Hasten within six

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
الحمد لله والصلاة والسلام على رسول الله وعلى آله وصحبه، أما بعـد

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Allaah سبحانه و تعالى Says:

أَفَلَا يَتُوبُونَ إِلَى اللَّهِ وَيَسْتَغْفِرُونَهُ ۚ وَاللَّهُ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ

“Will they not turn with repentance to Allaah and ask His Forgiveness? For Allaah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” [Al-Maa’idah 5:74]

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Abu Umamah رضي الله عنه narrated the Messenger of Allaah صلى الله عليه وسلم said:

ِنَّ صَاحِبَ الشِّمَالِ لِيَرْفَعُ الْقَلَمَ سِتَّ سَاعَاتٍ عَنِ الْعَبْدِ الْمُسْلِمِ الْمُخْطِئِ أَوِ الْمُسِيءِ
فَإِنْ نَدِمَ وَاسْتَغْفَرَ اللَّهَ مِنْهَا أَلْقَاهَا، وَإِلا كُتِبَتْ وَاحِدَةً

“The companion (i.e. Angel) on the left lifts his pen for six hours for the Muslim slave that errs or sins. If the slave is remorseful and asks Allaah’s forgiveness, the Angel does not record it. And if the slave does not ask Allaah for forgiveness, the Angel records it as one (sin).”

[At-Tabarani, ‘Mu’jam al-Kabeer’, 7667; Abu Nu’aym, ‘Hilyat al-Awliyah’, 6/124; Al-Bayhaqi, ‘Shu’ab al-Imaan’, 6788; Al-Haythami, ‘Majma’ az-Zawa’id’, 10/210 – classed as hasan in ‘Silsilah as-Saheehah’, 1209 (see also ‘Jaami’ as-Saheeh’, 2097)]

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1. Al-Manawi رحمه الله تعالى commented in his ‘Fayd al-Qadeer’, 2/579 (#2291):

إن صاحب الشمال) وهو كاتب السيئات

ليرفع القلم) ست ساعات يحتمل أن المراد الفلكية ويحتمل غيرها

عن العبد المسلم المخطئ) فلا يكتب عليه الخطيئة قبل مضيها بل يمهله

فإن ندم) على فعله المعصية واستغفر الله منها أي طلب منه أن يغفرها وتاب توبة صحيحة

ألقاها) أي طرحها فلم يكتبها

وإلا) أي وإن لم يندم ويستغفر

كتبت) بالبناء للمفعول يعني كتبها كاتب الشمال

واحدة) أي خطيئة واحدة بخلاف الحسنة فإنها تكتب عشرا

Partial translation:

The companion on the left (i.e. Angel): He is the writer of sins
Lifts the pen (for six hours): These six hours could refer to astronomical time or another time period.
For the Muslim slave that errs or sins: (The Angel) won’t record the sin or error (before the six hours passes), he will delay writing it.
If the slave shows remorse (and repents): If the slave seeks sincere repentance for the sin or error he’s committed.
The Angel does not record it: Means the Angel on the left ignores writing it.
If the slave does not ask Allaah for forgiveness: This means the Angel on the left writes it down as one bad deed, unlike the Angel that records the good deeds. The Angel on the right writes down a good deed ten times.

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2. ‘Ali ibn Abu Bakr al-Haythami رحمه الله تعالى said that the right Companion (i.e. Angel) writes down the good deeds of a person, and if he commits a sin, it is withheld (from being written) and the person is given a period of reprieve to seek forgiveness. If he does not repent within that time, then a sin is written for him – see ‘Majma’ az-Zawa’id’, 10/ 207-208

3.  The Messenger of Allaah صلى الله عليه وسلم said: “O people, repent to Allaah and seek His forgiveness, for I repent one hundred times a day.” [Saheeh Muslim, 2702]

4. The Messenger of Allaah صلى الله عليه وسلم said: “Allaah spreads out His Hand at night to accept the repentance of those who did wrong during the day, and He spreads out His Hand during the day to accept the repentance of those who did wrong during the night. (This will continue) until the sun rises from the West.” [Saheeh Muslim, 2759]

5. The Messenger of Allaah صلى الله عليه وسلم said: “Every son of Adam sins, and the best of those who sin are those who repent.” [At-Tirmidhi, 2499]

6. Haatim al-Assam stated: “Haste is from the Shaytan except in five cases… (and amongst the five is) Repenting from a sin when a sin is commited.” [Hilyat al-Awliya’, 8/78]

7. The conditions of repentance include: 1) Giving up the sin; 2) Regretting what one has done; 3) Resolving not to go back to it. If the matter involves the rights of other people, then one must also ask them for forgiveness.

8. These points above speak of hastening to make repentance and not to delay out of a false sense of security of time. For indeed if a sin is not written within a six-hour period, is there a guarantee a person will live long enough to make it to the end of the fifth hour?
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May Allaah make us from amongst the Tawwabeen.

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