Personal Development

How To Perform Repentance (Part 2)

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How does one perform Tawbah?  It’s not difficult at all, from a physical perspective.

Conditions of Tawbah

But firstly, the scholars have derived, from the Qur’an and statements of the Prophet Muhammad, that certain conditions must accompany the tawbah for it to be valid and correct. Shaykh Ibn `Uthaymin mentions the following conditions in Sharh Riyadh as-Saliheen:

1. Sincerity – The repenting person can not repent for any other purpose or reason, like showing off. The sole intent and purpose in him doing this Tawbah has to be to return to the proper submission to Allah. They need to perform repentance to seek Allah’s forgiveness for their sins and to attain His Pleasure.

2. Remorse – They must feel regret and remorse for the sin that they committed. This is based on the hadith of the Prophet, اَلنَّدْمُ تَوبَةٌ “Remorse is repentance” (Ahmad, authenticated by Al-Albani). This, by the way, is a unique hadith, for the Prophet put it in such a way that a listener would assume that remorse is all that Tawbah is. And it is. Nothing more. Just have regret, and that’s it.

So if a person doesn’t have this feeling of regret and is happy that he did what he did, then the repentance is unacceptable. This actually defeats the entire purpose of Tawbah because if you don’t truly in your heart feel bad or sorry for what you did, then why are you repenting?

3. Stop The Sin – The repenting person must stop committing the sin. Stop the sin immediately. One can’t do Tawbah and then say, ‘Yeah, I did Tawbah, but I’ll leave this sin when I graduate’ or, ‘Once I get married.’ Or next year. Or tomorrow. The person should leave it right away. If a person does Tawbah, but he is still involved in that sin, then that Tawbah is invalid.  Note that the issue here is that it is necessary that the person leaves off the act as a starter. We’re not talking about whether the person falls back into that sin again later on (which will be discussed in the next point Insha’Allah). However, what we’re saying here is that if the person never left the sin to start with, then the Tawbah was not valid.

You know, for example, if a person is looking at something that is ‘forbidden for him to look at’  and says “Oh Allah, forgive me”, but simultaneously, he is continuing that act – that’s unacceptable.  Leave the act. Stop it.

This is taken from the words of Allah in Surah Aali `Imran, verse 135:

وَلَمْ يُصِرُّوا عَلَى مَا فَعَلُوا وَهُمْ يَعْلَمُون

“And they do not knowingly persist in what they have done.”

4. Resolute Intention – One must be determined and have a resolute intention that they will never repeat that sin again, that I’m not going to return back to that particular (major) sin. If the person claims to repent, but he knows that if he could get the opportunity to perform that sin again, he would do so, then he has not repented properly. However, what if someone, after doing the Tawbah, falls back into that sin (although he did not intend to do that sin again)? Does that nullify his Tawbah? The answer is No. This won’t affect his original repentance and it is still good. However, now he/she needs to repent anew for the new sin he/she has committed. The person has to go back, do Tawbah again, and vow never to return to that sin again. One may ask, what if that person falls back into that same sin again? The Tawbah is still valid. But now they need to go back and do Tawbah to Allah again.

5. Repent on time! – The repentance has to be done in a time when it is accepted. That is all times except for the following:

a. When the sun is rising from the west before the Day of Judgement – If you say, ”I believe now” at that time, it’s too late. If you repent then, sorry. The Door of Repentance is closed :(

b. When a person is in the agonies of death and sees the Angels of Death. A prime example would be Fir’awn, who, in essence, said the Shahaadah and quickly repented when he saw the Angels of Death and Jibreel. His Tawbah was not accepted. And SubhanAllah, it’s amazing that even for this arrogant and oppressive tyrant, Angel Jibreel began throwing dirt and mud into the mouth of Fir’awn, “because he was afraid that Allah’s mercy may reach him.” Allah’s mercy is just so vast and incredibly enormous…

c. When the Dajjal the Anti-Christ appears.

