Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Question: Is repentance necessarily accepted?
Answer: In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
Allah Most High says,
“And He is the one who accepts the repentance of His servants.” [Qur’an, Surat al-Shura: 25]
The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said,
“Allah accepts the servant’s repentance until they take their last breath.” [Related by Tirmidhi (who deemed it sound), Ibn Maja, and Ahmad]
Imam Laqani states in his poem on the fundamentals of belief, Jawharat al-Tawhid:
1. Sins are of two types: major and minor;
2. It is immediately obligatory to repent from all sins, especially major ones;
3. Repentance is not nullified by falling into the same sin again;
4. There is difference of opinion whether sincere repentance is necessarily accepted by Allah, or whether it is hoped that it is accepted.
There are two opinions regarding the acceptance of repentance:
 It is certainly accepted, if the conditions are fulfilled, because of the words of Allah Most High is Surat al-Shura (verse 25): “And He is the one who accepts the repentance of His servants.”
This was the position of Imam Abu’l Hasan al-Ash`ari himself.
[f: It is worth noting, of course, that this would be contingently necessary (wajib `aradi): It is in of itself possible for Allah to accept or reject repentance; it is deemed necessary–according to this position–because of the Promise of Allah that He accepts repentance, for, “Verily, Allah does not go back on His promises.” [Qur’an, al-Ra`d: 31]]
 It is hoped that it will be accepted, because it is based on probabalistic texts (dalil dhanni) that is close to certainty (qarib min al-qat`), because it is possible that the abovementioned verse be conditioned by the Will of Allah–such that its meaning be, “Allah accepts the repentance of His servants if He wishes.”
This is the position of Imam al-Haramayn [al-Juwayni] and Baqillani, and other greats. [Bajuri, Tuhfat al-Murid `ala Jawharat al-Tawhid, 321]
Ibn `Ata’illah has some excellent reminders about the proper spiritual manners of dua in his Hikam:
 Let not the delay in granting despite your consistent supplication be a cause for despair, for He has guaranteed the response in the way He wishes, and not in the way you wish, and in the time He wishes, and not in the time you wish.
See also: hikmas number 7, 21, 38, 39, 102, 109, 128, 129, 172, 173, 191, 207, 75, 166, 167, and 168.
Commentary for on the above hikma can be found at:
And Allah alone gives success.
Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
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]
Chapter on Repentance
Scholars say that it is s a duty to repent of every wrong action. If it is disobedience which occurs between a person and Allah and does not involve the right of another human being, repentance has three preconditions:
The first is that one divest himself of disobedience.
The second is that he regret doing it.
The third is that he resolve not to ever return to it.
If one of the three is lacking, then his repentance is not sound.
If it involves to another human being, repentance has four preconditions: these three and that he discharges his duty to the other person. If it is money or the like, he pays it to him. If it is a hadd-punishment because of slander and the like it, he give shim power over him or seeks his pardon. If it is slander, he undoes it, He must repent of all wrong actions. If he repents of some of them, the people of truth say that his repentance of them is sound, but he still has the rest. There is much evidence in the Book, the Sunna and the consensus of the Community about the obligation to repent.
Allah Almighty says, “Turn towards Allah, O believers, every one of you, so that perhaps you will have success,” (24:31) and the Almighty says, “Ask your Lord for forgiveness and then turn in repentance to Him,” (11:3) and the Almighty says, “O you who believe! Turn in sincere repentance to Allah.” (66:8)
13. Abu Hurayra said, “I heard the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, say, ‘By Allah, I ask Allah’s forgiveness and turn towards Him in repentance more than seventy times a day.”
14. Al-Agharr ibn Yasar al-Muzani said that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “O people! Turn in repentance towards Allah and ask His forgiveness. I turn towards Him a hundred times a day.” [Muslim]
15. 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]
In the variant of Muslim, “Allah has greater joy at the repentance of one His slaves when he turns towards Him than one of you would have over his mount, which, having escaped from him with his food and drink in the middle of the desert so that he has despaired of finding it and gone to a tree to lie down in its shade, suddenly appears standing by him while he is in that state, so that he takes its reins and then says out of the intensity of his joy, ‘O Allah, You are my slave and I am Your Lord!’ getting confused because of his intense joy.'”
