How to ensure eternal Tauba after sinning frequently?
I as being a Muslim am really worried on this subject because i have been involved in wasteful activities more or less like 'evils commited by eye and hands' but the sin is confined to my part only.I offer Prayer regularly and Alhamdullilah belong to a good religious family but this thing is like some addiction.so how can i try to ensure true repentance (i am truely ashamed ) and make up my mind against these brutal "Zulm" i have commited in my loneliness and get it off for the future???Please guide me to set new goals and seek Allah's true repentance! Aslamoalikum
Submitted by on Sun, 29/12/2013 - 15:08
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...
There is no sin which may not be forgiven provided that you repent for it. The repentances which satisfy the conditions are always accepted. You must repent sincerely with the determination of not committing the same sin again.
Allah forgives every repented sin. If an infidel repents for his infidelity, he becomes a believer and all his sins are forgiven. If a believer commits every kind of sin, even associates partners with Allah and then regrets and repents, finds Allah all-forgiving. It is stated in the Quran : “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.” (az-Zumar 53)
The Repenter is to be forgiven
It is stated in the hadiths as follows:
One, who repented, is as if he has never committed any sins.
Allah ordained: “Even if the sins of my slave reaches the skies, I forgive him, on condition that he does not despair of me”
“Allah accepts your repentance, when you repent, even if your sins reach the skies”
“Hell is forbidden for the one who firmly believes that Allah is the Lord and I am the Messenger”
Allah ordained: “I get enraged for the one who assumes that his sin is greater than my forgiveness”
A transgressor who does not despair of Allah’s mercy, is closer to mercy than the worshipper who despairs of Allah’s mercy
Can anyone be desperate of Allah’s mercy while it is so plentiful?
Make Allah loved by His slaves, so that in turn, Allah will love you.
Allah forgives His sinful Muslim slaves with a mercy that no one can imagine. (Bayhaqi)
Allah ordained: “O my servant, if you seek forgiveness, I will forgive you regardless of multitude of your sins. I will forgive them even if they reach the clouds. If you come with plenty of sins, I will welcome you with plenty of forgiveness as long as you come as a true believer”
It is a clear indicator of perfection of a man if he always recalls Hell and balances his life accordingly. However, this recollection must not cause an unbearable life and result in despair of Allah’s mercy. Thereby, man will acquire the feeling of controlling his every single step. He will be able to interrogate himself continually. He will be always on alert with the thought: “I wonder if this deed of mine leads me to Hell”
Allah did not create some people for Hell. On the contrary, He created Hell for some people. For example, the state builds a prison. But this construction is not for confining some people in it. It is constructed for anyone who deserves to be put in it. Likewise, Allah built Hell for the ones who deserve it. Otherwise, the statement “I prepared Hell for such and such men” is not compatible with justice and wisdom of Allah because those men will have the right to object, if they have not deserved Hell.
The word “Hell” scares many people. And it must. However, we must always be on alert, because we do not know who will go to Hell or Paradise. We must evaluate every single word that we utter.
Being between hope and fear is a balance which is required for every human. Although we are Muslims, it is always possible to die as an infidel and go to Hell. Likewise, even if we live as a sinner for the whole life, in the end, it is possible to repent and we may die as a true believer and go to Heaven. Hazrat Abu Bakr (A companion of the Prophet (PBUH)) is reported to have said: “If I hear from the skies: “All human beings will go to Heaven except one, I fear to be that single man. Similarly, if I hear that everybody will go to Hell except one, I hope to be that person” A Muslim’s faith must be between hope and fear. No one may feel safe from the torment of Allah. However, they hope to gain His mercy and fear His wrath. They seek to reach His forgiveness and abstain from His punishment. We should maintain this equilibrium. We must perform our religious services fully and hope that Allah will put our names among the list of people who will go to Paradise.