Steps of Tawbah

So now, having said all the conditions for repentance, here is how to actually do it:

Abu Bakr narrated that the Prophet (صلوات الله وسلامه عليه) said:

“There is no one who commits a sin, goes and performs Wudoo`(ritual ablution), and then prays two Rak’ahs (units of prayer) after which they seek Allah’s forgiveness, except that He forgives them.” (Sahih Abu Dawud, Al-Nasa’i)

After this, the Prophet recited the Words of Allah (3:135):

والذين إذا فعلوا فاحشة أو ظلموا أنفسهم ذكروا الله, فاستغفروا لذنوبهم – ومن يغفر الذنوب إلا الله – ولم يصروا على ما فعلوا وهم يعلمون

“And those (people) who, when they have committed a fahishah (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.”

And based on this hadith, some of the jurists have derived what is called as-Salaat at-Tawbah (The Prayer for Repentance). This Salah is done after a person commits a sinful act that requires repentance [i.e. a major sin].

The person should mention the sin before Allah. A person shouldn’t just say, “Oh Allah, forgive all the sins I’ve done”, but rather he should recall the major sin he did and mention it to Allah and seek His forgiveness for it. No doubt, when one does this Tawbah sincerely, with the conditions of Tawbah in mind, his/her sin will be forgiven by the Most Merciful and Most Forgiving.

Note: There are some scholars who say that one cannot definitively say that a repentance that meets all of its necessary conditions will be accepted by Allah. Instead, the person hopes for this. He is under the will of Allah – if Allah wills, He may punish him, and if He wills, He may forgive him. However, Ibn Rajab (رحمه الله تعالى) answers their arguments and refutes them by stating that one can definitively say that a true repentance is accepted by Allah. This is also supported by the statement of the Prophet wherein he said: اَلتَّائِبُ مِنَ الذَّنْبِ كَمَنْ لاَ ذَنْبَ لَهُ “The one who repents (does Tawbah) from a sin, is like one who did not sin at all” (Ibn Majah, hasan). Of course, we hope in Allah and have the best hopes. However, it is a promise from Allah that the one who sincerely does Tawbah to Him will be forgiven. And Allah wants and loves to forgive the person, as Allah said: والله يريد أن يتوب عليكم ”Allah wants to accept your repentance.” (4:27)

> Shaykh Sidenote –  Some have also commented on the part of the Hadith where the Prophet said, ”goes and performs Wudu’”, and have said that after this Wudu’ particularly, the person should recite the du’a that the Prophet taught us to say:

اَللَّهُمَّ اجْعَلْنِي مِنَ التَّوَّابِيْنَ, وَاجْعَلْنِي مِنَ الْمُتَطَهِّرِيْنَ

Oh Allah! Make me from those who constantly repent to You, and from those who purify themselves.”

So this is, by Allah’s permission, the way to perform Tawbah.

A reflection after having discussed all of this – Isn’t it interesting how easy ‘repentance’ is? How preposterously simple it is to have one’s sins forgiven and erased? How Merciful Allah is!  And we know that if a person did this Tawbah during their life from their sins, then by Allah’s Mercy, their Hereafter will be good and happy. However, if a Muslim died without ever doing this ‘Repentance’ from their sins, then they have no guarantee; Allah may forgive them, or punish them first.

In conclusion, every sinner – every single one of us – should do our best to turn to Allah and seek forgiveness from Allah. Allah is very pleased with the repentance of His servants and is willing to forgive them. Instead of feeling complete despair for past sins, we should realize that the door to repentance is open. Furthermore, due to the effects of repentance and the change in one’s heart in the process, one may be in a better state after repentance than he was before he committed the sin. This was the case, for example, with Prophet Adam. He committed a sin, felt remorse, and then he turned turned sincerely to Allah with repentance. Thereafter, his faith and belief were better than before. Allah says:

وعصى آدم ربه فغوى – ثم اجتباه ربه فتاب عليه وهدى

“Thus Adam disobeyed his Lord, and so he went astray. Then his Lord chose him, and accepted his repentance, and gave him guidance.”  (20:121-122)

As Ibn al-Qayyim, one of the righteous predecessors, said:

“Surely, a servant commits a sin by which he enters Paradise. And another servant does a good deed by which he enters the Fire.” So the people around him were shocked. They knew that good deeds bring one to Paradise, while sins bring one to the Fire.