16. From Abu Musa ‘Abdullah ibn Qays al-Ash’ari is that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “Allah Almighty will stretch out His hand during the night, turning towards the one who did wrong during the day, and stretch out His hand during the day, turning towards the one who did wrong during the night, until the day the sun rises from the place it set.” [Muslim]
17. Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “Allah will turn towards anyone who turns in repentance before the time that the sun rises from the place it set.” [Muslim]
18. Abu ‘Abdu’r-Rahman ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab said that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “Allah the Mighty and Majestic accepts the repentance of His servant as long as long as his death-rattle has not begun.” [At-Tirmidhi]
19. Zirr ibn Hubays said, “I went to Safwan ibn ‘Assal to ask him about wiping over leather socks. He said, ‘What has brought you, O Zirr?’ I said, ‘The search for knowledge.’ He said, ‘The angels lower their wings to anyone who seeks knowledge, out of pleasure at what he is seeking.’ I said, ‘I am troubled about wiping over leather socks after defecation and urination. You were one of the Companions of the Prophet, so I have come to ask you whether you heard him mention anything regarding that.’ He said, ‘Yes. He used to command us when we were travelling or journeying not to remove our leather socks for three days and nights except in the case of janaba. We were not to remove them on account of defecation, urination or sleep.’ I said, ‘Did you hear him mention anything about love?’ He said, ‘Yes. Once we were with the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, on a journey and, while we were in his presence, a bedouin with a loud voice called out to him, “O Muhammad!” The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, answered him in a similarly loud voice, “Go ahead!” I said to him, “Bother you! Lower your voice! You are in the presence of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and this is forbidden!” He retorted, “By Allah, I will not lower it!” The bedouin said, “Can a man love a people when he has not yet joined them?” The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “A man will be with the one he loves on the Day of Rising.”‘ Safwan continued to relate to us until he mentioned a door in the West the span of whose breadth is or whose breadth it would take a rider forty or seventy years.'”
Sufyan, one its transmitters, said, “It is in the direction of Syria. Allah Almighty, on the day He created the heavens and the earth, created it to be open for repentance and it will not be locked until the sun rises from there.” [at-Tirmidhi & others]
20. Abu Sa’id ibn Sa’d ibn Malik ibn Sinan al-Khudri reported that the Prophet of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “Among those before you there was a man who killed ninety-nine people. He asked who was the most knowledgeable man in the world and was directed to a monk. He went to him and said that he had killed ninety-nine people and was repentance possible for him? The monk said, ‘No,’ so he killed him and made it a hundred. Then he again asked who was the most knowledgeable man on earth and was directed to a man of knowledge. He said that he had killed a hundred people, so was repentance possible for him? The man said, ‘Yes, who can come between you and repentance? Go to such-and-such a land, where there are some people worshipping Allah Almighty. Worship Allah with them and do not return to your own country. It is an evil place.’ So he went and then, when he was half way there, he died. The angels of mercy and angels of punishment started to argue about him. The angels of mercy said, ‘He came in repentance, turning with his heart to Allah Almighty.’ The angels of punishment said, ‘He has not done a single good action.’ An angel came in a human form and they appointed him arbitrator between them. He said, ‘Measure the distance between the two countries and whichever one he is nearer to, that is the one he belongs to.’ They measured and found he was nearer to the land to which he was going, so the angels of mercy took him.” [Agreed upon]
In the variant in the Sahih, “He was a hand-span nearer to the virtuous land, so he was put among their people.” In the variant in the Sahih, “Allah revealed to this country to distance itself and that one to come nearer. He said, ‘Measure the distance between them,’ and they found that he was nearer to the good one by a hand-span and he forgave him.” In one variant, “He was nearer it by a short neck.”
22. Abu Nujayd ‘Imran ibn al-Husayn al-Khuza’i reported that a woman from Juhayna came to the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, who was pregnant as a result of fornication. She said, “O Messenger of Allah, I have broken a hadd, so carry out the punishment on me. The Prophet of Allah summoned her guardian and said, “Treat her well. When she gives birth, bring her back to me.” He did that and the Prophet of Allah commanded that her garment be tied tightly about her and then he commanded that she be stoned. Then he prayed over her. ‘Umar said to him, “Do you pray over her, Messenger of Allah, when she committed fornication? He said, “She repented with such a repentance that if it were to be divided out among seventy of the people of Madina, it would be enough for all of them. Can you think of anything better than her offering herself to Allah, the Mighty and Majestic?” [Muslim]
23. Ibn ‘Abbas reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “If the son of Adam possessed a valley full of gold he would want to have two valleys, yet his mouth will only be filled by earth. Allah turns towards those who turn in repentance.” [Agreed upon]
24. Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “Allah, glory be to Him, laughs about two men, one of whom kills the other and yet both of them enter the Garden. One fights in the way of Allah and is killed. Then Allah turns towards the killer, who then becomes Muslim himself and is martyred.” [Agreed upon]
3. Chapter on Steadfastness
Allah Almighty says, “O you who believe! Be steadfast; be supreme in steadfastness” (3:200), and the Almighty says, “We will test you with a certain amount of fear and hunger and loss of wealth and life and fruits. But give good news to the steadfast,” (W2:154; H2:155) and the Almighty says, “The steadfast will be paid their wages in full without any reckoning.” (W39:11; H39:10) The Almighty said, “But if someone is steadfast and forgives, that is the most resolute course to follow.” (W42:40; H42:43) The Almighty says, “Seek help in steadfastness and the prayer. Allah is with the steadfast” (W2:152; H2:153) and the Almighty says, “We will test you until We know the true fighters among you and those who are steadfast” (W47:30; H47:31)
The ayats about the command to be steadfast and the clarification of its excellence are numerous and well-known.
