On repentance and forgiveness

Assalamu Alaikum WR WB

I have a doubt regarding Istigfar (seeking forgiveness) and Tawba (repentance).

I know both of them are different from each other. But I don’t have a proper understanding on them…

But, when it comes to “Repentance” , most of us make it in our own ways, without knowing about the differences which are there behind these two terms..

So, If you can explain to us what really they are from the beginning, it would be a beneficial piece of information for many of us Insha Allah.

Fee Amanillah (in the safety of God)

Wa Alaykum Assalaamu WR WB.

Simply put, Tawba (repentance) must follow Istighfaar (asking God for forgiveness), or else the latter was insincere! God says in the holy Quran,

“And ask forgiveness of your Lord and then repent to Him. Indeed, my Lord is Merciful and Affectionate.” (11:90)

A believer asks God for forgiveness out of regret. He or she recognizes or suspects they sinned and it is a scary thought. Who best to relieve that fear but Al-Ghafoor (the Most Forgiving), Ar-Raheem (the Most Merciful)?

That recognition is a sign of faith that is still alive. But it is not sufficient to have faith. Action must confirm it. Repentance confirms the guilt feeling that prompted Istighfaar. Without repentance, the sin does not go away, rather tends to be repeated. And it may not be forgiven.

The two terms, as you well know, are emphasized frequently in the Quran and the Hadeeth. This verse is a perfect example,

“And those who, when they committed a debauchery or wronged themselves, remembered God and sought forgiveness for their sins – and who forgives sins except God? – and [who] did not persist in what they have done while they know.” (3:135)

The key words “did not persist” are what repentance is. It is the harder of the two! In fact, God tells us in the Quran that He helps out repentants when He sees that they are ready for it:

“…and their souls confined them and they were certain that there is no refuge from God except in Him. Then He eased it up on them so that they may repent” (9:118)

Truthful repentance (Tawba Nasooha) is done in three stages, as Sheikh Sha`raawi, may God bless his soul, clearly explains in this video,

Truthful Repentance

God knows very well how hard repentance is. That is why the Prophet (PBUH) has saidŲŒ “All the children of Adam are oft-sinners, and the best of the oft-sinners are the oft-repentants.” Narrated by Anas ibn Maalik and rated Hasan (Sound) by Ibn Hajar and Al-Albaani.

Thus, believers can rest assured that just as they sin often, they should ask for forgiveness often and repent often. If they break their repentance and sin again, it’s not the end of the world. God is Al-Haleem (the Forbearing), At-Tawwaab (the One who keeps accepting repentance) and Al-Ghaffaar (the Oft-Forgiving). May He include us in His wide Grace.

One Response to “On repentance and forgiveness”

  1. Faaraa says:

    Jazakallah Khair Akhi, for helping me with this clear answer.

    May Allah Azzawajal help all of us to learn what is correct, and implement on it always Aameen

    Fee Amanillah

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