What Is the Right Way To Ask a Non-Mahram for Forgiveness?

Question: I have wronged some people of the opposite gender, and the only way to contact them is through messaging, which is haram; therefore, what can I do in this situation as I must seek their forgiveness? This is causing me much distress.

Answer:

Assalamu alaykum,
Thank you for your question. I understand that you are in distress and want to mend your situation in the right way. May Allah reward you for your sincerity.

Tawba

The very first thing that you should do is ask Allah for forgiveness. Sincere tawba (repentance) is beloved to Allah and the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, told us that the very best sinners are the ones who repent.  See the details here:

https://seekersguidance.org/articles/featured-articles/what-are-the-conditions-of-making-tawba-transcript-ustadh-abdullah-misra/

Contact

Are you sure that you need to contact him or her for forgiveness? If you have stolen from them, you would need to return the item or its value. If you have backbitten about them, you cannot tell them about it if they were unaware. Repentance to Allah is enough. See this link:
https://seekersguidance.org/answers/general-counsel/will-allah-forgive-someone-who-i-forgive-for-wronging-me/

Charity

Since I don’t know the details of the situation, and you are certain that you need to ask for their forgiveness, it is permissible for you to contact them. Use e-mail instead of messaging as it is much more formal. Keep it concise and brief, include an apology, and don’t drag on the back and forth. If you want to make your repentance more perfect, you can donate any amount in charity on the person’s behalf and sincerely ask that it be accepted.

Istighfar (Asking for forgiveness)

See this du’a for one of the best ways to ask for forgiveness from your Lord. Shaddad ibn Aws reported that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “The best way of asking forgiveness is ‘O Allah, You are my Lord. There is no god but You. You created me, and I am Your slave.  I remain faithful to your covenant and Your promise as much as I can. I acknowledge Your blessing, and I confess to my wrong actions, so forgive me. Only You can forgive wrong actions. I seek refuge with You from the evil of what I have done.‘ If he says it in the evening and then dies, he will enter the Garden – or he said that he would be one of the people of the Garden. If he says it in the morning and dies that day – it is the same.“ [Sahih Al-Albani]

اللَّهُمَّ أَنْتَ رَبِّي لاَ إِلَهَ إِلاَّ أَنْتَ، خَلَقْتَنِي وَأَنَا عَبْدُكَ، وَأَنَا عَلَى عَهْدِكَ وَوَعْدِكَ مَا اسْتَطَعْتُ، أَبُوءُ لَكَ بِنِعْمَتِكَ، وَأَبُوءُ لَكَ بِذَنْبِي، فَاغْفِرْ لِي، فَإِنَّهُ لاَ يَغْفِرُ الذُّنُوبَ إِلاَّ أَنْتَ‏.‏ أَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنْ شَرِّ مَا صَنَعْتُ‏.‏

May Allah give you the best of this world and the next.

[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria, for two years, where she studied aqidah, fiqh, tajweed, Tafseer, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Master’s in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan, where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She recently moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.