The Conditions of Repentance

Question: How many are the conditions of repentance?

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa Rahmatullah,

Repentance is immediately obligatory from every sin, major or minor. Allah Most High says, “Turn to Allah in repentance all together, O believers, so that you may be successful.” (Sura al-Nur 24:31)

Imam Nawawi mentions three central conditions for valid repentance (tawba):

(1) leaving the sin altogether,

(2) having remorse over having committed the sin, and

(3) firmly resolving never to return to the sin.

If the sin relates to the right of another human being, then, additionally, (4) that right must be returned. But some note that this point is actually a separate duty (wajib) outside of the act of repentance for the initial wrongdoing — the correcting of which, may or may not affect the acceptability of your repentance. If distinct, what this means is that withholding the right would become another, separate sin.

Moreover, the scholars explain that there are also a few other conditions which apply to repentance, including doing so:

(5) before the sun rises from the west,

(6) before one’s soul begins exiting the body, and

(7) sincerely, such as out of fear of His wrath and punishment, and not for any worldly reason.

Repentance from one sin is valid even if a person is engaged in other sins, and it is valid even if a person has returned to the same sin time and again, on condition that each time he met the conditions of valid repentance. Lastly, the most optimal manner of repenting is by praying the Prayer of Repentance (salat al-tawba).

The Accepted Hajj, Becoming Muslim and Rights

Although there are a number of traditions (ahadith) which speak of the slate of the person who performs an accepted hajj or becomes Muslim being wiped clean from sin, such narrations do not relate to actual rights which need to be fulfilled and lifted from one’s dues. Accordingly, debts owed to others, for example, need to be repaid and prayers and fasts that were omitted (by the Muslim) need to be made up. What is wiped away is the original sin and not the duty to subsequently correct the wrong?

In a beautiful tradition (hadith) of the Beloved Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), he informed us that, “The one who repents from sin is like the one who has no sin.” (Ibn Majah) And in one of the Aphorisms (al-Hikam) of Ibn ‘Ata Illah al-Sakandari (may Allah sanctify his secret), he says, “There is no grave sin when you faced by His Eternal Grace.” But the basis is to be balanced, between fearing for the acceptance of one’s repentance and hopeful in the mercy of the Ever-Merciful.

(Nawawi, Riyad al-Salihin/Sharh Sahih Muslim; Birgivi, al-Tariqa al-Muhammadiyya, with Nabulsi and Khadimi’s respective commentaries; Bajuri, Tuhfat al-Murid ‘ala Jawharat al-Tawhid)

And Allah Most High knows best.


[Ustadh] Tabraze Azam

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Proudly brought to you by Seekers Guidance, more can be found here.

Since You’re Here… we have a small favour to ask.

In these extraordinary times, millions rely on HOTD for daily uplifting & inspiring content. Established since 2009 and with your kind support we’ve seen readers elevate their Imaan & strive for better on a daily basis. We’re committed to keeping our content freely available and open for all readers. Every contribution, however big or small, makes a difference and help us spread knowledge to millions daily

HOTD is something special, it’s a place where people can come to be inspired, to renew their faith, to learn and share knowledge, to fall in love with our faith and also our Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him and his family).

All content on HOTD is free. We believe what we do in this life builds for the next one and we work tirelessly with the aim to please Allah and inspire the global Muslim community as

well as providing information and inspiration for anyone interested in Islam. We simply cannot do this without your support and your support helps us continue our services.

If there were ever a time to join us, it is now. You can support HOTD and help sustain our future. Support Hadith of the Day and make a one-off donation or give regularly from as little as £10 a month Jazak’Allah Khayr – whatever you donate will come back to benefit you Insha’Allah as whatever is spent in the way of Allah is an investment in the future and the next life. Thank you.

Related Articles

Back to top button