Success Habits

Repentance in Islam

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*How to Repent in Islam*
How Do I Repent
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*I have committed many sins which no one knows of except Allah. What do I have to do so that Allah will accept my repentance?*

Summary of answer

*This is how to repent in Islam: give up the sin straight away, regret what has happened in the past, resolve not to go back to sinning, restore people’s rights or property, and repent before the agony of death is upon you.*

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Praise be to Allah.

*To err is human*

*A Muslim’s faith may become weak and he may be overwhelmed by his desires. The Shaytan may make sin attractive to him, so he wrongs himself (commits sin) and falls into that which Allah has forbidden. But Allah is Kind to His slaves, and His mercy encompasses all things. Whoever repents after doing wrong, Allah will accept his repentance , for Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.*

*“Whoever repents to Allah from the crime of theft and sets right his action, then Allah, out of His grace, will accept His repentance. That is because Allah forgives the sins of those who repent to Him and is Merciful towards them. However if such a matter were to reach the court of law the legal punishment cannot be dismissed by repentance.*
[al-Maidah 5:39 – interpretation of the meaning]

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*Allah is Forgiving and Generous. He commands all His slaves to repent sincerely so that they may gain the mercy of Allah and His Paradise. Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):*

*“O those who have faith in Allah and act according to what He has legislated for them! Repent to Allah sincerely for your sins; Allah will erase your sins from your records and enter you into gardens on the, under the palaces and trees of which rivers flow, on the Day of Judgement: a day on which Allah will not humiliate the Prophet nor those who had faith with him, by entering them into the hellfire. Rather, their light will shine in front of them and their right sides on the Bridge, and they will be saying: “O our Lord! Perfect for us our light so that we can enter Paradise and not be like the hypocrites whose light dies out at the Bridge; and forgive our sins for us, because You are indeed, capable of everything. You are not incapable of perfecting our light and forgiving our sins.”*
[al-Tahrim 66:8]

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*The door of repentance if always open*

*The gate of repentance is open to His slaves, until the sun rises from the west. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Allah spreads out His Hand at night to accept the repentance of those who did wrong during the day, and He spreads out His Hand during the day to accept the repentance of those who did wrong during the night. (This will continue) until the sun rises from the west.” (Narrated by Muslim, no. 2759)*

*Conditions of repentance in Islam*

*Sincere repentance is not merely the matter of words spoken on the tongue. Rather, the acceptance of repentance is subject to the conditions that:*

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*1. the person gives up the sin straight away,*

*2. that he regrets what has happened in the past,*

*3. that he resolves not to go back to the thing he has repented from,*

*4. that he restores people’s rights or property if his sin involved wrongdoing towards others, and
that he repents before the agony of death is upon him.*

Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):
*“Allah only turns in mercy and forgiveness to those who commit disobedience and overstep the limits out of foolishness and impulse, and who repent to Allah asking for His forgiveness before the time of their death. Allah forgives these people, by overlooking their disobedience. Allah knows the circumstances of people, and is Wise in His decree and sacred laws*

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*Allah does not turn in mercy and forgiveness to those who continue in their disobedience, overstepping the limits and insisting on overstepping them, and not turning away from doing this until they are dying, then saying that they regret what they did and asking for Allah’s forgiveness. Also, Allah does not turn in mercy and forgiveness to those who die in disbelief – He has prepared a painful punishment for them*
[al-Nisa 4:17-18]

*Allaah accepts repentance and is Merciful. He calls sinners to repent, so that He might forgive them:*

*“…”I have gracefully made mercy obligatory on Myself. If anyone among you commits sin, out of ignorance and foolishness, and then repents from that sin and sets their actions right, then I will forgive them, for am Forgiving and Compassionate to the servant who repents to Me*
[al-An’am 6:54 – interpretation of the meaning]

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*Allah is Kind to His slaves and loves those who repent. He accepts their repentance, as Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):*

*”He, (may He be glorified), is the One Who accepts the repentance of His servants from disbelief and sins when they repent to Him. He overlooks the wrongdoings that they committed. He knows everything that you do. Nothing of your actions are hidden from Him and He will give you the recompense for them.*
[al-Shura 42:25]

*“Allah loves those that frequently repent from their sins and are extra mindful of cleanliness.*
[al-Baqarah 2:222]

*Accepting Islam wipes away all past sins*

*When anon-Muslim becomes a Muslim, Allah turns his bad deeds (sayyiat) into good deeds (hasanat), and forgives him all his previous sins, as He says (interpretation of the meaning):*

