Asking for Allah’s Forgiveness by Sh. Ali Mashhour
Asking for Allah’s Forgiveness
“And those who do not invoke with Allah another deity or kill the soul which Allah has forbidden [to be killed], except by right, and do not commit unlawful sexual intercourse. And whoever should do that will meet a penalty. Multiplied for them is the punishment on the Day of Resurrection, and they will abide therein humiliated. 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. And those who repent and do righteousness do indeed turn to Allah with [accepted] repentance” (Quran: 68-71).
In a previous article on the topic of repentance, we discussed the types and categories of sin as denoted in the verses above. The scholars of Islam have derived from these verses and others like them that sin is of three main categories:
- Sin against the rights of Allah
- Sin against the rights of another creature
- Sin as a transgression against one’s own soul
It has been collected by Al-Baz-zaar and others that a number of the righteous predecessors have said: “Oppression is of three categories on the day of resurrection: a transgression which Allah will not forgive, a transgression which Allah will forgive, and transgression which Allah will not neglect. The type He will not forgive is Shirk (associating another with Him in worship), as Allah has stated: ‘Verily Allah does not forgive that others be associated along with Him (i.e. in worship), and He forgives that which is less in severity for those whom He chooses’ (Quran 4:48). The transgression Allah will forgive is a transgression of someone against their own soul in committing sin between themself and the lord. The final type which Allah will not neglect is a transgression of His creatures between one another. This type will be overlooked by Allah until total retribution has been dealt with.”
On the other hand, scholars of Islam have mentioned that acceptable repentance has five main conditions, and if the sin repented from involves the rights of another of Allah’s creatures, a sixth condition applies.
Sincere repentance for that sake of Allah with no element of boasting or performance.
- To cease and desist from the action of which one is repenting.
- To have heartfelt regret over the sin in question.
- To have the sincere and solemn intention never to commit the sin again.
- That this repentance is made in a time acceptable by Allah (any time before the sun rises from the west, and before a person’s soul is leaving their body).
- If the sin involves transgression against another, retribution must be dealt and those rights of the victim are restored. For example, if someone steals, the stolen item must be returned to its rightful owner as a condition of valid repentance.
Provided these conditions are met, forgiveness is guaranteed by Allah. As He says in the previous verses, “…for them Allah will exchange their evil deeds for good deeds…” There are a number of dimensions to the meaning of this statement, however, most simply put, by repenting, one cannot change the past; what’s done is done and cannot be changed, however, one can change the way the past is looked upon and judged by Allah.
May Allah grant us all the most sincere of accepted repentance before we meet Him.