Q: Circumstances compelled me to attend a funeral at a Church for a relative. I attended the Church for what I assumed to be a valid reason. I have now been informed that I may have lost my Imaan. I am worried. Please advise me on how I should go about making Taubah.
A: Understand well, sincere and truthful Taubah is not accompanied by explanations, justifications and self-pity.
A thief does not steal, claims to make Taubah and whilst in the same breath adds that “my theft of my boss’s money was due to circumstances. Please forgive me, O Rabb.”
Similarly, an adulterer does not make Taubah and simultaneously cries to Allah Ta’aala that his treachery should be viewed “in the context of the time”.
Taubah is not a favour unto Allah Ta’aala. To the contrary, Allah Ta’aala favours His servants by forgiving them when they display heartfelt remorse.
When Hadhrat Adam Alayhis Salaam made Taubaah, he never apportioned blame to Shaytaan; he blamed himself. This is true Taubah.
The reality of Taubah can be best judged from the following advice of Hadhrat Sheikh Abdul-Qadir Jilaani Rahmatullahi Alayh. In his book “Secret of secrets”, the great Sheikh writes:
“In one’s repentance one must be heedful that one’s regret is not abstract and general, so that it does not fall under the threat of Allah’s declaration:
‘No matter how much they may repent, they are not truly penitent, and their repentance is not accepted.’
This refers to those who have merely pronounced the words of regret, but neither know the extent of their sin, nor have vowed not to sin again, nor have they taken any action.
The learned Sheikh continues by explaining that the root of the sin should be uprooted: He says:
“It is as if such people are trying to get rid of grass by cutting it off at the ground rather than digging out its roots. In doing this they only help to grow it better. The one who repents knowing his fault and the cause of his fault and wishing to rid himself of this fault, digs out the root of this pernicious plant. When it is dug out, it dries, and it does not come back again. The trowel used in digging out the roots, the cause of one’s sins is the spiritual teaching one receives from a true teacher. One must clear the ground before one can plant one’s orchard” (Page 33)
From the above writing of Hadhrat Sheikh Abdul-Qadir Jilani Rahmatullahi Alayh, it is clear that Taubah is not merely expressing regret and remorse. The sin of attending the Church, irrespective of the “context of the time” needs to be uprooted so that it may never ever re-appear ever again, Insha-Allah.
The method of uprooting the roots of the sin is to renew your Imaan publicly, re-perform your Nikaah publicly and to perform your Haj again. This is the criteria set by The Shariah for a sincere Taubah for a genuine and true Taubah. Anything less than this is fraught with danger. May Allah Ta’aala grant you the courage to make the Shar’i stipulated Taubah, otherwise it may just be that at the time of Maut you will be informed of the loss of your Imaan. May Allah Ta’aala save us all from being tested with our Imaan.