Sincere Repentance (tawbah nasuh)
Nasuh is the exaggeration mode of the word nush. It means to give advice a lot. The repentance is described as something giving advice a lot. That is to say, it recommends its holder to leave his sin, removes him from the evil deeds, and tells him to turn to Allah with sincere repentance. Thus, sincere repentance is: Leaving the sin; Remorse over the sins committed; Resolving never to return to sins; If it is related to the rights of another person, then, returning the rights or property one took. 4
Our prophet defines the sincere repentance as: feeling remorse, seeking an absolute refuge in Allah and not returning to it again just as there is no return for the milk into the udder. (Ahmad b. Hanbal, Musnad, 1/446)
Ghazali described repentance as follows: Those asking Allah His forgiveness with sincere repentance are the ones showing persistence in their vows until they are dead. They make up their mistakes in the past and never think of repeating the same sin, except for lapses and slips. It is the resolution in repentance. They are the people whose sins are turned to virtues by Allah, and who compete for good deeds. 5
2.The conditions for the repentance being accepted:
That Allah acclaims those turning to Him in repentance (the Quran, Repentance (At-Tawbah) 9/112) and says He likes the people knocking the gates to repentance is a proof that repentances are to be accepted by Him. (the Quran, the Heifer (Al-Baqarah 2/222)
The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) tells how Allah becomes joyful when His servants seeks his forgiveness with the following analogy,: 'When a servant of Allah returns to Him and repents, Allah becomes happier than a traveler who loses his mount which has all his belongings and provisions on and then resorts to the shade of tree after losing all hope only to wake up and find his mount staring in his face, and then out of joy and happiness erroneously says: 'OAllah! You are my servant and I am your Lord.' (Bukhari, Muslim) (Bukhari, Daawat 4; Muslim, Tawbah 3). As it is emphasized above, Allah’s joy is more than that of a man losing his camel and then finding it again when His servants turn to Him.
There are some requirements for repentance to be accepted by Allah. However, those requirements show differences depending on the type of wrongdoing committed. It is very important to know against whom it is committed at the time of seeking forgiveness of Allah. Therefore, we can divide it into two:
A. The sins involving God’s due: there are three stipulations in order to repent of the sins relating to His rights.
1) Remorse over having committed the sin; there occurs a sense of uneasiness and penitence within the conscience of man when it is come to a decision that the sin committed is a misdeed and harms the relations between Allah and His servant.
The servant transgressing will stand before the gate of repentance in a state jerking out of the perturbation and lurching with penitence and having a prudent heart and soul. 7 The perturbation mentioned is an element encouraging man to repent.
Penitence is the first condition of repentance. As a matter of fact, our prophet said that repentance is feeling remorse in order to emphasize it. (Ibn Majah, Zuhd 30; Ahmad b. Hanbal, Musnad, 1/376, 423). To feel remorse is repentance itself. Repentance is impossible without having deep regretful feelings.
2) Abandoning the sin that is repented: Penitence cannot only be confined to the heart and neither is it a creep, recoil nor is a spiritual repentance in the form of weeping. That is to say, it is not only composed of some sorts of inner feelings. Rather, it is a process during which some actions are constructed on internal sensations. For instance, the person seeking repentance must give up the wrongdoing (8), live up to Allah’s orders as far as he can (9), and should not continue the sin that is repented. 10. Should he happen to keep committing the sin even though he has repented, he will fall into a contradiction with himself. Such a manner is not going to comply with the repentance and the vow not to repeat that sin. On the other hand, abandoning the sin immediately is going to be an indication of his repentance and decisiveness not to go back to the same sin again.
3) Resolve not to repeat the sin that is repented: The person who has turned to Allah with repentance because of his past sins should be strong-willed not to commit the same sin again so that he will repent truly. (11). Repentance and decisiveness for not repeating the same sin will be known with their true meaning merely by Allah as they are related to the heart. Therefore, it will not be known by people about who truthfully has repented. (12) The person should promise Allah not to commit the same sin again so that it will have the true essence of penitence. (13)
b- The sins that involve the rights of other men: there are four conditions for making tawbah for the sins involving other people’s rights. The fourth stipulation, apart from the three conditions stated above, is that it is compulsory that the rights be restored to the people and he has to ask for forgiveness from the person whose right is violated. If those rights are in the form of property, then he may encounter the following possibilities:
1. The grabbed possessions should be given back if they are still available and their true owner is known. 14. At this point it is not sufficient to conceal the sin and repent only.
2. If the stolen belongings are at the hands of the thief and yet their true possessor is not known, then those belongings should be given out as alms and he should not keep them any more. 15
3. If a man wronged the others in the past years and their true holders are not known, then he should give the equal amount of money to charity.
4. If the possessions the wrongdoer has are not fungible goods and if their value can be estimated and if he has enough money, he should give its equivalent to their owner. 16 If he cannot pay for them, he should intend to give them back when he has enough money. We can expect of Allah’s forgiveness for the person that tries to restore the properties to their true owners as far as he can even if he finally fails. 17
5. A man who is not sure how much of his own material goods is mixed with what is forbidden picks a quantity of sum in accordance with his own assumption and gives alms intending getting rid of the rights of other people. 18
If the sinner seeks the pardon of his Lord and carries out those conditions, Allah will accept his repentance and will be ashamed to punish the repentant.
