Amending Past Mistakes

Ustadh Salman Younas advises on how best to make amends for one’s past mistakes and turning to Allah for forgiveness and in repentance.

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

In the past I have unfortunately made a mistake with regards to using the tram. One time I used the tram without a ticket and I got caught. However when I came to appealing the ticket unfortunately I lied about it. I really should have been fined.

A second time I had the wrong ticket but that was a genuine mistake. When it came to appealing someone wrote a letter for me and they may have lied regarding certain things. However I’m not quite sure if I amended the letter to ensure no lies were in it. I think I did look over the letter and I may have changed some of the wording to ensure there was no lies.

My questions are 1) Should I contact the tram services and tell them of my past mistakes and whether I should pay the fine to them? 2) If so should I tell them about both incidents or just the first one in case I rechecked the appeal letter for any lies in there to remove them?

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

From the two scenarios you describe, you would need to make amends for the first of them wherein you traveled without purchasing a ticket and then lied in your appeal. You should pay back the amount that you would have otherwise owed the company if you had not lied. This may be done anonymously, such as sending the fine department a letter with the amount you owe.

Lying is an action that is unbefitting of a believer. In a tradition narrated by Safwan ibn Sulaym, the Prophet (blessings upon him) replied in the negative when asked whether a believer could be a liar. (Muwatta) In another report, the Prophet (blessings upon him) said, “Lying leads to wickedness and wickedness leads to the Fire.” (Bukhari, Muslim) The act of lying becomes even worse when it entails depriving others of their rights.

You should, therefore, sincerely repent for your actions. The scholars mention that sincere repentance involves

    1. (a) leaving the sin,

 

    1. (b) resolving never to return to it,

 

    1. (c) feeling remorse for having committed it, and
    1. (d) returning any rights owed to people if the sin relates to such rights.

(Al-Nawawi, Riyad al-Salihin)

With this, you should not despair of Allah’s mercy. As humans, we slip. Our responsibility is to recognize when we make mistakes, rectify our actions, and turn to Allah for assistance and forgiveness.

Wassalam,

Salman

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.


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