Islamic marriage advice and family advice

Tawbah in Islam

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Understanding the Concept of Tawbah in Islam (Repentance)

By IslamOnline.com Researchers

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

All thanks and praise are due to Allah and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.

Dear questioner! Thanks a lot for the apparent interest you show in understanding the teachings of Islam that enlightens the hearts and the minds of people.

Brother! Tawbah is an Arabic words derived from the origin "Taaba" i.e. returned back. Tawbah thus means turning back in repentance. It means showing regret for the error and the sin one has got himself involved in.

To have a clear view of the concept of Tawbah and what it does mean, read the following:

Repentance (Tawbah) means that one feels regret and filled with remorse for his or her sins, turns to Allah with the intention to obey Him. According to truth-seeking scholars, repentance signifies a sincere effort to no longer oppose the Divine Essence in one's feelings, thoughts, intentions, and acts, and to comply sincerely with His commands and prohibitions. Repentance does not mean being disgusted with what is bad or prohibited and thus no longer engaging in it; rather, it means remaining aloof from whatever Allah hates and prohibits, even if it seems agreeable to sense and reason.

Repentance is usually used with Nasuh, literally meaning pure, sincere, reforming, improving, and repairing. Tawbah Nasuh (genuine repentance) means a pure, sincere repentance that perfectly reforms and improves the one who feels it. One who feels such a sincere, heartfelt, and true remorse for the sin committed seeks to abandon it, thereby setting a good example for others. The Quran points to this when it mentions true repentance: "O you who believe! Turn to God in true, sincere repentance." (At-Tahrim: 8).

There are three categories of repentance:

1-The repentance of those who cannot discern Divine truths. Such people are uneasy about their disobedience to Allah and, conscious of the sinfulness clouding their hearts, turn toward Allah in repentance saying, for example: "I have fallen or committed a sin. Forgive me, or I ask for Allah's forgiveness."

2-Those half-awakened to Divine truths beyond veils of material existence, who feel an inward pang of sinfulness and remorse right after thinking or doing anything incompatible with the consciousness of always being in Allah's presence, or after every instance of heedlessness enveloping their hearts, and who immediately take refuge in the mercy and favor of Allah. Such people are described in the following Hadith:. "One who sincerely repents of his sin is as if he had never committed it. When Allah loves one of His servants, his sins do not harm him. Then he recited the verse: aAssuredly, Allah loves the oft-repentant and those who always seek to purify themselves.'"

3-Those who live such a careful life that, their eyes sleep but their hearts do not, their hearts are awake. Such people immediately discard what-ever intervenes between Allah and their hearts and other innermost faculties, and regain the consciousness of their relation to the Light of Lights. They always manifest the meaning of:. "How excellent a servant! Truly he was ever turning in contrition (to his Lord)" (Sad:44).

Repentance means regaining one's essential purity after every spiritual defilement, and engaging in frequent self-renewal.

The Stages of Repentance:

1-Feeling sincere remorse and regret.

2-Being frightened whenever one remembers past sins.

3-Trying to eradicate injustice and support justice and right.

4-Reviewing one's responsibilities and performing obligations previously neglected.

5-Reforming oneself by removing spiritual defects caused by deviation and error

6-Regretting and lamenting the times when one did not mention or remember Allah, or thank Him and reflect on His works. Such people are always apprehensive and alert so that their thoughts and feelings are not tainted by things that intervene between themselves and Allah. (This last quality is particular to people distinguished by their nearness to Allah.)

If one does not feel remorse, regret, and disgust for errors committed, whether great or small; if one is not fearful or apprehensive of falling back into sin at any time; and if one does not take shelter in sincere servanthood to Allah in order to be freed from deviation and error into which one has fallen by moving away from God, any resulting repentance will be no more than a lie.

A Muslim should cry:

I'm sorry for the mistakes I make.

And, I know of none that can be retrieved.

They're like the water over a dam.

To flow back, it cannot be achieved.


There are things I wish I had never said.

Now, I wish that I had bit my tongue instead.

To make another feel that pain,

For those thoughtless words, I am disdain.

Repentance is an oath of virtue, and holding steadfastly to it requires strong willpower. The lord of the penitents, peace and blessings be upon him, says that one who repents sincerely and holds steadfastly to it is has achieved the rank of a martyr, while the repentance of those who cannot free themselves from their sins and deviations, although they repent repeatedly, mocks the door toward which the truly repentant ones turn in utmost sincerity and resolution.

