What Happens to the Sins One Committed before Repentance?

Answered by Mawlana Ilyas Patel


If someone committed numerous sins before sincerely repenting to Allah, including backbiting, beating, stealing, and shedding blood, what should they do for expiation? Can repentance erase past sins, even if they can’t afford to compensate or remember all their transgressions? Additionally, if the harmed person forgives, is expiation still required?


In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate

I pray you are in good faith and health. Thank you for your question, and Allah Most High accept your regret, repentance, and forgiveness, Amin.

Your expiation is to repent to Allah Most High and continue to seek forgiveness for all the sins you know or don’t know of.

The Conditions for Repentance

The conditions for repentance are well-known:

  1. Leaving the sin;
  2. Remorse over having sinned;
  3. Resolve never to return to the sin;

Sins Against Others

4. If it relates to the rights of another person, then to return the rights or property one wrongly took.

[Khadimi, Al-Bariqa fi Sharh al-Tariqa; Nawawi, Riyad al-Salihin]

Repentance from Backbiting

Repentance from backbiting and slander is a process.  It entails:

  1. Desisting from backbiting
  2. Resolving not to backbite again
  3. expressing remorse
  4. Seeking Allah’s forgiveness for yourself and the victim of your backbiting
Scholars differ as to whether the backbiter must seek pardon from the victim. Some opine that it is not stipulated that informing him might cause greater distress and anguish. The expiation would then be for the backbiter to praise the person in the same gatherings where he backbit him. In addition, the backbiter should stop others from backbiting the victim to the best of his ability.

[Ibn Kathir, Tafsir Ibn-Kathir]

If the backbiting did not reach the ears of the person, it would suffice for him to be remorseful and seek forgiveness for the person as per the detail provided above.

If these conditions are truly met, one can expect one’s sins to be forgiven. However, one has to be very careful about how sincere one is in fulfilling one’s conditions. It is recommended to seek forgiveness a lot and to repent every time the sin comes to one’s mind.

I would like you to go through the valuable answers and links below. You will receive guidance and direction in sha Allah.

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I pray this helps with your question.

[Mawlana] Ilyas Patel
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani 

Mawlana Ilyas Patel has received traditional education in various countries. He started his schooling in the UK and completed his hifz of the Quran in India. After that, he joined an Islamic seminary in the UK, where he studied secular and Aalimiyya sciences. Later, he traveled to Karachi, Pakistan, and other Middle Eastern countries to further his education. Mawlana has served as an Imam in the Republic of Ireland for several years and taught the Quran and other Islamic sciences to both children and adults. He also worked as a teacher and librarian at a local Islamic seminary in the UK for 12 years. Presently, he lives in the UK with his wife and is interested in books and gardening.