Once a man came into the Mosque of the prophet [صلى الله عليه وسلم] lamenting over his sins. The man was so overcome and saddened by his state that the Prophet [صلى الله عليه وسلم] said to him, “Say this:
اللهم مغفرتك أوسع من ذنوبي ورحمتك أرجى عندي من عملي
Allahuma maghfiratoka awsaa’ min thonoobi
Wa rahmatoka arja ‘andey min ‘amaley
Oh Allah, your forgiveness is greater than my sins and my hope in Your mercy is greater to me than my actions”
The man said this and the Prophet [صلى الله عليه وسلم] said to him, “Say it again.” The man repeated it then the Prophet said to him, “Say it again.” The man did it and the Prophet [صلى الله عليه وسلم] said to him, “Arise for, indeed, Allah has forgiven you.”*
During this month there will be, inshallah, a large number of Muslims coming in and out of the mosque. Let’s keep the Prophetic model of compassion and mercy in mind. We are all coming with sins, mistakes, errors and the like. And all of us desire to hear the same thing from our Lord, “I forgive you My servant. I’m pleased with you. Enter Paradise.”
The people who attend the Mosques must not forget that they are a sub-culture which represents a larger Muslim community. 18,000 Muslims recently attended an independence day celebration for a Muslim country but how many Muslim attend ‘Eid? This doesn’t mean we should look down, nor chastise these people. In fact, what it really means is that we are not doing our job. We are not reaching those who, as the Prophet said about the believer, “Are like horses that stray away from their bridle only to return.” Thus, let be humble, take account of our own shortcomings and flee to Allah. Once a sister, who was going through some real difficulties, told me, after I adviced her to seek guidance with her ethnic group and the local Mosque, “They are the last people I can go to for help. They will chastise me. The will take pleasure in my faults and destroy me and my family.” I was very shocked. Why do many feel that the last place they can turn is their local faith community? It is high time that we adopt the Prophetic model of mercy and compassion.
We ask Allah to bless us, forgive us and raise us. We ask Allah to make our hope in His mercy and forgiveness greater than the saddness we feel over our sins.
*This incident was related by al-Hakim with a sound chain that he considered to match the standards of Imam Muslim.