One who continues to sin after proclaiming a fear of Hell, who does not engage in righteous deeds despite self-proclaimed desires for Paradise, and who is indifferent to the Prophet's way and practices despite assertions of love for the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, cannot be taken seriously. This is also the case with one who claims to be sincere and pure-hearted, but spends his or her life oscillating between sin and repentance.

An initiate's first station is repentance, while the second is. Inabah (sincere penitence). While repentance requires the training of feelings, thoughts, and acts in order to move them from opposition to acceptance and obedience, sincere penitence demands a critique of the authenticity, sincerity, and sufficiency of that acceptance and obedience. Repentance is a progressing or journeying toward Allah"”that is, seeking to do what is pleasing to Allah and refraining from what is forbidden by Him. Sincere penitence is striving to live an upright life so that one may seek Allah's pleasure in all actions and thoughts."

Excerpted, with slight modifications, from: www.thewayrtotruth.org

In conclusion, we would like to cite for you the following lines of verse by Imam Ash-Shafi`i, may Allah be pleased with him:

"To You, the Creator, I raise my longing,

Though I am a sinner and a wrongdoer.

When it becomes black before my eyes,

I seek refuge in You and place my trust and hope.

When the heaps of my sins are compared to Your Grace.

Your Grace is greater and covers all the globe.

43 Responses »

  1. help me to repent . I am staying in a marriage with him even though he changed his mind about Islam.

  2. manal, e-mail me

  3. @ manal - If he changed his mind about Islam you have to choose what's more important to you personally. Allah's pleasure or your marriage to a non muslim. Consider this carefully. Wish you the best of luck in your future. May Allah accept your repentance.

  4. Dear Manal,

    I fully agree with what Talal has advised. May Allah help you in finding much more compatible, God fearing and practicing life partner who will Inshah allah not only make your this worldy life Paradise but he will be with you in paradise in the hereafter aswell.

    Zaheer

  5. Prayer of Forgiveness by Hasan al-Basri

    Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

    “O Allah, I seek your forgiveness for every sin for which I presented my repentance before You; and regarding which I stood before You swearing an oath in Your name and called Your friends from among Your servants to be my witnesses – that I would never return to disobeying You.

    But when Satan with his cunning tempted me to return to it; and Your forsaking me [due to Your anger over my impiety] caused me to [despairingly] waver toward it; and my lower self invited me to disobey You once more; I hid myself in shame from Your servants, but openly and daringly committed sins before You, though I knew full well that no covering nor any closed door could conceal me from You and no veil could hide me from Your sight.

    I still defied You by disobediently doing what You had prohibited to me; but [despite my iniquity], You did not remove Your covering from me, but rather treated me equal to Your pious servants, as though I had always been an obedient servant and swift to fulfill Your every command and fearful of Your warnings.

    I remained obscure in front of Your servants, and none besides You knew my secret. You did not single me out from Your servants with a mark of disgrace, but instead showered upon me blessings like theirs; and with this You distinguished me over them as though I were, in Your sight, of a status like theirs. All this was owing only of Your forbearance and abundant blessings – generous grace from You to me. For You then, O my Lord, belongs all praise.

    I ask from You, O Allah, just as You have covered my evil deeds in this world, that You do not humiliate me with them on the Day of Judgment. Forgive my sins, O Most Merciful of the merciful!”

    - One of the most eloquent of the seventy prayers in the book Prayers for Forgiveness by Hasan al-Basri

    Ya Haqq!

    • ASSALAMU ALAIKUM BROTHER

      I KNOW ONE WHO WANTS TO REPENT DOESN'T BECAUSE SHAYTAAN (DEVIL) TEACHES HIM MANY THINGS LIKE I AM MENTIONING :

      1: IF I REPENT THEN I WILL HAVE NOT TO DO WRONG DEEDS.
      2: IF I REPENT AND HEN IF A WRONG DEED HAPENED I WILL BECOME BIG SINNER.
      3: IF I REPENT I WILL HAVE TO PRAY 5 TIMES SALAH, PUT BEARD, PUT CAP ON HEAD, WEAR SHARIAH CLOTHES.

