back to Diagram ........Back to Main Text

Tawba - repentance link to diagram

"Turn towards Allah, O believers, every one of you, so that you may be successful." [24:31] Qur'an

"Ask your Lord for forgiveness and then turn in repentance to Him,"  [11:3] Qur'an

"O you who believe! Turn in sincere repentance to Allah."  [66:8] Qur'an

Ask forgiveness of your sin, and for believing men and women. [47:19] Qur'an

And: That God may forgive you your former and subsequent sin. [48:2] Qur'an

In fact, He loves to pardon and forgive, ‘Allah loves those who do repentance ‘Tawba' [2:222] Qur'an

Allahumma innaka Afuwun Tuhibbul Afwa Fa'afu Anna.
A loving pray of forgiveness , 'O Allah you are Forgiving and love forgiveness so forgive me'

Allah accept the repentance of those who do evil in ignorance and repent soon afterwards; to them will Allah turn in mercy: For Allah is full of knowledge and wisdom. 4:17

Tawba is wajib – a Must from ones sins. Tawba is the act of returning to Allah after we have severed our ties to Allah by committing a sins, so Tawba - repentance actually reconnects us back to Allah after we have sinned. The word Tawba literally means return.

If a person who has fallen into zunub- sin and ghafla- heedlessness does Tawba, he or she is asking Allah for forgiveness. Tawba is the act of returning back to the state of Dhikr- remembrance and obedience of Allah. And through the act of returning, one's sins are forgiven because Allah is Ghafoor-forgiving.

Allah does not expect perfection from us. What is expected of us is that when we make mistakes we move from the state of disobedience and ghafla-heedlessness and return to Allah in repentance and seek refuge in the cover of mercy that He's provided for us. If we take too long and not seek refuge in the mercy of Allah and don't ask for forgiveness, our souls become used to the sins and even ruined by them.

Scholars say that if we stop the sin, and if we truly regret it – and Allah knows our hearts – and we have a firm resolve never to repeat that sin but due to weakness if we happen to fall in sin again, then our Tawba is still accepted –sincere. Ideally, we will not fall into that sin again if our taqwa-fear is strong and we have done everything in our power to stop from that sin.

We have to consciously stop sin, have sincere remorse over it and ensure that we take action to remove ourselves from situations where we could fall into sin. For instance, if we are in the company of people who are drinking, we have to make an effort to get out of there.

All of children of Adam commit sins, and the best of those who sin are those who turn in repentance to Allah. It is in the nature of human beings to fall short of the mark and make mistakes.

Tradition “The best of you is the one who do repentance ‘Tawba' immediately after committing a sin.” The biggest sins are disbelief, hypocrisy, and losing one's faith or apostasy (Irtidad).

Tradition He who seeks repentance (from the Lord) before the rising of the sun from the west (before the Day of Resurrection), Allah turns to him with Mercy.

Tradition " Allah opens his hand at night for the sinner of the day in order for that person to repent, and He opens his hand in the day time for the sinner of the night in order for him to repent until the sun comes out from the west (The day of judgement)."

One of the scholars said: the true Tawba is to ask for forgiveness with your tongue and to feel sorry within your heart, and to withhold your body from committing sins.

Tradition " Whoever does any bad deed and he got the punishment for it in this life this would be the only punishment he gets and he will not be punished for it in the hereafter."

Tradition "Allah is more pleased with the repentance of His slave than anyone of you is pleased with finding his camel which he had lost in the desert."

Tradition 'The one who repents from sin is like the one who never sinned.'

