Friday, June 10, 2011
Locks of Love
My five-year-old threw me for a curve the other day when she apologized for a fit she had a year ago when checking herself out in a beauty shop mirror.
"Remember when I was crying because the hairdresser didn't make my hair long when I went in for a haircut?" she asked sheepishly. "Awww, I'm sorry for that!"
Grabbing her in a bear hug, I marveled at her ability to realize the absurdity of her demand, feel remorse for causing me trouble and then offer a heartfelt apology.
At the same time, I couldn't help but reflect--especially in this sacred month of Rajab, which is associated with seeking forgiveness from God--on our duty to repent for all the sins we have commited.
God says: "And hasten to forgiveness from your Lord," (Quran 3:132) and "But those who do wrong but repent thereafter and (truly) believe,--verily thy Lord is thereafter Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful." (7: 153)
While striving to perfect ourselves on our journey to nearness to God, we are bound to make mistakes and get off course. In His Infinite Mercy, God offers us tawba (Arabic word for repentance which literally means "turn or return from one thing to another") as a U-turn to get back on the straight path to Him.
Like alerts on a navigation system, it is God who first turns to us by reminding us that we have erred. To those who heed His warning and do tawba, "He opens His arms," says scholar Hamza Sodagar. Indeed, God loves repentance and rewards those who do it by giving them abundance in this world and converting their bad deeds into good deeds for the Hereafter.