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The Light of Guidance (Repentance Story)

I was coming back from a long journey and Allah decreed that my seat in the airplane should be beside a group of carefree young men whose loud laughter and voices were excessive.

I tried to escape from their noise by sleeping but it was impossible. When I got fed up with their noise, I took out my copy of the Qur’an, and started to read what I could in a soft voice. Soon after that these young men started to become quiet. Some of them started to read newspapers and others fell asleep.

Suddenly one of them said in a loud voice, even though he was sitting right next to me, “Enough! Enough!” I thought that I had disturbed him because my voice was too loud, so I apologized to him and carried on reading in a whisper that only I could hear.

I saw him holding his head in his hands, then fidgeting in his seat, and moving a lot. Then he raised his head and said to me angrily, “Please, stop it, I can’t stand it!!”

Then he got up from his seat and went away for a while, then he came back, greeted me with salaams, and apologized. He fell silent and I did not know what was going on. But after a while he turned to me with his eyes full of tears and said to me in a whisper, “For three years or more I have not put my forehead on the ground, and I have not read even one ayah!”

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For a whole month I have been on this trip, and there is no evil action that I did not indulge in. Then I saw you reading Qur’an and my world turned black and my heart was filled with despair. I felt as if someone was strangling me. I felt every ayah that you read coming down on my body like a whip.

I said to myself, “For how long will this negligence go on? Where will this path lead you? What will happen after all this foolish play?” Then I went to the washroom, do you know why?I had the strong urge to weep and I could not find anywhere else to hide from the people’s sight!

I spoke to him in general terms about repentance and turning back to Allah, then he fell silent.

When the plane landed he stopped me and it seemed that he wanted to keep away from his companions. He asked me with a serious expression on his face, “Do you think that Allah will accept my repentance?” I said, “If you are sincere and serious in your repentance, then Allah will forgive all your sins.”

He said, “But I have done terrible things, very terrible.”

I said, “Have you not heard what Allah says:

Say, ˹O Prophet, that Allah says,˺ “O My servants who have exceeded the limits against their souls! Do not lose hope in Allah’s mercy, for Allah certainly forgives all sins. He is indeed the All-Forgiving, Most Merciful.{ Say: O My servants! who have acted extravagantly against their own souls, do not despair of the mercy of Allah; surely Allah forgives the faults altogether; surely He is the Forgiving the Merciful?} (Az-Zumar 39: 53)

I saw him smiling with joy. His eyes filled with tears then he bade me farewell and left.No matter how great a man’s evil and sin, in his heart there is a seed of goodness. If only we can reach it and make it grow, it will bear fruit in sha’ Allah.

This seed of goodness is always fighting in man’s heart, even when it is covered with layers of whims and desires. When Allah wills good for His slave, He causes the light of guidance to shine in his heart and guides him to the path of those who are guided. Allah says:

{Whoever Allah wills to guide, He opens their heart to Islam.1 But whoever He wills to leave astray, He makes their chest tight and constricted as if they were climbing up into the sky. This is how Allah dooms those who disbelieve.} (Al-An`am 6: 125)


Taken with some modifications from Al-Bayaan magazine, issue # 152, Rabee’ al-Aakhir 1421, pp. 66-67