As humans, we often make mistakes. We also tend to lose our way sometimes for a while. But the real question is, how do we repent? Do we ever realize that we have done wrong towards someone? Even if we do realize, what most of us do? Repentance in Islam is something you can call a second chance from our creator, Allah the Almighty. We need to make sure that our repentance is sincere, constant and meaningful.
If a sin involves violating the rights of other people, then we must return the taken rights to the individual to whom they belong. Yet, to so many people their repentance first comes strongly, but over time it becomes weaker day by day and they fall back into sinning again, only a short period.
What is repentance in Islam?
In Arabic, the term Tawbah means ‘repentance’. It is an Arabic Quranic term which also means “a retreat” or “a return”. Islam gets how every one of us can get affected by temptation. And for that reason, how some of us might do something which we may regret later. Only if we repent, then we will be able to eliminate our sins and past misdeeds and we can slowly free ourselves from the threads of ego and pride. In the eyes of Allah, the Almighty, repentance is the noblest form of obedience. Allah loves those who repent for their mistakes and misdeeds. It carries a status that no other form of worship does. In this way, we can make our lord truly happy and when a servant repents, Allah becomes so happy just as a traveler is happy when he finds his lost mount in the desert.
In Quran Allah the Almighty mentioned,
‘Do not despair of Allah’s mercy; He will forgive you for all of your sins’. Quran (39:53)
In another verse, Allah mentions, ‘And He wishes to forgive you’. Quran (4:146)
5 conditions of repentance in Islam
The first important condition is that the act of repentance is given sincerely for only Allah The Almighty’s sake. Allah will always accept it as long as it is sincere and true. But on the other hand, if a Muslim is not ashamed for his sins and past misdeeds, or has no intention to forsake these wrongdoings, then this minor verbal repentance will not count as true repentance.
The sinner who has committed sins must feel remorse and guilt over his or her actions to an extent so that the person wishes he or she had never done it in the first place.
Muslims who have committed sins in Allah’s eyes must immediately seize the opportunity to correct all their wrongs by accepting that they have done something which Allah will not forgive unless they must ask for forgiveness from our Lord, and feel remorse. If their sin involves a religious duty that has been neglected such as performing the Islamic prayer or salah or paying off the zakat, this should be corrected at once. In other circumstances, if the sin involves a human’s right, it requires relieving oneself of such right.
The repentant Muslim has to have a firm intention to never sin again. In the Holy Quran Allah says that ‘On a Day when some of the great signs of your Lord shall come at the end of time, sudden belief will not help a soul that has not believed before, nor a soul that has not earned any good from its belief’. [Al-An ‘am 6: 158]
Narrated by Abu Hurairah: our beloved Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, ‘The Hour will not be established until the sun rises from the West, and when the people see it, then whoever on the surface of the earth will have faith, and that is when belief will be of no advantage to a soul that believed not before.’ [Al-Bukhari]
The sinner must repent for his sin before his life ends and it is too late, meaning before death approaches.
For Muslims, there are plenty of amazing stories of repentance in Islam to take points from. Such as- The repentance of Shawana, the story of the ideal woman named Asiya who was arrogant, wicked and malicious beside his bad beliefs and reprobate doings, The story of the repentance of Shaqeeq Al-Balkhi, etc. These are the popular true stories among Muslims, from these every Muslim can learn so many things.
How to make repentance in Islam?
There are four basic steps, by doing them one can make sincere repentance to Allah the Almighty:
Allah is most merciful and forgiving
So many people think that there is no point in stopping themselves from doing sins, as they have already done too much, and they won’t be forgiven even if they ask forgiveness. And that’s where they are utterly wrong. If you belong to one of those categories then you have to take a pause and stop yourself.
We do not have the right to think this way, as Allah the Almighty says in the Holy Quran over and over again that He is all-forgiving and most compassionate. We should never lose faith from Allah, and we have to believe in Allah’s mercy. He made us and He knows our every weakness and every flaw we have. In this world, everyone makes mistakes, what makes us unique and best, is if we turn to Allah the Almighty and beg for forgiveness, He will grant us that.
Understand the source of your pain
It doesn’t matter if the sin is large or small, once we decide to give it up and want to successfully repent to Allah the Almighty, it becomes our utmost duty for us to locate the main source of this sin and keep away from it to the best of our capacity. The source of our pain can be a friend, a certain place that you go to sit, at your electronic device alone or watching tv alone. If our sin is because of the computer or the TV or other such appliances, the only solution is not to eliminate these obstacles.
We should try to find a way that helps us to use these resources for good rather than doing evil. It is always good not to give up and have people around you when you will use these resources, you will feel stronger and surround yourself with those who will remind you how to stay on the right track, for it is always easy to make mistakes when we are alone and vulnerable.
The people around us can have a huge impact on the way we deal with ourselves. A time will come for us when we have to repent to Allah the Almighty (glorified and exalted be He) and we will sincerely feel remorse about all the sins we have committed, all the wrongs we have done, and that time we won’t want to be alone. In times like this, family and friends can be a huge support for us. They will not let us forget what we are trying to do, they will make our stay on the right path. They will always listen to us and support us through all our struggles, and won’t ever let us give up.
Our beloved Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) once said, ‘The example of a good companion, who sits with you, compared with a bad one it is like that of the musk seller and the blacksmith’s bellows, from the first you would either buy musk or enjoy the good smell it has while the bellows would either burn your clothes or your house or you get a bad smell after’([Bukhari)
Connection with Islam
The final way for us on staying in the path of repentance is how important it is for us to stay connected with Islam and the Muslim Ummah. The thought is very uplifting for the soul while we are beset by Muslims seeking knowledge together and worshipping together. All at once we can make an effort to visit the mosque daily to offer salah and attend Islamic lectures, and workshops. This will keep ourselves busy with useful Islamic events and surrounded by the Islamic community may take our mind off the worldly things, which might trigger the urge of ours to sin once again.
To forgive someone for committing a mistake or sin is not a simple task, and it doesn’t come automatically. It is something that one must desire for, with proper sincerity and true devotion. Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) is known to have said what may mean, ‘The doors are always open for you. So long as you are still breathing, then keep repenting.’ We should never let Shaitan use our sin against us to ruin our relationship with Allah the Almighty (glorified and exalted be He) or we never should let the devil stand between us and our creator.
Cover image source: Unsplash
Read about Islamic Prayer