3. Time factor in penitence:
The sins are hurdles in the path going to Allah. The sinner is similar to a person who has got poisoned. Just as it is so perilous to waste time for a poisoned person, so too is it very risky for a man committing sins to delay his repentance.
A believer who has just sinned will be very irritated out of his sin as a result of his trust in God and will seek out ways to be removed from that sin. There is concurrence of opinion about the fact that it is fard to ask for Allah’s forgiveness just following the sin committed. In addition, those holding their penitence in delay get sins due to delaying it. 19
According to Ghazali, once the man realizes what he has done is a sin, he is to feel remorse and cleanse its effect with a good deed. Otherwise, the wrongdoings will dwell in his heart and their removal is going to be impossible. 20
Thus, in a hadith, it is said, “when the servant commits a sin, a black spot appears on his heart, and if he seeks forgiveness, that black spot is removed, and if he returns to sin, the black spot grows…..”(Ibn Majah, Zuhd 29)
The following hadith illuminates us about the last time for penitence: “Allah, the Lord of honor and glory, will accept the repentance of His servant till his death-rattle begins.” (Tirmidhi, Daawat 100; Ibn Majah Zuhd 30). When the death comes and the death-rattle begins, the penitence will not be accepted.
The reasons why tawbah is not accepted at the parting breath are that the man is in the state of hopelessness at that moment. However, the penitence should be sought at a situation when the servant is still hopeful of life. At the parting breath, the proposal is cancelled from servants. The deeds committed at that time cannot be regarded as good or bad. However, penitence is of the worldly deeds and should be done before the proposal is over. In the hereafter, everybody is going to be regretful and yet their states are not going to be evaluated as repentance. 21 It is because the moment when the sinners feel remorse is a moment when the proposal is concluded. 22 The last minute repentance is not accepted and it is like nothing and as a result, it means nothing. 23 The person seeking repentance at the time of his parting breath is regarded like a man who has never repented throughout his lifetime. 24
As a conclusion, we can draw a timeline with regard to repentance: the time for penitence starts just after the moment a sin is committed, continues in the following days with no regard to any time limit and ends when the death signs appear. That is to say, the last time is when hope of life expires, the death marks become visible and the person lives his last moments.
4. The place factor in repentance:
Though some certain places for prayer and Hajj (Pilgrimage) are obligatory and virtuous, there is no any such a condition for penitence. Since tawbah (penitence) is multi-dimensional remorse, it does not start and end at a definite place.
Therefore, being in the mosque, dervish lodge or in a small Islamic monastery is not a must for asking for the pardon of Allah. On the other hand, it is not obligatory to come together with congregation in order to make tawbah in the form of chorus in groups.
A person who has committed a sin can make his repentance in any place. Any place for a person thinking about his past sins and coming into a decision to get rid of his sins is a place for repentance. That is to say, a worker can decide to start for making tawbah at his work, a farmer at his land, those being at home can make their repentance at their abodes.
After all, Hazrat Yunus (Peace be upon him) was in the stomach of the fish and in the darkness of the sea and said “"There is no god but Thou: glory to Thee: I was indeed wrong!" (the Quran: 21-The Prophets (Al-Anbiya, 21/ 87) and asked for Allah His forgiveness just because he did what was virtuous though he could have done the most virtuous. 25 And Allah pardoned him.
And as it is known, eating the forbidden apple in the heaven, Hazrat Adam and Eve disobeyed Allah’s order. Having been expelled from Paradise and walking in the world for a long time, they turned to Allah in repentance because of their mistake at Arafat arena at the top of a mountain called “Mountain of Mercy”. And they said: "Our Lord! We have wronged our own souls: If Thou forgive us not and bestow not upon us Thy Mercy, we shall certainly be lost." The Quran: -The Heights (Al-Araf), 7/23). They asked the pardon of God and God Almighty granted His forgiveness upon them.
The process for tawbah begins when the heart decisively comes into a decision to get rid of sins. At every place where this decision is taken, the repentance is sincere. Confining the penitence to a place, laying down a sacred place condition for it stems from not knowing the essence of tawbah and failing to work out the message of Islam for the issue.
God Almighty created man in a nature apt to being able to do both good and evil deeds. Tawbah is the solution for being cleansed out of sins and mistakes committed, and spiritual dirt. Through repentance, the servant is removed from his sins and faults and becomes as if he has never sinned. It is an undisputable fact that every man is in need of penitence.
Tawbah can be made just following the sin or until prior to the death rattle and signs for death come out. Since the appointed time is not definite, a person should repent without wasting any time.
A man needs no means for making tawbah nor a certain place or time for asking God in repentance.
For a true penitence, a person should feel remorse over having committed sins, and leave the place where he sins together with a resolution not to go back to the same sin. Giving the rights of their true holders back is the most crucial element of tawbah.