*“Say, O Messenger, to those of your people who disbelieve in Allah and His Messenger that if they stop disbelieving in Allah and His Messenger and preventing the believers from Allah’s path, then Allah will forgive their past sins, because Islam wipes out what is before it; but if they return to their disbelief, then Allah’s way of dealing with earlier people has already come as a warning: when they rejected and continued in their disbelief, He swiftly punished them*
[al-Anfal 8:38]

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*Allah is Forgiving and Merciful, and He loves the repentance of His slaves. He commands them to repent so that He might forgive them. But the devils among mankind and the jinn want to turn people away from the truth and make them incline towards falsehood, as Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):*

*“Allah wants to turn to you and forgive you your disobedience, while those who follow their low desires want you to turn far away from the correct way of life.*
[al-Nisa 4:27]

*The mercy of Allah embraces everything*

*The mercy of Allah encompasses all things. If a person’s sins are very great and he has wronged himself very much, but he then repents, Allah will accept his repentance and will forgive his sins no matter how great they are. Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):*

*“Say – O Messenger, to My servants who have gone beyond the limit against themselves by ascribing partners to Allah and committing sins: Do not lose hope of Allah’s mercy and of His forgiveness for your sins. Allah forgives all the sins of those who repent to Him. He is the Forgiving towards the sins of those who repent and the Merciful towards them*
[al-Zumar 39:53]

*The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Our Lord comes down to the lowest heaven when one-third of the night remains, and says, ‘Who will call upon Me so that I may answer him? Who will ask Me so that I may give to him? Who will seek My forgiveness so that I may forgive him?’” (Narrated by Muslim, no. 758)*

*Man is weak*

*If a person sins then he has to repent and seek forgiveness every time. Allah is Forgiving and Merciful, and He is the One Who says (interpretation of the meaning):*

*“If anyone does an evil action or wrongs themselves by committing sins, and then they ask for forgiveness from Allah, regretfully admitting their sin and leaving it, they will find that Allah is always ready to forgive their sins and show them mercy.” [al-Nisa 4:110]*

*The Muslim is vulnerable to making mistakes and sins.*

*So he has to repent and seek forgiveness repeatedly. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “By Allah, I seek the forgiveness of Allah and I turn to Him in repentance more than seventy times each day.” (Narrated by al-Bukhari, no. 6307)*

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*Allah loves the repentance of His slaves, and accepts it. Indeed, He rejoices over it, as the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “When a person repents, Allah rejoices more than one of you who found his camel after he lost it in the desert.” (Agreed upon. Narrated by al-Bukhari, no. 6309)*

*Repent before it is too late*


*Do you have any advice for young men who are indulging in worldly pleasures and who forget to prepare and strive for the Day of Resurrection?*


Praise be to Allah.

*Our advice to negligent youth is to repent before it is too late and before they come to regret not doing their duty towards Allaah. For death may come suddenly; and Allaah may give respite but no wrongdoer can escape His punishment, and He is Almighty and is the One Who wreaks vengeance. Sin has an effect on the body and soul, and its consequences may come in this world, before the Hereafter. They should remember the words of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) concerning the seven whom Allaah will shade from the heat of the Day of Resurrection in the shade of the Throne: “… and a young man who grew up worshipping Allaah …”* Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 660; Muslim, 1031.

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*They should feel shy before their Lord and should feel ashamed when the ummah is being attacked by its enemies and needs young people to lead this ummah out of its crisis and to fight the enemy in jihad in obedience to Allaah. They should think of the last verse of the Qur’aan to be revealed, and the last command that Allaah gave to mankind (interpretation of the meaning):*

*“Fear the punishment of a day in which you all will be returned to Allah and you will have to stand before Him. Then every person will be given the reward of any good or evil action he did. They will not be wronged by receiving a reward less than their good actions or a punishment more than their evil actions*
[al-Baqarah 2:281]

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*And Allaah knows best. May Allaah send blessings and peace upon our Prophet Muhammad and-upon his family and companions.*

*Regret: the most important aspect of repentance*


*I have decided to repent, because I have given up sin and decided not to go back to it. But I do not feel any regret in my heart. How can I attain regret, as it is difficult to achieve, because regret is not an action, and is not possible, because it is a reaction, not an action, and reactions are not voluntary. So why is it important to feel regret , when it is not an action that a person can do (it is just a feeling), and he is not able to do that? Should I pray to Allah to instil regret in my heart?*

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Praise be to Allah.