So they said to him: ”How is this? How can that be?”

He said: “The one who committed the sin constantly thought about it, and it caused him to fear it, regret it, cry over it, and feel ashamed in front of his Lord because of it. He stood before Allah, brokenhearted, with his head lowered in humility. So this sin was more beneficial to him than many acts of obedience, since it caused him humility and humbleness, to the extent that this sin became the cause for him entering Paradise. And as for the doer of good, he didn’t consider that good to be a favor from his Lord. Rather, he became amazed with himself. This increased his arrogance and pride, which led him to destruction in Hell.”

I ask Allah to make you and me from those who continually do Tawbah to Him, and have humility, for that is the key to success in this world and the next.

AbdulBasit Khan currently lives in Lanham, MD where he gives weekly lectures at his local Mosque, PGMA. He grew up in the ADAMS Center community in Sterling, VA and moved to College Park, MD to attend Al-Huda School at the age of 11. After graduating from Al-Huda’s middle school and completing his hifzh, he began to volunteer at Prince George’s Muslim Association where he spent the next 8 years studying under the mentorship of many Imams, eventually becoming assistant Imam. His hobbies include reading beneficial works, listening to interesting talks and attending inspiring Islamic events. He feels that MYM is a beautiful medium for him to share some of his thoughts and be inspired by the musings of fellow youth.


  1. Reflection from myself: In Surat Yusuf (Chapter 12), a serious point is brought up regarding Tawbah. In v. 9, Allah mentioned that the brothers of Yusuf plotted against him & said: اقتلوا يوسف, أو اطرحوه أرضًا يخل لكم وجه أبيكم وتكونوا من بعده قومًا صالحين ”Kill Yusuf. Or, just cast him out to some (far away) land – so that the face of your father may be given to you alone (i.e. the love of your father). And after that, you will become righteous people.”

    I read that & was like, ‘What kind of people are these?! How could they say such an evil statement?’ We’ll kill Yusuf – to achieve this goal of ours – then we’ll start doing good deeds, repent & be pious. But then I realized that so many Muslims today (and I’m talking to myself) are doing the exact same thing. But we don’t realize it. Just replace “murder” with another Major Sin. “I’ll just do this (deal with riba, for example) and then I’ll do Tawbah. And subhaanallaah, Ramadaan is coming any way.” So that’s like a double incentive. Laa ilaaha illaa Allaah!! This is exactly what these brothers of Yusuf were saying. And that’s why you’ll find, in Muhsin Khan’s translation, he adds at the end of the verse in parenthesis: (by intending repentance before committing the sin).

    And really, when a person behaves like this, he’s walking in very dangerous territory. 1stly, he has no idea whether he’ll live long enough to perform that Tawbah; so he should fear Allah & remember death. 2ndly, Allah knows best if such a Tawbah will even be accepted.

    • Waqar Khan Reply

      I believe every tawbah is accepted, as long as it’s done from the heart. I’m not sure parohan would have seen the angel of the death before he was taking but at the moment when he was due, and therefore, he was in control of an angel to have it with him his way…what I’m trying to say Allah himself has promised that as long as you a believer, you can have sins filed up to the heaven, and Allah will forgive you, and I guess we were made to be sin, so we can ask for forgiveness or else why would have Allah created us? I think by us saying that Allah may or may not Accept your Tawbah is contradicting Allah’s promise….and you know Tawbah is only for the believers, because Allah don’t leave no space for those who don’t believe in Allah….to be forgiven, or any of the good deeds will be accepted. For example you are Donald Trump or Bill Gates, and you gave all of your property to the charity, and Allah knows the best, but from reading the Quran, you’ll clearly see that such person’s good deeds are not accepted at all. While Allah state along the same verses, that Allah will even accept your Tawbah for the sins that if filed up to the heaven, he stall forgive it as long as you a believer…I think I also heard a hadith that Allah gave good news to Prophet Mohammed, that said that all of your followers will enter the Jannah, so I guess as long as you Muslim, and you ask Allah for Towbah, maybe Allah keep you alive until you have earned Jannah? may Allah knows the best, but just simple logical thoughts.

