Is a person who committed a lot of sins and fornication and then repented, asked for forgiveness and found the right path forgiven?

Details of the Question

Is a person who committed a lot of sins and fornication and then repented, asked for forgiveness and found the right path forgiven?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

The decree on fornication in Islam is clear. If a person confesses his sin in the presence of a judge four times separately or if there are four witnesses about the fornication, a judgment is given against him. If he is married, he is stoned; if he is single, he is sentenced to 100 lashes.

However, if a person does not confess his sin or if nobody has seen it or complained about it, what he needs to do is to regret and to repent for his sin by deciding not to commit it again.

Besides, if such a person confesses his sin today, there is no authority to apply that penalty. There are two things to do then. One of them is the violation of a person’s right; it is necessary to ask for forgiveness from that person. The other is the violation of Allah’s right; it is necessary, to repent, ask for forgiveness and not to commit that sin again.

Man is created in a way that can do both good deeds and bad deeds. Therefore, he can commit sins willingly or unwillingly. The following is stated in the Quran regarding the issue:

“Allah forgiveth not that partners should be set up with Him; but He forgiveth anything else, to whom He pleaseth..."(an-Nisa, 4/48,116)

Thus, it is stated that Allah can forgive any sin He wishes.

It is stated in our books that a sincere repentance will be forgiven by Allah. As a matter of fact, Allah states in the Quran that repentance will be forgiven:

“O ye who believe! Turn to Allah with sincere repentance: In the hope that your Lord will remove from you your ills and admit you to Gardens beneath which Rivers flow...” (at-Tahrim, 66/8)

Sincere repentance (tawba nasuha) mentioned in the verse is as follows:

1. To know that one has committed a sin against Allah, to take refuge in Allah because of that sin and to regret.
2. To feel sorry because of committing that sin, to have a guilty conscience because of committing such a sin against the Creator.
3. To feel determined that he will not commit such a sin again.
4. If it is related to the violation of a person’s right, to ask forgiveness from that person.

"Tawba Nasuha" is described as follows in a narration:

"- To regret sins.
- To perform fard deeds.
- Not to oppress and be hostile to others.
- Make peace with the people one is cross with.
- To decide not to commit that sin again."
(see Kanzul-Ummal, II/3808)

If we act in accordance with those conditions, we hope that Allah will accept our repentance.

However, man needs to be between fear and hope all the time. We can neither rely our worshipping nor can we lose hope due to our sins. It is wrong to say, "I am very good, I am a person of Paradise,"; it is likewise wrong to say "I am finished; Allah will not accept me." Besides, it is regarded as worshipping to repent by realizing one’s sin and to take refuge in Allah.

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