On the authority of Abu Dharr al-Ghifaari, may Allah be pleased with him, from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), from among the sayings he relates from His Lord (may He be glorified) that He said, “O My servants, I have forbidden wrongdoing for Myself and I have made it forbidden for you. Therefore, do not wrong one another. O My servants, all of you are lost except those whom I have guided. Therefore, seek guidance from Me and I will guide you. O My servants, all of you are hungry except those whom I have fed. Therefore, seek food from Me and I will feed you. O My servants, all of you are naked except those whom I have clothed. Therefore seek clothing from Me and I will clothe you. O My servants, you sin by day and by night, and I forgive all sins. Therefore seek forgiveness from Me and I will forgive you. O My servants, you will not be able to harm Me so as to bring any harm to Me and you will be able to benefit Me so as to bring any benefit to Me. O My servants, if the first and the last of you and the human and the jinn of you were as pious as the most pious heart of anyone among you, it would not add anything to My dominion. O My servants, if the first and the last of you and the human and the jinn of you were as wicked as the most wicked heart of anyone among you it would not decrease anything from My dominion. O My servants, if the first and the last of you and the human and the jinn of you were to gather together on [the same sector] of land and all asked Me and if I were to give everyone of them what he asked, that would not decrease what I have any more than a needle decreases what is in the ocean when it is put into it. O My servants, it is but your deeds that I reckon for you. Then I recompense you for them. The one who finds good is to give praises to Allah. The one who finds other than that should not blame anyone but himself.” (Recorded in Muslim)
“O My servants, you sin by day and by night, and I forgive all sins. Therefore seek forgiveness from Me and I will forgive you.”
As well as providing us with guidance, food and clothing, Allah (swt) provides us with another great bounty that is as important as all of these put together – the forgiveness of our sins.
It is a fact that mankind will commit sins. As Allah (swt) states in this hadith qudsi, we commit sins by day and by night, and we are therefore in need of Allah’s (swt) forgiveness. What distinguishes some sinners from others, is the admission of wrong in committing the sin, and seeking forgiveness from Allah (swt). Allah (swt) is the Forgiving and the Merciful, and we should never lose faith in His Mercy. If we sin, we should turn to Him and seek His forgiveness, and if we do this sincerely, He (swt) promises to forgive us. The Prophet (s) said:
“All humans are sinners. And the best sinners are those who repent much.” (Recorded in Abu Dawood)
There are numerous stories in the Qur’an and Hadith of people who committed heinous crimes, but were forgiven when they repented and sought forgiveness from Allah (swt). Even those that commit shirk, the greatest sin of all, can be forgiven if they repent to Allah (swt). Sincere repentance wipes away sins, but it entails more than simply saying ‘Oh Allah forgive me’. Sincere repentance has a number of conditions, which are as follows:
1) The act of repentance must be done solely for the sake of Allah (swt). The person cannot repent for the sake of their reputation, or to be seen by others or get closer to them. Purity of intention is one of the preconditions for any deed to be accepted by Allah (swt) including the deed of repentance.
2) The repenting person must feel remorse for the sin that they have committed.
3) The repenting person must stop committing the sin, and try and make recompense if they have wronged anyone.
4) The repenting person must be determined not to commit the sin again.
5) The person must repent before it is too late. When the pangs of death arrive it is too late to repent.
SubhaanAllah, we don’t know when the pangs of death will overcome us, or even if we will have the time or ability to repent at that point. There are people who say, ‘I am young, I can sin now, and when I am older I will repent and be forgiven’. But we may not make it that far. Death could overcome us at any time, including whilst we are committing the sin. Imagine if your final act was one of disobedience to Allah (swt)…
But it is also one of the signs of the mercy of Allah (swt) that He created us to forget and to sin, so that we could turn to Him to ask forgiveness and therefore draw closer to Him. In fact the one who sincerely repents after a sin may end up being closer to Allah (swt) than they were before the sin was committed. We should therefore never despair of the mercy of Allah (swt). As Allah (swt) says in the Qur’an:
“Thus did Adam disobey his Lord, so he went astray. Then his Lord chose him, and turned to him with forgiveness, and gave him guidance.” (Surah Taha 121-122(