The Greatest and Noblest Prophet صَلَّى اللّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم has said:
وَ اللّٰهُ اِنِّی لَاَسْتَغْفِرُ اللّٰهُ وَاَتُوبُ اِلَیْہِ فِی الْیَوْمِ اَکْثَرَ مِنْ سَبْعِینَ مَرَّۃً
By Allah! I make Istighfar from Allah and repent to Him over seventy times in a day.
(Mishkat-ul-Masabih, vol. 1, pp. 434, Hadees 2323)
Dear Islamic brothers! All the Prophets عَـلَـيْهِمُ السَّلَام of Allah Almighty are Ma’soom and free from sins. And, the Holy Prophet Muhammad صَلَّى اللّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم is the Leader of all Ambiya and Rusul. Respected Islamic scholars and Hadees experts have described various pearls of wisdom of the Holy Prophet’s صَلَّى اللّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم Istighfar from Almighty Allah.
Wisdoms of the Holy Prophet’s صَلَّى اللّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم Istighfar
Allamah Budruddin ‘Ayni رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَـلَيْه has stated: The Holy Prophet صَلَّى اللّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم would make Istighfar from Almighty Allah for the purpose of showing humility or teaching his Ummah. (Umdat-ul-Qari, vol. 15, pp. 413, Taht-al-Hadees 6307; summarised) Allamah Ibn Battaal Maliki رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَـلَيْه has stated: Among people, blessed Prophets عَـلَـيْهِمُ السَّلَام were the greatest grateful individuals and worshippers but still they would make Istighfar for being unable to fulfil the right of Allah as is the right of fulfilling it; (means, they do not seek forgiveness for any sin). (Sharh Bukhari li Ibn-e-Battaal, vol. 10, pp. 77) Imam Muhammad Ghazali رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَـلَيْه has stated: The Revered and Renowned Prophet صَلَّى اللّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم keeps rising to higher ranks. When he صَلَّى اللّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم gets higher position, he صَلَّى اللّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم make Istighfar. (Fath-ul-Bari, vol. 12, pp. 85, Taht-al-Hadees 6307)
The great thinker of the Ummah Mufti Ahmad Yar Khan رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَـلَيْه has stated: Like Salah and fast, seeking forgiveness and repentance are also acts of worship. This is the reason why the Beloved and Blessed Prophet صَلَّى اللّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم would do so; otherwise, he is Ma’soom and sin cannot even approach him. (Mirat-ul-Manajih, vol. 3, pp. 353; summarised)
Dear Islamic brothers! Despite being free from sins, the most Beloved bondman of Allah Almighty, i.e. the Holy Prophet Muhammad Mustafa صَلَّى اللّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم, would Istighfar from Almighty Allah for the purpose of teaching us. On the contrary, despite drowning in the sea of sins, we generally seek forgiveness generally occasionally. We should also frequently seek forgiveness and repentance in the court of Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ. Seeking forgiveness brings many other benefits besides the forgiveness of sins.
Four benefits of seeking forgiveness and repentance
1 In Quran, Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ says: Indeed Allah loves those who repent abundantly (Part 2, Surah Al-Baqarah, Ayah 222)
2 If anyone makes it necessary for himself to seek forgiveness, Almighty Allah resolves all of his difficulties, frees him from every grief and gives him sustenance from such sources that he cannot even think of. (Abu Dawood, vol. 2, pp. 122, Hadees 1518)
3 Seeking forgiveness removes rust from hearts. (Majma’-ul-Bahrain, vol. 4, pp. 272, Hadees 4739)
4 When a bondman repents of his sins, Allah Almighty makes the writing angels forget his sins and also makes his body parts (i.e. hands and feet) forget his sins and erases its traces from the earth. Even on the Day of Judgement, when the bondman meets Almighty Allah, there will be no witness of his sins from Almighty Allah. (Attargheeb Wattarheeb, vol. 4, pp. 48, Raqm 17)
One Wazifah for the solution of many problems
A person came to Sayyiduna Hasan Basri رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَـلَيْه and complained of drought. He ordered the person to seek forgiveness from Almighty Allah. Another person came and complained of poverty, so Sayyiduna Hasan Basri رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَـلَيْه gave him the same advice. Then one more person came and complained of having no children. He was also given the same advice. Then a fourth person came and complained of inadequate production from his piece of land. He was also told of the same Wazifah. Sayyiduna Rabee’ Bin Sabeeh رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَـلَيْه was present over there, so he respectfully asked, ‘Different people came to you and expressed different needs but you advised all of them to seek forgiveness from Almighty Allah?’ Sayyiduna Hasan Basri رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَـلَيْه recited the following Ayahs of the Holy Quran in front him (in these Ayahs, seeking forgiveness from Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ has been declared to be a means of the bestowment of rain, wealth, offspring and gardens):
فَقُلْتُ اسْتَغْفِرُوْا رَبَّكُمْؕ-اِنَّهٗ كَانَ غَفَّارًاۙ(۱۰) یُّرْسِلِ السَّمَآءَ عَلَیْكُمْ مِّدْرَارًاۙ(۱۱)
وَّ یُمْدِدْكُمْ بِاَمْوَالٍ وَّ بَنِیْنَ وَ یَجْعَلْ لَّكُمْ جَنّٰتٍ وَّ یَجْعَلْ لَّكُمْ اَنْهٰرًاؕ(۱۲)
I therefore told them, ‘Seek forgiveness from your Lord; He is Most Forgiving. He will send down upon you rain in abundance. And will support you with wealth and sons, and will make gardens for you and make rivers for you.’
[Kanz-ul-Iman (translation of Quran)] (Tafseer-e-Khaazin, Part. 4, Surah An-Nuh, pp. 334, Taht-al-Ayah 10-12)
True repentance means that the bondman feels guilty of the sin he has committed and seeks forgiveness from Almighty Allah while considering the sin an act of disobedience to Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ. True repentance also requires that the bondman makes a firm intention of refraining from the sin in the future and attempts to make atonement for it. For instance, if he has missed Salah, he must offer it as Qada. If he has stolen anything or received bribes, he must repent as well as return the stolen thing or the amount he has received as bribes, as the case may be, to the original owner or to his heirs or he must get them forgiven. If he fails to find the original owner or his heirs, he must give these things to charity in the Divine path on behalf of the original owner while intending that if he ever comes across the owner or his heirs and if they are not pleased with their wealth being given to charity, he will give it to them from his own pocket. (Derived from: Fatawa Razawiyyah, vol. 21, pp. 121)
Repentance should not be delayed
Respected readers! Despite knowing about the great importance and excellence of repentance, some unfortunate people, tricked by Nafs and Satan, continue to delay repenting and seeking forgiveness from Allah. Being given the opportunity of repentance is a very great privilege indeed. Many people do not get the chance of repentance and depart this life without repentance. Death may come anytime. Therefore, we should also repent and seek forgiveness in abundance.
May Almighty Allah grant us Taufeeq to repent of sins sincerely and to refrain from them!
اٰمِيۡن بِجَاهِ النَّبِيِّ الۡاَمِيۡن صَلَّى اللّٰهُ عَلَيۡهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم