By Asma bint Shameem
Making mistakes and committing sins are a part of human nature and no one will be free of it. All of us fall short, commit sins, and make mistakes. The Prophet Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam said:
“Every son of Adam sins, and the best of those who sin are those who repent.” (Tirmidhi, hasan by al-Albaani)
And surely, man is weak but it is Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta’ala Who created us and He knows that we are weak. So out of His Mercy, The Most Merciful has opened the gate of repentance for us so that we can turn to Him every time we sin. He Subhaanahu wa Ta’ala says:
قُلْ يَا عِبَادِيَ الَّذِينَ أَسْرَفُوا عَلَى أَنفُسِهِمْ لَا تَقْنَطُوا مِن رَّحْمَةِ اللَّهِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَغْفِرُ الذُّنُوبَ جَمِيعًا إِنَّهُ هُوَ الْغَفُورُ الرَّحِيمُ
“Say: O ‘Ibaadi (My slaves) who have transgressed against themselves (by committing evil deeds and sins)! Despair not of the Mercy of Allaah, verily, Allaah forgives all sins. Truly, He is Oft‑Forgiving, Most Merciful”
And He said:
وَمَن يَعْمَلْ سُوءًا أَوْ يَظْلِمْ نَفْسَهُ ثُمَّ يَسْتَغْفِرِ اللّهَ يَجِدِ اللّهَ غَفُورًا رَّحِيمًا
“And whoever does evil or wrongs himself but afterwards seeks Allaah’s forgiveness, he will find Allaah Oft‑Forgiving, Most Merciful”
And the Prophet Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam said:
“Allaah spreads out His hand at night to accept the repentance of the one who sinned during the day, and He spreads out His hand by day to accept the repentance of the one who sinned during the night, (and that will continue) until the sun rises from the west.”
So here’s what one can do:
1. MAKE SINCERE TAUBAH:
It is essential, rather VITAL, that you should turn to Allaah and repent to Him. Make sincere taubah and try your best to stay away from the sin that you are committing.
The ulama tell us that sincere taubah requires some conditions in order for Taubah to be accepted. They are:
1- You should give up the sin RIGHT AWAY.
2- You should have great REGRET that you did it.
3- You should have FIRM resolve NEVER to go back to it.
If any one of these three is missing, then the repentance is not sincere.
And if the sin has to do with the rights of another person, then there is a fourth condition in addition to the three mentioned above. And that is, restoring the rights of that person or seeking his forgiveness. For example, if someone stole money or property, it must be returned to the person he stole from, etc.
2. MAKE DUA:
Make sincere Dua to Allaah and ask Him to keep you away from whatever it is that you’re doing. Cry over your sin, beg Him for His Mercy and ask Him to guide you, to give you strength to stay away from bad deeds and set your heart right.
You can make Dua any time of the day or night but especially during times when Dua is more likely to be accepted such as in your sujood during salah, in the middle of the night during tahajjud, at the time of breaking your fast, between the adhaan and iqaamah, etc.
3. BE STEADFAST IN YOUR OBLIGATORY DEEDS
Pay special attention to your obligatory deeds, especially praying FIVE times a day. Be very particular about your salah and DO NOT MISS ANY SINGLE ONE. That’s because Allaah says:
وَأَقِمِ الصَّلَاةَ إِنَّ الصَّلَاةَ تَنْهَى عَنِ الْفَحْشَاء وَالْمُنكَرِ
“And establish the prayer. Verily, As-Salât (the prayer) prevents from Al-Fahshâ’ (i.e. every kind of lewdness, obscenities, unlawful sexual intercourse, etc.) and Al-Munkar (i.e. disbelief, polytheism, and every kind of evil wicked deed)”
4. READ QUR’AAN WITH MEANING
The problem that most of us have is that we don’t understand the Qur’aan. We may read it but what good is the reading if we don’t know what our Rabb is saying to us? How would we know what is pleasing to Allaah and what is not? How would we know what is good in His eyes and what is bad? So our Imaan falls low, we are an easy target for the Shaytaan and we continue to sin. The solution to this problem, no, the solution to ALL problems is that we start reading the Qur’aan with meaning, even if it is just a few ayaat a day. It is better for us and more pleasing to Allaah if we understand whatever we read and then implement it in our lives than to read juz upon juz without understanding and without implementation.
