Repentance (Tawbah) in Islam; Definitions, Instructions, and Procedures

Religion of Peace: Repentance (Tawbah) in Islam ~ Hi all readers! In this article I will explain about repentance in Islam. Previously I would explain that what is meant by atonement is asking forgiveness of Allah Ta’ala for all the sins committed by someone. In addition, repentance is also the ability not to repeat the same mistakes. That is why good repentance is called nasuhah’s repentance.

Okay! Pay attention! There are many verses of the Qur’an and Hadith which explain about repentance (Tawbah) in Islam. Allah Ta’ala said;

يَٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ تُوبُوٓاْ إِلَى ٱللَّهِ تَوۡبَةٗ نَّصُوحًا عَسَىٰ رَبُّكُمۡ أَن يُكَفِّرَ عَنكُمۡ سَيِّ‍َٔاتِكُمۡ وَيُدۡخِلَكُمۡ جَنَّٰتٖ تَجۡرِي مِن تَحۡتِهَا ٱلۡأَنۡهَٰرُ يَوۡمَ لَا يُخۡزِي ٱللَّهُ ٱلنَّبِيَّ وَٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ مَعَهُۥۖ نُورُهُمۡ يَسۡعَىٰ بَيۡنَ أَيۡدِيهِمۡ وَبِأَيۡمَٰنِهِمۡ يَقُولُونَ رَبَّنَآ أَتۡمِمۡ لَنَا نُورَنَا وَٱغۡفِرۡ لَنَآۖ إِنَّكَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيۡءٖ قَدِيرٞ ٨

O you who believe! turn to Allah a sincere turning; maybe your Lord will remove from you your evil and cause you to enter gardens beneath which rivers flow, on the day on which Allah will not abase the Prophet and those who believe with him; their light shall run on before them and on their right hands; they shall say: Our Lord! make perfect for us our light, and grant us protection, surely Thou hast power over all things. (At-Tahriim [66]; 8).


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وَهُوَ ٱلَّذِي يَقۡبَلُ ٱلتَّوۡبَةَ عَنۡ عِبَادِهِۦ وَيَعۡفُواْ عَنِ ٱلسَّيِّ‍َٔاتِ وَيَعۡلَمُ مَا تَفۡعَلُونَ ٢٥

And He it is Who accepts repentance from His servants and pardons the evil deeds and He knows what you do. (Ash-Shuraa [42]; 25).

أَلَمۡ يَعۡلَمُوٓاْ أَنَّ ٱللَّهَ هُوَ يَقۡبَلُ ٱلتَّوۡبَةَ عَنۡ عِبَادِهِۦ وَيَأۡخُذُ ٱلصَّدَقَٰتِ وَأَنَّ ٱللَّهَ هُوَ ٱلتَّوَّابُ ٱلرَّحِيمُ ١٠٤

Do they not know that Allah accepts repentance from His servants and takes the alms, and that Allah is the Oft-returning (to mercy), the Merciful? (At-Taubah [9]; 104).

As for some hadiths that explain repentance are as follows;

عَنْ عَبْدِ اللهِ بْنِ عُمَرَ ، قَالَ ؛ قَالَ رَسُوْلُ اللهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ ؛ يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ تُوْبُوْا إِلَى اللهِ ، فَإِنِّيْ أَتُوْبُ إِلَيْهِ فِيْ الْيَوْمِ مِائَةَ مَرَّةٍ . رَوَاهُ مُسْلِمٌ (٢٧٠٢

From Abdullah bin Umar, he said, “Allah’s Messenger sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam said, “O people, repent to Allah! Indeed, I repent to Him in one day to a hundred times. “” The hadith is narrated by Muslim (2702).

عَنْ أَبِيْ هُرَيْرَةَ ، قَالَ ؛ قَالَ رَسُوْلُ اللهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ ؛ مَنْ تَابَ قَبْلَ أَنْ تَطْلُعَ الشَّمْسُ مِنْ مَغْرِبِهَا ، تَابَ اللهُ عَلَيْهِ . رَوَاهُ مُسْلِمٌ (٢٧٠٣

From Abu Hurairah, he said, “Allah’s Messenger sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam said, “Whoever repents before sunrise to sunset, then Allah must accept his repentance.” This hadith is narrated by Muslim (2703).

