Guilty is the fruit of Godly sorrow

Acceptance of Repentance in Islam

Repentance is not a repetition of sin. It is not laughing at sin. It is not a justification for sin. Repentance is not the hardening of the spiritual arteries. It is not the minimizing of the seriousness of the error. Repentance is not retirement from activity. It is not the closeting of sin to corrode and overburden the sinner. True repentance is composed of many elements, each one related to the others. Allah says:

وَالَّذِينَ عَمِلُواْ السَّيِّئَاتِ ثُمَّ تَابُواْ مِن بَعْدِهَا وَآمَنُواْ إِنَّ رَبَّكَ مِن بَعْدِهَا لَغَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ

“But those who committed misdeeds and then repented after them and believed – indeed your Lord, thereafter, is Forgiving and Merciful.” (Surah Al-A’raf: 153)

God doesn’t force anyone to repent; He simply makes the opportunity to repent available. This is the sense in which repentance as a gift should be understood. True repentance is not only sorrow for sins and humble penitence and contrition before God, but it involves the necessity of turning away from them, a discontinuance of all evil practices and deeds, a thorough reformation of life, a vital change from evil to good, from vice to virtue, from darkness to light. There is no royal road to repentance. Allah says:

غَافِرِ الذَّنبِ وَقَابِلِ التَّوْبِ شَدِيدِ الْعِقَابِ ذِي الطَّوْلِ لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ إِلَيْهِ الْمَصِيرُ

“(The) Forgiver (of) the sin, and (the) Acceptor (of) [the] repentance, severe (in) the punishment, Owner (of) the abundance. (There is) no god except Him; to Him, (is) the final return.” (Surah Ghafir 40:3)

Our Creator (Allah) has placed an innate desire (a homing beacon) within our souls for us to accept goodness and to feel guilty about breaching the commands of our Creator. We have to go against our natural (primordial) nature to become satisfied (or even live) with a state of disobedience. Our natural and upright nature is to accept the commands of our Creator and to be obedient.

وَهُوَ الَّذِي يَقْبَلُ التَّوْبَةَ عَنْ عِبَادِهِ وَيَعْفُو عَنِ السَّيِّئَاتِ

“And it is He who accepts repentance from his servants and pardons misdeeds, and He knows what you do.” (Ash Shuraa: 25)

Repentance, Redemption, & Salvation in the Islamic Framework:

  1. Repentance means turning to a life of faith and obedience
  2. Repentance motivates us to obey God’s commandments 
  3. Repentance means to worship God in spirit and in truth
  4. Repentance is at the heart and core of God’s message
  5. Repentance begins with a positive side of God’s law
  6. Repentance does not end with the initial conversion
  7. Repentance entails putting away the sinful activities
  8. Repentance is a result of a change in behaviour
  9. Repentance encourages the mental disposition
  10. Repentance is linked to the message of God
  11. Repentance means to surrender one’s life
  12. Repentance means turning from sin
  13. Repentance is a gift of God
  14. Repentance is necessary for salvation
  15. Repentance is the fruit of Godly sorrow
  16. Repentance is a high-value truthfulness
  17. Repentance is the fruit of  God’s goodness
  18. Repentance is inseparable from saving Faith
  19. Repentance always willing to put aside grievances
  20. Repentance is an action requiring deliberate choices
  21. Repentance means turning from the way to God’s law
  22. Repentance provides an overview of the changes of mind
  23. Repentance is a change of attitude and mental perspective
  24. Repentance involves both a turning from sin and a turning to God
  25. Repentance means to God’s will as expressed in His revealed Word

The tongue is in need of the remembrance of Allah, of praying to Him and performing worship, perhaps more than at any other time. Not until these spiritual wounds heal can we get rid of the negative effects of sins. And this is not possible until the sins are obliterated. And they’re being obliterated is not possible as long as we don’t repent and ask Allah for forgiveness. Allah says:

فَمَن تَابَ مِن بَعْدِ ظُلْمِهِ وَأَصْلَحَ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ يَتُوبُ عَلَيْهِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ 

“Whoever repents after his transgression and corrects himself, then Allah shall relent towards him. Surely, Allah is Most-Forgiving, Very-Merciful.” (Surah Al-Ma`idah 5:39)

Constant repentance reminds us of our sins. It makes us aware every time we do something wrong and we have to say “Astaghfirullah”. The more you seek repentance, even when you are not actively committing sin at the time, the more your mind is conscious while committing a sin.

