'To err is human' is the famous quote by the poet Alexander Pope.
Some people will use this famous line to assure others that, as human we will make mistakes but some will use this as an excuse to justify their mistakes and wrongdoings. One thing for certain, as human, we will definitely make a mistake at some point of time.
The definition of 'mistake' is
n. An action or judgment that is misguided or wrong. b. be wrong about
More often than not, mistakes are committed unintentionally. In Islam, some mistakes are equated with sins. No one is born perfect except, in my opinion, our beloved Prophet Muhammad pbuh, but even he said that, he is only human.
" Alqama narrated It on the authority of 'Abdullah (b. Mas'ud) who said: The Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said the prayer; (the narrator added): He made some act of omission or commission when he pronounced salutation; it was said to him: Messenger of Allah, is there something new about (he prayer? He (the Holy Prophet) said: What is it? They said: You said prayer in such and such away. He (the narrator) said: He (the Holy Prophet) turned his feet and faced the Qibla and performed two prostrations and then pronounced salutations, and then turned his face towards us and said: If there is anything new about prayer (new command from the Lord) I informed you of that. But I am a human being and I forget as you for. get, so when I forget, remind me, and when any one of you is in doubt about his prayer. He should aim at what Is correct and complete his prayer in that respect and then make two prostrations." (Sahih Muslim Book #004, Hadith #1168)
“Rafi' b. Khadij reported that Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) came to Medina and the people had been grafting the trees. He said: What are you doing? They said: We are grafting them, whereupon he said: It may perhaps be good for you if you do not do that, so they abandoned this practice (and the date-palms) began to yield less fruit. They made a mention of it (to the Holy Prophet), whereupon he said: I am a human being, so when I command you about a thing pertaining to religion, do accept it, and when I command you about a thing out of my personal opinion, keep it in mind that I am a human being. 'Ikrima reported that he said something like this." (Sahih Muslim Book #030, Hadith #5831)
Even in the holy Quran it is stated :
“Say, (O Muhammad)"I am only a man like you, to whom has been revealed that your god is one God. So whoever would hope for the meeting with his Lord - let him do righteous work and not associate in the worship of his Lord anyone."
Surah Al-Kahf 18:110
So committing sins and mistakes is part of our nature but having said that, it does not mean it is permissible for us to intentionally sin and claim it to be a mistake. We are given intellect to think and ponder over things before making a decision.
The most important question here is, can we repent? Are our sins too great? Will God accept our 'tawbah'? Is it too late?
Believe it or not, these are the questions I asked the Wise Owl years ago. When I first met the Wise Owl, I was not exactly on the desired path. I prayed occasionally but I never recited any dua or supplication at the end of my prayers. Why? Because I felt that for a sinner like me, I'm not qualified nor do I have any right to ask anything from God. I was actually ashamed to ask for anything because I know I have not been a very good servant of His.
The Wise Owl told me then, "Sister, Allah is ever so merciful and forgiving. It is never too late to ask for forgiveness as long as we are still breathing. It is only too late when we are at the brink of death"
" Prophet (S.A.W.) said, “Allah (S.W.T.) accepts repentance from a person as long as death does not reach his throat.” Hadith Tirmidhi.
The Wise Owl told me that even if my sins are as tall as the Mount Everest, Allah SWT will forgive me if I repent sincerely and seek for His forgiveness. Once a person repents, he or she should try their hardest not to commit the same sin.
“Say: "O 'Ibadi (My slaves) who have transgressed against themselves (by committing evil deeds and sins)! Despair not of the Mercy of Allah, verily Allah forgives all sins. Truly, He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. Say: "O 'Ibadi (My slaves) who have transgressed against themselves (by committing evil deeds and sins)! Despair not of the Mercy of Allah, verily Allah forgives all sins. Truly, He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.”
Surah Az-Zumar 39:53
SubhanAllah! Such mercy! I know now that Allah SWT loves all His creations. It is us who fail to love Him in return but even if we strayed off His Path, He will always forgive and accept us back if we atone for our wrongdoings. He will even turn all our bad deeds into good, as a sign of His Mercy.
"Except for those who repent, believe and do righteous work. For them Allah will replace their evil deeds with good. And ever is Allah Forgiving and Merciful."
Surah Al-Furqan 25:70
We must be careful though. God Al Mighty is ever merciful and forgiving and He will forgive us for all our sins EXCEPT shirk. Shirk is to worship anything beside Allah SWT.
" Indeed, Allah does not forgive association with Him, but He forgives what is less than that for whom He wills. And he who associates others with Allah has certainly gone far astray."
Surah An-Nisa' 4:116
I understand now that the only thing that is holding us back from repenting is ourselves. There isn't any 'buts' actually. What excuse do we have, that is holding us back from repenting? None ! The fear of our repentance not being accepted is not a valid one. The only question remains is, do we want to repent? Perhaps we have trouble forgiving ourselves and forgetting about the sins and mistakes that we have committed. I think that we need to forgive ourselves, as well as seek for forgiveness from God. The remorse feeling that we feel will only make us be a better person and will strive us to keep repenting. The Wise Owl once said that a person who sinned most, sometimes becomes a better servant of God because he or she never stops asking for forgiveness.
The Wise Owl also said that God love His servants, to ask from Him. The more we ask, the happier God will be. It shows that we only rely on Him for anything. It does not matter if someone ( like me), have barrels of sins, we can still ask for what we want and need, from God and In Shaa Allah, God will give....
" And your Lord says, "Call upon Me; I will respond to you." Indeed, those who disdain My worship will enter Hell [rendered] contemptible."
Surah Ghafir 40:60