The basis of faith and keeping it alive is through constant repentance. Here is a practical way to be in a genuine state of repentance.
By Rayhan al-Safawi
Faith enters the heart when we turn toward God in repentance and realize our short-comings and how we cannot live without Him. Faith is a continual process of repentance and God’s grace and mercy expands in the human heart as he or she repents. If we read the prayers of the Prophets in the Qur’an and those of the Ahl al-Bayt (as), we will see that they were in a constant state of repentance. This is not because they sinned, but because they were humble enough to recognize that no matter how much good they did, it would always fall short of what their Lord deserved. For us however, it is a genuine repentance of sins.
It is with humility that love of Allah grew in the hearts of the Prophets and Imams, and works of love gushed forth from their hearts as a result. If they were patient, did good works, they came out of a soul that was in a deep state of tawbah (repentance).
If you see yourself as not doing any good works for the sake of God, that means that God’s love does not dwell in your heart and true faith has not entered your being. The million dollar question here is how to begin? The process begins with a critical self-examination into your sins and faults. It also involves being open to criticism from others.
Once you establish your sins, then you must also think of everything that pains you in life. You should muster up the ability to cry and once you get yourself into that sorrowful state, immediately turn your attention to your sins and use the power of your sorrow to seek forgiveness from God. Sorrow and tears are the best way to open up your heart to true repentance.
Rayhan al-Safawi is a blogger at the World Shia Forum. He lives with his family in the West Coast, United States.