The reason for breaking one’s promises after repentance and seeking forgiveness
Sometimes Satan and man’s nafs al-ammarah (the commanding soul) and makes him pessimistic about God and His vast mercy and demonstrate repentance as so great and impossible that it is discouraged. Let us not forget that the despair of God’s mercy is the greatest sin itself and we must seriously return to the open arms of the mercy of truth, for He is the Acceptor and the Merciful.
Why do we still break the covenant despite all of this tawbah (repentance) and istighfar (seeking forgiveness)?
There are several reasons for returning to sin and breaking one’s promises, the following are some of them:
1. Weak faith: One of the most important causes of sin and returning to it after repentance is the weakness of faith in God, the angels, heaven and hell, the Messenger of God [Muhammad], the Quran, etc. 
2. Not knowing the meaning of true repentance: Many think they have repented but they do not know that repenting is not just uttering a word. Rather, man should regret his past, be seriously determined not to repeat that sin, return the rights of the people, return to the obligatory acts of worship and if he has not made up for them perform them. 
3. The temptation of Satan and the nafs al-ammarah (the commanding soul): Sometimes Satan and man’s commanding soul and makes him pessimistic about God and His vast mercy and demonstrate repentance so great and impossible that it is discouraged. Let us not forget that the despair of God’s mercy is the greatest sin itself and we must seriously return to the open arms of the mercy of truth, for He is the Acceptor and the Merciful.
4. Not knowing the effects and benefits of repentance: True repentance has effects, including the following :
a. Beloved of God: In Surah al-Baqarah [Chapter of the Heifer], verse 222, we read,
إِنَّ اللَّـهَ يُحِبُّ التَّوَّابِينَ وَيُحِبُّ الْمُتَطَهِّرِينَ
“… Indeed, God loves the penitent and He loves those who keep clean.” Repentance makes God happy.
b. One who repents is praised and prayed for by the angels.
c. The true repentant will go to heaven.
d. Repentance leads to longevity and prosperity.
e. Repentance leads to the answering of one’s supplications.
f. Whatever the sin, it is cleansed by repentance.
5. Lack of perseverance in repentance: One of the reasons for returning to sin is the lack of perseverance in repentance. If a person is constantly engaged in seeking forgiveness and reciting Du’a al-Tawbah (Supplication of Repentance), especially supplication 31 [Imam Ali al-Sajjad’s Supplication in Repentance] of Sahifah al-Sajjadiyyah (The Book of Sajjad) and Munajat al-Ta’ibin (The Whispered Prayer of the Repenters), he is constantly in a state of consciousness and always notices the presence of God when he is sinning. 
6. Improper friends: Another factor in neglecting and turning to sin is encouraging bad friends with words and deeds. Man is a social being and whether he wants to or not, he has a positive or negative effect on others. What is better for a person to do his best in choosing a friend and to travel only with someone who, according to the order of the religious leaders, has three qualities: 
1. Seeing him reminds you of God.
2. His words add to your knowledge and awareness.
3. His actions encourage you to do good deeds.
7. Paying attention to instant and fleeting pleasures: Because we humans deal with emotions every day, we think more about immediate and fleeting pleasures. If we are careful and use our “resurrection intellect” more than our “subsistence intellect,” we will understand that lasting, eternal and complete pleasure is better than short-term and unstable pleasure. In our books on etiquette, it is written that man can achieve intellectual pleasures through worship and contemplation, a pleasure that is not comparable to material pleasures.
The poet, Sa’adi Shirazi, said: “If you know the pleasure of abandoning pleasure, you will not enjoy pleasure anymore.”
8. Neglect of death: Sometimes man is tempted by Satan and his soul and assumes that there is always time to return and does not realize that death is not announced to anyone. There comes a time when we have committed many sins and have no time or way to return and truly repent. By remembering death and paying attention to the presence of God, we can prevent the repetition of repentance and breaking repentance.
9. Lack of permanent remembrance: Remembrance causes constant attention to God. In a narration, Imam Ali said, “A believer constantly remembers [God], frequently contemplates, is thankful for blessings and patient in the face of tribulation.”  It is certain that if the angel of the remembrance of God enters the realm of the heart, the black demon of sin will leave the house of the heart.
