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What Are the Conditions for Repentance in Islam?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: Assalam ‘aleykum,

For repentance, would it be enough to stop the sin, make dua for forgiveness of that sin and then never to return to that sin?

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

I pray that this message finds you well, insha’Allah.

The third condition is to feel remorse over having committed it, and the fourth is that you return the thing if it involves the right of another party. [See: A Reader on Tawba (Repentance)]

And Allah alone knows best.

wassalam,

Tabraze Azam

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

What Is the Proper Way to Repent From a Theft?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: As salam Alaykum,

I have stolen something from a franchise but I do not know the value of it.

What should I do to repent from my sin?

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

Consider finding the market value of the item online, for instance, and then add a reasonably safe amount, and return that to the company with an apology.

With that, you need to repent for your mistake. [see:A Reader on Tawba (Repentance)]

Please also see: How Can I Repent From Crimes Committed During My Youth?

And Allah alone gives success.

wassalam,
Tabraze Azam

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Will Allah Ever Forgive Me After I Repeatedly Sin?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: Assalam alaikum,

Is there any hope for me to repent to Allah after all of these sins I committed? My sins have increased so much. I’m scared of asking Allah for forgiveness and I’m shy and ashamed.

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well. May Allah make things easier for you.

Hope

“And seek the Forgiveness of Allah, certainly, Allah is Ever Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” [Qur’an, 4:106]

There is always hope in Allah’s forgiveness. Feeling ashamed of your sin is a good sign. Focus on Allah’s Mercy and don’t dwell on your sins. Plan to do better next time.

I pray that Allah grants you the ability to make good on your repentance.

Please refer to the following link:

A Reader on Repentance

Wassalam,
Raidah

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

How Can I Repent From Crimes Committed During My Youth?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: As salam alaykum,

When I was younger, I committed some crimes for which I am indescribably ashamed. I don’t remember how much cash and merchandise I have stolen nor even where I can return it.

How do I repent without being able to return or make up for most of those crimes? Is there still forgiveness if the rights of others are not corrected?

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray that this message finds you well, insha’Allah.

Yes, Allah Most High forgives His servants who have wronged themselves, and He grants them closeness to Him, if He wishes, out of His limitless Generosity, and not in accordance with the number or quality of their works.

Allah Most High says, “Say: My servants who have wronged yourselves, never despair of God’s mercy. God forgives all sins: He is truly the Most Forgiving, the Most Merciful.” [39.53]

The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) promised that, “The one who repents from sin is like one who never sinned.” [Ibn Majah]

As for the stolen money or goods, these need to be returned to their rightful owners, actually or effectively, in a manner which does not cause you greater harm:

(1) Actually, by returning the item or the money due, even anonymously–with a note, for instance– or by way of a “gift,” to the owner or management, or

(2) Effectively, by giving it away in charity on behalf of the owner when they cannot be located, if they no longer run the business, or if you cannot remember whom you stole from.

With this, you should make a reasonable judgement of the wealth stolen, erring on the side of caution, and then strive to return it, gradually and sustainably, until you are reasonably sure that you have lifted what is due from you.

Please also see: Returning Stolen Property and: Will Allah Forgive Me After Stealing Something That Can’t Be Returned? and: A Reader on Tawba (Repentance) and: How Do I Repent From the Theft I Committed Many Years Ago When I Was a Teenager?

And Allah alone knows best.

wassalam,

Tabraze Azam

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Is Regret a Blessing from Allah?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: Is regret a blessing from Allah?
Does Allah wait for the call of forgiveness when His slave sins?
Is there any Hadith or verse from the Quran regarding these?

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

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

Yes, regret is a blessing from Allah as it is a sign of sincere and true repentance. This is the reason Imam Nawawi considered it one of the conditions for a proper repentance.

And we also know that sins aren’t immediately written down by the angels, so people have a chance to repent for their mistakes, and this is from the pure Favour of Allah Most High.

Further, even if the person does not repent right away, the sin and its traces are completely wiped away if he truly repents later.

