus, be committed from now on to make up for all the missed obligatory prayers you did not pray. You can, after praying every Zuhr from now on, to pray one of the Zuhr prayers you have missed, to do this with the obligatory Prayers until you are quite sure that you have made up for the missed prayers. It is hopefully that Allah will guide you to the best and forgive you all your past sins. The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, is reported to have said, “He who fasts Ramadan solely for Allah’s sake while having firm belief in Him, his previous sins will be forgiven.” This depends on our sincerity in repentance and our real commitment to be good Muslims and staunch believers keeping in mind that Allah is the All-Forgiving and the All-Merciful.
Here are the stages of repentance:
1-Feeling sincere remorse and regret.
2-Being frightened whenever one remembers past sins.
3-Trying to eradicate injustice and support justice and right.
4-Reviewing one’s responsibilities and performing obligations previously neglected.
5-Reforming oneself by removing spiritual defects caused by deviation and error
6-Regretting and lamenting the times when one did not mention or remember Allah or thank Him and reflect on His works. Such people are always apprehensive and alert so that their thoughts and feelings are not tainted by things that intervene between themselves and Allah. (This last quality is particular to people distinguished by their nearness to Allah.)
If one does not feel remorse, regret, and disgust for errors committed, whether great or small; if one is not fearful or apprehensive of falling back into sin at any time; and if one does not take shelter in sincere servanthood to Allah in order to be freed from deviation and error into which one has fallen by moving away from God, any resulting repentance will be no more than a lie.
A Muslim should cry:
I’m sorry for the mistakes I make.
And, I know of none that can be retrieved.
They’re like the water over a dam.
To flow back, it cannot be achieved.
There are things I wish I had never said.
Now, I wish that I had bit my tongue instead.
To make another feel that pain,
For those thoughtless words, I am disdain.
Repentance is an oath of virtue, and holding steadfastly to it requires strong willpower. The lord of the penitents, peace and blessings be upon him, says that one who repents sincerely and holds steadfastly to it is has achieved the rank of a martyr, while the repentance of those who cannot free themselves from their sins and deviations, although they repent repeatedly, mocks the door toward which the truly repentant ones turn in utmost sincerity and resolution.
One who continues to sin after proclaiming a fear of Hell, who does not engage in righteous deeds despite self-proclaimed desires for Paradise, and who is indifferent to the Prophet’s way and practices despite assertions of love for the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, cannot be taken seriously. This is also the case with one who claims to be sincere and pure-hearted, but spends his or her life oscillating between sin and repentance.
An initiate’s first station is repentance, while the second is Inabah (sincere penitence). While repentance requires the training of feelings, thoughts, and acts in order to move them from opposition to acceptance and obedience, sincere penitence demands a critique of the authenticity, sincerity, and sufficiency of that acceptance and obedience. Repentance is a progressing or journeying toward Allah—that is, seeking to do what is pleasing to Allah and refraining from what is forbidden by Him. Sincere penitence is striving to live an upright life so that one may seek Allah’s pleasure in all actions and thoughts.”
In conclusion, we would like to cite for you the following lines of verse by Imam Ash-Shafi`i, may Allah be pleased with him:
“To You, the Creator, I raise my longing,
Though I am a sinner and a wrongdoer.
When it becomes black before my eyes,
I seek refuge in You and place my trust and hope.
When the heaps of my sins are compared to Your Grace.
Your Grace is greater and covers all the globe.”
Thus, from now and from the moment you receive this e-mail, try your best to change for the better, resume going to the Mosque to attend the daily prayers in Jama`ah, shed tears between your Lord and yourself while being away from the community, be determined to have a fresh start and we are quite sure that the Muslim brothers at the Masjid will be happy with your return. Just hail the initiative and you will see positive results.