      BUT MY DEAR DONT THINK SUCH THINGS THESE ARE ALL FAKE AND SHAYTAAN IS ALWAYS THERE TO MAKE US GUMRAH (DISOBEDIENT) AND LET YOU REPENT NOW DON'T THINK OF FUTURE IF YOU REPENT NOW YOUR PREVIOUS SINS WILL BE ERASED THINK POSITIVE;

      AND MY FRIENDLY ADVICE SPENT SOMETIME IN TABLEEGHI JAMAAT , JUST TO GET CLOSER TO ALLAH AND PROPHET (S.A.W) ...

      ALLAH HAFIZ
      PLEASE REPLY

  6. The heart gets sick - by Ibn Al-Qayyim

    The heart gets sick as the body does and
    its cure is in asking for forgiveness and protection.
    It also becomes rusty like a mirror does and
    it is polished by remembering Allah.

    The heart can also be naked like the body
    and can lose its dress and decoration, which is piety,
    and it can feel hunger and thirst like the body does,
    and its nourishment is knowledge, love, trust,
    and offering service to Allah

    ***

    • Salam sisterz,
      I really need your help. Something is really bothering me. Though I have been praying, reading Quran and asking for my every intentionally/ unintentionally wrongdoing. I am not fully feeling peaceful. I feel scared, guilt regret and pain. Is there any possible way I can ask you something in private. May be your words might help me in getting picture more clear. I know everyone on this forum is really busy. If you can take some time out for me I will really appreciate.
      Shukran

  7. Dear Sir/Ma'am;

    I am a 25 years guy originally from yemen , I went to study abroad in some where in the far east , when I reached there , I was a good guy I used to pray all the time and just concentrate on my studies , for around two years; however now after 5 years of being there I don know what happened to me , I I am doing a very bad things and big sins that I even feel very shy to tell , I tried to stop but every time I say this is my last time ..but I can't hold for long..i guess If i finished the subject which is remaining for me to finish my studies , and went back to my country i will stop , as the environment there would help me to do that ,please pray for me ..I just wanted to share some thing with u, as i think it may help me to feel okay.

    Salam

    • My advice to you is to desist from associating with bad companies and try as much as possible to be reciting the holy Quran and be observing your five daily prayers in congregation, this will help inshaAllah. May Allah help us aameen

  8. Salaam i'm 28 yrs old and i am married. I i should add i'm a woman.

    • anon, please log in and write your question as a separate post, thank you.

      Wael
      IslamicAnswers.com Editor

      • Cheerful,

        If you wish to comment on or ask anything regarding your own post, you need to submit your comments there. And please refrain from emotionally pushing Editors to write and give you answers. You have already received many good replies, but it seems that you will not stop seeking answers till you hear what you want to hear.

        If you have only been divorced once, then yes, Islamically you can still re-marry. But whether this is a good idea or not is for you to decide. We can only advise based on the information you have provided, the choice is for you to make

        Any further comments regarding your post should be submitted on your post.
        http://www.zawaj.com/askbilqis/should-i-remarry/

        SisterZ
        IslamicAnswers.com Editor

        • Asalam -o- Alaikum Sister Z,

          Thank you for your valuable advice and to everyone who have replied on my post.I am greatful to everybody who with their soothing , calming and encouraging words helped me to get out of it .... & dear sister Z I am sorry if u felt that i have pushed all the editors to write on my post. At that time i was little depressed and nobody no friends no one was their with me except my parents who are old and so i dont discuss much with them bcoz it makes them even more sad and i cant see them crying at this age... This islamic site was like a blessing for me at that time... so may be i was finding friend in you all....It happens and only the person who has gone thru it will understand. Anyways you all are doing great job by helping people like me who have gone thru a psychological and emotional abuse like me....and Allah will bless you all for this...I know u all have to answer so many posts everyday and u all are human and tend to loose patience so sorry again from the bottom of my heart...

          Jhazak Allah Khair
          Cheerful :-)

      • to page owner,

        before i decided to use this website i thought that this website was to answer basic question of Islam. But Astaghfar the only things I read here are, love, sex, zina, husband's re marrying, women cheating and giving birth to haram children, people doing dirty things knowing is is wrong.

