Forgiveness (Istighfaar) in Islam:
Forgiveness (Istighfaar) is one of the major concepts in Islam. Not only is it recommended, but in the words of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ), Allah will replace the people that do not ask for forgiveness with those that do. The following Hadith is sourced from Muslim and talks about the idea:
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“By the One in Whose Hand my soul is! If you do not commit sins, Allah would replace you with a people who would commit sins and seek forgiveness from Allah; and Allah will certainly forgive them.”
Asking for forgiveness regularly has several benefits. Here are 8 of the benefits as found in the Holy Quran and the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet (PBUH):
Allah loves His people so much that he grants them sustenance simply for asking forgiveness from Him. In 11:3 from the Quran, Allah says:
“Seek forgiveness of your Lord and repent to Him, [and] He will let you enjoy a good provision for a specified term and give every doer of favor his favor”
A question that arises here is why does the verse state “a specified term”. This is because humans tend to forget and if they want sustenance, they must remember to ask for forgiveness.
Opens the Door of Mercy:
According to a Hadith from a Muslim, the Holy Prophet (PBUH) said: “Allah extends His hand by the day so the sinner of the night can repent and He extends His hand by the night so the sinner of the day can repent.”
Istighfaar then opens the door to repent for a sinner.
According to the following hadith from Abu Dawud, the Hoy Prophet has said that Istighfaar eases the stress and anxiety of an individual:
“If anyone constantly seeks pardon (from Allah), Allah will appoint for him a way out of every distress and a relief from every anxiety, and will provide sustenance for him from where he expects not.”
Gives You Wealth:
People run after wealth and fame and forget Allah. However, the Quran in 71:12 clearly states that Istighfaar will grant individuals wealth and children:
“And give you increase in wealth and children.”
Dua Gets Accepted:
How many times do we pray for something hoping that Allah will grant our wishes? A benefit of Istighfaar is that Allah grants your wishes. An instance of this is quoted in the Quran 38:35 when the Prophet Sulaiman prayed:
“My Lord, forgive me and grant me a kingdom such as will not belong to anyone after me. Indeed, You are the Bestower.”
The Prophet first asked for forgiveness and then made his wish. Allah granted the Prophet’s wishes.
We spend our days and nights in fear of the punishment that might be inflicted on us on the day of judgment. However, only if we were to ask for forgiveness regularly, we would not be punished. As the Quran says: “And Allah would not punish them while they seek forgiveness ” [Quran, 8:33]
Allah Grants You Garden and Rivers:
Allah not only saves you from punishment for regular Istighfaar but also grants you bounties. The Quran says: “. . . and provide for your gardens and provide for you rivers.” [Quran, 71:12]
This could either be in life after death or on earth. All that is required is to ask for Allah’s forgiveness.
Gives You Strengths:
We are weak and cannot survive on our own. We need Allah to give us strength and keep us performing our tasks diligently. Allah will provide strength to anyone that repents. The Quran says: “. . . ask forgiveness of your Lord and then repent to Him. He will send [rain from] the sky upon you in showers and increase you in strength [added] to your strength.” [Quran 11:52]
This strength is not necessarily physical but may also be spiritual.