Tawbah and the definition of repentance

Tawbah (repentance)

Sin, whether it is minor or major, moves humans away from obeying Allah Ta’ala and His Messenger (peace be upon him). If anyone continues to sin, again and again, one day, his heart will harden. And he whose heart will harden, if he does not take steps to soften his heart, then terrible consequences await for him. If a person neglects his sins and makes no effort to correct himself, he may die without Tawbah. Verily, repentance with sincerity is an important thing in Islam. It is a dearest deed to Allah Ta’ala. And those who seek forgiveness and repent sincerely to Allah immediately after committing sins Allah will forgive all their sins.

So I will describe Tawbah (repentance) and several things related to it, which will make clear to you its necessity and importance. At the same time, I will mention some hadiths of Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him), which will help you know a lot. So let’s know first what does repent (Tawbah) means.

What is repentance (Tawbah)?

Shaykh Saleh Bin Ganim Al-Sadlan (Rh) said: Tawbah is


Forsaking the sin for fear of Allah, feeling the ugliness of the sin, feeling ashamed of the sin considering it a sin, determining not to return to the sin if it can do it again, and to compensate for the works that are possible to compensate by repeating. [Kitab Al-Tawbah elal Allah, page 10]

So if the sin is associated with Allah’s right, then there are three conditions for Tawbah. 1. Coming back from the sin, 2. repenting with sincerity for doing sinful deeds, 3. and determining not to sin in the future. If the sinner does not fulfill one of the three conditions, his repentance (Tawbah) will not be correct.

And if the sin relates to the servant’s right, then there are four conditions for Tawbah. The above three conditions and the fourth condition is to be free from liability from the person whose rights have been violated. It means that if the sinner embezzled someone’s property, he will return it to him. If he wasted someone’s respect and dignity, he will apologize to him or give him a chance to take revenge. [Tatreez Riyadh Al Salihin, page no. 19]

What is the importance of Tawbah (repentance)?

Tawbah is an obligatory deed for every sin, big or small. Verily, sin leads people to darkness. When a person sins, again and again, his mind inclines towards that sin. He gradually begins to deviate from the path of Allah and move toward of way of Satan. At one point, he neglects his all sinful deeds and becomes involved in many major sins. And finally dies in a sinful state. So Allah Ta’ala said:

“O you who have believed, repent to Allah with sincere repentance. Perhaps (i.e., it is expected or promised) your Lord will remove from you your misdeeds and admit you into gardens beneath which rivers flow (on) the Day when Allah will not disgrace the Prophet and those who believed with him. Their light will proceed before them and on their right; they will say, ‘Our Lord, perfect for us our light and forgive us. Indeed, You are over all things competent.” [Surah At-Tahrim, verse 8]

But if a person immediately shames for his bad deeds after sinning, seeks forgiveness from Allah, and repents with sincerity, then Allah forgives his all sins. If one sincerely regrets, again and again, he will continue to turn away from the path of Satan. His heart inspires him to turn away from sin, and his heart continues to be cleansed. At some point, he becomes one of Allah’s beloved servants.

And Allah Ta’ala said:

“Indeed, Allah loves those who are constantly repentant and loves those who purify themselves.” [Surah Al-Baqarah, some parts of verse 222]

Repentance brings success for Allah’s servants in this world and the Hereafter. Allah Ta’ala and His Messenger have told everyone to seek forgiveness, and repent repeatedly as much as possible. So that they may return to Allah, well-pleased with Him and pleasing to Him. Verily, Allah Ta’ala said:

“And turn to Allah in repentance, all of you, O believers, that you might succeed.” [Surah An-Noor, some parts of verse 31]

What did Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) say about repentance (Tawbah)?

Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) has said many things about Tawbah. So now, I am mentioning some saying from these.