        I don't understand, is there anything in this website that will not show post that are not related to haram things. let me know so i can comment there.

        I am actually just waiting for my post to be posted. since i need a lot of help in it. then iam leaving this website after i am helped. because, if you guys can't handle truth, as i wrote in reply to anon yesterday. it was deleted, that offended me. If no one talks to her this way she will not repeat the mistake again and will understand. and she did it two times already.

        I am angry with you since you delete my post.

        • Anna,

          I am not the owner of the website but I will still reply.

          If you read the information given by Wael regarding the purpose of this website, it is to help people who have 'problems'. Do you think that in the time of Rasool(sws), these problems did not exist? Do you think the he(sws) did not advise and help people in similar situations? Of course he(sws) did.

          We are not angels, we are human - so sometimes we will sin or err - it is part of our nature. If everyone was to shun those people and turn their backs, instead of give sincere advice and help, how would they ever turn back to Allah? Have you never erred or sinned? Alhumdulillah, if you have not, but it would do you good to remember that this is a blessing from Allah, thank Him for it and please refrain from becoming arrogant due to it.

          There is a way of advising people - gentleness is the best way.

          SisterZ
          IslamicAnswers.com Editor

        • Anna, you misunderstood the purpose of this website. If you see the subheading at the top of the page, it says, "Islamic marriage and family advice." That's what we do here.

          The people who come here for advice know that they have problems. They know they have made mistakes. They are often already ashamed, depressed and confused. They don't need a judgmental person to condemn them and insult them, as you have done with many people.

          Some of your replies to people:

          "Your so filthy are staying with such a person. shame on you. iam ashamed that your a girl, with two bastard kids, and you want an innocent loving man to take care of them, thinking they are his. what kind of a person are you. OMG, astaghfar, you unfaithful person. who do you thinking your fooling here..."

          "are you happy of what you did, i hope your post never gets posted because i have not seen anyone so selfish rude and dirty in my life..."

          "I personally dont get why people on this forum put dumbness as posts. I will never sympathy such people. Shame on the husbznd and the author of this post..."

          "you should of known better. now there is no reason to ask about this questoin you should of have asked before you did all this, not after you have done it all sister..."

          These people are already feeling pain and regret, and your response is to wave your finger in their faces and tell them "shame on you," and call them various names.

          You will accomplish nothing by replying to people in this cruel way except to hurt them further.

          That's not what we need on this website. We are here to help people, not hurt them. We are here to help them find the way forward, show them the way to tawbah and forgiveness, and advice them gently.

          You said in one of your comments here that you betrayed your husband by sharing naked photos of yourself with someone on the internet. How would you feel if everyone attacked you and called you stupid, shameful, filthy, dirty, etc? Would it help you? Or would it only make you angry and upset?

          How can you sit in such high judgment over others?

          You say you plan to leave this website. I agree that that's best for all concerned.

          Wael
          IslamicAnswers.com Editor

          • You said in one of your comments here that you betrayed your husband by sharing naked photos of yourself with someone on the internet.

            :o :o

          • The 'shock' emoticon somehow looks like 'happy', I don't know why.

          • No Actually I will like it someone tells me the truth on how i have behaved. I will also appreciate being called names too, honesty is always good. If I will be offended, I will not show it, cuz everyone has an opinion. And people don't need to tell me anything because as I also mentioned in that comment, that a week after I told my husband about it. If I was filthy I wouldn't have told him. I also worked my way into it without anyone's help, and ALLAH guided me through Alhamdulliah...

            No brother I am not leaving this website as of yet. I am waiting for my post to be posted and after reading my advices I will for sure leave this page, and this is my promise to ALLAH and not to anyone else.

            I am not rude, I am straight forward, If you don't want me to be straight forward then I will just comment and say pray to ALLAH he knows more.

          • Allah(swt) says in Surah 49, Ayah 11:
            "O you who believe! Let not a group scoff at another group, it may be that the latter are better than the former; nor let (some) women scoff at other women, it may be that the latter are better than the former, nor defame one another, nor insult one another by nicknames. How bad is it, to insult one's brother after having Faith [i.e. to call your Muslim brother (a faithful believer) as: "O sinner", or "O wicked", etc.]. And whosoever does not repent, then such are indeed Zalimun (wrong-doers, etc.)."