Abu Hamza Anas ibn Malik al-Ansari, the servant of the Messenger of Allah reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “Allah is happier about the repentance of one His slaves than one of you would be about finding your camel which had strayed away from you in the middle of the desert.” [Agreed upon]

Please see the following reader for further discussions: A Reader on Tawba (Repentance)

And Allah alone gives success.

wassalam,

Tabraze Azam

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

How Do I Strengthen My Faith and Truly Repent?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil
Question:1) How can one be firm in faith? What causes faith not to stay firm in the heart?

2) I know we have to repent immediately for sins but my repentance is not sincere as there is no strong remorse, so how can I truly repent? Please help me.
Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
I pray this finds you well. You have asked a very important question – many of us are concerned about how to make our faith firm in our hearts, and how to truly repent. May Allah bless you manifold for your deep concern about such weighty matters.
Turn to Allah in Sincere Supplication
My first suggestion is for you to turn directly to Allah using this beautiful dua every time you start to feel a dip in your faith, and after each prayer:
Shahr ibn Hawshab (Allah be well-pleased with him) said, “I said to Umm Salama, ‘O Mother of the believers! What was the most frequent supplication of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and give him peace, when he was with you?’ She said, “His most frequent supplication was, ‘O Turner of the hearts, make my heart firm in Your deen!’” [Tirmidhi]

‏يا مقلب القلوب ثبت قلبي على دينك‏
Ya muqallibal-qulubi, thabbit qalbi ‘ala deenika

Faith and Knowledge
Ultimately, it is not knowledge, books, or teachers who can grant you lasting faith, but it is only Allah’s Mercy which descends and makes faith firm in your heart. Make it a point to study at least one book on belief with a qualified teacher (e.g. The Creed of Imam Tahawi) to strengthen your understanding of our belief as Muslims. I recommend the course on Islamic Belief on SeekersGuidance.
Attaining solid faith is a lifelong journey, so be kind and patient with yourself as you strengthen your faith. We live in a time of instant gratification, so remind yourself that attaining lasting faith is a tremendous gift which cannot be attained simply because we want it right now.
Keep your faith on the increase through daily good works using all of your limbs e.g. kindness with your tongue, charity with your wealth, service with your limbs. Link all of your actions to attaining Allah’s pleasure, and inshaAllah, your faith will strengthen. Do your best to avoid sin, because that darkens the heart and is a blow to your faith.
Repentance
Messenger of Allah (upon him be blessings and peace) said, “Verily, Allah is more delighted with the repentance of His slave than a person who lost his camel in a desert land and then finds it (unexpectedly).” [Bukhari and Muslim]
On the authority of Anas (may Allah be pleased with him), who said: I heard the Messenger of Allah (upon him be blessings and peace) say: Allah the Almighty said: O son of Adam, so long as you call upon Me and ask of Me, I shall forgive you for what you have done, and I shall not mind. O son of Adam, were your sins to reach the clouds of the sky and were you then to ask forgiveness of Me, I would forgive you. O son of Adam, were you to come to Me with sins nearly as great as the earth and were you then to face Me, ascribing no partner to Me, I would bring you forgiveness nearly as great at it. [Tirmidhi]
Know that Allah loves the repentance of His servants, and it is a sign of His Concern for you that you wish to make good your repentance. Attaining deeper levels of repentance takes continual practice. Please explore this brilliant reader on repentance. I pray it is of benefit to you.
To cultivate your heart, commit to saying “astaghfirullah” a 100 times every day. Pick a time where you can sit, face the qibla, be in a state of wudu, and be truly be present with your Lord. Before or after Fajr, or Isha prayer are often times of quiet. Even if it feels dry on your tongue, persist until it comes alive in your heart, and then all of your limbs will follow. Strive to rise before Fajr prayer, even if it’s for five minutes, to cry out to your Lord.
May Allah bless you and all believers with lasting faith, sincere repentance, and hearts alive with remembrance of Him.
Please refer to these following links:
Doubts About Islam: I Don’t Find Any Observable Effect or Peace in My Worship
Selected Prophetic Prayers for Spiritual, Physical and Emotional Wellbeing by Chaplain Ibrahim Long
Weak Iman, Misgivings, and Loving the Messenger (Allah Bless Him and Give Him Peace)
I Have Baseless Misgivings (Waswasa) About the Soundness of My Faith and My Marriage
Raidah Shah Idil
Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Seeking Forgiveness for Drinking Alcohol

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam.