*The conditions of valid repentance are as follows:*

*1. Giving up the sin*

*2. Regretting what one has done in the past*

*3. Resolving not to go back to it.*

*4. If the sin involved transgressing against people’s wealth, honour or lives, then there is a fourth condition, which is seeking forgiveness from the person who was wronged, or giving him his dues.*

*Regret is a main condition, or the greatest aspect, of repentance. Hence the Messenger (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “Regret is repentance.” Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Ibn Maajah.*

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One of the scholars even said:

*Regret is sufficient to achieve repentance, for it implies giving up the sin and resolving not to go back to it, which stem from regret and do not occur independently of it*

See: Fath al-Baari (13/471).

Al-Qaari (may Allah have mercy on him) said:

*“Regret is repentance”: because this will lead to the other essential components of repentance – namely giving up the sin and resolving not to go back to it, and restoring people’s rights wherever possible.… What is meant is remorse for having committed the sin because it is a sin, and for no other reason.*

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End quote from Mirqaat al-Mafaateeh (4/1637).

*What is meant by regret (nadam) is sorrow, or deep sorrow, as is stated in Lisaan al-‘Arab (1/79, 6/4386).*

*The author explained regret as meaning sadness, then explained sadness as meaning sorrow or extreme sorrow.*

*In the words of al-Qaari quoted above, he explains regret as meaning remorse – that is, sorrow – for having committed the sin because it is a sin, and for no other reason.*

*What this means is that everyone who feels sorrow for having committed a sin has attained the regret that is referred to in the case of repentance. If this regret is sincere, then the sinner will give up the sin and will resolve not to do it again. Thus his repentance will be complete and will have met all the necessary conditions.*

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*Based on that, everyone who gives up a sin because it is disobedience to Allah, may He be exalted – in other words, out of fear of Allah and in obedience to Him – and hates the fact that he fell into sin and disobeyed the Lord of the Worlds, and wishes that he had obeyed Allah instead of disobeying Him, and resolves not to do it again, has definitely attained regret, and regret is what made him give up the sin.*

Al-Ghazaali (may Allah have mercy on him) said in Ihyaa’ ‘Uloom ad-Deen (4/4):

*Repentance is something that evolves from one stage to another in three stages: knowledge, awareness and action. Knowledge is the first, awareness is the second and action is the third.*


*The first leads to the second, and the second leads to the third in an inevitable sequence as ordained by Allah.*

*As for knowledge, it means coming to know of the great harm that sins may cause and the fact that sins form a barrier between a person and everything that he loves and aspires for.*

*Once he becomes certain of this knowledge at a level of certainty that overwhelms him, there will result from this knowledge remorse and pain in the heart for missing out on what he loves and aspires to, because when the heart realises what he has missed out on of what he loves, there will be pain. If his missing out on it was the result of some deed that he did, then he will feel sorrow for doing the deed that caused him to miss out on that. This pain is called regret.*

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*Once this pain becomes so intense that it overwhelms the heart, it will lead to another emotion in the heart, which is called resolution and the will to do something that is connected to the present, the past and the future.*

*With regard to the present, he will resolve to give up this sin that he was committing.*

*With regard to the future, he will resolve to refrain for the rest of his life from that sin that caused him to miss out on what he loves and aspires to.*

*With regard to the past, he will resolve to rectify the situation and make up for what he missed out on, if it can be rectified.*

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*… Knowledge, regret and resolution have to do with keeping away from sin now and in the future, and rectifying what happened in the past, and all of that together is called repentance (tawbah).*

*The word repentance is often used to refer to regret only, and awareness and knowledge are regarded as precursors, whilst giving up the sin is regarded as being the result and outcome. Based on that, we may understand what the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) meant when he said: “Regret is repentance,” because regret cannot take place unless one attains knowledge that leads to it, and it cannot but be followed by resolution, so regret has a precursor and an outcome. End quote.*

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He also said (3/144):

*If fear results from something that one did in the past, it will lead to regret, and regret will lead to resolution. The Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “Regret is repentance.” End quote.*

*Thus it becomes clear that your giving up the sin and resolving not to go back to it are indicative of the occurrence of regret in your heart. So you should ignore these whispers of the Shaytaan by means of which he wants to make you think that you have not repented yet, or that repentance is impossible, or that you will never be able to repent, which will create despair and hopelessness and make you think that the gate of repentance is closed to you.*

*We ask Allah, may He be exalted, to protect us all from the accursed Shaytaan, and to enable us to repent sincerely*

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