            Surah Taha, Ayah 43-45:
            "Go, you and your brother, with My signs and do not slacken in My remembrance.
            Go, both of you, to Pharaoh. Indeed, he has transgressed.
            And speak to him with gentle speech that perhaps he may be reminded or fear [ Allah ]."

        • Sister, Treat people good, above and beyond, the little extra mile for the sake of Allah even if it’s not reciprocated back. Even though it may seem like no one cares, Allah knows and is the witness of all things.

          ”So whoever does an atom’s weight of good will see it, And whoever does an atom’s weight of evil will see it.” [Al Qur'an 99:7-8]

    • Is good to tell the truth even it's bitter but I think we Muslim should control our toung aswell. It's upto Allah to judge it's better not to use bad words.

  9. assalaam walekum,
    i'm a 21 yr old girl.i was in frndship with a guy and later i dnt know how this frndship turned on to be love.i'm vry shameful to say this-we kissed eachothr,we never intended to do that,it jus happened and i regret doing it before marriage...we love eachodr a lot and want to get married but the problem is i'm a muslim and he is a brahmin(hindu)....what should i do????please help me....

    • raheja, there is no marriage between a Muslim and a Hindu. It cannot happen and will never be accepted. You have to break off this relationship as it cannot go anywhere. If you need more detailed advice, please log in and write your question as a separate post.

      Wael
      IslamicAnswers.com Editor

      • Assalamualaikum.. Iam fara doin colg 1st year .. I wanna change my self completly i had done mistake.. Iam not stable. I dont know what was my problem. Im ashamed i had seen A gud boy i feel i wanna marry him . I tired a lot to change my self but it couldn't happens please help me from sin.

  10. As salaam alaikum rahamahtullah was barakatu,

    (Zainab, I have removed the remainder of your question. Please log in and write your question as a separate post, and we will advise you as best we can, Insha'Allah. - Wael, IslamicAnswers.com Editor)

  11. I used to lie allot, and now I want to stop lying, I feel bad because I know it's a sin in Islam and just got tired...
    What should I do so that Allah can forgive me of all the lies I have said?

  12. Iam 16 years old girl and before 2 years i gave my nude pictures to my ex.boyfriend at that time i didn't know that he is cheating me but after some time i gt to know about him.as he always threaten me that he will post my pictures on internet or either he will send them to my family.but as i already asked here and mostly my sister and brothers advised me to leave so i left him and iam not having any contact with him from 8 months.and iam Alhamdulilah happy in my life.and iam having trust in my Allah.! but still i asked tobah from Allah in every namaz and sometimes i get afraid that he will send those pictures to my family or other people.this thing makes me much much worried , i cant tell this matter to my family because i dont want to break their trust at any cost.and cant report it to cops or lawyer.still he has not done anything wronge but he is saying to my friends that he will surely do that.i dont know what to do. should i dnt bother ?but this is a big fear for me .!plz give me some advice.and suggestion i dont want to take any tension about this,but this fear is affecting my studies.i knw Allah has forgiven me but stilll/........... plz help me

  13. Asalaamu Alaykum, I have a situation similar to sister 'anon' who posted above, where can I read your response to her query?

    Please also assist me to register to add my question.

    Shukran.
    Sister in Islam

  14. hey can anyone please tell me what is the problem with registration?? i have been trying so much but after writing username and password n answering the question it disappears n a new question comes again n so on...

  15. dear manal
    i advice you to turn your face to Allah and to pray to return him because Allah is the one who leads some one to true way if Allah didn't allow we can't make a change. I wish all the best in your life sister.

  16. Sorry Anna others didn't understand you. :(. I felt hurt by that. It's about who's humble, not who's human. Nothing is as wrong as to refuse to admit my wrong or the truth. Posts should be kept only if confidential/truthful, not if immodest/indiscreet as we see as the norm. That's the best point she made. May Allah Help us be true Muslims. May Allah Help us repent. May Allah Help us be humble and compassionate. The internet should make it easy to be Muslim, not to sin. Audhoo billah. Allah Knows hearts.

  17. Sorry. Tell them: Deal not with unjustly. Be just; that is next to piety. Humbleness is Islam/G-dliness. We don't have to say much. Just be humble and honest (about and against our nafs). Audoo bika min sharri nafsi. Audhoo billah.

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