Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: I have a question regarding forgiveness from others. If you have committed a sin, and it may have affected someone else who doesn’t really know, do you need to seek forgiveness from that person?  Please note that seeking forgiveness in this scenario may cause widespread problems between relatives.

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray that you are well and in the best of health and faith, insha’Allah.

Yes, making sincere repentance would suffice one from having to seek the explicit forgiveness of the person.

In the scenario you mention, if there is greater harm that could arise from one’s informing the person, it would suffice to sincerely repent and never to mention it.

[Ibn `Allan, Dalil al-Falihin li Turuq Riyad al-Salihin]

Conditions of Sincere Repentance

The conditions of sincere repentance are well known:

[a] Leaving the sin;

[b] Remorse over having committed the sin;

[c] Resolve to never return to the sin;

[d] And if it involves the rights of others, to return that right;

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

Please see the following resources on repentance:

[1] What is Sincere Repentance?

[2] Does Sincere Repentance Eradicate Sin?

[3] Ten Duties of Those Truly Repentant

And Allah knows best.

Wassalam,

Tabraze Azam

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

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"Whoever guides someone to goodness will have a similar reward"-- The Prophet (Peace and Blessings Be Upon Him)