Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad
In the past when praying, I did not know that one of the pillars of prayer is to say Takbeer when beginning. It is very distressing to find out that my prayers over the years have been invalid, but alhamdulillah that I learned about this now. I know that this is complete negligence and ignorance on my part but would also like to know how I can make up for this. Is there a specific way to ask for forgiveness?
Thank you for your question. May Allah reward you amply for your patience and for your effort in striving for knowledge. I am certain that this will not go unrewarded.
The formula for asking for forgiveness is very simple. One raises one hand, blesses the Prophet (optimally), and asks Allah to forgive one’s sins. Making up your prayers might also be in order. There is nothing else required, but please see the conditions of repentance here:
What Are the Conditions of Making Tawba?
Following a Sin
The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), told us, “Have taqwa (fear) of Allah wherever you may be, and follow up a bad deed with a good deed which will wipe it out, and behave well towards the people.” [Tirmidhi] It is a good habit to follow up sins with good deeds, and it seems to me that you are gaining personally obligatory knowledge after having been ignorant, and that is a tremendous obligation that you are fulfilling.
My advice to you is not to dwell on your past, but rather to repent, focus on the future, learn what you can now, and apply it as best as you can. You are changing your condition and this is more beloved to Allah than anything else.
Please see these links as well:
Will I Be Forgiven If I Didn’t Know I Was Sinful?
Asking for forgiveness and continuing to do Bad deeds
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, tafsir, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Masters in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She later moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.