Is there a hadith meaning forgive me for what I have done due to ignorance?

The Details of the Question

- Is there a hadith meaning O Allah forgive me for what I have done due to ignorance? If yes, will you write the full hadith?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

A hadith narration regarding the issue is as follows:

According to what was reported from Abu Musa al-Ashari, the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) would pray as follows:  

اللَّهمَّ اغْفِر لي خَطِيئَتي وجهْلي ، وإِسْرَافي في أَمْري ، وما أَنْتَ أَعلَم بِهِ مِنِّي

 اللَّهمَّ اغفِرْ لي جِدِّي وَهَزْلي ، وَخَطَئي وَعمْدِي ، وَكلُّ ذلِكَ عِنْدِي

 اللَّهُمَّ اغْفِرْ لي مَا قَدَّمْتُ وَمَا أَخَّرْتُ ، وَما أَسْررْتُ وَمَا أَعْلَنْتُ ، وَمَا أَنْتَ أَعْلَمُ بِهِ مِنِّي ، أَنْت المقَدِّمُ  وَأَنْتَ المُؤَخِّرُ، وَأَنْتَ عَلى كلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ

“Allahummaghfirli khatiati wa jahli wa israfi fi amri wa ma anta a‘lamu bihi minni.

Allahummaghfirli jiddi wa hazli, wa khatai wa amdi wa kullu dhalika indi.

Allahummaghfirli ma qaddamtu wama akhkhartu, wama asrartu wama a‘lantu, wama anta a‘lamu bihi minni, antal-muqaddimu wa antal-muakhkhir, wa anta ala kulli shayin qadir.”

“O Allah! Forgive my errors and ignorance, my immoderation in all of my affairs and what You know best of me.

O Allah! O Allah, forgive me my errors which I do seriously, which I do in jest and which I do intentionally. All of these faults are in me.

O Allah! Forgive me for the sins I have committed and those I will commit, those I have committed in secret as well as those I have made public, those I have committed by exceeding and those You know better than me. You are al-Muqaddim (the One who brings forward) and al-Muakhkhir (the One who puts back). You have power over everything.” (Bukhari, Daawat 60; Muslim, Dhikr 70)

 “The previous and future sins” of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) were forgiven by Allah Almighty. (see al-Fath, 48/2)

Therefore, the Prophet had no sins that he had committed knowingly or unknowingly, seriously or in jest, secretly and in public. A sin for a prophet is not to do what is more appropriate and better.

The Prophet’s praying like that should be due to his deep modesty in the presence of his Lord and the great gratitude he felt toward Him.

Besides the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) invoked Allah not only for himself but also for his ummah. It is possible that the supplication in question is one of them.

On the other hand, the following fact also needs to be known:

The Messenger of Allah taught his ummah how to say prayers in order to be saved from sins completely along with teaching many other things. The Prophet (pbuh) advises us to pray as follows: “O Lord! I have committed all those sins; I confess it sincerely but I also know that You are the only pardoner; please forgive me.”

The phrase “those I have committed in secret as well as those I have made public” means the sins I have committed without being seen and being seen by others; it also means the sins I have considered doing in my heart and the sins I have uttered with my tongue.  

The statement “You are al-Muqaddim and al-Muakhkhir” indicates the fact that Allah Almighty, who gave understanding and superior talents to some of His slaves, made them approach His religion and hence gave them the opportunity to elevate their ranks and that He made them deviate from the true path due to some reasons that we do not know and fall to a level lower than that of animals.

Accordingly:

- The concise supplication above, which the Prophet (pbuh) taught, shows all types of sins that we commit and shows us the ways of confessing and getting rid of them.

- The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) was very modest toward his Lord. He tried to worship his Lord properly.  

- The Prophet wants us to feel the greatness of Allah Almighty in our hearts and to ask Him to forgive us.

- Since the Prophet, whose sins were forgiven, prayed to and invoked Allah like that, we, who have committed so many sins, have to ask for forgiveness more.  

- Man should pray to Allah on any occasion in order to get rid of his sins.

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