I came across a beautiful piece of advice by Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani on the dilemma that some face in the middle of Ramadan due to not having put in much effort in their worship and actions in the beginning of this month. The lack of effort in the previous days develops into despair about the coming days. I hope these words of wisdom will serve as an encouragement and reminder. The translation from Urdu is as follows:
In the midst of Ramadan, one could wonder: Now that half of Ramadan has already passed and I wasn’t able to put in any special effort (earlier), what is the point of putting in (further) effort in the days that remain? What can happen now?
The answer to this is that Allah Most High has kept open the doors of His Mercy so wide that -with the exception of the person who wants to completely destroy himself- if one minutely turns to Allah Most High, the doors of His Mercy are (always) open.
Repent to Allah once with a pure heart, (saying): O Allah, whatever occurred in the past occurred, whatever days of Ramadan that went by, I wasn’t able to benefit from them as I should have and I remained engaged in sin (but) O Allah! I repent now, forgive (me) out of your Grace and Generosity.
As soon as one repents, all of one’s sins are erased.
The one who repents from sin is like the one who has never sinned. (Hadith)
Hakim al-Ummah Mawlana Ashraf ‘Ali Thanawi (may Allah have mercy upon him) said: when a person repents from a sin, Allah Most High does not simply just forgive him rather he erases this sin from his book of deeds. On the Day of Judgment, there will be no mention of this sin, that he had even committed this sin and then repented from it.
Whenever a person wants, he (or she) can destroy the stockpile of sins with the grenade of tawbah (sincere repentance) to the extent that Allah Most High erases these sins even from one’s book of deeds.
If one repented in the middle of Ramadan and refrained from sins in the days that follow then that person will become the one about whom the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) gave the (following) glad tidings: the one who safeguarded his Ramadan, his entire year is safeguarded (from sins).