25. Abu Malik al-Harith ibn ‘Asim al-Ash’ari reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “Purity is half of belief. ‘Praise be to Allah’ fills up the balance, and ‘Glory be to Allah and praise be to Allah’ fills up everything between the heavens and the earth. The prayer is a light. Sadaqa is a proof. Steadfastness is an illumination. The Qur’an is a proof for you or against you. Everybody goes out and trades with his own self, either setting it free or destroying it.” [Muslim]
26. Abu Sa’id Sa’d ibn Malik ibn Sinan al-Khudri said, “Some of the people of the Ansar asked for something from the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and he gave it to them. Then they asked him again and he gave to them until he had used up everything he had. He said, ‘If I had anything more, I would not keep it from you. Whoever refrains, Allah will spare him from needing to ask. Whoever wants to be independent, Allah will make him so. Whoever shows fortitude, Allah will increase him in that. No one can be given any better and greater gift than fortitude.'” [Agreed upon]
27. Abu Yahya Suhayb ibn Sinan said, “The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, ‘What an extraordinary thing the business of the believer is! All of it is good for him. And that only applies to the believer. If good fortune is his lot, he is grateful and it is good for him. If something harmful happens to him, he is steadfast and that is good for him too.'” [Muslim]
28. Anas said, “When the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was very ill, the pain began to make him faint. Fatima said, ‘Have you more pain, father?’ He said, ‘After today your father will suffer no more pain.’ When he died, she said, ‘Father, your Lord has answered your prayer. Father, the Garden of Firdaws is your shelter. Father, shall we announce your death to Jibril?’ When he was buried, Fatima said, ‘Are you happy to put dust on the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace?'” [al-Bukhari]
29. Abu Zayd Usama ibn Zayd ibn Haritha, the client of the Messenger of Allah, one he loved and the son of one he loved, said, “A daughter of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, sent a message to him saying, ‘One of my sons is dying, so come.’ He sent his greetings to her and said, ‘What Allah takes is His and what He gives is His. Everything has a fixed term with Him, so she should show fortitude and expect a reward.’ She sent to him imploring him to come to her. He got up with Sa’d ibn ‘Ubada, Mu’adh ibn Jabal, Ubayy ibn Ka’b, Zayd ibn Thabit and some other men, may Allah be pleased with them. The child was brought to the Messenger of Allah and he was shuddering. The Prophet’s eyes were flowing with tears and Sa’d said, ‘Messenger of Allah, what is this?’ He said, ‘This is an aspect of mercy which Allah has put in the hearts of His slaves.'”
One variant has, “In the hearts of whomever He will of His slaves. Allah is merciful to those of His slaves who are merciful. [Agreed upon]
30. Suhayb reported hat the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “Among those before you there was a king who had a sorcerer. When he was old, he said to the king, ‘I am old, so send me a lad to whom I can teach sorcery.’ He sent him a lad for him to teach. When the boy was on the way, he came upon a monk. He sat down to listen to his words and liked what he heard. Whenever he went to the sorcerer, he would pass by the monk and sit with him. When he came to the sorcerer, the sorcerer would beat him. He complained about that to the monk who said, ‘When you are afraid of the sorcerer, say, “My family kept me.” And when you are afraid of your family, say, “The sorcerer kept me.”‘
“While all this was going on, he came upon a great beast which was barring the people’s way and said, ‘Today I will find out who is better, the sorcerer or the monk.’ He took a stone and said, ‘O Allah, if what the monk does is preferable to You to what the sorcerer does, then turn this beast aside so that the people can pass.’ He threw it and killed the animal and the people went on. He went to the monk and told him and the monk said to him, ‘O my boy, today you are better than I am. I see the point that your business has reached. You will be tested and, when you are tested, do not point me out.’ The boy used to heal the blind and the lepers and treat people for all their ailments. A companion of the king who was blind heard this and brought him many gifts. He said, ‘All that I have gathered for you here is yours if you heal me.’ He said, ‘I do not heal anyone. It is Allah Almighty who heals. If you believe in Allah Almighty, I will pray to Allah to heal you.” So he believed in Allah Almighty and Allah Almighty healed him. He went to the king and sat with him as he used to do. The king said to him, ‘Who has returned your sight to you?’ He said, ‘It was my Lord.’ He said, ‘You have a Lord other than me?!’ He said, ‘My Lord and your Lord, Allah.’ So he seized him and did not stop torturing him until he pointed out the boy. The boy was brought and the king said to him, ‘O boy, your sorcery has reached the point where you heal the blind and the lepers, and you do such-and-such and such-and-such.’ He said, ‘I do not heal anyone. It is Allah Almighty who heals.’ He seized him and did not stop torturing him until he pointed out the monk. The monk was brought and told, ‘Renounce your religion.’ He refused. He called for a saw and placed the saw on the centre of his head and split it until the two halves fell apart. Then the companion of the king was brought and told, ‘Renounce your religion!’ He refused, and the the saw was placed on the centre of his head and split it until the two halves fell apart. Then the boy was brought and told, ‘Renounce your religion,’ and he refused. He handed him over to a group of his companions and said, ‘Take him to such-and-such a mountain, and take him up the mountain. When you reach its summit, if he has not renounced his religion, throw him off.’ They took him and brought him up the mountain and he said, ‘O Allah, save me from them in whatever way You will.’ The mountain shook and they fell. He walked to the king and the king said to him, ‘What has happened to your companions?’ He said, ‘Allah Almighty saved me from them.’ He handed him over to a group of his companions and said, ‘Take him and put him in a ship and take him to the middle of the sea. If he does not recant, then throw him into it.’ They took him and he said, ‘O Allah, save me from them in whatever way You will.’ The ship capsized and they were drowned. He walked back to the king and the king said to him, ‘What has happened to your companions?’ He said, ‘Allah Almighty saved me from them.’ He said to the king, ‘You will not kill me until you do what I command you.’ He said, ‘What is that?’ He said, ‘You should gather the people together on one plain and crucify me on a palm trunk. Then take an arrow from your quiver and put the arrow in the centre of your bow and say, “In the name of Allah, the Lord of the boy,” and then shoot it. If you do that, you will kill me.’ So he gathered the people together on one plain and crucified him on a trunk and then took his arrow from his quiver and placed the arrow in the middle of the bow and then said, “In the name of Allah, the Lord of the boy,” and then shot it and the arrow struck his temple. He put his hand on his temple and then died. The people said, “We believe in the Lord of the boy.” The king was brought and told, “Do you not see that, by Allah, your fear has brought about the very thing you were afraid of! The people have believed.” So he commanded that a trench be dug with openings onto it and had fires lit in it. He said, ‘Throw into it, anyone who does not renounce his religion or tell him to jump.’ They did that until a woman came with one of her children. She hesitated to jump into it and the child said to her, ‘Mother, be steadfast! You have the truth.'” [Muslim]
31. Anas said, “The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, passed by a woman who was weeping at a grave and said, ‘Fear Allah and show fortitude.’ She said, not recognising him, ‘Leave me alone. You have not been struck by such an affliction as mine!’ She was told, ‘It is the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace.’ She went to the door of the Prophet and, finding no one guarding the door, she said, ‘I did not recognise you.’ He said, ‘The time for fortitude is at the first shock.'” [Agreed upon]
In a variant in Muslim, “Weeping for a child of hers.”
32. Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “Allah Almighty says, ‘The Garden will be the reward for My believing slave when I take his close friend from the people of this world and he hopes for the Garden as his reward.” [al-Bukhari]
33. ‘A’isha asked the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, about the plague and he told her that it was a punishment which Allah Almighty sent against whomever He will but that Allah Almighty had made it a mercy to the believers. “There is no slave who comes into contact with the plague and then remains where he is with fortitude and in expectation of the reward, knowing that only what Allah has written for him will befall him, who will receive any other reward than that of a martyr.” [Al-Bukhari]
34. Anas said, “I heard the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, say, ‘Allah the Mighty and Exalted says, ‘When I test My slave regarding the two things he loves and he shows fortitude, I repay him for them with the Garden.'” He meant his eyes. [al-Bukhari]
35. ‘Ata’ ibn Abi Rabah said, “Ibn ‘Abbas said to me, ‘Shall I show you a woman who is one of the people of the Garden?’ I replied, ‘Please do.’ He said, ‘This black woman came to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and said, “I have fits during which I expose myself. Pray to Allah Almighty for me.” He said, “If you wish, you can show fortitude and you will receive the Garden, and if you wish, I will pray to Allah Almighty to heal you.” She said, “I will show fortitude.” She said, “I expose myself so pray to Allah that I do not expose myself.” So he prayed for her.'” [Agreed upon]
36. Abu ‘Abdu’r-Rahman ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud said, “It is as if I could still see the Messenger of Allah talking about one of the Prophets, may the blessings and peace of Allah be upon them, whose people beat him, making his blood flow. While he was wiping the blood from his face, he said, ‘O Allah, forgive my people. They do not know.'” [Agreed upon]
37. Abu Sa’id and Abu Hurayra reported that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “No fatigue, illness, anxiety, sorrow, harm or sadness afflicts any Muslim, even to the extent of a thorn pricking him, without Allah wiping out his mistakes by it.” [Agreed upon]
38. Ibn Mas’ud said, “I visited the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, when he had a fever. I said, “Messenger of Allah, you have a very high fever!’ He replied, ‘Yes. I have the fever of two of you.’ I asked, ‘Is that because you will have two rewards?’ He said, ‘Yes, it is like that. No Muslim is afflicted by harm, whether it is a thorn or something worse, without Allah expiating his evil deeds on that account and his sins fall away from him like leaves from a tree.'” [Agreed upon]
39. Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “When Allah desires good for someone, He afflicts him.” [Al-Bukhari]
40. Anas said, “The Messenger of Allah may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, ‘None of you should wish for death because of some harm which has befallen him. If he has got to do something, he should say, ‘O Allah, make me live if life is best for me and make me die if death is best for me.” [Agreed upon]
41. Abu ‘Abdullah Khabbab ibn al-Aratt, said “We complained to the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, while he was using his cloak as a pillow in the shade of the Ka’ba, saying, ‘Why do you not ask for victory for us? Why do you not make supplication for us?’ He replied, ‘Among those before you there was a man who was seized and put in a hole in the ground which was dug for him. Then a saw was brought, put to his head and he was sawed in half. Then he was raked with metal teeth through his flesh and bones. None of that turned him from his religion. Allah will complete this business so that a rider will be able to travel from San’a’ to Hadramawt fearing none but Allah and wolves against his sheep, but you want to make things happen too quickly.” [al-Bukhari]
One variant has, “While he was using his cloak as a pillow and ‘we have encountered persecution from the idolaters.'”