Merits of the Soul: Repentance (Tawbah):

  • Awareness of our sins: One of the worst things that can happen to Muslims is for them to lose the ability to recognize when they have committed a sin.
  • The devastation of sinning: Repentancemust be a consciousness of guilt. It cannot be brushed aside. It must be acknowledged and not rationalized away. Repentance implies a change in direction
  • Deprivation of Knowledge: Being deprived of knowledge for knowledge is light that Allah causes to reach the heart, and sin extinguishes that light.
  • Alienation from Creator: Sense of alienation that comes between a person and his Lord, and between him and other people.
  • Life becomes difficult: Things become difficult for him so that he does not turn his attention towards any matter but he finds the way blocked or he finds it difficult.
  • The heart is darkened: The sinner will find darkness in his heart, which he will feel just as he feels the darkness of night. This darkness grows stronger until it covers the eyes, then it grows stronger until it covers the face, which appears dark and is seen by everyone.
  • Deprivation of Obedience & Worship: If sin brought no punishment other than that it prevents a person from doing an act of worship which is the opposite of sin, and cuts off access to other acts of worship, that would be bad enough.
  • Sin breeds sin: Sin breeds sin until it dominates a person and he cannot escape from it. True repentance must come to each individual.
  • Weakens willpower: It gradually strengthens his will to commit sin and weakens his will to repent until there is no will in his heart to repent at all… so he seeks forgiveness and expresses repentance.
  • A Desire to Be Better: A Muslim who is aware of their sins and their Lord because of constant repentance will undoubtedly develop the desire to be a better Muslim.
  • We should repent immediately: Repentance should be made immediately, losing no time and should never be delayed. Lots of glad tidings are covenanted to those who repent and ask Allah for pardon.

Constant repentance reminds you of Allah. It reminds us that we have a creator that we bow to, and that there is accountability for us as Muslims. It reminds us that our actions should not go against what Islam has enjoined, and it reminds us that Allah is watching. Allah says:

إِنَّمَا التَّوْبَةُ عَلَى اللَّهِ لِلَّذِينَ يَعْمَلُونَ السُّوءَ بِجَهَالَةٍ ثُمَّ يَتُوبُونَ مِن قَرِيبٍ فَأُولَٰئِكَ يَتُوبُ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِمْ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ عَلِيمًا حَكِيمًا 

“Repentance with Allah is only for those who do evil in ignorance, then turn (to Allah) soon, so these it is to whom Allah turns (mercifully), and Allah is ever Knowing, Wise.” (Sura An-Nisa` 4:17)

Repentance is a feeling of regret for bad deeds in the past, then aim your heart to Allah for the rest of your life and control yourself to do bad deeds. If we didn’t believe that we have a creator, then we won’t see the need to repent to Him for our sins. We must keep in mind that as much as we need God’s forgiveness for our own sins and mistakes, we must also practice forgiveness toward those who do wrong to us.

Allah Almighty says in The Holy Quran:

  • “And He wishes to forgive you.” (Quran 4:146)
  • “Allah wishes to accept your repentance…” (Nisa, 4:27)
  • “Do not despair of God’s mercy; He will forgive you of all your sins.” (Quran:39:53)
  • “Allah intends to make things easy on you. And man has been created weak.” (Quran 4:28)
  • “Indeed, Allah loves those who are constantly repentant and loves those who purify themselves.” (Quran 2:222)
  • “Except those who repent after that and amend, then surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.” (Quran 3:89)

Repentance has a status that no other form of worship has. It is understood as part of our (weak) nature that we will commit sins from time to time. It is expected from him to occasionally slip up but then we are advised to acknowledge our weakness, acknowledge our error, repent and turn to Allah (SWT). Allah says:

إِلَّا مَن تَابَ وَآمَنَ وَعَمِلَ عَمَلًا صَالِحًا فَأُولَٰئِكَ يُبَدِّلُ اللَّهُ سَيِّئَاتِهِمْ حَسَنَاتٍ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ غَفُورًا رَّحِيمًا 

“Except those who repent, have faith and good deeds, those Allah will charge their sins for good deeds. Certainly, Allah is most forgiving and merciful.” (Surah Al-Furqan 25:70)

Repentance is the noblest and beloved form of obedience in the eyes of Allah. Those of us who acknowledge our weakness and errors with humility and then turn to our Creator seeking forgiveness is considered the best. Seeking to forgive is what sets apart the humble and the haughty, the submissive from the arrogant and the modest from the proud. Allah says:

إِنَّمَا التَّوْبَةُ عَلَى اللَّهِ لِلَّذِينَ يَعْمَلُونَ السُّوءَ بِجَهَالَةٍ ثُمَّ يَتُوبُونَ مِن قَرِيبٍ فَأُولَٰئِكَ يَتُوبُ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِمْ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ عَلِيمًا حَكِيمًا

“Only the acceptance of repentance by Allah (is) for those who do the evil in ignorance, then they repent soon after. Then those will have forgiveness (from) Allah upon them, and Allah is All-Knowing, All-Wise.” (Surah an-Nisa 4:17)

“Sin” is a spiritual illness that should be cured immediately with repentance. Repentance gives relief to the heart. God often uses the circumstances of day-to-day life in bestowing upon us the gift of repentance. Dua for Allah (SWT) to give us and all Muslims the ability to repent (sincerely), routinely and perpetually and end this piece with this beautiful narration about the Mercy of Allah (SWT). Ameen