In the name of God, Most Merciful, Most Compassionate; blessing and peace be upon Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.
“Muhammad is not the father of any of your men,
but he is the Apostle of God, and the seal of the Prophets:
And God has knowledge of all things.” (Ahzab 33:4)
Every morning when I open the sliding door and grill of my house to go to the mosque nearby for ‘subuh’ prayers, he would be there. He has a fierce face but pleading eyes. His eyes will meet mine; I would feel sorry and pity him. I would throw crumbs of bread to him. He would mumble and swallow it greedily, in a few second they would be finished.
He is not alone. With him is an elder sister and their mother. He is about three months old while his sister is one and a half years old. Together they eat the food that I would throw to them. Since it was early in the morning, pieces of bread would be their usual ‘menu’.
But sometimes when there was ‘keropok’ (fish crisps) left on the dining table, I grabbed the ‘keropok’ and would throw it to the ‘family members’ who would be waiting outside. It would be great seeing them munching the goodies. Sometimes I would take a minute or two, watching them eating greedily.
I had the grubs ready in hand before opening the sliding door because I knew they would be waiting patiently outside. They would make noises such as scratching the doors and of course ‘meowing’.
My children would give them names. The little one was called ‘Hitam’ (Black) as he was 100 percent black, his sister ‘Musang’ (Civet Cat) because of her unique style while moving (just like a ‘musang’) and had thick fur. Their mother was simply named ‘Mak Musang’ (Musang’s Mother).
Since I left my home early in the morning and returned at midnight, I only would meet them at that time. After morning prayers, I would mix leftover fish and rice and call them to eat. When returning home at midnight, sometimes Musang and Hitam would be at the door, waiting for me to open them.
When I was not working, I attended them at least three times a day when I gave them ‘breakfast’, ‘lunch’ and ‘dinner’. They would be accompanied by a few ‘relatives’, ‘friends’ or passerby. At times there would be ten of them, enjoying their meals. Sometimes they had cat food, bought from a nearby mini market.
It was normal for Musang and another one by the name of ‘Atan’ to enter our house and sleep on the sofa and bed. My children would pet, coax and play with them. Sometimes the children brought Musang and Atan to bed and they would happily sleep in their arms!
But Hitam was adjusting his life to be like Musang and Atan. He dared not to enter our house as he was still testing ‘the relationship’. At first he was wild, but slowly he became accustomed to be ‘a great friend of men’.
While Musang and Atan did not fear to lean their bodies against my legs, Hitam seemed more reserved. He would stare at me, his mind not clear as to get closer or to run away to a concrete drain nearby.
One late afternoon, I called my three sons to get ready to go the mosque for ‘asar’ prayers. I then went to our garage, got inside my car, put on the reverse gear and step on the pedal. I heard my sons shouting that I had rolled over Hitam. I looked outside the car and managed to see Hitam running away for about three meters before collapsing to the ground. He was struggling for life, kicking away, and the next moment laid motionless.
What had I done? I had killed a cat, a kitten to be exact! I sat motionless at the driver’s seat. I felt weak, very miserable indeed. Why didn’t I inspect first or leave the engine running a minute or two before reversing the car. Thoughts of Hitam’s fierce face and his laughable naughty acts made me sad. Even though I accidently killed him, I felt very, very guilty. In my mind I thought I had done a sin and the only way to clear my uneasiness was to repent.
Men made countless mistakes each day. Some of them are unnoticeable or you have no knowledge about them. For example when you make ablution before praying, the running water might kill a few or many ants.
While you are walking, you might be stepping on small creatures or when you are driving, you might be running over small creatures such as frogs and lizards. So we have to ask God for His forgiveness every now and then even though we think we would not have done anything wrong.
Abu Hurairah has related that he heard the Holy Prophet say: “By Allah! I seek Allah’s Forgiveness and return to Him in repentance more than 70 times in a single day.”
Allah has commanded all the believers to repent, as He says: “...And all of you beg Allah to forgive all you all, O’ believers, that you may be successful.” (Qur’an 24:31) To those who continue to do wrong, Allah says: “...And whosoever does not repent, then such are indeed ‘adh-dhaalimoon (wrongdoers, etc)” (Qur’an 49:11)
In searching for books and articles about repentance I came across this piece that I thought are beneficial to writers like me who had for many years worked as a journalist in a ‘secular’ company. Other writers too could find this note useful.
In a question and answer part of a book entitled ‘I Want to Repent, but...’ by Muhammad Salih al-Munajjid (International Islamic Publishing House), this question was being asked: “I used to be a misguided writer, spreading secular thoughts through my stories and articles. I used my poetry (the same could be said about lewd pictures – writer) to spread promiscuity and immorality. Then Allah turned to me with His mercy and guided me, bringing me out of darkness into light. How should I repent?
The answer given: “This is a great favour and blessing from Allah. This is guidance for which we praise Allah. We ask Him to help you to stand firm and to bless you even more. Anyone who used his pen to wage war on Islam by spreading deviant ideologies, misguided heresies (bid’ahs), corruption and immorality, is obliged to do the following.
He should announce his repentance of everything he has written and publicly – through all available means – renounce his former misguided writings and refute all his old ideas. Thus, his new stance will become well known, and no one will be able to claim that he was misguided by the writings that he has now disowned.
This public announcement is one of the obligations of repentance in such cases, as Allah says: “Except those who repent and do righteous deeds, and openly declare (the truth which they concealed). These, I will accept their repentance. And I am the One Who accept repentance, the Most Merciful.” (Qur’an 2:160)
He should use his words and pens to spread Islam, expending his energy to support the religion of Allah, teaching the people about the Truth and calling them to it.
He should direct his energies towards counterattacking the enemies of Islam, exposing them and their schemes, and proving their claims wrong, just as he used to support them before. Thus he will become a sword in the defence of truth against falsehood.
Similarly, anyone who has previously convinced another person – even in a private gathering – of something ‘haraam’ (forbidden), such as the idea that ‘riba’ is not usury and is therefore allowed, should go back to the person and explain the truth to him, just as he previously led him astray. In this way, he can expiate for his previous sin. And Allah is the One Who guides.”