Dear Brothers and Sisters, tonight is the first night of Rajab, a special night of turning to God and the beginning of the month of renewing our Tawbah. We are two months away from Ramadan!
Tawbah, often translated as ‘repentance,’ is the process of reaquainting ourselves with our Lord and reaffirming our devotion to Him. It is a cleansing process. Just think of all the special cleansing diets people share with their friends on social media. This here is a heart-cleansing process, this Tawbah. And we are blessed to have been given an entire month in which we are invited to focus on this process and encourage each other to undertake it. It’s a totally free program, so sign up tonight with your Lord…
The Blessing of TAWBAH
Through Tawbah we come into awareness of our imperfection, awaken to our neediness of our Lord and His Perfection, and acknowledge that we do make mistakes, we do commit sins, we are wrong at times. There is an amazing sense of relief in coming to terms with this reality, and with the Reality that is God – God Who loves those who keep turning to Him in Tawbah (at-tawwabeen).
Tawbah is one of the biggest gifts God has given us. It allows us to expose our vulnerability to Him, moving beyond the weight of wrong actions that harm our souls and the souls of others, as we gratefully accept that we are only human, but we are human creatures of a Wonderful Creator Whose Perfection and Forgiveness more than balance out our mistakes and shortcomings.
Tawbah is not beating ourselves up or cultivating guilt, it is simply acknowledging we are human and that God created us to make mistakes, but that He gave us a gift we must use: the gift of turning back to Him after a mistake and seeking His forgiveness and help.
Below is one of the special prayers for Tawbah, recommended to be recited during Rajab. It comes to us from God, Who offers it to us in the Holy Scripture:
ربَّنَا اغْفِرْ لَنَا ذُنُوبَنَا وَإِسْرَافَنَا فِي أَمْرِنَا وَثَبِّتْ أَقْدَامَنَا وانصُرْنَا عَلَى الْقَوْمِ الْكَافِرِينَ
“O Lord Who is Closer to us than ourselves, forgive us our sins and the excesses in our lives and our behaviour, plant our feet firmly on the Path, and help us overcome the schemes of the people who reject You. (Give us light that will extinguish the darkness of those who reject You).”
Rajab is the month of sowing the seeds of new life, which is a natural result of the process of Tawbah. As you let go of the old habits which have held you back, you will find new life stirring in you. Allow Tawbah to be that which plows and fertilizes the earth of your heart, giving it a new breath of faith. Take the time necessary to turn over the soil of your soul and awaken it to new hopes.
Rajab is the month of intentions, which are the seeds that grow into wonderful actions and deeds that change the world and our lives.
Rajab is the month in which the Blessed Parents of the Beloved Sage Muhammad, may Allah continue to nourish his soul and our connection to him, married, and in which he, may Allah continue to nourish his soul and our connection to him, was conceived.
Connect to the new beginnings that took place in this month by letting something new take place inside you. This can only happen if you are willing to clear out the old weeds and prepare the ground for new life to grow. Ask God to remove the sins, the bad habits, and the spiritual scars of errors stubbornly held onto. There is no need to defend the growth of weeds…May these things fall away! Ask God to plant new beauty in their place.
May the new seed of life that begins to grow in you in Rajab become the sapling you nurture in Shaaban, and the tree in whose shade you enjoy Ramadan, and that bears fruits year-round!