Archive for January, 2014

Am I Worthy of Repenting?

January 24, 2014 1 comment

Concept of Istigfar and Tawbah in Islam

A man (Israeli) who had killed ninety nine people wanted to find out if there was any chance for forgiveness for him. He was directed to a monk who replied in the negative. This outraged him and he killed the monk. He did not quit in his quest for repentance and was directed to a scholar who replied that ‘Who stands between you and repentance?’ and instructed him to go to another city where he won’t be reminded of his sins and would be surrounded by good company. The man set on his journey and died on the way. The angels and mercy and torment, both came to the scene. The angle of torment argued that the man had been a big sinner and deserves punishment, while the angel of mercy put forth the case that he turned to Allah with a repenting heart. An angel was sent to arbitrate and measure the distance between the lands and was he sent to heaven as he was closer to his destination.[1]

This story highlights that Allah is indeed Al-Ghafoor Ar-Raheem (The Forgiving, The Merciful) and forgives those who turn to him. It highlights the Islamic concepts of maghfirah and tawba that Allah is willing to forgive the worst of sins as long as the slave is willing to turn to Allah sincerely and seek repentance. Allah Subhanawatala says:


“Say, O My servants who have transgressed against themselves [by sinning], do not despair of the mercy of Allah . Indeed, Allah forgives all sins. Indeed, it is He who is the Forgiving, the Merciful.” [Surah Zumar 39:53]

Now what is the difference between maghfirah and tawbah? This short paper will look into the Islamic concept of maghfirah (forgiveness) and tawbah (repentance), proofs from Quran and authentic Sunnah, conditions of tawbah as well as benefits of tawbah and istigfar on the Muslim.

In many instances in the Quran, istigfar is mentioned alongside tawbah. For instance, if we look at the following verse:


“So will they not repent to Allah and seek His forgiveness? And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.” [al-Maaidah 5:74]

The word istigfar means seeking forgiveness and is derived from the word “ghafara” or clothe oneself to protect from harm. Read more…

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