Practical steps Towards Sincere Repentance

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Most people are aware of the conditions people must fulfill before their repentance is accepted, namely giving up the sin, regretting the sin, and being determined never to commit it again.

However, in this article we will highlight some practical steps people should follow in order to help achieve sincere repentance.

Let us go through these practical steps together with the permission of Allah, The Almighty:

Firstly: Counting all the sins that you have committed since adulthood until the present time in writing.

This is an introduction to repenting for all these sins, because when the a person considers all its sins, it will be humble and tend to repent as soon as possible. Here is a list of the categories of sins to help you remember your past sins:

- Sins of the body such as the tongue (backbiting, tale-bearing, lying, and ridiculing others); the eyes (looking at what is prohibited), ears, hands, feet and private parts.

- Sins of the hearts, such as arrogance, envy, aggression, self-conceit, and so on.

- Negligence in performing your duties towards one’s parents, relatives and negligence regarding the other duties such as enjoining what is good and forbidding what is evil, as well as Da'wah (calling to Islam).

- Negligence in the acts of worship like delaying the prayer after its due time.

Secondly: Try to count the blessings of Allah, The Almighty, upon you in writing.

You should keep counting these blessings until you realize how negligent you are towards the rights of Allah, The Almighty, and continue counting until you despair of counting. Allah, The Exalted, Says (what means): {And He gave you from all you asked of Him. And if you should count the favor of Allah, you could not enumerate them. Indeed, humankind is [generally] most unjust and ungrateful.} [Quran 14:34]

Then, you should make a comparison between the blessings that Allah, The Almighty, sends down to you, and your misdeeds that are being sent to Him in return. In this case, you will not be able to resist your tears, your heart will be soft and you will say: “I acknowledge the favors that You have bestowed upon me, and I confess my sins. Pardon me, for none but You has the power to pardon.” [Al-Bukhari]

When you shed tears and feel remorse, you should then move to the third step.

Thirdly: Repentance Prayer

After deserting the sin, you should immediately implement the advice of the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) who said: “Whenever one commits a sin, and then performs ablution perfectly, and prays two Rak’ahs (units of prayer) after which he seeks the forgiveness of Allah, He will forgive him.” [Al-Albaani: Saheeh]

Then, you should determine that you would never return to sins. In this way, you will live the best day of your life since your birth.

Fourthly: Keep away from bad friends and evil companions.

Sever your relationship with them, because they will prevent you from returning to your Lord. If you succeed in getting rid of them, then this is a great sign that Allah, The Almighty, has accepted your repentance.

Fifthly: You should have a daily program of acts of worship to perform.

This program aims at helping you make up for what you missed and compensate your negligence towards the rights of Allah, The Almighty. This program should include reading parts of the Quran, Thikr (words of remembrance) reported from the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) night prayer and fasting. However, the most important thing is that this program should be gradual and realistic.

Sixthly: You should attend a religious lecture in a mosque once a week on a regular basis.

This step aims at strengthening your relationship with your Lord and the righteous people who are your companions on the road to faith. Accompany those righteous people and never keep away from them.

Finally remember that you are in need of the Lord of the heavens and the earth, and that without Him, you are impoverished in every way.

Remember that you have wronged yourself, so be humble in front of your Lord. Listen to the teacher, Ibn Al-Qayyim  may  Allah  have  mercy  upon  him who was an excellent example of humble servitude in front of Allah, The Almighty. While referring to some signs of sincere repentance, he said:

The prerequisites of sound repentance include a special kind of humility in one’s heart that does not resemble any other feeling, because it only occurs to the sinful slave. Such a feeling cannot be obtained through hunger, or mere love; rather, it is a feeling beyond all of this. It breaks the heart completely, grabs it and throws it humbly in front of the Lord.

There is nothing dearer to Allah, The Almighty, than this feeling, humility and submission on the part of His slave.

How sweet the words of the slave in this state are when he says:

I ask You by Your Grandeur and my humility to have mercy upon me….

I entreat You by Your strength and my weakness, by Your richness and my poverty to pardon ‎me….

Here I am, the wrongful and sinful slave, before You… You have many slaves other than me, but I have no Lord but You…

I have no shelter other than with You, as there is no escape from You, except to You….

I ask and entreat You, as I am humble, poor, frightened and blind…

I ask You while I am surrendering completely to You, and weeping out of fear of You…. to pardon me...

Such a feeling is a sign of accepted repentance, so, if you lack this feeling, accuse your sincerity and correct your repentance.

 

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