One of the most important acts of worship in Islam is asking for Allah’s forgiveness. In our daily lives, we commit countless sins by omitting to do what is obligatory upon us, by committing sins, or harming others. Sometimes we do it knowingly, while many times we do it unconsciously.
Allah (swt) says about istighfar:
“Ask forgiveness of your Lord. Indeed, He is ever a Perpetual Forgiver. He will send [rain from] the sky upon you in [continuing] showers and give you increase in wealth and children and provide for you gardens and provide for you rivers.” (Quran, 71:10-12)
Doing istighfar increases your provisions and blessings in this world and in the Hereafter.
Here are some special duas for forgiveness mentioned in the Quran and sunnah.
From the Quran
- After our parents Adam (as) and Hawa (as) ate from the forbidden tree, they were repentant, unlike Iblis who was arrogant after disobeying Allah. Allah (swt) taught our parents the following supplication:
رَبَّنَا ظَلَمْنَا أَنفُسَنَا وَإِن لَّمْ تَغْفِرْ لَنَا وَتَرْحَمْنَا لَنَكُونَنَّ مِنَ الْخَاسِرِينَ
“ Our Lord, we have wronged ourselves, and if You do not forgive us and have mercy upon us, we will surely be among the losers.” (Quran, 7:23)
- Allah (swt) mentions a special group of people in the following ayah:
“And how many a prophet [fought and] with him fought many religious scholars. But they never lost assurance due to what afflicted them in the cause of Allah, nor did they weaken or submit. And Allah loves the steadfast.” (3:146)
After describing their steadfastness, He goes on to mention their dua:
رَبَّنَا اغْفِرْ لَنَا ذُنُوبَنَا وَإِسْرَافَنَا فِي أَمْرِنَا وَثَبِّتْ أَقْدَامَنَا وَانصُرْنَا عَلَى الْقَوْمِ الْكَافِرِينَ
“[And their words were not but that they said,] ‘Our Lord, forgive us our sins and the excess [committed] in our affairs and plant firmly our feet and give us victory over the disbelieving people.’” (Quran, 3:147)
- One time, Musa (as) wished to see Allah. He said, “My Lord, show me [Yourself] that I may look at You.”
But Allah (swt) is beyond the scope of our worldly vision. He decided to reveal Himself to a mountain. He asked Musa (as) to look at the mountain while He did so and the mountain exploded, and Musa (as) fell unconscious. After waking up, he said the following dua:
سُبْحَانَكَ تُبْتُ إِلَيْكَ وَأَنَا أَوَّلُ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ
“Exalted are You! I have repented to You, and I am the first of the believers.” (Quran, 7:143)
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From the Sunnah
- The Prophet (PBUH) termed the following supplication the best manner of asking forgiveness:
اللَّهُمَّ أَنْتَ رَبِّي، لاَ إِلَٰهَ إِلاَّ أَنْتَ، خَلَقْتَنِي وَأَنَا عَبْدُكَ، وَأَنَا عَلَى عَهْدِكَ وَوَعْدِكَ مَا اسْتَطَعْتُ، أَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنْ شَرِّ مَا صَنَعْتُ، أَبُوءُ لَكَ بِنِعْمَتِكَ عَلَىَّ وَأَبُوءُ لَكَ بِذَنْبِي، فَاغْفِرْ لِي، فَإِنَّهُ لاَ يَغْفِرُ الذُّنُوبَ إِلاَّ أَنْتَ
“O Allah! You are my Rubb. There is no true god except You. You have created me, and I am Your slave, and I hold to Your Covenant as far as I can. I seek refuge in You from the evil of what I have done. I acknowledge the favours that You have bestowed upon me, and I confess to you my sins. Pardon me, for none but You has the power to pardon.” (Saḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 6306)
- Ibn ‘Umar (ra) mentioned that the Prophet said these supplications every morning and evening.
اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَسْأَلُكَ الْعَفْوَ وَالْعَافِيَةَ فِي الدُّنْيَا وَالآخِرَةِ اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَسْأَلُكَ الْعَفْوَ وَالْعَافِيَةَ فِي دِينِي وَدُنْيَاىَ وَأَهْلِي وَمَالِي اللَّهُمَّ اسْتُرْ عَوْرَاتِي وَآمِنْ رَوْعَاتِي وَاحْفَظْنِي مِنْ بَيْنِ يَدَىَّ وَمِنْ خَلْفِي وَعَنْ يَمِينِي وَعَنْ شِمَالِي وَمِنْ فَوْقِي وَأَعُوذُ بِكَ أَنْ أُغْتَالَ مِنْ تَحْتِي
“O Allah, I ask You for forgiveness and well-being in this world and in the Hereafter. O Allah, I ask You for forgiveness and well-being in my religious and my worldly affairs. O Allah, conceal my faults, calm my fears, and protect me from before me and behind me, from my right and my left, and from above me, and I seek refuge in You from being taken unaware from beneath me.” (ibn Mājah 3871.)
- This is the special supplication the Prophet (sa) taught Aisha (ra) to say on the night of Qadr.
اللَّهُمَّ إِنَّكَ عَفُوٌّ كَرِيمٌ تُحِبُّ الْعَفْوَ فَاعْفُ عَنِّي\
“O Allah, indeed You are Pardoning, [Generous,] You love pardon, so pardon me.” (al-Tirmidhī: 3513)
- The Prophet (PBUH) said that if anyone says the following supplication, he will be forgiven even if he fled from battle.
أَسْتَغْفِرُ اللَّهَ الَّذِي لاَ إِلَٰهَ إِلاَّ هُوَ الْحَىُّ الْقَيُّومُ وَأَتُوبُ إِلَيْهِ
“I ask pardon of Allah than Whom there is no deity, the Living, the eternal, and I turn to Him in repentance.” (Abu Dawūd: 1517)
- This supplication was taught by the Prophet to Abu Bakr al-Ṣiddīq raḍiyallahu ‘anh.
اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي ظَلَمْتُ نَفْسِي ظُلْمًا كَثِيرًا، وَلاَ يَغْفِرُ الذُّنُوبَ إِلاَّ أَنْتَ، فَاغْفِرْ لِي مِنْ عِنْدِكَ مَغْفِرَةً، إِنَّكَ أَنْتَ الْغَفُورُ الرَّحِيمُ
“ O Allah! I have wronged my soul very much (oppressed myself), and none forgives the sins but You; so please bestow Your Forgiveness upon me. No doubt, You are the Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (Saḥīḥ al-Bukhārī)
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