[15:24] And we fully know those among you who advance, and we fully know those who regress.
After choosing God's path over Satan's, believers are expected to continuously work hard to redeem their souls (90:4, 91:7-10). The more we progress on this path, the closer our souls are to the blessing of certainty and the state of righteousness we pray to die in (16:32). God has clarified for us in the Quran that His road is not an easy one (90:10-18)and that the amount of strife to stay on His path in the face of all kinds of temptations and adversity is what defines ultimate winners and ultimate losers.
[47:31] We will certainly put you to the test, in order to distinguish those among you who strive, and steadfastly persevere. We must expose your true qualities.
[29:3] We have tested those before them, for GOD must distinguish those who are truthful, and He must expose the liars.
Many of us, sometimes, fail certain tests and pass others. Our journey of learning the essence of submission to God alone at all times varies from one person to another. It is easy for some and difficult for others, short for some but lengthy and complicated for others. Each package has already been planned and designed by the Supreme Planner, who knows us more than we know ourselves and who chooses the perfect course for the corresponding soul. God has also established for us the system of His forgiveness. He only forgives all sins after we repent, reform, and remain guided (66:8, 11:3, 20:82). We are only counted as believers when we succeed in reforming (4:146). As long as we are able to recognize our failures, utilize the vital gift of repentance, fix our actions, and manage to reform, we are forgiven and our souls will keep on progressing. The Most Merciful transforms our sins into credit only when we repent and reform by leading a righteous life (25:70).
[20:82] I am surely Forgiving for those who repent, believe, lead a righteous life, and steadfastly remain guided.
The Believers Repent [66:8] O you who believe, you shall repent to GOD a firm repentance. Your Lord will then remit your sins and admit you into gardens with flowing streams. On that day, GOD will not disappoint the prophet and those who believed with him. Their light will radiate in front of them and to their right. They will say, "Our Lord, perfect our light for us, and forgive us; You are Omnipotent."
[11:3] "You shall seek your Lord's forgiveness, then repent to Him. He will then bless you generously for a predetermined period, and bestow His grace upon those who deserve it. If you turn away, then I fear for you the retribution of an awesome day."
[4:146] Only those who repent, reform, hold fast to GOD, and devote their religion absolutely to GOD alone, will be counted with the believers. GOD will bless the believers with a great recompense.
[25:70] Exempted are those who repent, believe, and lead a righteous life. GOD transforms their sins into credits. GOD is Forgiver, Most Merciful.
[25:71] Those who repent and lead a righteous life, GOD redeems them; a complete redemption.
Hopping off and back on the straight path of God through our sincere repentance and reform is very crucial to our destiny. However, we understand from the Quran that a pattern of failing to reform is very alarming, and risky. God has warned us against a certain loss of the soul that is irreversible. Once we make a decision to start wronging our souls, fail to repent and reform, we might end up persisting on this condition of sinning, knowingly. In this case, our souls gradually regress or slide back. This is when Satan rejoices that he has claimed us and he gets right on board. He continues to adorn evil in our eyes, hypnotize us and make us sink into his illusion until we are stuck with him. We lose God's support and love while only gaining Satan's interest and attention. Persisting in sins, knowingly, is not a trait of the righteous or a life style for a believer:
[3:135] If they fall in sin or wrong their souls, they remember GOD and ask forgiveness for their sins - and who forgives the sins except GOD - and they do not persist in sins, knowingly.
[4:137] Surely, those who believe, then disbelieve, then believe, then disbelieve, then plunge deeper into disbelief, GOD will not forgive them, nor will He guide them in any way.
[9:125] As for those who harbored doubts in their hearts, it actually added unholiness to their unholiness, and they died as disbelievers.
[9:126] Do they not see that they suffer from exacting trials every year once or twice? Yet, they consistently fail to repent, and fail to take heed?
[4:18] Not acceptable is the repentance of those who commit sins until death comes to them, then say, "Now I repent." Nor is it acceptable from those who die as disbelievers. For these, we have prepared a painful retribution.
[2:81] Indeed, those who earn sins and become surrounded by their evil work will be the dwellers of Hell; they abide in it forever.
Ego is a leading cause for the regression of our souls. It comes in our way and blind us from admitting our transgressions or reevaluating our stands. We spend too much energy defending our egos, not realizing that this is a trap from Satan to continue to slide back and exceed the limits set for us by God. Letting go of our egos is an awesome blessing that enables us to recognize our sins and repent for them. On the other hand, submitting to our egos (25:23, 45:23) is nothing but poor service to our souls, a green light to regress, and an obstacle for redemption which might turn into a disastrous loss if maintained until death (4:116).
A tragic application of our egoistic loss which is also emphasized clearly in the Quran, is that many people slide back and deviate from the clear word of God after receiving their guidance through God's messengers and His solid proofs. Their ego blind them from seeing their deviation, thus they fail to repent and reform. They persist in sinning and regressing. The following are just a few examples. Please reflect and note the consequences of their choice:
[3:144] Muhammad was no more than a messenger like the messengers before him. Should he die or get killed, would you turn back on your heels? Anyone who turns back on his heels, does not hurt GOD in the least. GOD rewards those who are appreciative.
Learning From Israel's History [2:92] Moses went to you with profound miracles, yet you worshiped the calf in his absence, and you turned wicked.
God Sends Instructions
Through His Messenger [24:47] They say, "We believe in GOD and in the messenger, and we obey," but then some of them slide back afterwards. These are not believers.
Putting Them to the Test [35:42] They swore by GOD solemnly that if a warner went to them, they would be better guided than a certain congregation! However, now that the warner did come to them, this only plunged them deeper into aversion.
One of the Great Miracles
[74:35] This is one of the great miracles.
[74:36] A warning to the human race.
[74:37] For those among you who wish to advance, or regress.
[3:86] Why should GOD guide people who disbelieved after believing, and after witnessing that the messenger is truth, and after solid proofs* have been given to them? GOD does not guide the wicked.
[9:74] They swear by GOD that they never said it, although they have uttered the word of disbelief; they have disbelieved after becoming submitters. In fact, they gave up what they never had. They have rebelled even though GOD and His messenger have showered them with His grace and provisions. If they repent, it would be best for them. But if they turn away, GOD will commit them to painful retribution in this life and in the Hereafter. They will find no one on earth to be their lord and master.
[3:8] "Our Lord, let not our hearts waver, now that You have guided us. Shower us with Your mercy; You are the Grantor.
[3:193] "Our Lord, we have heard a caller calling to faith and proclaiming: `You shall believe in your Lord,' and we have believed. Our Lord, forgive us our transgressions, remit our sins, and let us die as righteous believers.
[2:286] ... "Our Lord, do not condemn us if we forget or make mistakes. Our Lord, and protect us from blaspheming against You, like those before us have done. Our Lord, protect us from sinning until it becomes too late for us to repent. Pardon us, forgive us, and have mercy on us. You are our Lord and Master. Grant us victory over the disbelieving people."
Peaceful Friday, salaam and God bless.