      • Waqar Khan

        I also want to add, that what’s sin? who is to decide what’s sin, or what’s not? See if Allah is the decider, thus for him sin mean nothing, to him it don’t matter if you pray or do good deeds, or you do sins and bad deeds, you only benefit yourself; some of my christian brothers always say that Jesus die for our sins…If Jesus was God, he could have just said, okay now everyone is allowed to kill, do adultery or lie…it’s all right…Like your local government say okay you can smoke at bars and restaurants. I mean, now it’s illegal but a few years back you seen everyone smoke, almost in every bar and restaurant. So if the local government could have the authority to change the law, why can’t the God do that? Now we could see that Jesus never die for our sins, and even if you don’t agree with the above example, Okay Jesus die for our sins, so why we still sin? or I guess there is not even one true christian? See the teaching of Christianity differ that you can’t sin if you a true christian, so I guess none of the Christians are going to heaven, while in Islam, God say that he forgive all, and the process is very simple. If someone tell you that hey your tawbah is not accepted, or not sure….just let them say whatever, because you should believe in Allah’s promise.

      • U said Allah would forgive any sin as long as you are a believer. But is a muslim who murders on purpose a true believer?. Because in my perception a true muslim should have the fear of Allah, and with that, U should not be able to commit murder or slaughter people.

      • No one can choice whether a person is a Muslim or a non-Muslim other then allah and that person. For example, that Muslim person who committed a sin against Allah like killing innocent people can’t be called a non-Muslim maybe they just have miss understanding of the deen but that doesn’t give anyone the right to kill. its up too Allah to decide if his servant is a true believer or not. all u have to know is that person is commiting a major sin against his lord and she/he shall get the punishment they deserve(and only Allah knows that). Leave them to their lord and if possible let them know they are commiting a sin against Allah. This is what I was thought hope this is correct and it helped inshallah.

    • Kimberly Stambaugh Reply

      I am a recent revert to Islam, and there is still much for me to know, but I want you to know that this article really opened my eyes. Thank you so much for publishing this article. Assallamualaikum

  2. Assalaamu alaikum,

    About a year ago I got a credit card to help me pay for my rent until I received my first pay check. At the time I didn’t think that I was dealing with riba because the card had 0% interest for 6 months and I figured as long as the bill is paid in full on time I won’t pay any interest. It came to my attention that just signing a contract agreeing to pay interest if I was late, is wrong according to some opinions. I ran into some financial difficulties and ended up paying late. So now I have paid interest and I still must pay the card off which will include interest. This is a major sin. I have since cut up my card and I don’t use it. My goal is to pay it off iA and never come near interest again with the help of Allah. So the article said that we have to stop doing the sin. I must pay the card off so do I delay my repentance until the card is paid off. I could die before this happens. Death comes unannounced. Or should I repent now, continue to pay it off and when it is paid off repent again for this sin? I am trying to stay hopeful but I feel like sA I am in Ramadan and I have this huge sin. I wanted to have it paid off by Ramadan but it was not. I feel like perhaps I will leave Ramadan not forgiven because I have this credit card which I still have to make interest payments on. Jazakallah khair. Looking forward to your response iA.

  3. Ma-sha’Allah!

    Thank you brother for helping teaching us our deen. This is information I have been pondering myself for some time now. May Allah make it beneficial to myself and us all. Amin.


  4. masha’allah! lol I am about to write about repentance and seems like you have covered all the points brother! haha, this is gonna be tough!

