“O believers, repent unto God with a sincere
repentance” (Qur’an: 66:8)
Hazrat Muhammad (SAW) hath said, “He who repents of sin is even
as one who has no sin” and then added, “When God loves a man,
sin shall not hurt him.”

Etymologically tawbat means “return”, and “tawbat” really involves
the turning back from what God has forbidden through fear of what
He has commanded.

Hazrat Muhammad (SAW) has said, “Penitence is the act of
returning” (al-nadam al tawbat). Three things are involved in
tawbat, namely:
Translated by Reynold
A. Nicholson
Excerpts from
Discourse on  Repentance
(pages 294-299)
Repentance (tawbat) is the first station of pilgrims on the way to the
Truth, just as purification (taharat) is the first step of those who
desire to serve God. God hath said,
  • Remorse for disobedience
  • Immediate abandonment of sin, and
  • Determination not to sin again
The contrition (naddamat) may be due to three

  • Fear of Divine chastisement and sorrow from evil
    actions (being ta’ib)
  • Desire of Divine favor and certainty that it cannot be
    obtained by evil conduct and disobedience (being munib)
  • Shame before God (awwab)
Tawbat has three stations
Tawbat - Fear of Divine punishment… station of mass believers implies
repentance from great sins (kabirat)
Inabat - Desire of Divine reward…. Station of saints and favorites of God
(awliya u muqarraban)
Awbat – For the sake of keeping God’s command…. Station of prophets and
Repentance (tawbat) has its origin in the stern prohibitions of God and in the heart’
s being aroused from the slumber of heedlessness. When a man regards his conduct
evil and abominable deeds he seeks deliverance there from, and God makes it easy
for him to repent and leads him back to the sweetness of obedience.

Junayd says, “Repentance consists in forgetting the sin. They argue that the
penitent is a lover of God, and the lover of God is in contemplation of God, and in
contemplation of God it is wrong to remember sin, for remembrance of sin is a veil
between God and those who contemplate Him. Junayd has explained, “I’ve read
many books, but I have never found anything so instructive as this verse
“When I say: “What is my sin?” She  replies:
“Thy existence is a sin with which no other sin
can be compared.”
Repentance is of three kinds
· From what is wrong to what is right…. Belonging to
common people
· From what is right to what is more right….belonging to
the elect
· From selfhood to God….belongs to the degree of Divine
Dhu `l Nun the Egyptian has said, “Ordinary men repent of their sins, but the elect
repent of their heedlessness.”. The ordinary men shall be questioned concerning
their outward behavior, and the elect shall be questioned concerning the real
nature of their conduct.

Abu Hafs Haddad has said, “Man has no part in repentance, because repentance is
from God to man, not from man to God.” It is not acquired by man but is one of
Divine gifts.

Abu `l Hassan Bushanji says, “When you feel no delight in remembrance of a sin
that is repentance.
Copyright 2010 Jehan-i-Seema. All rights reserved.
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