Don’t navigate to another page or tab thinking this is meant for sinners, wrongdoers and those who’ve been misguided. This is for you, dear descendant of Adam. Yes, *you*. Don’t mistake istighfar and tawbah to be exclusive rituals of Ramadan and Hajj alone. They are, in fact, a way of life.
As humans, we are bound to err and sin.
It was narrated from Anas that the Messenger of Allah said:
“Every son of Adam commits sin, and the best of those who commit sin are those who repent.’” 1
Each and every Muslim commit minor sins, whereas only a small percentage of the Muslim population commit major sins. Regardless of how small or big it is, a sin, as the name implies is a sin. Because, it is all about disobedience to Allah.
Deprived rizq, reduced blessings, loss of peace, depression, anxiety, worries, emptiness are some of the numerous side effects of sins, and the list is endless. A soul cannot be healthy with all those scars of sins. The only treatment for souls with traces of transgression is istighfar and tawbah. Istighfar and tawbah are not something strange, new or person specific. Rather, all the prophets and messengers of Allah had employed this in their lives. Yes! Even the Prophets and Messengers are not exceptions.
The sincere repentance of Adam opened the doors for Allah’s forgiveness to reach him. After transgression, he and his wife said,
“Our Lord, we have wronged ourselves, and if You do not forgive us and have mercy upon us, we will surely be among the losers”” (Al-A’raf, 7:23)
All the prophets have their own stories of repentance. Our beloved prophet , despite having all his sins forgiven, used to make istighfar every single day!
“O people, seek repentance from Allah. Verily I seek repentance from Him a hundred times a day.” 2
Allah willed the prophets to err and then repent. He has His divine wisdom by telling us their stories, so that we may derive lessons from them. This makes it crystal clear that istighfar and tawbah are mandatory, not optional.
Istighfar – Seeking Allah’s forgiveness
It’s the process of admitting our sin and being painfully apologetic for the sin we have committed. We should have some moments of privacy with our Lord, and beg Him to purify us by forgiving our misdeeds. We can plea in any language we like, for He knows them all.
“And ask Allah for His forgiveness. Truly, Allah is oft-forgiving, most merciful” (Al Baqarah, 2:199)
Tawbah – Turning back to Allah
Tawba is a journey (Hijra) from the disliked to the liked; from disobedience to obedience; from Allah’s anger to His grace. 3
Tawbah completes the purification of soul and it has got a sequence of requisites to be fulfilled. Some of the steps mentioned below are in and of themselves istighfar.
- Guilty about the past and urgency for a sinless future.
We are expected to feel sorry for what we have committed, develop a need for change and get motivated towards a life without sins. Guilt is but a blessing and thus, we should make it our motivator for change.
- Pure intentions made only for the sake of Allah.
The tawbah should be done to please Allah only. We should be sincere in our tawbah.
- A strong will not to do it again!
We should vow not to return back to the sin once again. Without this determination, our tawbah isn’t completed. The more we sin, the more our hearts become rusty.
It was narrated from Abu Hurairah that the Messenger of Allah said:
“When the believer commits sin, a black spot appears on his heart. If he repents and gives up that sin and seeks forgiveness, his heart will be polished. But if (the sin) increases, (the black spot) increases. That is the Ran that Allah mentions in His Book: “Nay! But on their hearts is the Ran (covering of sins and evil deeds) which they used to earn.” [83:14] 4
- A promise not to repeat it again!
“O you who have believed, repent to Allah with sincere repentance.” (At-Tahreem 66:8)
It’s not enough for us to have determination to stop sinning. We must also change our lives and practically expose our sincerity to Allah by being away from transgression.
To do this, you have to:
- Recognize the sin you do: You know about yourself better than anyone. You know what creates a gap between you and your Rabb. Therefore, it’s you who must diagnose the root cause of the problem and remove it once and forever.
- Find out what motivates you to commit the sin: It’s very easy to sin. It is you who should figure out what time, which situation, which feeling and what thought makes you commit a sin. Lock all those doors for verily, you have their keys with you.
By doing these, you can implement tawbah throughout your life.
- Compensation for the companion of the act.
If the sin you have committed involves another human being, you should do justice to him/ her by seeking forgiveness from them.
One of the most beautiful things about tawbah is that Allah not only wipes the sins off, but also replaces them with good deeds!
