2. tawba

"Repentance" (tawba), is the returning of any bad action towards a good action, or the returning of any vile quality towards the realisation (tahaqquq) of a noble quality, or the sight of the creatures' (al-khalq) absorption (istighraaq) to the vision of the True God (al-Haqq).

Its conditions are the sincere regret (nadam) , the abandon (iglaa) [of transgressions ] and the regret of insistent stubborness (israar) [in sin]. As for the mending of faults, it's an independent duty without which repentance can exist, as well as the repentance of a sin can coexist within the stubborness of a different kind of sin.

The repentance of the common popularity is of sins; the repentance of the elite is of shortcomings; the repentance of the chosen ones is of anything that aways the inner conscience (sirr) from the presence of the Knower of Secrets ('allaam al-ghuyuub).

Every spiritual action (maqaamaat) is tributary of repentance, while repentance by itself is tributary of another repentance as long as it is not truly sincere: fear (al-khawf) is tributary of repentance when security and false self-assurance show up; hope (al-rajaa') when affliction and despair come; constance (al-sabr) when fright appears; detachment (ascetism) (al-zuhd) when concupiscent thoughts appear; scruple (al-wara') the moment we are seduced by the search of easy ways (rukhas) or by thoughts of longing (tama), the abandon of self towards God (al-tawakkul) when we are subject to an immoderate anticipation or foresight, imagining to have the free will regarding something or when we worry about ways of surviving; contentment (al-ridaa) and submission (al-tasliim) when there is bitterness and rebellion against the failures of destiny; watchfullness (al-muraaqaba) when we show tactlessness [vis-a-vis of God] (suu' al-adab) or when we are filled inside with bad thoughts; self examination (al-muhaasaba) when we loose our time in things other than those that bring us closer to God; love (al-mahabba) when the heart leans on other but the Beloved; contemplation (al-mushaahada) when the inner conscience worries about something else but the One that Is Contemplated or when it rests attached to a sensitive object and doesn't progress anymore on the Divine's secret levels.

From this reasoning, the Prophet repeated in one only session (majlis) seventy or one hundred times the session of petition for forgiveness (istighfaar).

True repentance can be summarized in four points: the act of asking forgivenes "by word"; the corporal abstention; the absence of stubborness inside the heart and the abandon of bad company.

Sufyan al -Thawrii (161H-777AD) said: "True repentance can be recognized by four signs: modest condition (qilla), frailty ('illa), humbleness (dhilla) and expatriation (ghurba)"

(Translated from
Glossaire du Soufisme. Ibn 'Agiba. A. Saleh Hamdan)

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