42. Ibn Mas’ud said, “On the Day of Hunayn, the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, favoured some people over others in his division of the spoils. He gave al-Aqra’ ibn Habis a hundred camels and gave ‘Uyayna ibn Hisn the same number. He also gave to some of the nobles of the Arabs and favoured them in the division that day. A man said, ‘By Allah, this a division which lacks justice and by which the face of Allah is not desired.’ I said, ‘By Allah, I will inform the Messenger of Allah!’ So I went to him and informed him about what he had said. His face changed colour until it was red and then he said, ‘Who will be just if Allah and His Messenger are not just?’ Then he said, ‘May Allah have mercy on Musa! He was abused more than this and he was patient.’ I said, ‘After this, I will never take any report to him again!'” [Agreed upon]
43. Anas reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “When Allah desires good for one of His slaves, He brings forward the punishment for him in this world. When Allah desires evil for His slave, He withholds from him what is due to him on account of his wrong actions and then settles it on the Day of Rising.”
The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “The greatest reward goes together with the greatest affliction. When Allah Almighty loves people, He tests them. All who are content receive His good pleasure. Those who are angry receive His anger.” [at-Tirmidhi]
44. Anas said, “A son of Abu Talha was ill. Abu Talha went out and the boy died. When Abu Talha returned, he said, ‘How is my son?’ Umm Sulaym, who was the mother of the boy, said, ‘He is quieter than he was.’ She brought him his supper and he ate. Then he had sexual intercourse with her and when he had finished, she said, ‘Shroud the boy.’ In the morning, Abu Talha went to the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and informed him. He said, ‘Did you have intercourse in the night?’ He said, ‘Yes.’ He said, ‘O Allah, bless them both,’ and she gave birth to a boy. Abu Talha said to me, ‘Carry him to the Prophet.’ He sent some dates with him. He said, ‘Is there anything with him?’ He said, ‘Yes, some dates.’ The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, took a date and chewed it and then took it from his mouth and put it into the mouth of the child and rubbed its palate with it and named him ‘Abdullah.” [Agreed upon]
In the variant in al-Bukhari, Ibn ‘Uyayna said, “A man of the Ansar said, ‘I saw nine sons, all of whom could recite the Qur’an,’ meaning the sons of this ‘Abdullah who was born.”
In a variant in Muslim, “A son of Abu Talha by Umm Sulaym died and she told her family, ‘Do not tell Abu Talha about his son until I have told him myself.’ She brought him supper and he ate and drank. Then she beautified herself for him better than she had ever beautified herself before, and he had intercourse with her. When she saw that he was full and had had sex with her, she said, ‘Abu Talha, what would you think if some people lent something to a family and then asked for their loan back? Can they prevent them?’ He replied, ‘No.’ She said, ‘Then seek the reward for your son.'”
He said, “He became angry and then said, ‘You left me until I was impure from intercourse and then told me about my son!’ He went to the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and told him what had happened. The Messenger of Allah said, ‘May Allah bless the night for both of you.'” He said, “She became pregnant.” He said, “The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was on a journey and she was with him. When the Messenger of Allah came to Madina from a journey, he would never enter it at night. They drew near Madina and she went into labour. Abu Talha stayed with her and the Messenger of Allah went on.” He said, “Abu Talha said, ‘You know, O Lord, that I like to go out with the Messenger of Allah when he goes out and enter when he enters and I am held back by what You see.’ Umm Sulaym said, ‘Abu Talha, I am not feeling what I was feeling. Go on.’ So he went. She went into labour when they arrived and gave birth to a boy. My mother said to me, ‘Anas, no one could make him suckle until she took him to the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. In the morning I carried him and took him to the Messenger of Allah,'” and he mentioned the entire hadith.
45. Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “The strong man is not the one who throws people in wrestling. The strong man is the one who has control of himself when he is angry.” [Agreed upon]
46. Sulayman ibn Surad said, “One day I was sitting with the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, while two men were quarreling. The face of one of them turned red and his veins stood out. The Messenger of Allah said, ‘I know a word which, if you say it, will remove what you feel.’ (Or he said ‘”I seek refuge with Allah from the accursed Shaytan’ will remove from him what he feels.’) They told him that the Prophet and two men were were quarreling said, ‘Seek refuge with Allah from the accursed Shaytan.'” [Agreed upon]
47. Mu’adh ibn Anas reported that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “If someone restrains his anger when he is able to give vent to it, Allah glory be to Him and may He will exalted! will summon him at the head of creatures on the Day of Rising so that he can chose whichever of the wide-eyed houris he wishes.” [Abu Dawud and at-Tirmidhi]
48. Abu Hurayra reported that a man said to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, “Give me counsel.” He said, “Do not get angry.” He repeated his request several times and he said, “Do not get angry.” [al-Bukhari]
49. Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “Believers, both men and women, will continue to be afflicted in respect of themselves, their children and their property until they meet Allah without any wrong actions at all.” [at-Tirmidhi]
50. Ibn ‘Abbas said, “‘Uyayna ibn Hisn came and stayed with his nephew, al-Hurr ibn Qays, who was one of the group whom ‘Umar brought near to him. The reciters were part of the people of the assembly and council of ‘Umar, no matter whether they were mature men or young men. ‘Uyayna told his nephew, ‘Nephew, you have access to this amir, so ask him for permission for me to see him.’ He asked permission and ‘Umar gave permission. When he entered, he said, ‘O Ibn al-Khattab! By Allah, it is that you do not give enough to us and you do not judge justly between us.’ ‘Umar was so angry that he wanted to punish him. Al-Hurr said to him, ‘Amir al-Mu’minin, Allah Almighty said to His Prophet, “Make allowances for people; command what is right; and turn away from the ignorant.” (7:199) This is one of the ignorant.’ By Allah, ‘Umar did not do less than that when he recited it. He acted in accordance with the Book of Allah Almighty.” [al-Bukhari]
51. Ibn Mas’ud reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, ‘After I am gone there will be misappropriation and matters of which you disapprove.” They said, “O Messenger of Allah, what do you command us to do?” He said, “To fulfill the rights you owe to others and to ask Allah for what is owed to you.” [Agreed upon]
52. Abu Yahya Usayd ibn Hudayr reported that a man of the Ansar said, “Messenger of Allah, will you not appoint me as you appointed so-and-so?” He said, “You will experience misappropriation after I have gone, so be patient until you meet me at the Basin.” [Agreed upon]
53. Abu Ibrahim ‘Abdullah ibn Abi Awfa reported that on one of the days when he came face to face with the enemy, the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, waited until the sun had declined and then stood up and said, “O people! Do not be too eager to meet the enemy, and ask Allah for well-being. When you do meet them, be steadfast. Know that the Garden lies under the shadow of the swords.” The the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “O Allah, Sender-down of the Book and Mover of the clouds and Vanquisher of the companies, defeat them and help us against them!” [Agreed upon]
[Aisha Bewley’s translation, http://bewley.virtualave.net/riyad1.html#tawba]
Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Question: A dear brother of mine is due to get married in December, unfortunately he went to a prostitute and committed illegal sexual acts. He regrets it very much, even while he was there he wanted to leave, please if you could give some prayer for repentance also if you could give some prayer to protect him and us all from our desires and shaitan.
Answer: Allah Most High says,
“Turn towards Allah, O believers, every one of you, so that you may be successful.” (24:31)
Walaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,
1. The best repentance is to resolve not to return to such matters, and to turn to Allah, expressing one’s remorse with one’s own heart-felt words. See attached answer(s).
It is good to make the prayer of repentance:
Abu Bakr (Allah be pleased with him) related from the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) that he said, “There is no one who commits a sin, goes and performs ritual ablutions, and then prays two rakats after which they seek Allah’s forgiveness except that He forgives them.” After this, he (peace and blessings be upon him) recited Allah Most High’s words,
“And those who, when they do an evil thing or wrong themselves, remember Allah and implore forgiveness for their sins – Who forgives sins save Allah only? – and will not knowingly repeat (the wrong) they did.” [Qur’an, 3.135]
This has been related by Abu Dawud and Tirmidhi in their respective Sunan, and the scholars declared it to be a recommended prayer. [Ibn Qudama, al-Mughni 1.348, Ibn Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar 2.28, quoting Sharh Shir`at al-Islam via Shaykh Isma`il al-Nabulsi]
And Allah alone gives success.
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Answered by Ustadha Zaynab Ansari
Question: I recently got engaged. For a period in my life just before the engagement I let my nafs overcome me. I decided to give my old computer to her and buy a new one and she discovered some old files, disgusting and inexcusable acts done online. I really regretted this and made, insh’Allah, a sincere repentance and resolved never to do it again . However, upon seeing these files she was very hurt and believes she can’t trust me again. I was just wondering how can I gain her trust back? She has said she can forgive but not sure if she can forget. What can I do to make her understand what I did will never and hasn’t happen again? Is there any dua I can say for her heart to get through this with sabr and see the goodness inside me and through those faults, I made a bad choice by allowing my nafs to get the better of me. Is there any duas anything to make her forgive and forget this act and see past it and give me another chance?
Answer: Dear Brother,
Thank you for your question.
I pray this message finds you well.
As part of the process of turning over a new leaf and repenting from past sins, it’s important to identify what led you down this road. I could not discern much from your message, but it sounds as if there was objectionable material on your computer. If you are still in contact with people who are a negative influence on you, you need to drop them. If you are dealing with self-esteem issues or any type of sexual addiction, you need to address these issues before marrying.