The suspicion whether he is cleansed out of his sins after his penitence is something baseless, Allah keeps His tawbah door open for people committing every type of sin. The point about which people should be cautious is if repentance is done with sincerity or not.
1. Firuzabadi, Muhammed b.Ya’qub, al-Qamusu’l-Muhit, Beirut 1991, I, 166; Jawhari, Ismail b.Hammad, as-Sihah fi’l-Lugha wa’l-Ulum, Beirut 1974, I, 146; Ibn Manzur, Jamaluddin Muhammad b.Mukarram, Lisanu’l-Arab, Beirut 1990, I, 233.
2. For those definitions, see, Ghazali, Abu Hamid Muhammad, Ihyau Ulumi’d-Din, (trns. Ahmed Serdaroğlu), Istanbul 1974, IV, 10; Muhyiddin Ibn Arabi, al-Futuhatu’l-Makkiyya, (invs Uthman Yahya), Cairo 1988, XIII, 298; Ibn Hajar, al-Askalani, Shihabuddin Ahmad b.Ali, Fathu’l-Bari bi Sharhi’l-Bukhari, Cairo 1987, XI, 106.
3. Qurtubi, Abu Abdillah Muhammad b.Ahmad, al-Jami li Ahkami’l-Qur’an, Cairo 1959, XV, 268; Ibn Kathir, Tafsiru’l-Qur’ani’l-Azim, IV, 59.
4. Ibn Manzur, ibid, II, 617; Ibnu’l-Qayyim, Madariju’s-Salikin, Cairo trs, I, 356.
5. Ghazali, Ihya, IV, 78. 6. It is stated that that anxiety is a sign of belief in a hadiths as follows: “A person is a believer if he commits a sin and if that sin disturbs him.” See, Bukhari, Daawat, 4; Tirmidhi, Qiyamah, 49; Ahmad b.Hanbal, ibid, IV, 12. 7. Ghazali, Ihya, IV, 9. 8. Qurtubî, ibid, V, 91. 9. Qasimi, Muhammad Jamaluddin, Mahasinu’t-Ta’wil, (invs. M.Fuad Abdulbaqi), Cairo trs, XII, 4597. 10. Ibnu’l-Qayyim, al-Jawziyya, Muhammad b.Abubakr, Madâ,ariju’s-Salikin, Cairo trs, I, 301. 11. Qurtubî, ibid, V, 91. 12. M.Abu Zahra, al-Jarima wa’l-Uquba fi’l-Fiqhi’l-Islami, Cairo trs, s.223. 13. Ibn Hajar, ibid, XI, 106; Alusi, Ruhu’l-Maani, IV, 240. 14. Sarakhsi, al-Mabsut, IX, 176; Kasani, Badayi, VIII, 96; Alusi, ibid, VII, 96. 15. Aliyyü’l-Qari, Sharhu’l-Fiqhi’l-Akbar, (trns. Yunus Vehbi Yavuz), Istanbul 1979, p.415. 16. Muhyiddin Ibn Arabi, Futuhat, XIII, 298. 17. Ibn Hajar, ibid, XI, 106. 18. Ghazali, Ihya, IV, 68, 69. 19. Ibn Qayyim, ibid, I, 297, 298. 20. Ghazali, Ihya, IV, 13. 21. Alusi, ibid, XXVIII, 158. 22. Qurtubî, ibid, V, 93. 23. Suyuti, Abdurrahman Jalaluddin, ad-Durru’l-Mansur fi Tafsiri’l-Ma’thur, Beirut 1414h, II, 458. 24. Mawardî, Tafsir, I, 456. 25. Tabari, Abu Jafar Muhammad b.Jarir, Jamiu’l-Bayan an Ta’wili’l-Qur’an, Beirut 1988, XVII, 80. Ass. Prof Mehmet Soysaldı
Please click on the link given below;
Questions on Islam
- What is the sincere repentance (tawbah nasuh)?
- Can the person committing sins be saved from them if he asks Allah for His forgiveness?
- Will Allah still forgive me?
- how to become a good muslim?
- If a person has violated the rights of somebody and then repents and asks forgiveness from the person whose rights he has violated, but if that person does not forgive him, what will happen to him?
- Is there a sin that cannot be forgiven? What are the sins that Allah will never forgive? What sins can lead a person to Hell?
- Can you give information about Allah's mercy for the sinners?
- What is the decree of Quran about the people who exploit religion?
- Is it not a contradiction that Allah created the sins and human beings so that they would repent and that He blamed those who committed sins and threatened them with Hell?