Hadhrat Abu Bakr As-Siddeeq gave a refined example for swiftness in returning to the truth when he found out that Mistah ibn Athaathah, whom he used to financially support, was one of those who took part in accusing his daughter Hadhrat ‘Ayeshah in the Incident of Slander. When the people of slander said about her what they said and when Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) proved her innocence as He revealed (what means):
إِنَّ الَّذِينَ جَاءُوا بِالْإِفْكِ عُصْبَةٌ مِنْكُمْ لَا تَحْسَبُوهُ شَرًّا لَكُمْ بَلْ هُوَ خَيْرٌ لَكُمْ لِكُلِّ امْرِئٍ مِنْهُمْ مَا اكْتَسَبَ مِنَ الْإِثْمِ وَالَّذِي تَوَلَّى كِبْرَهُ مِنْهُمْ لَهُ عَذَابٌ عَظِيمٌ • لَوْلَا إِذْ سَمِعْتُمُوهُ ظَنَّ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ وَالْمُؤْمِنَاتُ بِأَنْفُسِهِمْ خَيْرًا وَقَالُوا هَذَا إِفْكٌ مُبِينٌ • لَوْلَا جَاءُوا عَلَيْهِ بِأَرْبَعَةِ شُهَدَاءَ فَإِذْ لَمْ يَأْتُوا بِالشُّهَدَاءِ فَأُولَئِكَ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ هُمُ الْكَاذِبُونَ • وَلَوْلَا فَضْلُ اللَّهِ عَلَيْكُمْ وَرَحْمَتُهُ فِي الدُّنْيَا وَالْآخِرَةِ لَمَسَّكُمْ فِي مَا أَفَضْتُمْ فِيهِ عَذَابٌ عَظِيمٌ • إِذْ تَلَقَّوْنَهُ بِأَلْسِنَتِكُمْ وَتَقُولُونَ بِأَفْوَاهِكُمْ مَا لَيْسَ لَكُمْ بِهِ عِلْمٌ وَتَحْسَبُونَهُ هَيِّنًا وَهُوَ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ عَظِيمٌ • وَلَوْلَا إِذْ سَمِعْتُمُوهُ قُلْتُمْ مَا يَكُونُ لَنَا أَنْ نَتَكَلَّمَ بِهَذَا سُبْحَانَكَ هَذَا بُهْتَانٌ عَظِيمٌ • يَعِظُكُمُ اللَّهُ أَنْ تَعُودُوا لِمِثْلِهِ أَبَدًا إِنْ كُنْتُمْ مُؤْمِنِينَ • وَيُبَيِّنُ اللَّهُ لَكُمُ الْآيَاتِ وَاللَّهُ عَلِيمٌ حَكِيمٌ • إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يُحِبُّونَ أَنْ تَشِيعَ الْفَاحِشَةُ فِي الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَهُمْ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ فِي الدُّنْيَا وَالْآخِرَةِ وَاللَّهُ يَعْلَمُ وَأَنْتُمْ لَا تَعْلَمُونَ • وَلَوْلَا فَضْلُ اللَّهِ عَلَيْكُمْ وَرَحْمَتُهُ وَأَنَّ اللَّهَ رَءُوفٌ رَحِيمٌ [النور: 11-20]
“Those who have come up with the false imputation are a gang among you. Do not think it is bad for you; rather, it is good for you. Every one of them is liable for what he earned of the sin. And the one who played the major role in it, for him there is a mighty punishment. Why – when you (O believers!) heard of it – did the believing men and the believing women not think well about their own selves, and (why did they not) say, ‘This is a manifest lie’. Why did they (the accusers) not bring four witnesses to prove this? So, as they did not bring the witnesses, they are the liars in the sight of Allah. Had it not been for the grace of Allah upon you, and His mercy in this world and in the Aakhirah (Hereafter), a severe punishment would have reached you for what you indulged in, when you were welcoming it with your tongues, and were saying with your mouths something of which you had no knowledge, and were taking it as a trivial matter, while in the sight of Allah it was grave. And why, when you heard of it, did you not say, ‘It is not for us to speak about this. Pure are You (O Allah!)’. This is a terrible calumny. Allah admonishes you never to repeat something like this, if you are believers. Allah makes the signs clear to you, and Allah is All-Knowing, All-Wise. Surely, those who like that lewdness spreads among the believers, for them there is painful punishment in this world and the Aakhirah. Allah knows, and you do not know. Had it not been for the grace of Allah upon you, and His mercy, and that Allah is Very-Kind, Very-Merciful (you would have been destroyed).” (An-Noor 24:11-20)
Hadhrat ‘Ayeshah confirmed that all these ten Aayaat (Verses) were in proof of her innocence.
So Hadhrat Abu Bakr As-Siddeeq, who used to provide for Mistah because he was his relative, said: “By Allah! I will never give anything (in charity) to Mistah after what he has said about ‘Ayeshah.” Then Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) revealed:
وَلَا يَأْتَلِ أُولُو الْفَضْلِ مِنْكُمْ وَالسَّعَةِ أَنْ يُؤْتُوا أُولِي الْقُرْبَى وَالْمَسَاكِينَ وَالْمُهَاجِرِينَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ وَلْيَعْفُوا وَلْيَصْفَحُوا أَلَا تُحِبُّونَ أَنْ يَغْفِرَ اللَّهُ لَكُمْ وَاللَّهُ غَفُورٌ رَحِيمٌ [النور: 22]
“The men of grace and wealth among you should not swear against giving (their charitable gifts) to the kinsmen and the poor and to those who have migrated in the way of Allah, and they should forgive and forego. Do you not like that Allah forgives you? Allah is Most-Forgiving, Very- Merciful.” (An-Noor 24:22)
On that, Hadhrat Abu Bakr said: “Yes, by Allah! I like that Allah should forgive me.”