If you were involved with anyone else, you need to be sure this person is out of your life so you can move forward. And you need to be 100% honest with your fiancee. This means you have to be willing to do whatever it takes to establish trust, whether that means limiting your time online, ditching your computer altogether, or seeking couples counseling.
I think both of you need time to reevaluate your impending marriage. Are you ready for this step? I think both of you need to do some healing before making such a huge commitment.
You should both make istikhara and trust in Allah for the best outcome.
May Allah Ta’ala grant you ease,
Guilt is one of the most powerful of human emotions. It can motivate one to seek redemption or it can leave one feeling hopeless; it can set one on a path of true renewal and change or on a dangerous and dark path of depression and moral decline.
Feelings of guilt can surface for a number of different reasons. One may feel guilt after disappointing or hurting a loved one. A teenager who disobeys his/her parent or a spouse who betrays their partner may struggle with serious feelings of guilt both during and after their indiscretions. Guilt can also emerge from having negative feelings or thoughts about others, which are undeserved, such as being jealous of someone else’s success. Perhaps the most demoralizing form is extreme guilt that can afflict someone after committing a sin or a serious moral offense. The one suffering from this type of guilt is not just feeling deep regret for his/her wrongs but they are in fact overwhelmed with despair, hopelessness, and self-loathing.
There is a clear difference between guilt that leads to remorse which inspires one to sincerely seek God’s forgiveness and a much more destructive and sinister feeling that perpetuates guilt so strong that it distances one from God. Some people hold on to the hope that God will accept their despair as penance so they allow thoughts of extreme guilt to consume them. Others are perpetuated by the misguided belief that their actions are beyond redemption; easily becoming depressed and withdrawn, they drown in a sea of their own guilt. In both cases they are literally unable to disconnect or move beyond the past because they see every subsequent negative event in their life whether it is a loss, disappointment or tragic event as a direct consequence of their past deeds. They are unable to forgive themselves and so they convince themselves that God is punishing them.
Muslims believe that such grim and ominous thoughts are inspired by mankind’s greatest enemy, Satan. He will stop at nothing to demoralize, diminish, and spiritually destroy us. Through despair he pushes us to the brink emotionally and psychologically in order to lead us to moral and spiritual apathy or the sense that we’ve crossed the point of no return and have no way for redemption. Once we’re convinced of this then our actions will follow suit, our heedlessness will increase and we will ultimately perish.
So how can one distinguish healthy feelings of guilt & remorse from these destructive feelings of despair and hopelessness? You must first know the answer to the following questions:
1) Identify the cause of your guilt. What is the offense you think you’ve made?
2) Whom have you offended?
3) Is there a way to redress it?
The first point is very important because oftentimes we aren’t very clear on what God actually deems blameworthy. As Muslims, we are very fortunate in that we have a faith that covers in great detail both personal and social etiquette as well as legal rights and responsibilities. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is our role model and his standard of conduct in every area of life is how we should measure our own behavior. If our actions/deeds are offensive by his standard then they are certainly offensive to God.
In the second point you must determine the degree of the offense. In other words, is it something that you will actually be taken into account for or is that just what you’ve been led to believe? Is the action truly offensive to God? We have to keep in mind that many of our cultures impose certain things on us that have nothing to do with Islam. This can obviously cause serious confusion for the average Muslim, most of whom haven’t formally studied the religion. For example, there are some cultures who look down upon a woman who remarries after a divorce; they erroneously believe that she is somehow dishonoring herself and her family. This clearly has nothing to do with Islam but nevertheless some women who come out of divorce feel conflicted about remarrying and even believe that it’s shameful to talk about it. The fact that many of the female Companions of the Prophet (peace be upon him) were divorced and remarried during his lifetime is enough of a proof to contradict this ridiculous claim.
And finally, the third point focuses on the possibility of redemption by redressing the wrong itself. One of the many treasures of Islam is that it gives nearly everyone and anyone [who sincerely seeks it] hope for redemption. This point couldn’t be more perfectly articulated than in the following hadith:
Abu Sa`id Al-Khudri (May God be pleased with him) reported: The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “There was a man from among a nation before you who killed ninety-nine people and then made an inquiry about the most learned person on the earth. He was directed to a monk. He came to him and told him that he had killed ninety-nine people and asked him if there was any chance for his repentance to be accepted. The monk replied in the negative and so the man killed him also completing one hundred. He then asked about the most learned man in the earth. He was directed to a scholar. He told him that he had killed one hundred people and asked him if there was any chance for his repentance to be accepted. The scholar replied in the affirmative and asked, `Who stands between you and repentance? Go to such and such land; there (you will find) people devoted to prayer and worship of God, join them in worship, and do not come back to your land because it is an evil place.’ So he went away and hardly had he covered half the distance when death overtook him; and there was a dispute between the angels of mercy and the angels of torment. The angels of mercy pleaded, ‘This man has come with a repenting heart to God,’ and the angels of punishment argued, ‘He never did a virtuous deed in his life.’ Then there appeared another angel in the form of a human being and the contending angels agreed to make him arbiter between them. He said, `Measure the distance between the two lands. He will be considered belonging to the land to which he is nearer.’ They measured and found him closer to the land from where he left. So God commanded (the land which he wanted to leave) to move away and commanded the other land (his destination) to draw nearer and then He said: ‘Now measure the distance between them.’ It was found that he was nearer to his goal by a hand’s span and was thus forgiven”. It is also narrated that he drew closer by a slight movement of his chest. (al-Bukhari & al-Muslim)
There are many lessons we can derive from this hadith but undeniably it teaches us that God’s mercy has no bounds and no one can limit Him in anything. His judgment is His alone so to assume that He will not forgive something is not only incorrect but it’s also blasphemous. Simply put, we do not have the right to make any assumptions about God or His judgment.