Question: Salamou aleykoum,

A person drank alcohol which was an unwise choice, although the next morning the person felt great remorse and disappointment when he stumbled upon this fact:

If you fast Arafat your sins are forgiven for the year before and the year after.

Thus assuming the person was not aware that he has fasted Arafat at the time of the alcohol consumption will his drinking then get forgiven?

Jazaku Allah al khair

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray that you are in the best of health and faith, insha’Allah. If you sincerely repent for your action, Allah, the Most Merciful, will forgive you, insha’Allah. [see: A Reader on Tawba (Repentance)]

Allah Most High said, “When those who believe in Our revelations come to you [Prophet], say, ‘Peace be upon you. Your Lord has taken it on Himself to be merciful: if any of you has foolishly done a bad deed, and afterwards repented and mended his ways, God is most forgiving and most merciful.’” [6.54]

See: Drinking Alcohol: Are My Prayers Not Valid for 40 Days?

And Allah alone gives success.

wassalam,

Tabraze Azam

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Forgiving Major Sins and the Hadith of the Prostitute Who Gives Water to the Thirsty Dog

Answered by Sidi Salman Younas

Question: My question is about the following hadith: A prostitute was forgiven by Allah because passing by a panting dog near a well and seeing that the dog was about to die of thirst, she took off her shoe, and tying it with her head-cover she drew out some water for it. So, Allah forgave her because of that.

Does this mean that Allah will forgive major sins (all major sins excluding major kufr/major shirk) if one does good deeds even if one hasn’t actually repented for the major sin they committed? Or does the hadith mean that when she gave water to the thirsty dog Allah forgave a part of her sin (zina) but not all of the sin, only a part of it, is it possible that this is what was meant by the hadith?

Answer: assalamu `alaykum

Thank you for your question.

The position of Ahl al-Sunna is that Allah may forgive a major sin whether one repented from it or not. Even though the basis is that a major sin requires an actual act of repentance, it is within Allah’s power to forgive a slave who performs such an act even without him actually repenting. This is considered to be from Allah’s divine grace and favor.

The Meaning of the Narration in Question

The narration cited in the question is often used as proof by the scholars of Ahl al-Sunna that major sins may be forgiven even without repentance.

In his commentary on the narration in question, Imam Badr al-Din states that, “In it is a proof… that Allah may  overlook major sins due to small acts of virtue as an act of divine favor from Him.” [`Umdat al-Qari] Similarly, Mulla `Ali al-Qari states, “In this narration is a proof for the forgiveness of a major sin without repentance and this is the position of the Ahl al-Sunna.” [Mirqat al-Mafatih]

The proof for the above position is also clear from the verse, “Allah does not forgive association of partners with Him and He forgives whatever is other than this for whomsoever He wills.” (4:48) Here, the particle “maa” (whatever) is considered general, including thereby both major and minor sins. Since there is no stipulated condition of such a forgiveness being after repentance in relation to a major sin, it is understood to mean that Allah may forgive any sin – including a major one before repentance – out of His pure grace and favor. [Baydawi, Anwar al-Tanzil; Razi, Tafsir al-Kabir]

This further serves as a refutation of certain groups who stated that Allah is necessitated to punish an individual who commits a major sin and does not repent from it.

As such, this narration is understood to be from the forgiveness of sins, including major sins, due to Allah’s grace and favor.

The Forgiveness of Major Sins

Based on the above, it can be stated that there are three ways in which a major sin can be forgiven:

a. By sincere repentance, which entails leaving the sin, remorse at performing it, and making the reolve to never perform it again. The scholars mention that in such a case one can be confident that his repentance has been accepted by Allah.

b. By Allah’s pure grace, generosity, and favor. Allah may therefore forgive whomsoever He wills without that individual having actually repented.

c. By the performance of certain acts, like Hajj, according to some scholars.

[Bajuri, Sharh al-Jawhara; Laqani, Hidayyat al-Murid]

And Allah Knows Best

Wassalam
Salman

A Reader on Tawba (Repentance)

repentance

Is Repentance Always Accepted?

What is Sincere Repentance?

How Do You Know If Your Repentance is Sincere?

