True repentance means immediately giving up the sin, feeling deep regret and being worried because it is disobedience to Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ and making a firm intention in the heart not to commit that sin again, and finding out every possible way to compensate for the sin. Remember that the repentance of different sins is not the same. For example, if the rights of Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ have been violated, such as missing Salahs, fasts of Ramadan have not been observed, Fard Zakah has not been paid, Hajj has not been performed despite it being Fard, then the repentance for them is that one should offer the missed Salahs, observe the missed fasts, pay Zakah, perform Hajj, and one must also seek forgiveness of his sins from Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ with a deep sense of shame.
Likewise, if someone has committed any sin using his ears, eyes, tongue, stomach, hands and legs, private parts and other parts of the body, which are related to the rights of Allahعَزَّوَجَلَّ (not to the rights of people) such as to look at a non-Mahram woman, to sit in the Masjid in the state of Janabat (when Ghusl becomes Fard), to touch the Holy Quran without Wudu, to drink wine, to listen to songs and music etc. The repentance for them is to confess his sins to Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ whilst having deep regret over his sins and making a firm intention not to commit them again in future, in this manner one should sincerely seek forgiveness from Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ. After seeking forgiveness, he should perform some good deeds because good deeds erase sins.
گر تُو ناراض ہوا میری ہلاکت ہوگی ہائے! میں نارِ جہنّم میں جلوں گا یا ربّ
عَفو کر اور سَدا کے لئے راضی ہوجا گر کرم کردے تو جنَّت میں رہوں گا یا رَبّ
The mercies of Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ are countless, therefore, whenever we commit sins, we should immediately repent and humbly beg Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ for forgiveness. Being a human, if we commit a sin, we should repent, then again if we commit a sin, we should repent again. No matter how many times we commit sins, we should repent each and every time and should never feel disappointed. Undoubtedly, those who sincerely seek repentance from Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ, Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ is very pleased with them and grants His special grace and favour upon them. In many places of the Holy Quran, Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ persuades His sinful slaves. It is stated in verse 39 of Surah Al-Mai’dah, part 6:
(Siraat-ul-Jinaan, vol.2, pp. 430)
It has become obvious that repenting of sins is a good and favourite act. Likewise, in another place in the Holy Quran, Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ persuades us to repent and has mentioned its excellence. It has been stated:
(Part 28, Surah At-Tahreem, verse 8)
In this blessed verse, the meaning of the word ‘نَصُوۡح’ is to be pure, because Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّis free from any impurity. When the second caliph, Ameer-ul-Mu`mineen Farooq-e-A’zam Sayyiduna ‘Umar Bin Khattab رَضِىَ اللهُ تَعَالٰی عَـنْهُ was asked about ‘true repentance’, then heرَضِىَ اللهُ تَعَالٰی عَـنْهُ said, ‘It means that a person repents of his bad deed in such a way that he never commits this sin again.’
(Tafseer Durr-e-Mansoor, vol. 8, pp. 227)
Similarly, Sayyiduna Ibn ‘Abbaas رَضِىَ اللهُ تَعَالٰی عَـنْهُ has narrated that Sayyiduna Mu’aaz Bin Jabal رَضِىَ اللهُ تَعَالٰی عَـنْهُ had humbly said: Ya Rasoolallaah صَلَّى اللهُ تَعَالٰى عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم, what is ‘تَوۡبَةً نَصُوۡحا’? The Beloved Prophet صَلَّى اللهُ تَعَالٰى عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم said, ‘It means that a person feels ashamed of the sin he has committed, he then seeks forgiveness from Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّand then never returns to this sin such as milk does not return to its udder.’ Sayyiduna Ibn Mas’ood رَضِىَ اللهُ تَعَالٰی عَـنْهُ has said: By making ‘تَوۡبَةً نَصُوۡحا’, all sins are forgiven.
