TAUBAH AND ISTIGHFAR (REPENTANCE AND SEEKING FORGIVENESS)
Imâm Ghazali (Rahmatullahi alaihi) writes: “The angels and Ambiyã are such that they never commit any sin. Shaytân is such that he persists in committing sins. Never does he ever feel ashamed nor does he ever think of discarding sin. The human is such that immediately after committing a sin, he feels ashamed and makes a firm determination to discard the sin in the future. From this it is understood that not to repent after committing a sin is the work of Shaytân.”
No sin should be magnified so much that it creates despair and loss of hope in the forgiveness of Allah since this is Kufr (disbelief) nor should it be treated so lightly that there is no taubah nor any regret.
Look at the Mercy of the Being who is most Merciful of those who show mercy. A person continuously commits a sin and as soon as he repents he is forgiven and he becomes the beloved of Allah Ta’ala. It is reported in the Hadith that Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) said: ‘The person who repents from sin is the beloved of Allah and he becomes like those who have not committed any sin.” [IBNE MAJAH]
However, it is necessary that the taubah be a sincere one. Sincere taubah consists of three essential parts. Firstly, a person should feel ashamed of the sin he committed. It has been mentioned in the hadeeth: “To feel ashamed is taubah.” Secondly, to immediately discard the sin committed and to resolve on abstaining from it in future. Thirdly, to make amends, to compensate for the sin. If a person makes taubah in this manner he becomes a favourite of Allah despite the type or number of sins he committed.
To illustrate the virtue of taubah, Imâm Ghazâli (Rahmatullahi alaihi) mentions the example of a person who fell in love with his neighbours wife. For some reason the neighbour sent his wife to another locality. This person followed her and after finding an opportunity expressed his desire for her. The women said: “Don’t do anything evil. I love you more than what you love me but the fear of Allah Ta’ala has overpowered me.” The person said: “How is it that you fear Allah and I don’t.” Saying this he made taubah and returned.
He became very thirsty en route. He became so thirsty that he almost lost his life. While he was in this condition he met a messenger of the Nabi of that time. He told this messenger: “I have no good deeds to my credit whereby I could make du’â. You make du’â and I will say âmeen.” After the du’â was made a very thick cloud shaded them. The two of them continued their journey with the cloud shading them until they came to a point of separation. When they separated, the cloud continued to shade this person and not the messenger.
The messenger said: “How is it that you told me that you have no good deeds to your credit. Please inform me of your condition.” The person explained the whole incident after which the messenger said: “A person who repents sincerely reaches such heights in the Sight of Allah where others cannot reach.”