Allah (SWT) created human beings with a weak nature. It’s our duty to seek sincere tawba (repentance) and perform istighfar (forgiveness) as frequently as possible, Insha’Allah. It’s inevitable that we are tempted and fall into sins, and Shaytan is always inciting us towards performing sins.
The Prophet (SAW) said, “Every son of Adam commits sin, and the best of those who commit sin are those who repent.” (Ibn Majah 4251)
Repentance Pleases Allah
Allah (SWT) likes us to be constantly repentant. Allah’s Messenger (SAW) said, “Allah is more pleased with the repentance of His slave than anyone of you is pleased with finding his camel which he had lost in the desert. ” (Bukhari 6309)
“Indeed, Allah loves those who are constantly repentant and loves those who purify themselves.” (2:222)
Repentance Gives Us a Clean Slate
The Messenger of Allah (SAW) said: “When the believer commits sin, a black spot appears in his heart. If he repents and gives up that sin and seeks forgiveness, his heart will be polished. But if (the sin) increases, (the black spot) increases. That is the Ran that Allah mentions in His Book: ‘Nay! But on their hearts is the Ran (covering of sins and evil deeds) which they used to earn.’ [83:14]” (ibn Majah 4244)
When Repentance is /isn’t accepted
As long as our death or the Day of Judgment hasn’t arrived, our door to repentance remains open.
Our Messenger of Allah (SAW) said, “He who repents before the sun rises from the west, Allah will forgive him.” (Muslim, qt in Riyad al-Salihin Book 1, Hadith 17)
He also said: “The adulterer is not a believer while he is committing adultery, and the thief is not a believer while he is stealing, but there is a chance for repentance; (if he repents, Allah will accept the repentance).” (Tirmidhi 2625)
“Indeed Allah accepts the repentance of a slave as long as (his soul does not reach his throat).” (Tirmidhi 3537)
“Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, stretches out His Hand during the night so that the people may repent for the fault committed from dawn till dusk; and He stretches out His Hand during the day so that the people may repent for the fault committed from dusk to dawn. (He would accept repentance) before the sun rises in the west (before the Day of Resurrection).” (Muslim 2759 a, b)
There is no end to our sins, but Allah’s mercy outreaches it all.
“If you were to commit sin until your sins reach the Heaven, then you were to repent, your repentance would be accepted.” (Ibn Majah 4248)
The Prophet’s Repentance
The Prophet’s past and future sins had been forgiven, and yet he used to ask for forgiveness many times every day.
“By Allah! I ask for forgiveness from Allah and turn to Him in repentance more than seventy times a day.” (Bukhari 6307)
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Recipe for Repentance
“Indeed, the hypocrites will be in the lowest depths of the Fire – and never will you find for them a helper – Except for those who repent, correct themselves, hold fast to Allah, and are sincere in their religion for Allah, for those will be with the believers. And Allah is going to give the believers a great reward. What would Allah do with your punishment if you are grateful and believe? And ever is Allah Appreciative and Knowing.” (4:145-147)
A Story of Repentance
“A man killed ninety-nine people, then the idea of repentance occurred to him. He asked who was the most knowledgeable of people on earth, and he was told of a man so he went to him and said: “I have killed ninety-nine people. Can I repent?” He said: “After ninety-nine people?!” He said: ‘So he drew his sword and killed him, thus completing one hundred. Then the idea of repentance occurred to him (again), so he asked who was the most knowledgeable of people, and he was told of a man (so he went to him) and said: “I have killed one hundred people. Can I repent?” He said: “Woe to you, what is stopping you from repenting? Leave the evil town where you are living and go to a good town, such and such town and worship your Lord there.” So he went out, heading for the good town, but death came to him on the road. The Angels of Mercy and Angels of Punishment argued over him. Iblis (Satan) said: “I have more right to him, for he never disobeyed me for a moment.”
But the Angels of Mercy said: “He went out repenting… So Allah (SWT) sent an angel to whom they referred (the case). He said: ‘Look and see which of the two towns was he closer, and put him with its people.’ … When death came to him he strove and drew closer to the good town, and farther away from the evil town, so they put him with the people of the good town.” (Ibn Majah 2622)