How can we pray for our sins to be covered?

The Details of the Question

How should we pray for our sins to be covered after asking for forgiveness for our sins? Are there any verses and hadiths regarding the issue?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

The covering of the sins have two aspects: one in the Gathering Place and the other in the world.

The greatest way of the sins in the world to be covered and not to be revealed is repentance. Allah does not reveal and covers the sins of the people who repent sincerely in this world and in the hereafter.

The first condition for the sins to be forgiven, covered and pardoned is not to insist on committing sins and the second one is to repent. A person who repents will naturally pray to Allah for forgiveness. However, prayer alone is not enough.

The divine assessment in the test of religion is based on the deeds first, the intentions after that and the prayers (duas). Repentance-asking for forgiveness is also a kind of dua. However, if a person repents and asks for forgiveness on the one hand and continues committing sins on the other hand, he will ridicule himself.

Allah will not show the sins of a person that He has forgiven to anyone in the hereafter by any means. We understand it from the following hadith:  

"Allah will bring a believer near Him on the Day of Judgment and shelter him with His Screen and ask him, ‘Did you commit such-and-such sins?’ He will say, ‘Yes, my Lord.’ Allah will ask him again, ‘Did you commit such-and-such sins?’ He will say, ‘Yes, my Lord.’ Allah will keep on asking him till he will confess all his sins and will think that he is ruined. Allah will say: 'I did screen your sins in the world and I forgive them for you today.'" (Bukhari, Mazalim, 3)

- The following prayers at the end of the chapter of al-Baqara regarding the issue are important: “Blot out our sins, and grant us forgiveness. Have mercy on us.”

The meaning of the prayer is as follows:

“Blot out our sins”: Acquit us of the penalty that we deserve; annul our penalty.

“Grant us forgiveness”: When you forgive our sins, cover them; do not show them to anyone; do not disgrace us.  

“Have mercy on us”: After saving us from penalty and screening our sins, do not keep your mercy away from us. That is, grant us the boons of Paradise!

“Blotting out sins” in the verse is related to bodily penalty. The second one, “granting forgiveness”, is related to spiritual penalty. The third one, “mercy”, is related to bodily reward. The last one, “You are our Lord” is related to spiritual reward. (see Razi, the interpretation of the verse in question)

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