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Turning to God in Contrition

  • Awba (turning to God in contrition) is a Qur’anic concept frequently used in Sufism. The word is closely related to ‘repentance’ and ‘inaba’, but is mostly used to express the state of being away from everything other than God, belonging to the Prophets and Messengers.”
  • “An initiate’s first station is repentance, while the second is inaba (sincere penitence). In common usage, inaba also refers to the ceremony that is held when one submits to a spiritual guide (as a murshid).While repentance requires the training of feelings, thoughts, and acts in order to move from opposition to acceptance and obedience, sincere penitence demands a critique of the authenticity, sincerity, and sufficiency of that acceptance and obedience. Repentance is a progression or journeying toward God—that is, seeking to do what is pleasing to God and refraining from what is forbidden by Him. Sincere penitence is an ascension through the stations of journeying in God—in other words, striving to live an upright life in self-annihilation and absorption in God so that one may seek His pleasure in all actions and thoughts. Awba (turning to God in contrition) is an ascension through the stations of journeying from God—that is, being responsible for guiding others after having embodied the Islamic way of belief, thought, and conduct.
  • In other words, taking refuge in God in fear of dying as a non-Muslim and deserving eternal punishment is repentance; annihilating one’s self in God in the hope of preserving one’s spiritual rank is sincere penitence; and closing one’s self to any desires, ambitions, or aims other than God’s good pleasure is turning to Him in utmost contrition. The first is the state of all believers, and is expressed in: ‘Repent to God, O believers!’ (24:31). The second is an attribute of saints and the foremost in belief and moral conduct who have been brought near God. Its beginning is seen in: ‘Turn to your Lord repentant’ (39:54), and its end is stated in: He comes with a contrite heart (50:33). The third is for the Prophets and Messengers, all of whom are appreciated and praised by God in the words: ‘How excellent a servant! Truly he was ever turning in contrition (to his Lord)’ (38:44).”1)
  • “The first thing an initiate must do is to turn to God in repentance and contrition, in determination to emigrate to what God is pleased with from what He is not, to what He asks us to do from what He does not, and to a life in the heart and the spirit from a carnal life. So long as their efforts are supported by such a high degree of purification of the carnal soul, refinement of the heart, and good morals, initiates feel that they change both inwardly and outwardly while their horizons become gradually enlightened. To the extent of their sincerity and purity of intention, they begin to present an example of straightforwardness in acting, with the mechanism of their conscience becoming gradually radiant.”2)
  • “When servants make a fault, they need to turn to God immediately, and enter the lane of repentance, inaba, and awba. it is very important to be aware of the forgiveness of Lord, to say, ‘I made a mistake again, I misbehaved again, but I am regretful and shameful,’ and to try to get away from the bad situation immediately.”3)

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M. Fethullah Gülen, Emerald Hills of the Heart: Key Concepts in the Practice of Sufism (vol. 1), New Jersey: Tughra Books, 2011, p. 4.
M. Fethullah Gülen, Emerald Hills of the Heart: Key Concepts in the Practice of Sufism (vol. 2), New Jersey: Tughra Books, 2011, p. 274–275.
M. Fethullah Gülen, Kırık Testi-1, İstanbul: Nil Yayınları, 2011, p. 167.
turning_to_god_in_contrition.txt · Last modified: 2022/09/09 19:38 by Editor