Repentance in Islam
It should be noted that humans are prone to commit sin. There is no one in this modern era who could claim that he or she is sinless. However, Allah has been extremely merciful to his believers. He asks them to realize their mistake and repent so that Allah may forgive them.
Once a person visited Ali (RA) and asked for the solution of repaying the debts, Ali (RA) told to do seek repentance from Allah. Another person came asking for the remedy of a sickness, Ali (RA) prescribed him too to seek repentance from Allah (SWT). One more person visited Ali (RA), asking for the bestowing of an offspring from Allah and Ali (RA) told to perform Istighfar as much as possible.
On seeking repentance from Allah, prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said:
“The sign of the people of Hell is mostly because of the postponement of repenting (Tawbah and Istighfar).”
“A sincere repentant never sins again as the milk drawn from the breast never can go back to its source.”
“The repentant from a sin is as same as him who did not commit it.”
“Nothing is more favorable to Allah (SWT) than a male or female repentant believer.”
“There are four signs of one who is repentant: (1) He is sincere to Allah (SWT) in his actions (2) He shuns falsehood (3) He is firmly attached to truth and (4) He is eager to do good.”
On the issue of repentance, Allah addresses His followers in the holy Quran and says:
“Ask your Lord for forgiveness and then turn in repentance to Him…” (11:3)
“O you who believe! Turn (in repentance) to Allah with sincere repentance; Perhaps your Lord will remove your evil from you… ” (66:8)
Those who are seeking Allah’s forgiveness should repent sincerely with all their heart and with intent that they will never commit that sin again. They should fear the wrath of Allah.
After making sincere repentance, one should remain cautious and stay away from the activities which might entice them to commit sin of any nature. The saints used to repent even for the minor of sins. They even used to repent for the thoughts (inappropriate) that might have crossed their minds.
For a believer to compensate for the past sins and to improve the chances of getting their repentance accepted, it is important to refrain from committing sins in the future. A sin is never major/ minor, significant or insignificant, a sin is a sin and when one identifies that he or she has committed one, repentance is mandatory. After repenting, a person should ask Allah to protect him/ her from evil, Satan’s traps and sins.
Another important factor that should be notes is that a person who is seeking repentance should not be looked down upon by fellow Muslims because he/ she has committed a sin.
A person who asks for forgiveness from Allah by doing Taubah and Istighfar is amongst the most favorite kind of believers for Allah. Taubah (repentance) is one of the most praiseworthy acts for the followers of Islam.
Allah accepts the repentance of a believer until the point of death arrives. He or she who repents of a sin is like a person who has committed no sins at all.
Allah (SWT) says:
“My servant committed a sin and then he came to realize that he has a Lord who holds the sinner responsible and accountable, and also that He has a Lord who forgives the sins if asked for forgiveness: So let him be forgiven.”
Just like common human beings, Muslim believers are also on a path of continual improvement. Everyone makes mistakes, but the believers think about it, analyze it and take corrective measures. The foundations of a believer’s life style should be concretely laid down upon the principles of Islam and actions love by Allah and His beloved prophet Muhammad (PBUH). All the children of Adam (AS) are sinners, but the best ones are those who repent.