Chapter on Repentance: From Imam Nawawi’s Gardens of the Righteous

Prayer of Repentance: Salat al-Tawba

Does Sincere Repentance Eradicate Sin?

What is the Difference Between ”Tawbah”, ”Inabah”, and ”Awba”?

 

Tackling Homosexual Feelings: Supplication, Repentance, and Going Cold Turkey

Should I Tell My Spouse About My Relationships Before I Got Married?

Can We Deny Having Committed Sins After We’ve Repented From Them?

IslamCast Daily Hadith – 025 – Repentance and Connecting to Allah

Ramadan Reminders 29: Elements of Success [6] Repentance

Ten Duties of Those Truly Repentant – Abu Talib al-Makki in Qut al-Qulub – and Two Related Qur’anic Verses on Repentance

 

How Do You Know If Your Repentance is Sincere?

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question:
How do you know if you are truly repentant?  I always feel bad for my sins & ask forgiveness – (all past sins) but then I think “Am I only saying I’m sorry so I don’t go to hell or because I’m really sorry for it?”

Answer: Walaikum assalam,

Allah Most High says, “Turn towards Allah, O believers, every one of you, so that you may be successful.” (24:31)

And He says, “Ask your Lord for forgiveness and then turn in repentance to Him,” (11:3) and He says, “O you who believe! Turn in sincere repentance to Allah.” (66:8)

The Prophet (Allah bless him & give him peace) said, “The one who repents from sin is like the one who never sinned.” [Ibn Maja (3240)] He also said, “Remorse is repentance.” [Ibn Maja (4242) and Ahmad (3387)]

Abu Hurayra (Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Allah will turn towards anyone who turns in repentance before the sun rises from the place it set.” [Muslim]

Imam Barkawi, the great Ottoman Hanafi faqih, grammarian, and sufi, defined repentance (tawba) in his Tariqa al-Muhammadiyya as,

“Going back from desire to sin, with the determination of not returning to it, in exaltation of Allah and out of fear of His punishment.” [al-Bariqa fi Sharh al-Tariqa, 3.139]

The Conditions for Repentance

The conditions for repentance are well known:

1. Leaving the sin;
2. Remorse over having committed the sin;
3. Resolve never to return to the sin;
4. (If it relates to the rights of another person, then to) Return the rights or property one wrongly took. [al-Bariqa fi Sharh al-Tariqa; Riyad al-Salihin]

If these conditions are truly met, then 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.

If one keeps repeating the sin, then one should find the root cause(s) of the sin and eliminate them. For example, if one falls into a certain sin because of the company one keeps, then it would be necessary to either stop keeping their company, or to change the nature of one’s relationship with them.

Prayer of Repentance (Salat al-Tawba)

It is recommended to perform ablution (wudu), and pray two rakats of the repentance prayer . It is recommended to repent and seek forgiveness while prostrating during the prayer, in the final sitting after the tashahhud & blessings on the Prophet (Allah bless him & give him peace), and also after the prayer . It is best to make supplication with the Prophetic invocations, if one knows them, or with that which comes from your heart otherwise .
Tears are a good sign of the second condition (remorse), but not in themselves necessary.

What is true repentance?

Ibn Hajar mentioned that Qurtubi quoted 23 different definitions of true repentance (al-tawba al-nasuh) in his tafsir. Ibn Hajar mentioned the most important of these:

1. Umar’s words (Allah be pleased with him) that it is, “To sin and then never to return to it.”

2. To hate the sin, and the seek forgiveness for it every time it occurs to one, as Hasan al-Basri (Allah have mercy on him) said.

3. Qatada’s words (Allah have mercy on him), “To be genuine and truthful in one’s repentance,” which is what Imam Bukhari chose as the definition of true repentance in his chapter heading.

4. To have sincerity in one’s repentance.

5. To be concerned about one’s repentance not being accepted.

6. To be such that it does not need another repentance after it.

7. To be made out of fear and hope, and be accompanied by consistency in worship.

8. Like the seventh, but with the added condition that one desert those who assisted one in sin.

9. That one’s sin be between one’s eyes. [f: That is, one does not forget it.] [Ibn Hajar, Fath al-Bari]