Narrated Ibn Umar (R) that the Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said, “O people, seek repentance from Allah. Verily, I seek repentance from Him a hundred times a day.” [Sahih Muslim, Hadith No. 2702 b]

Narrated Ibn Abbas (RA), I heard the Prophet (peace be upon him) saying, “If the son of Adam (the human being) had two valleys of money, he would wish for a third, for nothing can fill the belly of Adam’s son except dust, and Allah forgives him who repents to Him.” [Sahih Al-Bukhari, Hadith No. 6436]

It was narrated from Abu Hurairah (RA) that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “Allah laughs at two men, one of whom killed the other but they both entered Paradise. The first one fought in the cause of Allah and was killed, then Allah accepted the repentance of the one who killed him, and he fought and was martyred.” [Sunan An-Nasa’i, Hadith No. 3166]

Abu Musa (RA) reported Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) as saying that “Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, stretches out His Hand during the night so that the people may repent for the fault committed from dawn till dusk, and He (Allah Ta’ala) stretches out His Hand during the day so that the people may repent for the fault committed from dusk to dawn. (Allah Ta’ala would accept repentance) until the sun rises in the west (before the Day of Resurrection).” [Sahih Muslim, Hadith No. 2759 a, b]

When will repentance not accept?

Tawbah is a good deed. There are two times in the world when Allah will not accept the repentance of His servants. Namely: 1. When the sun will rise in the west, Repentance will not be accepted.

In this regard, Allah Ta’ala said: “Are they awaiting the coming of the angels, or the coming of your Lord (Himself), or the coming some of your Lord’s signs? On the Day your Lord’s some signs will come, their Iman (faith) will not benefit those who did not believe earlier or those who did no good deeds through their Iman. Say, “Wait. Indeed, I (also) am waiting.” [Surah Al-An’am, verse 158]

Abu Huraira (RA) reported Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) as saying: “He who seeks repentance (from Allah) before the rising of the sun from the west (before the Day of Resurrection), Allah will accept the repentance of him”. [Sahih Muslim, Hadith No. 2703]

2. When one’s soul reaches the throat at death time, then Tawbah will not be accepted.

In this regard, Allah Ta’ala said: “But repentance is not (accepted) of those who (continue to) do evil deeds up until, when death comes to one of them, he says, ‘Indeed, I have repented now,’ or of those who die while they are disbelievers. For them, I have prepared a painful punishment.” [Surah An-Nisa, verse 18]

And Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said, “Indeed Allah accepts the repentance of a slave until he makes noise Gargar (i.e., until his soul does not reach his throat).” [Jami at-Tirmidhi, Hadith No. 3537]

The Signs for the acceptance of Repentance

  • To hate sinful deeds.
  • To dislike going back to sinful deeds.
  • Repeatedly asking Allah for forgiveness and making Dua to Him.
  • To stay steady on the truth.
  • To be a pioneer in good deeds and To move toward the obedience of Allah Ta’ala and His Messenger (peace be upon him).
  • Loving to stay with honest people.
  • To be ashamed of bad deeds and sinful acts that have been done.

Imam Ibn al-Qayyim (Rh) has mentioned in his book some other signs of acceptance of repentance. He said:


So there are signs of proper acceptable repentance:
One of them is: To be the condition after repentance better than the condition before repentance.
Another is: that Sticking with himself always the fear of not being safe for a moment from Allah’s plan. So continuing his fear until he will hear from the Messengers (angels) who are engaged in capturing his soul, “Do not fear and do not grieve but receive good tidings of Paradise, which you were promised.” [Surah Fussilat, verse 30] Then the fear will go away from him.
Another is: his heart being torn apart, and breaking heart with remorse and fear. It depends on the measure of the major and minor crimes. [Madarij Al-Salikin, volume 1, pages 203 – 204]

What to do if you waste any person’s right?

If you waste someone’s wealth, you will pay a fine to him for the measure of wealth you have wasted. If that person dies, you will pay a fine to his family members. And if you do not find his family members, you will pay a fine to his relatives. Even then, if you do not find any of his relatives, you will give it to the poor people to be free from your liability.

And if you do not find the person whose wealth you have wasted, the measure of wealth you’ve wasted, you will donate the same measure of money to the poor people. And if you do not find the person you have disrespected, you will ask Allah for forgiveness for him.

Verily, Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said, All things of a Muslim are Haram (forbidden) upon other Muslim; his blood, his wealth, and honor. [Sahih Muslim, Hadith No. 2564]

Our Dua

May Allah Ta’ala bestows the grace to do repentance with sincerity and abstinence from all sinful deeds. Ameen.


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