  5. Nawab irshad Reply

    will allah forgive a person who commits shirk and then repents?

    • Abd Al-Baasit Reply

      Dear Nawab irshad,

      Yes – as Allah said in the verse quoted by Br. Arif (Zumar, 53): إن الله يغفر الذنوب جميعا “Surely, Allah forgives all sins”, and as He (جَلَّ جَلاَلُه) said in (Surah Tawbah, 104): ألم يعلموا أن الله هو يقبل التوبة عن عباده “Don’t they know that it is Allah who accepts the repentance from His slaves?”

      And Allah told his Prophet Muhammad to say to the Kuffaar (staunch disbelievers) who had been fighting against him for years and years (8:38): قل للذين كفروا, إن ينتهوا, يُغفَر لهم ما قد سَلَف “Tell the people who have disbelieved (rejected Allah, committed Kufr), that if they desist (if they stop their evil), everything that has preceded will be forgiven for them!”

      * So YES, Allah will forgive the repentance of anyone – from any sin, no matter how big (because that sin can never be Bigger & Greater than Allah’s mercy), so long as the person is not in the throes of death… as the Prophet said: إن الله عَزَّ وَجَلَّ يقبلُ توبَةَ العَبْدِ ما لَمْ يُغَرْغِرْ {Undoubtedly Allah continues to accept repentance from the servant as long as he has not began gargling – in the throes of death as his soul comes out of his throat.}

      WHAT then does the oft-repeated statement, “Allah Forgives All Sins Except for Shirk” – mean?? It means that, in the Hereafter, on the Day of Judgment, Allah is willing to forgive any & all sins, as He wishes, except for someone who died on Shirk. ** Someone who died as a disbeliever without repenting, someone who committed Shirk & died without repenting from it. [That’s the unforgivable sin]

      + But as long as you’re breathing… there’s Always hope. Never despair.

      • OMG, 2 days ago, I had the exact same question, that what does it mean when people say that Shirk is the “Unforgivable Sin”? Then I just found out. Jazakallah Khair brother, it solved all my problems.

  6. Sausagepants Reply

    May Allah (SWT) reward you for this article and make us all of those who seek His repentance.

  7. Honepentance Reply

    It is indeed hard except for those who are humble. Who bear in mind it is to Allah they belong and to Allah one day they must return. The moral perspective is the core of things. Tawba starts from within. No regrets = arrogance. No gimmicks = Know my sins. Then regret and stop them to the end. Oh Allah please Help us repent. Audhoo billah. Astaghfirullah.

  8. thank so so much brother, I honestly appreciate this article…may Allah subhana wa ta3ala grant you and your family paradise”

  9. diamilatou sow Reply

    mashaallah very good essay may allah have mercy on all of us on the day of qiama

  10. Hi my arabic reading isnt the best, could you please translate the arabic in english just like you have translated the meaning. But if you could translate in english writting but in arabic.

  11. May Allah Bless you for this well documented article , I am about to Perform My Tepentance . Allah Wills , My Sins will be Forgiving . Insha Allah this will be a continual act in my life . Not just today. Thanks a lot
    May Almighty Allah accept our Ibadah

  12. mohammed shameer Reply

    masha allah. thank you brother for sharing good information.

  13. Few monthes ago I did something very childish that now when I look back I don’t even know why I did it. I stole some things from my roommate and I have them away to people. I was supposed to keep her things in my room but I took somethings from them. I went back home to have my engagement and I saw hell with my eyes. Everything was going wrong. Our engagement event was all messed up. The best time of my life turned out to he the worst part of my life . At the time I didn’t realize it. But now when I look back I realize it was because of what I did. I got my lesson I want to do repentance. I want to ask Allah for forgiveness. My roommate sees me as her sister she doesn’t have anyone here but me. I don’t want to tell her anything. Even though I think she knows it was me and not anyone else. I regret what I have done everyday. I want to pay her the money some how. And just do towbah. Please help me. Please.