عَنْ أَنَسٍ أَنَّ النَّبِيَّ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَالَ ؛ كُلُّ ابْنِ آدَمَ خَطَّاءٌ ، وَخَيْرُ الْخَطَّائِيْنَ التَّوَّابُوْنَ . رَوَاهُ التِّرْمِذِيُّ

From Anas, that the Prophet (Muhammad) sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam said, “All the descendants of Adam are guilty and the best of those who are guilty are those who repent.” The hadith is narrated by at-Tirmidhi.

عَنْ عَبْدِ اللهِ بْنِ عُمَرَ عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ ؛ إِنَّ اللهَ يَقْبَلُ تَوْبَةَ الْعَبْدِ مَا لَمْ يُغَرْغِرْ . رَوَاهُ التِّرْمِذِيُّ

From Abdullah bin Umar, from the Prophet (Muhammad) sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, “Verily Allah accepts the repentance of a servant as long as he has not experienced the naza’ (the arrival of soul in the throat when someone will die).” The hadith is narrated by at-Tirmidhi.

The Prophet Muhammad once advised Ali bin Abi Talib about repentance;

“O Ali! There is no repentance for the person who repents until he cleanses his stomach from forbidden things (haram) with good work.”

If we understand some verses of the Qur’an and some of the hadith above, then of course we will understand some things as follows;

One; We must repent to Allah for all the mistakes we have made.

Two; What is meant by repentance is the truest repentance. Someone who has committed repentance will not repeat the same mistake and he always tries to make him not make a mistake again.

Three; Everyone must have made a mistake, and the best guilty person is someone who repents

Four; Allah Ta’ala must accept someone’s repentance as long as his soul has not reached the throat when he will die.

Five; The Prophet Muhammad repented (asking forgiveness of Allah) a hundred times in one day.

Six; One of the conditions of repentance is to clean the stomach from unclean food and drink. That is, if we want our repentance to be accepted, then all the facilities that we enjoy must be lawful, there must not be a single bit that is forbidden (haram).

Seven; We must not despair from the grace of Allah Ta’ala;

يَٰبَنِيَّ ٱذۡهَبُواْ فَتَحَسَّسُواْ مِن يُوسُفَ وَأَخِيهِ وَلَا تَاْيۡ‍َٔسُواْ مِن رَّوۡحِ ٱللَّهِۖ إِنَّهُۥ لَا يَاْيۡ‍َٔسُ مِن رَّوۡحِ ٱللَّهِ إِلَّا ٱلۡقَوۡمُ ٱلۡكَٰفِرُونَ ٨٧

O my sons! Go and inquire respecting Yusuf and his brother, and don’t despair from Allah’s mercy; surely who despair from Allah’s mercy except the unbelieving people. (Yusuf [12]; 87).

Eight; Repentance can be done by reading istighfar, bathing repentance, and repentance prayer (atonement praying).

There are many istighfar sentences that we can read. Among others are;

أَسْتَغْفِرُ اللهَ الْعَظِيْمِ

I ask Allah for forgiveness.

The intention to take repentance bath is as follow;

نَوَيْتُ الْغُسْلَ لِتَوْبَةِ ذُنُوْبِيْ ظَاهِرًا وَبَاطِنًا سُنَّةً لِلَّهِ تَعَالَى

I intend to sunnah bath to erase all visible sins and invisible sins, because of Allah Ta’ala.

أُصَلِّيْ سُنَّةَ التَّوْبَةِ رَكْعَتَيْنِ لِلَّهِ تَعَالَى

I intend to perform sunnah prayer repenting two rakats because of Allah Ta’ala.

There are a number of things we need to know about in repentance bath;

One; The procedure for repentance bath is the same as the procedure for janaba bath; all skin must be splashed with water.

Two; We must read istighfaar every time we pour water on the body.

The repentance bath mechanism is as follow;

One; There is no limit to the number of rakats prayer of repentance, can be two rakats, four rakats, and so on.

Two; What is read in repentance prayer is the same as what is read in regular prayer.

Three; Terms and pillars of repentance prayer are the same as regular prayer.

All readers! That is a brief explanation of repentance (Tawbah) in Islam. May be useful!

See you again in the next article!


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