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).
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 soul
Al-Baz-zaar and others have collected 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 a transgression which Allah will not neglect. The type of sin Allah will not forgive is Shirk (associating another with Him in worship). The Quran states: ‘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 soul in sinning between themself and the lord. The type of sin which Allah will not neglect is a transgression of His creatures between one another. Allah will overlook this type until total retribution is achieved.
- Cease from the action of which one is repenting
- Heartfelt regret over the sin in question
- Sincere and solemn intention never to sin again
- Timely repentance (any time before the sun rises from the west, and before a person’s soul leaves their body)
- If the sin involves transgression against another, the rights of the victim should be restored. For example, if someone steals, the stolen item must be returned to its rightful owner as a valid condition of repentence
Provided these conditions are met, Allah guarantees forgiveness. As He says in the previous verses, “…for them, Allah will exchange their evil deeds for good deeds…” There are several 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.