Tradition ‘Regret is repentance (al-nadam tawba)

Tradition “O people, repent to your Lord, for verily I seek forgiveness from Allâh and repent to him more than seventy times in a day

Allah is pure and only accepts pure things. For the repentance to be true and sincere, 3 conditions must be fulfilled, if the sin is between the person and Allah:

1-we must stop that sin

2-we must truly regret and have remorse - nadam

3-we must have a firm resolve never to repeat that sin again

(If it relates to the rights of another person, then to

4. Return the rights or property one wrongly took. [Riyadh al-Salihin

If the sin involves another person, there is a 4th condition for the repentance before we can achieve Sincere Repentance- Tawba Nasuh which is explained further down- the person who has sinned must fix the wrong that he or she has done to someone. If we have said bad things, slandered someone or backbit someone or stolen from or hurt another in any way, we have to ask the person who is wronged for forgiveness if possible, or somehow reverse the harm.

Sins are two kinds :

One is between Allah and his servants ( like drinking, not fasting...) and Tawba - Repentance

The second type is a bad deed you commit against another person for example: back biting, stealing,.. and repenting from such deeds requires the same previous condition in addition to ask for forgiveness of the person you hurt or to let him get even with you.

“Allah would forgive a person even before he makes ‘Istigfar' if he commits a sin and then feels sorry for the sin,” and “Even if your sin is so much to reach to the skies, when you repent, Allah will accept your repentance.” This is for those repentances which do not involve violating others' rights.

Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani in this book Secrets of Secrets, gives the definition of Tassawuf, the first letter t (tâ'), symbolize the word Tawba or tawwab, repentance. He says that: “It's the fist step to take in the path. One must take a step inside and one outside. The one towards the outside in the repentance, is done with words, actions, feelings: to place our life away from sin, of bad actions and to turn towards obedience; to run away from revolt and conflict to search agreement and harmony. The one towards the inside in the repentance is done with the heart. This is the cleansing of the heart from materials desires that are conflicting and for the heart to assert total desire for the divinity”.

Thus in Sufism the first step on the path is Tawba which means turning and also repentance, turning or Tawba toward a new way in life. Aba is to come back from ‘Aba coming back and ‘Anaba coming back many times.

Remorse, and seeking forgiveness

Again to stress on this point Remorse-nadam is the turning of the heart, in sorrow and regret, away from something which the servant has committed, and which angers God the Exalted, such as sins or the neglect of obligatory acts. It may also occur following an excessive involvement in permissible pleasures or the neglect of supererogatory devotions. A sincere remorse is one which leads to persevering in earnest, and avoiding neglectfulness. When sound, it includes nearly all the conditions of repentance-Tawba which is why the Prophet has said, may blessings and peace be upon him: 'Remorse is repentance'.

Those who are remorseful about their misbehaviour, but still persist in it, are only jesting, and their remorse will not avail them.

Seeking forgiveness-istighfar means asking God to forgive, which in turn means His concealing the misdeed [from the eyes of others] .When God, by His grace, forgives a sin, he neither exposes its doer to shame, nor punishes him for it, whether in this world or in the next. The highest kind of forgiveness is for God to place a veil, a barrier, between the servant and sins, until it is as though he were free of them.


Sincere Repentance- Tawba Nasuh

O you who believe! Turn in sincere repentance to Allah."  [66:8]

What is Sincere Repentance? How do you know if you are truly repentant?

God accepts repentance if it is sincere (If he includes regret (nadam) for what was done and resolve (‘azm) not to do it again.

Omar ibn Al-khatab said: the true repentance is that the servant of Allah repent from the sin and never do it again in the same way the milk can't get back to the breast of the sheep.

So, what is true/ sincere repentance?

    1. "To sin and then never to return to it."

    2. To hate the sin, and the seek forgiveness for it every time it occurs to one.

    3. "To be genuine and truthful in one's repentance," which is what Imam Bukhari chose as the definition of true repentance in his chapter heading.

    4. To have sincerity in one's repentance.

    5. To be concerned about one's repentance not being accepted.

    6. To be such that it does not need another repentance after it.

    7. To be made out of fear and hope, and be accompanied by consistency in worship.

    8. Like the seventh, but with the added condition that one desert those who assisted one in sin.

    9. That one's sin be between one's eyes. [That is, one does not forget it.]

The methods of asking his divine mercy

Sins that will Not be forgiven