So no matter how guilty we may feel about something we should be certain that God’s forgiveness is available to us so long as we sincerely repent. And repentance is more than just wallowing in guilt or articulating sorrow and regret on your tongue; the process of sincere repentance necessitates action and includes:
1) Recognizing the offense itself and its admission before God
2) Promising to never return to it again
3) Repenting sincerely to God for your transgression
As long as one commits to all 3 points then their repentance is sincere and they should resist any negative thoughts that make them feel unworthy of God’s mercy and/or dissuade them from drawing nearer to Him. About this the Prophet (peace be upon him) related that God 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 as its.” (al-Bukhari)
There are many other similarly beautiful hadiths where God, the Exalted, illustrates His immeasurable mercy and compassion. The onus is ours to learn about His attributes and come to a better understanding of our own creation. We must remember that He created us with the ability to choose between right and wrong and, when we err, to experience guilt, so that we seek His forgiveness not so that we fall into despair, drowning in our misery. This is the abode of Satan, the one who is truly without hope.
For those who repent sincerely, guilt is a powerful means to direct our hearts back to God, to find the hope to persevere and to experience the ultimate gift of Divine grace.
In the Name of Allah, the Benevolent, the Merciful
Yahya ibn Mu`adh al-Razi (Allah have mercy upon him), one of the great imams of the spiritual path from the early Muslims (salaf), said:
“Glad tidings be to a servant who has:
1. Made their occupation worship (`ibada);
2. Neediness (faqr) their longing;
3. Spiritual seclusion (`uzla) their desire;
4. The Hereafter their concern;
5. Seeking a living their means [f: rather than an end in itself];
6. Death their reflection (fikr);
7. Their intention busy with renunciation (zuhd);
8. Killed through abasement (dhull) their self-consequence (`izz);
9. Making their Lord their sole need;
10. Remembering their errors in their solitude (khalwa);
11. Sending forth in ecstasy their contemplation;
12. Complaining only to Allah regarding their strangeness (ghurba);
13. And asking through repentance for Allah’s Mercy.
Glad tidings be to one for whom these are their traits; whose regret is over their sins; ever-yearning in need by night and day; weeping before Allah in the depths of the night; calling upon the All-Merciful; seeking the Gardens of Paradise; and fearing the Fires of Hell.” [Related by Abu Nu`aym, Hilyat al-Awliya, 10.58]
Answered by Ustadha Ustadha Umm Ihsan
Question: If I have done something which might be prohibitive or lets say haram and I came to know after a long time. Will my sincere repentance eradicate that sin?
Answer: Bismi Llahir Rahmanir Rahimi
If one has committed an action that is prohibited in Islam, one should make a sincere repentance and inshaAllah, Allah will pardon one’s wrongdoing.
Conditions for a Sincere Repentance
A sincere repentance entails four conditions:
a. One leaves the sin,
b. One feels remorse for the action committed,
c. One resolves to not return to it, and
d. One pays back or returns what one owes if the sin involves the rights of others.
[Nawawi, Riyad al-Salihin]
Do Not Despair Allah’s Mercy
No one should ever despair Allah’s mercy if they’ve truly repented. He is the only One who can forgive us for the wrong we willingly commit. He is oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.
Allah says in the All-Mighty Quran:
“Say: Oh my slaves who have transgressed against yourselves, do not despair of the mercy of Allah, verily, Allah forgives all sins.” [Throngs: 53]
“And those who, when they do an evil thing or wrong themselves, remember Allah and implore forgiveness for their sins – Who forgives sins save Allah only? – and will not knowingly repeat (the wrong) they did.” [Ali Imran: 135]
“Ask your Lord for forgiveness and then turn in repentance to Him.” [Hud: 3]
“O you who believe! Turn in sincere repentance to Allah.” [The Forbidding: 8]
Even if one has repented from the sin committed, one should continue to actively engage in repentance. The Companion Abu Huraira (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “I heard the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, say, ‘By Allah, I ask Allah’s forgiveness and turn towards Him in repentance more than seventy times a day.’” [Nawawi, Riyad al-Salihin]
Please see this related link:
Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani
Ustadha Umm Ihsan is a female student of Islamic knowledge from the US. She studies with leading Hanafi scholars from Syria and elsewhere.
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