5. DO A LOT OF GOOD DEEDS
such as doing a lot of nawaafil prayers, or fasting, giving charity, helping someone, gaining Islaamic knowledge etc.
Allaah tells us that good deeds erase bad deeds. Allaah says:
إِنَّ الْحَسَنَاتِ يُذْهِبْنَ السَّـيِّئَاتِ
“Verily, the good deeds cancel out the evil deeds”
Also, if you’ll be busy doing good deeds, you won’t find time to do bad deeds. Besides, by keeping yourself busy with good deeds. you will feel peace and tranquility. It will increase your Imaan and you will feel bad about your sins and mistakes and think twice before you go back to them.
6. STAY AWAY FROM BAD COMPANY
This is a VERY IMPORTANT point. You should stay away from people who do bad things and don’t fear Allaah. Stay away from those who helped you to commit this sin. There are so many cases in which people have gone back to sin because they resumed relationships with their former companions. The Prophet Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam said:
“A man will be on the path of his close friends, so pay attention to who you make friends with.”
And he sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa sallam also said:
“The likeness of a righteous companion is that of the seller of musk: either he will give you a gift, or you will buy something from him, or you will smell a pleasant fragrance from him. And the likeness of an evil companion is that of the man who works the bellows: either he will burn your garment, or you will smell an unpleasant odor from him.”
Bad friends will curse one another on the Day of Resurrection and run away from each other. So you should keep away from them and break off your friendship with them before they run away from you on the Day of Judgment.
الْأَخِلَّاء يَوْمَئِذٍ بَعْضُهُمْ لِبَعْضٍ عَدُوٌّ إِلَّا الْمُتَّقِينَ
“Friends on that Day will be enemies to one another except Al-Muttaqoon (the pious)”
Instead, choose righteous friends who will help you against your nafs (self) and who will be an alternative to bad company. Try to attend the masjid regularly, join a Islamic knowledge class or Dars and fill your time with beneficial things so that the Shaytaan will not find any opportunity to remind you of the past.
7. KEEP AWAY FROM PLACES OF SIN
That’s because going to such places may remind you of your bad habits and your being there may make you fall into sin again.
8. DESTROY THE HARAAM
You should also destroy any and all haraam things that you may have in your possession, whatever it may be that is causing you to sin. They should be broken, destroyed or burnt. Don’t take this point lightly. It is very essential that you should get rid of all such things. Because keeping these haraam things may cause you to slip back.
9. SEEK PROFESSIONAL HELP
if you can, for whatever it is that you may be addicted to.
10. SOME DUAS TO RECITE
Here are some duas that one can recite to ask Allaah for forgiveness. You can say them in Arabic or English, or whatever language you feel comfortable with. The important thing is to UNDERSTAND these duas and SAY THEM FROM THE HEART, like you mean them. Don’t just read these duas…rather, talk to Allaah. Open your heart to Him and beg. He will answer you and help you.
رَبِّ اغْفِرْ وَارْحَمْ وَأَنْتَ خَيْرُ الرَّاحِمِينَ
“Rabbi’ghfir wa’rham wa anta khayru’l-raahimeen”
(My Lord! Forgive and show mercy, for You are the Best of those who show mercy!)”
رَبَّنَا اغْفِرْ لَنَا ذُنُوبَنَا وَإِسْرَافَنَا فِي أَمْرِنَا
“Rabbanaa ‘ghfar lanaa dhunoobanaa wa israafanaa fi amrinaa
(Our Lord! Forgive us our sins and transgressions (in keeping our duties to You).”
