The meaning and conditions of repentance


Question: [Please] talk to us about at-towbah (repentance), and what its conditions are; and what is the [true] meaning of at-towbah an-nasooh?

Response: at-Towbah is to return from sin [and transgression] to [the] obedience [of Allaah]; and it is obligatory [to do so, as Allaah ‘Azza wa Jall said]:

{And all of you beg Allaah to forgive you all, O believers, that you may be successful}, soorah an-Noor, aayah 31

…so it is obligatory upon the Muslim – when he falls into sin, that he hasten to repent to Allaah ‘Azza wa Jall. And Allaah forgives the one who repents [to him, as He says]:

{And verily, I am indeed forgiving to him who repents, believes [in My Oneness, and associates none in worship with Me] and does righteous good deeds, and then remains constant in doing them [till his death]}, soorah TaaHaa, aayah 82

…and this is from the Grace of Allaah ‘Azza wa Jall. He has commanded [us] with repentance, and promised to forgive the sins of the one who repents. However, repentance is not [simply] by the tongue alone; repentance has conditions which are required to be fulfilled, and these conditions are:

1) Abandoning the sin and distancing oneself from it; and he mustn’t say that he shall repent to Allaah whilst he continues upon the sin;

2) To be firm in his resolve not to return back to the sin; and if he repents to Allaah whilst harbouring the intention to return to the sin at a later time, then this repentance is temporary, and Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta’aala shall not accept it [from him];

3) To be remorseful at what has passed [of his acts of sin and transgression], and to picture the sin in his mind and be fearful of [falling into] it [again]; and he mustn’t say that I have repented and that’s the end of it, rather, he should be fearful of [falling into] this sin [again] and be remorseful at what has come to pass from him.

And these are the conditions of repentance, if they have been fulfilled, then Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta’aalaa shall accept his repentance as He [Himself has] promised.

He is a graduate of the Islaamic University of Madeenah, having graduated from the Institute of Arabic Language, and later the Faculty of Sharee'ah in 2004. He currently resides in Birmingham, UK.

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