Originally posted here, with thanks.
What follows are extracts selected from a talk given by Sayyidi Habib Umar bin Hafiz (Allah preserve him and benefit us by him) on the topic of seeking forgiveness from Allah in the month of Rajab and some of the secrets therein. There are some additions for extra clarity. The talk was delivered during the Mawlid in Dar al-Mustafa on Thursday 3rd Rajab 1433/ 24th May 2012.
The Time to Seek Forgiveness
Rajab is a time of forgiveness. It has been narrated in the Prophetic hadith: “Seek much forgiveness from Allah in Rajab because in every hour (of the month) Allah frees people from the Fire.”1 Those who have been freed from the fire hate the deeds of the people of the Fire and the attributes of the people of the Fire, and only find tranquillity performing the deeds of the people of Paradise. If they slip up they immediately return to Allah: Those that when they commit an act of indecency or wrong themselves, remember Allah and seek forgiveness for their sins – and who can forgive sins except Allah? – and they do not knowingly persist in (the wrong) they have done.2
Look in yourself for the signs that you have been freed from the Fire. People who allow themselves to look at things which are forbidden, on their screens or elsewhere, will not find these signs. If you have not refrained from falling into the deeds of the people of the Fire, then you have not yet been freed from the Fire. The people of Paradise, those who are preparing their eyes to look at those who have been drawn near to Allah, obey Allah’s order: Say to the believing men that they must lower their gaze and guard their modesty. That will be purer for them. Allah is well aware of what they do. And say to the believing women that they must lower their gaze and guard their modesty.3There should be nothing in your house in Rajab which displeases Allah. Rajab is one of the sacred months, about which Allah says: Do not wrong yourselves therein.4You should not be in the same state in Rajab as you were before it.
The Rightly Guided
One of the signs that you have been freed from the fire is your hatred of sins and acts of disobedience. Look how Allah describes the first generation, and these are the attributes of every truthful person that comes after them: Allah has made faith beloved to you and has made it beautiful in your hearts and He has made hateful to you disbelief, corruption and disobedience. These are those who are rightly-guided. These people are safe from the Devil, from their lower selves, from their caprice, from attachment to the material world. How did they achieve this? It was a bounty and blessing from Allah.5
One of the greatest signs that you have been freed from the Fire is that you take pleasure in seeking forgiveness from Allah in the last portion of the night, and at other times of the day. You raise your hands to him saying: “My Lord, forgive me and turn to me, truly You are the Oft-Returning, the Most Merciful!”
Follow the example of the Beloved (may Allah bless him and grant him peace); follow him in seeking forgiveness. Make sure you do so with a heart that is present, then perhaps Allah will open you a door to connect you with the Beloved. If you received even a portion of one of his prayers for forgiveness you would bathe in the light of that prayer for eternity. He sought forgiveness and he knew the One from Whom he was seeking forgiveness. How great is your knowledge of Allah in relation to his? Keep seeking forgiveness after `Isha’ and after Fajr and throughout the days and nights, then perhaps before the end of Rajab Allah will have opened the door to you and your heart will be filled with light.
You must take from Rajab the secret of connection to Allah. You must realise the secret of seeking forgiveness. Follow the example of Muhammad (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) for he is the greatest of those that seek forgiveness. Allah ennobled you by extending the light of his prayers for forgiveness to you: So know that there is no god but Allah and seek forgiveness for your sins6 and for the believers male and female.7 Allah is saying to him: “Allow them to enter through your door. When they come via you the door is open to them.” If only when they wronged themselves they came to you and sought Allah’s forgiveness and the Messenger sought forgiveness for them.. Is it not enough that they sought Allah’s forgiveness? This is good but far greater than that is that the Messenger himself sought forgiveness for them. Then they will find Allah, and whoever has found Allah has not missed out on anything. They will not just find Allah, but furthermore He will manifest His beauty and bounty to them: they would have found Allah Oft-Returning, Most Merciful.8 Whoever finds Allah Oft-Returning and Most Merciful will live in a state of bliss, constantly experiencing Allah’s mercy until the days of everlasting bliss in the next life.
O Allah, You are the One that said to Your Beloved: When you complete (your immediate task) stand up (to perform another) and to your Lord turn all your attention.9
We ask You by the secret of his worship and his seeking You and asking You to make us amongst the elite of this Ummah and amongst those who receive the greatest portion of his intercession and amongst those who are closest to him.
1 Narrated by al-Daylami
2 Al `Imran, 3:135
3 Al-Nur, 24:30-31
4 Al-Tawbah, 9:36
5 Al-Hujurat, 49:7-8
6 This is a literal translation but should not be understood literally, as the Messenger of Allah is free of any sins.
7 Muhammad, 47:19
8 Al-Nisa’, 4:64
9 Al-Inshirah, 94:7-8