Repentance: The Adaab of Tawbah
First Step on The path to Spiritual Fulfillment and Enlightenment
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.
Alhamdulillahi Rabbil ‘Aalameen, hamdan kathiran tayyiban mubaarakan feeh, Wa salaatu wa salaamu ‘alaa Habbibunaa wa Sayyidinaa wa Mawlaanaa Muhammadin wa ‘alaa Aalihi wa Sahbihi wa Atbaa’ini wa sallim.
Concerning Tawbah which literally means to return or to turn back, as in turning back around and facing the right direction after being lost (in sin) and walking in the wrong direction, Allahu ta ‘ala says:
وَعَدَ اللَّهُ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ ۙ لَهُم مَّغْفِرَةٌ وَأَجْرٌ عَظِيمٌ [٥:٩]
Wa’adallahu llatheena aamanu wa aamilu salihati lahum maghfiratun
wa ajrun Adheem.
Allah has promised those who have imaan (faith) and do good works [that] theirs shall be forgiveness of sins, and a mighty reward; [Surah Maidah;5:9]
وَمَن يَعْمَلْ سُوءًا أَوْ يَظْلِمْ نَفْسَهُ ثُمَّ يَسْتَغْفِرِ اللَّهَ يَجِدِ اللَّهَ غَفُورًا رَّحِيمًا[٤:١١٠]
Wa mayya’mal soo-an aw yadhlim thumma yastaghfirillaha, yajidillaha Ghafoorar Rahimaa
If any one does evil or wrongs his own soul but afterwards seeks God's forgiveness, he will find God Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.
Surah 4 Verse 110
Sayyidinaa Ibn Abbas Radhi Allahu ‘anhu commented about this verse saying that Allah informs His servants of His forgiveness, forbearing generosity and expansive mercy. So, whoever commits a sin, whether major or minor, ‘but afterwards seeks Allah’s forgiveness, he will find Allah Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful’ even if his sins were greater than the heavens, the earth and the mountains.
It is also narrated by Ahmad that Sayyidinaa Abu Bakr Radhi Allahu ‘anhu said that Prophet Muhammad (Sall Allahu ‘alaihi wa Aalihi wa sallim) said:
‘No Muslim commits a sin and then performs ablution, prays two rak’ahs and begs Allah for forgiveness for that sin, but He forgives him.’
If a believer makes mistakes, and we all do, we have to offer sincere repentance to be entitled to forgiveness. In Islam, sincere repentance is known as tawbah. This requires us to;
- Recognize and admit we have made a mistake
- Ask forgiveness from Allah and if the sin was against a person, we have to ask forgiveness from that person also
- We try to atone for the sin we have done if possible, by for example, returning money if we had stolen it
- We make the intention never to do the sin again
Al Imam Qushayri Radhi Allahu ‘anhu mentions in “Risaalatul Qushayriyya”. Allah says, “Turn all together towards Allah [in repentance] O Believers that you may attain bliss [24:23]. It has been reported on the authority of Sayyidinaa Anas bin Malik Radhi Allahu ‘anhu that Rasulullah Sall Allahu ‘alaihi wa Aalihi wa sallim said, “The one who repents from sin is like one without sin, and if Allah loves a servant , sin does not adhere to him.” The he recited, “Innallaha yuhibbut tawwabeena wa yuhibbul mutatahhireen”[ Indeed Allah loves these who turn unto him [in repentance}, and He loves those who purify themselves] [2:222]. It was asked, “Ya Rasulullah [Sall Allahu ‘alaihi wa Aalihi wa sallim], what is the sign of repentance?” He replied, “Remorse.”