He resumed giving Mistah the aid he used to give him and said: “By Allah! I will never withhold it from him.” (Bukhari)
Returning to the Truth is Better than Persisting in Falsehood: It is not shameful to fall into sin. Actually, all mankind are prone to sin and the best of them are those who oft repent. It is disastrous, however, to insist on committing sin and persist in falsehood, even though the doors to mercy are wide open and are calling upon us to rush to repentance. It is narrated on the authority of Hadhrat Abu Moosaa that the Prophet said:
إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ يَبْسُطُ يَدَهُ بِاللَّيْلِ لِيَتُوبَ مُسِيءُ النَّهَارِ وَيَبْسُطُ يَدَهُ بِالنَّهَارِ لِيَتُوبَ مُسِيءُ اللَّيْلِ حَتَّى تَطْلُعَ الشَّمْسُ مِنْ مَغْرِبِهَا
"Verily, Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, stretches out His Hand during the night so that the people repent of the sins they committed during the day, and He stretches out His Hand during the day so that the people may repent of the sins they committed during the night, until the sun rises from its setting place (i.e. from the west).” (Muslim)
You can overcome this hurdle by being honest with yourself and admit your faults. This is the first step on the way to repentance and returning to Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa). Indeed, when a slave admits his sin and repents thereof, Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) accepts his repentance. What could possibly delay us from reforming ourselves and swiftly returning to Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) with sincere repentance while He is inviting us to His expansive mercy and returning our weakness and evil with His benevolence? Hadhrat Abu Hurairah narrated a Hadeeth Qudsi where the Prophet (SallAllaho ‘Alaihe WaSallam) said:
يَقُولُ اللَّهُ تَعَالَى أَنَا عِنْدَ ظَنِّ عَبْدِي بِي، وَأَنَا مَعَهُ إِذَا ذَكَرَنِي، فَإِنْ ذَكَرَنِي فِي نَفْسِهِ ذَكَرْتُهُ فِي نَفْسِي، وَإِنْ ذَكَرَنِي فِي مَلأٍ ذَكَرْتُهُ فِي مَلأٍ خَيْرٍ مِنْهُمْ، وَإِنْ تَقَرَّبَ إِلَىَّ بِشِبْرٍ تَقَرَّبْتُ إِلَيْهِ ذِرَاعًا، وَإِنْ تَقَرَّبَ إِلَىَّ ذِرَاعًا تَقَرَّبْتُ إِلَيْهِ بَاعًا، وَإِنْ أَتَانِي يَمْشِي أَتَيْتُهُ هَرْوَلَةً ”
"Allah, the Exalted, says: ‘I am just as My slave thinks I am, (i.e. I am able to do for him what he thinks I can do for him) and I am with him if He remembers Me. If he remembers Me in himself, I too, remember him in Myself; and if he remembers Me in a group of people, I remember him in a group that is better than they; and if he comes one span nearer to Me, I go one cubit nearer to him; and if he comes one cubit nearer to Me, I go a distance of two outstretched arms nearer to him; and if he comes to Me walking, I go to him running.’ ” (Bukhari)
So, hasten to repentance to Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa), and beware of procrastination! It is persistence in sin that stands between man and swift repentance. Imam Al-Bukhari entitled one of the chapters of the Book of Iman: "Chapter on the believer’s fear that his deeds would turn worthless while he knows not, and the consequences of persistence in disobedience and hypocrisy without repentance, given the Saying of Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) the Exalted (which means):
وَلَمْ يُصِرُّوا عَلَى مَا فَعَلُوا وَهُمْ يَعْلَمُونَ [آل عمران: 135]
“and do not persist in what they have done, knowingly.” (Aale-‘Imraan 3:135)
Commenting on this chapter, Al-Hafiz ibn Hajar said that it is as if the author is hinting at the Hadeeth…..: "Woe to those who persist in the evil they are committing while they know.” It means that they know that Allah accepts the repentance of those who repent, yet they do not seek His forgiveness, as stated by Mujaahid and others.” Their persistence is reflected in their resolve to commit the sin again and to not give it up by repenting to Allah of it, and Allah knows best.
So, would a believer choose the fate of doom and destruction, or resist his personal inclination and raise himself above satanic whims, releasing himself from their shackles and heading toward the mercy of Allah? So, if you ever do wrong, do right, and if you ever sin, seek forgiveness, perchance your deeds testify to your rushing to obey Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa). If you offend someone, hasten to apologize before it is too late, and before your soul reaches up to your throat at the time of death when regret would be of no avail. Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) says (what means):
فَلَوْلَا إِذَا بَلَغَتِ الْحُلْقُومَ • وَأَنْتُمْ حِينَئِذٍ تَنْظُرُونَ • وَنَحْنُ أَقْرَبُ إِلَيْهِ مِنْكُمْ وَلَكِنْ لَا تُبْصِرُونَ [الواقعة: 83-85]
“So why (do you) not (intervene) when the soul (of a dying person) reaches the throat. And you are watching. And We are closer to him than you, but you do not perceive.” (Al-Waaqi’ah 56:83-85)
Do you not remember that you will die and that death is inevitable?
A poet said
It is death from which there is neither shelter nor escape.
Once a deceased is taken off the coffin, another immediately takes his place.
We have extensive hopes and wait for their outcome, while perhaps death is nearer to us than our hopes.
To Allah we complain of the hardness of our hearts, although death is daily offering to us admonition.
We ask Allah to make us aware of our faults, and make us recognize the truth and follow it, and recognize falsehood and avoid it. Verily, He is over all things Competent.