    • Tasnim Snigdha Reply

      Assalam walaikum sister. MashaAllah, Allah (SWT) grew concerns in your mind that whatever you did was bad enough to harm your akhirah. Sister I can say out loud that Alhamdulillah confronting the wrong doings in front of the victims is not a matter of shame at all. By Allah I tell you if you accept your mistake to the person you’ve wronged with and as long as you’re truly guilty and would never ever want to do that anymore then there’s absolutely no reason to be ashamed of in front of that person. Otherwise its always going to bug in your mind. And one thing which is most important thatt is after being sorry and truthful to the victim one must go back to Allah (Azzawajal) to repent and promise not to do that again because otherwise our nafs, our ill heart would lead us to the same wrong track again. Because we’re human being who needs to be constantly seeking forgiveness to Allah (Azzawajal) to remain pure. Jazak Allah Khair

  14. Assalaam Aleikum, am a Kenyan Arab, I made a promise to someone and i couldn’t be able to fulfil it and now I want to make Tawbah for the sin I have done.Would I be accepted for it? and am also searching for an Islamic Dawaah University , please help me for the sake of Allah(sw) shukran.

    • Tasnim Snigdha Reply

      Walaikum Assalam brother. Alhamdulillah, one of the beautiful parts of our deen is that Allah (SWT)’s door of mercy is always open for us. Whatever you did if you feel guilty for it and deccide to never do such act again through repentance then In Sha Allah Allah (SWT) wil forgive you. But yes if you’ve wronged the right of someone else then its better you fix your mistakes with that person as its Hakkul Ibadah (Right of mankind). Again your whole situation isn’t clear from the comments totally so end of the day Allahu Alim (Allah knows the best). If possible then try to look in the mosques of your local area that whether they know any group which is involved in dawah. That could help. Jazak Allah Khair

  15. Yousef Abdullah Reply

    This article brought me to tears, Mashallah Allah’s grace and mercifulness is astonishing. I have committed a major sin, I consumed alcohol I regret I ever got near it. Please pray so Allah could forgive me. I will do whatever it takes to repent and get Allah’s forgiveness.

  16. Assalamualaikum… I tried to repent many times but always ended up doing the same. I don’t know why I felt my life getting miserable so I again pleaded to Allah for forgiveness.. After that I continuously felt that guilt built in my heart which restricted me from doing same mistake when I was tempted to do so by others.. I remained firm and didn’t give up to the sin. But why do I feel weak every time now.. I easily burst out into tears while reading Islamic repentance articles. I fear now after reading that most articles say you will be punished in world too. Is not getting married inspite being good looking(i never did proud) the punishment I’m getting in duniya then why my parents should suffer. Why not just me.. I am killing within for trouble my life is causing to them.. Also my elder brother wants to marry but first it should be me to get married… is his wish. So I feel if he loses hair and doesn’t get good girl. I am responsible again in my heart ofcourse.. Please help me repent. I am very much guilty for my faults n I don’t want my people to suffer. Feeling :(

    Jazakallahu khairan in advance..

  17. Thank you so much brother for this article. It is so motivating and soul nourishing. May Allah reward you abundantly. Ameen

  18. Salam Alaykum,
    I would like to thank you for this article, Alhamdulilah I was lost and full of regret and did not know how I was going to repent or where to start. This article has guided me. Given me tools to start repenting. It’s beautifully written May Allah reward you. Living with a sin in your heart is the worst, may Allah forgive us all.

  19. Assalamoalaikum,
    EVERY kind of sin is forgiven- if repentance and the promise not to repeat is sincere.
    The words on Rumi’s tomb are regarding repentance – beautiful:

    ” Come, Come, Whoever you are
    Wanderer, Worshiper, Lover of Leaving – it does not matter
    Ours is not a Caravan of Despair

    Come Come If you have broken your Vows a thousand times
    Come Come again Come


  20. All you scholar keep explaining what is the Namaz about but does not explain how to perform the salat

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