In the previous article of the same subject, we discussed the meaning of Istighfaar and Tawbah as two forms by which Muslims can repent in Islam. We further discussed the steps involved in doing Istighfaar. In this article, we will summarize the conditions and steps involved in achieving a proper and complete Tawbah.
#Step 1: Being Sincere
It is important for an individual that has committed a sin to repent for the sake of seeking Allah’s forgiveness and not for any other purpose. A person should not repent for any other reason such as for reputation, for political reason, or for the sake of material things. The performance of Tawbah is mainly done to enable the sinner to return to Allah in proper submission seeking forgiveness from the Creator.
#Step 2: Sense of regret
After sincerely accepting the sin committed, one should have a sense of regret and guilt for the sin they have committed. If the sinner does not have any sense of regret and/or guilt then the Tawbah is not complete and thus the repentance will be meaningless.
#Step 3: Immediate Abstinence
The sinner must immediately stop repeating that sin after performing Tawbah. The sin must be stopped instantly or else the Tawbah becomes incomplete. For example; one cannot seek forgiveness from Allah for looking at something forbidden and still continue looking at it. Such a Tawbah will be regarded as invalid.
#Step 4: Firm Intention
An individual engaged in Tawbah should not only immediately abstain from the sin but should also stop doing it altogether.The repentant individual must have the intention to stop and never return to the sin, for the sake of Allah’s forgiveness. However, if the person commits the sin after doing Tawbah, that sin would be considered new and the person should repent all over again.
#Step 5: Timeliness of repentance
Tawbah should be done in a timely fashion. In essence it can be done at any moment but Islam has made it clear that repentance would not be accepted during the following periods:
#1 The Door of Repentance is closed when the sun comes up from the west. There will be no need to repent then because it will be invalid as the world would be at its end.
#2 During death
When a dying person finally meets the angel of death, repentance will not be accepted. An example is when Pharaoh was faced with death and tried to offer his Tawbah, but Allah did not accept it because he had seen the Angel of Death and Angel Jibreel already.
#3 during the reign of the Dajjal (the Antichrist), repentance would not be accepted by any person. This is foreseeable in the future when the world is about to end.
Please note, the conditions above should be properly met before the necessary actions are taken to complete the Tawbah which involve as stated by the Great Messenger of Allah ﷺ said:“There is no one who commits a sin, goes and performs Wudoo (ritual ablution) and then prays 2 Rak’ ahs (two units of prayer) after which they seek Allah’s forgiveness, except that He forgives them.”
After this, the Prophet ﷺ recited the Words of Allah (3:135):
“And those (people) who, when they have committed a Faahishah (a major sin, an immoral sin) or wronged themselves, remember Allah and implore forgiveness for their sins- and who can forgive sins but Allah alone? – and do not knowingly persist in the wrong that they did”
May Allaah make it is easy for us to abandon sinning and may He make it easy for us to return to him in sincere repentance.