Except for those who repent, believe and do righteous work. For them Allah will replace their evil deeds with good. And ever is Allah Forgiving and Merciful. (Al Furqan, 25:70)
Possible pitfall of tawbah.
The most common pitfall we fall into while doing istighfar and tawbah is losing hope in Allah . Shaitan targets such souls and whispers that their sins are too big to be forgiven by Allah. However, most of the time, we fail to realize that it’s shirk to think that the power of Allah’s forgiveness is lesser than the power of our sins!
Allah tells us to come out of that pitfall by addressing us this way:
Say, “O My servants who have transgressed against themselves [by sinning], do not despair of the mercy of Allah . Indeed, Allah forgives all sins. Indeed, it is He who is the Forgiving, the Merciful.” (Az-Zumar, 39:53)
Therefore, never forsake repentance which is the purifier of the soul and a means to earn Allah’s happiness!
Messenger of Allah said, “Verily, Allah is more delighted with the repentance of His slave than a person who lost his camel in a desert land and then finds it (unexpectedly)”. 5
May Allah grant us tawfeeq to purify ourselves and accept our istighfar and tawbah. Please leave your thoughts about this article in the comments section below. 🙂
21 replies on “Istighfar and Tawbah – How To And Why”
Thanx alot sister for clearing the the value of tawbah and ishtaghfar.
Keep writing like this.
Wa ‘alaikumussalaam Warahmatullaah
Alhamdulillaah, all praise and thanks are Allaah’s alone
Add me in your du’as
Inspiring one! Please add some way to istigfar or tawbah which are showed or told by prophet sm. Thank you.
As far as Istogfaar is concerned; it’s about seeking forgiveness from Allaah. You can seek forgiveness in your own language or you can recite Du’as from the Qur’an or you can say “Astagfirullaah” while taking its meaning in.
The way of doing Tawbah is clearly explained above 🙂 Therefore I kindly request you to re-read the article 🙂
Thank you for this article on Istighfar and Tawba; it is very informative and useful to me.
Jazaka’ Allahu Khairan
Beautiful ,so beautiful and heart touching ,i love also how you mentioned that thinknig that sins are to big to be forgiven ,is shirk, because Allah is the Greatest ,Alhamdulillah ….. Good comes from Allah and evil from ourselves ,Taubah Alhamdulillah removes evil and leaves the good ,by the will of Allah Almighty ,may your reward remain written to him as a gift for Qiyamah Ameen ,Ameen ,Ameen,……
Alhamdulillaah, JazaakAllaah Khair for the kind words and Du’as
May Allaah bless us all Aameen
Your article is very informative but I have small question about one thing. As you mentioned that whatever makes you to commit the sin you should close that door and also if person involved do justice to that person. But my question is when you are trying to do right and someone come and hurt you and that drove you to say bad things about them then how to do istighafuallah orTawba. Please guide me.
Wa ‘alaikumussalaam Warahmatullaah.
If you have said bad things about a person on their face, then as mentioned above you should seek their forgivensss and then Allaah’s forgiveness too. If it was about backbiting then you either have to confess it to the person and seek forgiveness or you have to talk good about the person among the the same crowd. Allaahu A’lam. Hope that helps
A nice and knowledgeable article, May Allah give U the strength to continue ur good work. Ur article has made me realise so many things. May Allah have mercy on us and forgive all our short comings.. Ameen Thuma Ameen
Alhamdulillaah, all praise and thanks are Allaah’s
A very enlightening article indeed. More and more people should read this so that they may see how the mercy of Allah has been so perfectly described.
May Allah reward you with the best of both worlds.
Alhamdulillaah, all praise & thanks are Allaah’s alone. May Allaah bless us all.
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Alhamdulillah, this article is something that would certainly give hope to all of us. Thanks for such fruitful writing. May Allah(swt) shower His mercy on us and help us to make more and more Istighfar and Tawbah 🙂
Alhamdulillaah, all praise & thanks are Allaah’s alone !
Assalam alaikum warahmatullah wabarakatuh, I am truly thankful and pleased for i got where exactly i wanted to be alhamdulillah, May Allah reward you abundantly. Very detailed and informative article. Keep it up snd last.
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It was very helpful
Is there a certain act that can be considered as tawbah or istigfar