Here’s an authentic tradition regarding God’s mercy.
مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ يَحْيَى عَنْ أَحْمَدَ بْنِ مُحَمَّدِ بْنِ عِيسَى عَنِ الْحَسَنِ بْنِ مَحْبُوبٍ عَنْ مُعَاوِيَةَ بْنِ وَهْبٍ قَالَ سَمِعْتُ أَبَا عَبْدِ اللَّهِ ع يَقُولُ إِذَا تَابَ الْعَبْدُ تَوْبَةً نَصُوحاً أَحَبَّهُ اللَّه فَسَتَرَ عَلَيْهِ فِي الدُّنْيَا وَ الْآخِرَةِ فَقُلْتُ وَ كَيْفَ يَسْتُرُ عَلَيْهِ قَالَ يُنْسِي مَلَكَيْهِ مَا كَتَبَا عَلَيْهِ مِنَ الذُّنُوبِ وَ يُوحِي إِلَى جَوَارِحِهِ اكْتُمِي عَلَيْهِ ذُنُوبَهُ وَ يُوحِي إِلَى بِقَاعِ الْأَرْضِ اكْتُمِي مَا كَانَ يَعْمَلُ عَلَيْكِ مِنَ الذُّنُوبِ فَيَلْقَى اللَّهَ حِينَ يَلْقَاهُ وَ لَيْسَ شَيْءٌ يَشْهَدُ عَلَيْهِ بِشَيْءٍ مِنَ الذُّنُوبِ.
Moa'wiyah ibn Wahb said, I heard Abu Abdullah, peace be upon him, saying,
“If a servant repents sincerely, Allah loves him, so [He] covers his sins in this life and the next.”
I said, “And how does He cover him?”
He, peace be upon him, said, “He makes his two angels forget the sins that they had written upon him, and He reveals/signals to his body organs to hide his sins, and reveals/signals to the places on Earth, where he had committed sinful deeds, to hide them. Thus, when Allah meets him, and he meets Him, nothing will testify against him from [his] sins.”
Al-Kafi, Volume 2, Page 430, Tradition #1
- God is merciful.
- Sincere repentance results in your protection from your sins.
- God commands angels, body parts, and Earth to conceal the sins of a sincere repentant.
- Imam’s companion asked the Imam, peace be upon him, how God completes an affair. Neither the Imam nor the companion were hesitant to discuss the mechanics behind God’s order.
- Our actions affect 3 things: angels, Earth, and our body parts. Sinful actions will leave negative effects on our body parts and Earth, which must be covered or concealed to not count against us.
- Conceptually, what angels remember, is not the same as what is written down. Angels can forget what they have written down, and subsequently, what they have written down becomes inconsequential for us. Thus, it is my opinion, we ought not to picture a book of any sort; rather we must consider established effects that are linked to angels’ memories. In simpler words, what angels perceive, they remember, and what they remember has effects. Without the proximate cause of angels remembering, there won’t be any consequences for our actions. What memory implies in this case, I do not know. Here’s the given causal chain that links our action to their consequences:
o Our actions -> angels’ memory -> established effects -> consequences of our actions
- Imam’s companion asked the Imam, peace be upon him, how God completes an affair. Neither the Imam nor the companion was hesitant to discuss the mechanics behind God’s will. Thus, it is permitted, at least on some occasions, to ask how God achieves with His will.
- God regularly sends revelations to our body parts and Earth, but not angels. How angels communicate with God is different than how Earth and our body parts communicate with God.
- Earth and our body parts are commanded to hide, angels are commanded to forget. All three entities are portrayed to have consciousness, or a means to take in information and act upon it.
- It is a common Islamic knowledge that our body parts testify against us in the hereafter; however, this tradition makes it clear that Earth or the land that you walk on can also testify against you.