(Tafseer Durr-e-Mansoor, vol. 8, pp. 227)
میں کر کے توبہ پلٹ کر گناہ کرتا ہوں حقیقی توبہ کا کر دے شَرَف عطا یا ربّ
It is a great mercy of Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ for a believer that He عَزَّوَجَلَّ forgives the sins when the believer repents soon after committing a sin in error. He عَزَّوَجَلَّ accepts our repentance until the time of our death. It has been stated here that the one who after committing a sin, if he repents after a little while (here a little while does not mean a few hours or a few years, but rather before death whenever he repents), it will be considered as close. However, when death has approached and the matters of Ghayb are revealed, now repentance will not be accepted. Furthermore, making laws regarding repentance is exactly based on wisdom and knowledge in Islam. The followers of religions in which the concept of repentance does not exist, they commit sins without any hesitation because disappointment provokes a person to commit a crime and hope of forgiveness inspires a person to repent.
(Siraat-ul-Jinaan, vol. 2, pp. 163)
Our Beloved Prophet صَلَّى اللهُ تَعَالٰى عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم has also mentioned abundant virtues of repentance and the rewards which are gained for it. The Beloved Prophet صَلَّى اللهُ تَعَالٰى عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم has said: When a person commits a sin and then repents in the court of Allahعَزَّوَجَلَّ and remains steadfast on it, then Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ accepts every good deed of his and forgives every sin that he committed and in return for every forgiven sin He عَزَّوَجَلَّelevates his one rank in Heaven and Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ grants him a palace in Heaven for his every virtue and performs his Nikah with one of the Heavenly maidens.
(Bahr-ud-Dumu’, pp. 21)
Similarly, the Beloved and Blessed Prophet صَلَّى اللهُ تَعَالٰى عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم has said, ‘Whoever likes that his Book of Deeds should make him happy, he should increase Istighfar (repentance) in it.’
(Majma’-uz-Zawaid, vol. 10, pp. 347, Raqm 17579)
It is mentioned in another blessed Hadees:اَلتَّائِبُ مِنَ الذَّنۡۢبِ كَمَنۡ لَّا ذَنۡۢبَ لَهٗ (The one who repents is like one who has not committed a sin at all).
(Sunan Ibn Majah, vol. 4, pp. 491, Hadees 4250)
Furthermore, it is stated in a blessed Hadees: When Iblees said: ‘O my Rab عَزَّوَجَلَّ! I swear oath on Your Honour! I will continue to incite Your bondsmen as long as their souls are in their bodies.’ Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ replied, ‘By My Honour and Glory, I will continue to forgive them so long as they beg Me for forgiveness.’
(Musnad Imam Ahmad vol. 4, pp. 58, Hadees 11237)
نہ کرنا حشر میں پُرسِش مِری ہو بے سبب بخشش
عطا کر باغِ فردوس از پئے شاہِ اُمم مولٰی
Sum and substances, when a person sincerely repents of his sins to Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ, Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ accepts every good deed of that person and Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ forgives every sin of that person. When Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ accepts the repentance of His bondsman, He عَزَّوَجَلَّ elevates his rank in Heaven in return for every sin of his; in return for the good deed of a true repenter, Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ grants him a Heavenly palace and performs his Nikah with one of the Heavenly Hoors (maidens of Jannah).
If a repenter finds himself abstaining from sins, feeling no worldly joy in his heart due to sins, staying away from the company of bad people, considering a few blessings of the world sufficient and the Hereafter deeds a few, always obeying the commands of Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ, protecting his tongue and feeling ashamed of his past sins all the time, then there is a great hope that his repentance has been accepted.
اٰمِيۡن بِجَاهِ النَّبِيِّ الۡاَمِيۡن صَلَّى اللّٰهُ تَعَالٰى عَلَيۡهِ وَاٰلِه وَسَلَّم
صَلُّوۡا عَلَى الۡحَبِيۡب صَلَّى اللّٰهُ تَعَالٰى عَلٰى مُحَمَّد