May 6, 2012

Repentance - The Way Back (Part 1)

By Shiney


No one is perfect-we all fall into sin once in a while, but the real test of our faith is whether or not we take that opportunity to turn back to Allah subhaana wa ta’aala (or not.) Many a time, people keep on sinning (but) never (realize) realizing that it is their sins that are the cause of their distress and that they are moving farther away from Allah subhaana wa ta’aala with every sin that they commit (are doing) and with every second that they displease (are displeasing) Him. As Muslims and as sinners, we (all) are obligated to do taubah. Taubah is to turn back to Allah subhaana wa ta’aala and ask Him for forgiveness, in contrast to istighfaar, which is a more (of a) generalized form of asking forgiveness from Allah subhaana wa ta’aala and can be done anytime, anywhere. To do taubah, a person must have (a) firm resolve in their heart to seek Allah’s forgiveness. Allah subhaana wa ta’aala says,
O you who have believed, repent to Allah with sincere repentance…” (At Tahrim: 8)

There are two parts (of) to taubah:
  • Allah subhaana wa ta’aala gives you the tawfiq (ability) to do taubah. This means that Allah subhaana wa ta’aala inspires you to repent or He causes some situation to occur by which you turn back to Him.
  • Allah subhaana wa ta’aala forgives you after you go (going) through the stages of taubah. 
Also, there are two major components of taubah- the body and the soul. Imam Safi Khan stated, “When the body begins to control our lives, it leads to sins, but when our soul begins to control our lives, it takes us closer to Allah subhaana wa ta’aala. Repentance should be done for both major and minor sins.

Why Repent? The Necessity of Taubah

So why should we do Taubah? The ultimate reason to do Taubah should be to purify ourselves, seek closeness to Allah subhaana wa ta’aala because it is through His Love and Mercy (and to) that we will be successful in our mission in this world; (because) paradise comes after forgiveness and it is only attained through Allah’s Mercy and (through) our own deeds. The love of Allah subhaana wa ta’aala is (attained) achieved through repentance as stated in the following ayah:
…Indeed, Allah loves those who are constantly repentant and loves those who purify themselves."” (Baqarah: 222)

The reference here (of) to “those who purify themselves” (is a spiritual one) entails a spiritual purification, along with the physical purification of the body. It means to purify our heart and our soul from sins. The purpose of repentance is also highlighted in the Qur’an in the following ayah:
…And turn in repentance, all of you, O believers, that you might succeed.” (An Nur: 31)

This implies that in order to be successful in our mission in this world, we have to repent and do good. Not only that, but Allah subhaana wa ta’aala wants us to repent as is proven by the following hadith:

Abu Hurairah (R) said: The Messenger of Allah sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam said, "By the One in Whose Hand my soul is! If you do not commit sins, Allah would replace you with a people who would commit sins and seek forgiveness from Allah; and Allah will certainly forgive them.'' (Muslim; Book #037, Hadith #6622)

Who Should Repent? The Invitation to Taubah

Allah subhaana wa ta’aala has called all types of people to repent which are the:
  • Believers-As mentioned above in ayah (At Tahrim: 8), all (the) believers have been called to repent, (and that refers to all Muslims,) including those (people) who never repent, those (people) who always repent, those (people) who rarely sin, those (people) who constantly sin, and those (people) who consider themselves to be good/bad Muslims or (anywhere) anything in between. 
  • Non-believers 
  • Hypocrites- Allah subhaana wa ta’aala says in the Qur’an:
    Indeed, the hypocrites will be in the lowest depths of the Fire - and never will you find for them a helper. Except for those who repent, correct themselves, hold fast to Allah , and are sincere in their religion for Allah , for those will be with the believers. And Allah is going to give the believers a great reward.” (An-Nisaa: 145-146) 
  • Tyrants-Tyrants like Fir’awn, Haman, and Nimrud were called to turn to Allah subhaana wa ta’aala but they refused. 
  • Pagans 
Adam, Nuh, Musa, and Yunus (alayhimus-salam) all asked Allah subhaana wa ta’aala for forgiveness and our beloved Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam said,

Turn you people in repentance to Allah and beg pardon of Him. I turn to Him in repentance a hundred times a day. ” (Sahih Muslim)

If the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam himself, the one who was already forgiven, used to repent to Allah subhaana wa ta'aala, what makes us think we don’t have to? (Also, on the Day of Judgment, we will be held accountable for not telling people to repent, both Muslims and non-Muslims.)

I'd like to hear your views on this. Please post in the comments section below! :)


This article really struck me. I really think I could do some hard core taubah for myself. But I want to know how exactly? Is doing astaghfaar around 200times in a day fine? 
I honestly haven't understood the procedure to do Taubah. Please help!
JazakAllah khair!

Jazakallah khaire for this wonderful reminder ..............

assalamalaikum zahra,
taubah is nothing but asking Allah(swt)to forgive your sins and then promise yourself that you are not going do commit it again.The crux is the intention ...the basic principle in islam.

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