Can the person committing sins be saved from them if he asks Allah for His forgiveness?

Details of the Question
Can the person committing sins be saved from them if he asks Allah for His forgiveness?
The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Man has been created in a disposition inclined to do both evil and good deeds. For this reason, he may commit sins intentionally or unintentionally. Regarding the matter, Allah lets us know He can grant pardon for any fault with the statement in the Qur’an that “Allah forgiveth not (the sin of) joining other gods with Him; but He forgiveth whom He pleaseth other sins than this” (Qur’an, Women (An-Nisa), 4: 116).

Our books also state that all remorse done from the bottom of one’s heart is going to be accepted. Thus, Allah Almighty decrees that all the repentances can be accepted by saying that “O ye who believe! Turn to Allah with sincere repentance: in the hope that your Lord will remove from you your evil deeds and admit you to Gardens beneath which Rivers flow”. Qur’an, -Holding (Something) to be Forbidden (At-Tahrím), 66: 8)

The sincere repentance mentioned in the surah above is as follows :

1- Knowing that one committed a sin against Allah, and taking shelter in Allah and having repentance.

2- Feeling sad because of the wrongdoing he committed, having the sense of penitence since he committed such a sin against his Creator.

3-Having a great determination not to do such an evil deed again.

4- If it involves rightful due of a person, he needs to ask for forgiveness from that person.

In one of his hadiths, our Prophet said the sincere repentance is :

-Feeling remorse from the sins
-performing the fard worships
-Not oppressing and not doing hostility
-Reconciling with sullen and offended persons
-Vowing not to do that sin again.

We can hope that Allah will accept our repentance on condition that we act in accordance with those conditions.

However, man should always remain between hope and fear. We can neither be sure of ourselves and proud of our worships, and nor can we fall in despair because of our sins. It is wrong to consider “I am a very good slave of God and well accepted by Him; similarly, it is mistaken to think that “I am finished, I do not think Allah will accept me. Besides, realizing his own faults and then asking for God’s forgiveness and taking shelter in Allah is a very great worship. The cure for being cleansed of spiritual dirt: Repentance (Tawbah)

Tawbah, which means  “turning towards Allah in the dictionary, is known as abandoning sins and turning to Allah as a religious term. 1

Scholars of Islam like Imam Ghazali, Ibn Arabi, Ibn Hajar defined repentance in different ways. 2

Trying to explain it with a lucid and understandable style, we can state that the following: repentance means being aware of the fact that the bad deed, fault and mistakes committed are all sins and thus giving all of them up and turning towards Allah, seeking His forgiveness for our sins, confessing that we feel regretful for what we did and beseeching Allah only.

1. The Importance of Tawbah (repentance):All mankind is sinful, and the best amongst them is one who repents.” (Ibn Majah, Zuhd, 30). In another hadith our Prophet is reported to have said “if you did not commit any sins, Allah Almighty would destroy all of you and create a nation that would commit sins and then seek His forgiveness. (Muslim, Tawbah, 9, 10, 11)

As it is understood from the hadiths we have just mentioned above, man is created in a nature liable do both bad and good deeds. Committing sins is a feature that differentiates man from angels. Angels are known to have been created from light; they never disobey Allah and at no time do they commit sins.

Islam is the natural disposition for mankind. The truth that man may involve in wrongdoings is accepted by Islam and therefore he has been taught the paths to salvation. Repentance is the remedy to be relieved from our transgressions, sins, misconducts and it s a means of cleansing our spiritual dirt. Man is freed from all of his evil deeds and misdoings through repentance and becomes purified as if he never practiced that iniquity. Thus, regarding the issue, our Prophet said “those turning to Allah in repentance and asking for His forgiveness are purified as though they never did that evil deed.” (Ibn Majah, Zuhd 30)

The God Almighty calls man for repentance and decrees that “And O ye Believers! turn ye all together towards Allah in repentance, that ye may be successful.”( the Quran, an-Nur, 24: 31). In another verse, He orders His Messenger “Say: "O my Servants who have transgressed against their souls! Despair not of the Mercy of Allah: for Allah forgives all sins: for He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. .”( the Quran, The Groups (Az-Zumar), 39: 53).

In that verse, God Almighty commands his Messenger to conduct the message that iniquitous people should not despair their hopes from His mercy. It is because Allah the most Forgiving and Merciful may forgive all sins if He wishes. For this reason, the servants of Allah must turn to Him, submit to Him and give up polytheism and all sins before Allah chastises them. 
According to a narration, some polytheists who had committed a lot of sins asked Hazrat Prophet whether their sins would be forgiven if they became Muslims; the verse above was sent down after their questions. That verse calls all people to repentance and to Islam, and it informs that Allah will forgive all of their sins if they become Muslims, opening the doors of hope for sinners.

If the slaves of Allah, no matter how many sins they may have committed, turn to Him in repentance without abandoning hope, He will pardon them. In addition to those verses, there are plenty of hadiths saving the slaves from despair and encouraging them to repent. (See: Bukhari, Anbiya 54; Muslim, Tawbah 46, 47)

Sin is the dirt of the spirit and repentance is the polish of it. Persistence in the sin spoils too much the soul of the slave. Therefore, Mawlana Jalaluddin Rumi calls every person to the straight path from marshy ground of wrongdoings with the following utterances:

Come, come, whoever you are.

Wonderer, worshipper, lover of leaving.

It does not matter.

Ours is not a caravan of despair.

Come, even if you have broken your vow

A thousand times

Come, yet again, come, come.

Ours is the portal of hope, come as you are...

Questions on Islam

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