The Prophet sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa sallam said: “The best prayer for seeking forgiveness is to say:
اللَّهُمَّ أَنْتَ رَبِّي لا إِلَهَ إِلا أَنْتَ خَلَقْتَنِي وَأَنَا عَبْدُكَ وَأَنَا عَلَى عَهْدِكَ وَوَعْدِكَ مَا اسْتَطَعْتُ أَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنْ شَرِّ مَا صَنَعْتُ أَبُوءُ لَكَ بِنِعْمَتِكَ عَلَيَّ وَأَبُوءُ لَكَ بِذَنْبِي فَاغْفِرْ لِي فَإِنَّهُ لا يَغْفِرُ الذُّنُوبَ إِلا أَنْتَ
‘Allaahumma anta rabbi la ilaaha illa anta, Khalaqtani wa ana ‘abduka wa ana ‘ala ‘ahdika wa wa’dika ma astata’t. A’oodhu bika min sharri ma sana’tu, aboo’u laka bi ni’matika ‘alayya wa aboo’u laka bi dhanbi, faghfir li fa innahu laa yaghfiru’l-dhunoob illaa anta
(O Allaah, You are my Lord. None has the right to be worshipped but You. You created me and I am Your slave, and I am faithful to my covenant and my promise (to You) as much as I can. I seek refuge with You from all the evil I have done. I acknowledge before You all the blessings You have bestowed upon me, and I confess to You all my sins. So I entreat You to forgive my sins, for nobody can forgive sins except You).”
Whoever says this during the day, having faith in it and dies before the evening comes, will be among the people of Paradise, and whoever says it during the night, having faith in it, and dies before the morning comes, will be among the people of Paradise.”
The Prophet sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa sallam used to recite the following du’aa’:
” اللَّهُمَّ اغْفِرْ لِي خَطِيئَتِي وَجَهْلِي وَإِسْرَافِي فِي أَمْرِي وَمَا أَنْتَ أَعْلَمُ بِهِ مِنِّي اللَّهُمَّ اغْفِرْ لِي جِدِّي وَهَزْلِي وَخَطَئِي وَعَمْدِي وَكُلُّ ذَلِكَ عِنْدِي اللَّهُمَّ اغْفِرْ لِي مَا قَدَّمْتُ وَمَا أَخَّرْتُ وَمَا أَسْرَرْتُ وَمَا أَعْلَنْتُ وَمَا أَنْتَ أَعْلَمُ بِهِ مِنِّي أَنْتَ الْمُقَدِّمُ وَأَنْتَ الْمُؤَخِّرُ وَأَنْتَ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ
“Allaahumma’ghfir li khatee’ati wa jahli wa israafi fi amri wa maa anta a’lam bihi minni. Allaahumma’ghfir li jiddi wa hazli wa khata’i wa ‘amdi wa kullu dhaalika ‘indi. Allaahumma’ghfir li maa qaddamtu wa maa ajjartu wa ma asrartu wa maa a’lamtu wa maa anta a’lam bihi minni. Anta’l-muqaddim wa anta’l-mu’akhkhir wa anta ‘ala kulli shay’in qadeer
(O Allaah, forgive me for my sin. My ignorance and my transgression (in keeping my duty to You), and whatever You know about me better than I do. O Allaah, forgive me for sins committed in earnest and in jest, by mistake and deliberately, and I have done all of that. O Allaah, forgive me for what I have done in the past and what I will do in the future, what I have done in secret and what I have done openly, and whatever You know about me better than I do. You are the One Who raises and lowers people’s status, and You are Able to do all things).”
e) The Prophet sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa sallam used to recite one hundred times in one gathering:
رَبِّ اغْفِرْ لِي وَتُبْ عَلَيَّ إِنَّكَ أَنْتَ التَّوَّابُ الْغَفُورُ
“Raabi’ghfir li wa tubb ‘alayya innaka anta’l-tawwaab ul-ghafoor
(My Lord, forgive me and accept my repentance, for You are the Acceptor or Repentance, the All-Forgiving).”
If you will make dua and try your best to give up this problem, sincerely for the sake of Allaah, He will surely respond to you and help you give it up. Be SURE of that. Don’t ever give up hope in Allaah or in yourself. With Allaah’s help, you can do anything.