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Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Al-Istighfaar (Seeking Forgiveness)

The Messenger of Allah sallallahu `alaihi wa sallam (may the peace & blessings be upon him) said: "The master of supplications (the best dua) for forgiveness is that the servant says:


Allah hum ma anta rab bee, laa ilaa ha il laa ant, kha laq ta nee, wa a na a'b duk, wa a na a' la a'h dika wa wa` dika mas ta ta`t, a` outhu bika min shar ri ma sa na`t, a boo u laka bi ni` matika a' layya, wa a boo u bi tham bee, fagh fir lee fa innahu laa yagh firuth thunooba il laa ant.


O' Allah! You are my Lord, there is no God but You. You created me, and I am your bondservant, and I will stick to my covenant and promise [of faith and sincere obedience] to You, as to my ability. I seek refuge in You from the evil of what I have done, I acknowledge, to You, your bounties upon me, and I acknowledge, to You, my sin. Thus forgive me, for none forgives sins except You.


Whoever says this as they enters upon evening, then, dies that night, they would enter Paradise; and if one says this as they enters upon morning, then, dies that day, they would enter Paradise". [Al-Bukhari]


The servant is always in the blessings of Allah, which necessitate thankfulness, and in sinfulness, which requires seeking forgiveness. Both of these matters are required and essential for the servant at all times, as the servant does not cease to alternate between Allaah's (various) favors and blessings, and does not cease to be in need of repentance and seeking forgiveness.


This is why the Master of the Children of Adam, and the Leader of the Pious, Muhammad, sallallahu `alaihi wa sallam sought forgiveness in all circumstances. He said in an authentic hadeeth reported by al-Bukhari:

"O people, repent to your Lord, for verily I seek forgiveness from Allah and repent to him more than seventy times in a day."


It is reported in Saheeh Muslim that he said: "I seek forgiveness one hundred times in a day." [Muslim]


`Abdullah ibn `Umar (ra - may Allah be pleased with him) said: We counted in a single sitting the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu `alaihi wa sallam, saying one hundred times:


"Rab bigh fir lee wa tub `a layya in naka an tat taw waa bul gha foor."

[My Lord, forgive me and accept my repentance, verily you are Acceptor of Repentance, Oft-Forgiving.] [Ahmad, Abu Dawood, Ibn Maajah]


This is why seeking forgiveness was legislated at the end of actions. Allah the Exalted said:

"Those who seek forgiveness before dawn (at late night)." [Aal `Imraan (3):17]


Some of them said: "Give life to your nights by performing Prayer, and when the time of late night comes, concern yourself with seeking forgiveness."


It is related that the Prophet, sallallahu `alaihi wa sallam, when he finished his Prayer, he would seek forgiveness three times and say:


"Allah hum ma an tas sa laa mu, wa min kas sa laa mu, ta baa rakta ya thal ja laa li wal ik raam."


[O' Allah! You are 'As-Sa laam [One free from flaws], and from You comes Sa laam [peace, or safety], blessed are Thee O' Possessor of glory and kindness.] [Muslim]


Allah says:


"And seek forgiveness of Allah. Indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful."
[al-Muzammil (73):20]


(Even) After the Prophet (may the peace & blessings of Allah be upon him)peace conveyed the Message, fought in the path of Allah with true jihad, and performed what Allah ordered more than anyone else, Allah commanded his Prophet (to perform istighfar), as He the Exalted said


"When the victory of Allah has come and the conquest, and you see the people entering into the religion of Allah in multitudes, then exalt [Him] with praise of your Lord and ask forgiveness of Him. Indeed, He is ever Accepting of repentance." [An-Nasr (110):1-3]


This is why the Deen (Religion) is established with Tawheed (monotheism) and Istighfaar, as Allah the Exalted said:


"Alif Lam Ra. [This is] a Book whose verses are perfected an then presented in detail from [one who is] Wise and Acquainted. [Through a messenger, saying], "Do not worship except Allah. Indeed, I am to you from Him a warner and a bringer of good tidings," and [saying], "Seek forgiveness of your Lord and repent to Him, [and] He will let you enjoy a good provision." [Hood(11):1-3]


And Allah says:


"So take a straight course to Him and seek His forgiveness."[Fussilat (41):6].


And He says:


"So know [O Muhammad], that there is no deity except Allah and ask forgiveness for your sin and for the believing men and believing women." [Muhammad (47):19]


This is why it was it came in a narration: "The Shaytan (the devil) said: People are destroyed with sins, and they destroy me with 'Laa i laa ha il lal laah' and seeking forgiveness." [Reported by Ibn Abi Asim and Abu Ya`la, but its chain is a fabrication].


Yoonus (Jonah), `alayhis salam (peace be upon him), said:


"There is no deity except You; exalted are You. Indeed, I have been of the wrongdoers." [al-Anbiyaa' (21):87]


The Prophet, sallallahu `alaihi wa sallam, when he would ride his mount, he would praise Allah, then say Allahu Akbar (God is the Greatest) three times, then say:


"Laa i laaa ha il laa anta sub haa nak, thal lam tu naf see, fagh fir lee."


[I testify that there is no God except You, Glorified are You, I have transgressed upon myself, so forgive me] [Abu Dawood]


Expiation of a gathering with which the gathering is completed is (the supplication):


"Sub haa na kal laa hum ma, wa bi ham di ka, ash ha du an laa i laa ha il laaa ant,as tagh fi ru ka wa a too bu ilayk."


Glorified are You O' Allah and I am in Your praise, I testify that there is no 'ilah except You, I ask Your forgiveness and repent unto You. [Abu Dawood]


Allah knows best, and may His blessings and peace be upon [the Prophet] Muhammad.

Ibn Taymiyyah (Sheikh al-Islam)

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