10. Not knowing the meaning of repentance: Intentionally breaking one’s repentance is disregarding and, according to some narrations, mocking God. How difficult is it for us if someone makes a promise to us and then publicly breaks his promises without any excuse? We feel that he has insulted and humiliated us Likewise, if one deliberately returns to sin according to God’s station, in fact, he has minimized God. This in turn causes man to commit greater sins.
11. Insisting on small and big sins: Sin, whether small or large, means dissatisfying God. Sin means turning man back from the path of perfection, sin means that man cuts the roots of his divine innate nature and conscience with a sharp ax of transgression and deprives himself of the sweet rewards of reaching God the Merciful. One who gradually adds to one’s sins does not realize that one is slowly approaching animal traits and distancing oneself from one’s spiritual position and these actions cause the heart to darken. Such a trait destroys the sensitivity of conscience, innate nature and intellect to sin to the point that sin becomes normal for this person without feeling any discomfort inside. 
14. Sinful environment: We have a narration from Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq that says: “A believer must not sit in a gathering where God is disobeyed if he is unable to make a change.”  These gatherings affect human nature in the long run and slowly they keep him from the path of perfection. If a person cannot prevent sin by inviting positive actions and thoughts, he should at least save himself from the fire of these gatherings and keep his head above water.
15. Weak will: Sometimes man wants to distance himself from sin and breaking his repentance but because of the weakness of the will, he cannot. Scholars of Islamic ethics recommend that by performing duties and paying attention to spiritual matters (prayers, supplications, oral advice, reading moral books, meeting scholars, choosing a suitable friend, etc.) and strengthen our spiritual dimension so that we can overcome the animal dimension (lusts, passions, temptations, etc.).
16. Compliance with Satan: Returning to sin is in harmony with Satan, Satan who swears to turn us away from the mercy of God  if man is conscious (by supplication, remembrance, intercession, a good friend, studying, etc.) At the time of sinning, he realizes that by returning to sin and breaking his promises, he has provided the means for Satan’s happiness and sorrow to God. This attention causes piety and not breaking one’s repentance.
1. Ayatollah Sayyed Abd al-Husayn Dastghayb-Shirazi, “Greater Sins,” Kanoun-e Tarbiat Publications, Shirazi, volume 2, page 578 (adaptation).
2. Imam Ruhollah Khomeyni, “Forty Hadiths,” Institute for Organizing and Publishing the Works of Imam Khomeyni, First Edition, 1992, page 277.
3. Previous, page 584.
4. Ibid., page 602.
5. Ahmad Motahhari, “The Relationship Between Friendship and Love,” Islamic Publications Office, 1986, page 80 with summary.
6. Mohammad Mohammadi-Reyshahri, “Mizan al-Hikmah (Scale of Wisdom),” Dar al-Hadith, volume 2, first edition, 1996, page 966.
الإمام علي (عليه السلام): "المُؤْمِنُ دائِمُ الذِّكرِ كَثيرُ الفِكرِ عَلَى النَّعماءِ شاكِرٌ وَفِي البَلاءِ صابِرٌ"
7. Imam Ruhollah Khomeyni, “Forty Hadiths,” Institute for Organizing and Publishing the Works of Imam Khomeyni, First Edition, 1992, page 272.
8. Ayatollah Naser Makarem-Shirazi, “One Hundred and Fifty Lessons For Life,” al-Imam Ali ibn Abi Taleb Seminary Publications, 2001, page 130.
الإمام جعفر الصادق (عليه السلام): "لا يَنبغي للمؤمنِ أنْ يَجلِسَ مَجلسا يُعصى اللّه ُ فيهِ ولا يَقدِرُ على تغييرِهِ"
9. قَالَ رَبِّ بِمَا أَغْوَيْتَنِي لَأُزَيِّنَنَّ لَهُمْ فِي الْأَرْضِ وَلَأُغْوِيَنَّهُمْ أَجْمَعِينَ
“He said, ‘My Lord! As You have consigned me to perversity, I will surely glamorize [evil] for them on the earth, and I will surely pervert them, all.”
[The Holy Quran 15:39]
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