Al-Istighfâr (Seeking Forgiveness)


The Messenger of Allâh, sallAllâhu `alaihi wa sallam, said:

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“The master of invocations for forgiveness is that the servant says:

‘Allâhumma ‘anta rabbî, lâ ‘ilâha ‘illâ ‘anta, khalaqtanî, wa ‘anâ
`abduka, wa ‘anâ `alâ `ahdika wa wa`dika mastata`tu, ‘a`outhu bika min
sharri ma sana`tu, ‘abû’u laka bini`matika ‘alayya, wa ‘abû’u bithambî,
faghfirlî fa’innahu lâ yaghfiru ‘aththunûba ‘illâ ‘anta.

O’ my ‘ilâh You are my Lord, there is no ‘ilâh 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 he enters upon evening, then, dies that night, he would
enter Paradise; and if one says this as he enters upon morning, then, dies
that day, he would enter Paradise”. [Al-Bukhâri]

The servant is always in the blessings of Allâh, 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 Allâh’s (various) favors
and blessings, and does not cease to be in need of repentance and seeking

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

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

It is reported in Sahîh Muslim that he said:

“I seek forgiveness one hundred times in a day.” [Muslim]

`Abdullah ibn `Umar said: We counted in a single sitting the Messenger of
Allâh, sallAllâhu `alaihi wa sallam, saying one hundred times:

“Rabbi-ghfir-lî wa tub `alayya innaka anta-t-tawwabu-l-ghafûr.”

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

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

“Those who seek forgiveness before dawn (at late night).” [Âl `Imrân

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 in the Sahîh that the Prophet, sallAllâhu `alaihi wa sallam,
when he finished his Prayer, he would
seek forgiveness three times and say:

“Allâhumma ‘antas-salamu, wa minkas-salâmu, tabârakta yâ thaljalâli wal

[O’ my ‘ilâh You are ‘As-Salâm [One free from flaws], and from You comes
Salâm [peace, or safety], blessed are Thee O’ haver of glory and kindness.]

Allâh says:

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

(Even) After the Prophet conveyed the Message, fought in the path of Allâh
with true jihad, and performed what Allâh ordered more than anyone else,
Allâh commanded his Prophet (to perform istighfar), as He the Exalted said:

“When the victory of Allâh has come and the conquest, and you see the people
entering into the religion of Allâh 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 Dîn is established with Tawhîd and Istighfâr, as Allâh
the Exalted said:

“Alif Lâm 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 Allâh. 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.”

And Allâh says:

“So take a straight course to Him and seek His forgiveness.”[Fussilat

And He says:

“So know [O Muhammad], that there is no deity except Allâh 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 Shaytân said: People are
destroyed with sins, and they destroy me with ‘Lâ ilaha ill Allâh’ and
seeking forgiveness.”
[Reported by Ibn Abi Asim and Abu Ya`la, but its chain
is a fabrication].

Yûnus, `alayhis salâm, said:

“There is no deity except You; exalted are You. Indeed, I have been of the
[al-Anbiyâ’ (21):87]

The Prophet, sallAllâhu `alaihi wa sallam, when he would ride his mount, he
would praise Allâh, then say Allâhu Akbar three times, then say:

“Lâ ‘ilâha ‘illa ‘anta subhânaka, thalamtu nafsî, faghfirlî.”

[I testify that there is no ‘ilah except You, Glorified are You, I have
transgressed upon myself, so forgive me] [Abu Dawûd and at-Tirmidhi, who
said it is hasan sahîh]

Expiation of a gathering with which the gathering is completed is (the

“Subhânaka ‘allâhumma wa bihamdika, ‘ash-hadu ‘an lâ ‘ilâha ‘illa ‘anta,
‘astaghfiruka wa ‘atûbu ‘ilayka.”

[Glorified are You O’ my ‘ilâh and I am in Your praise, I testify that there
is no ‘ilah except You, I ask Your forgiveness and repent unto You.] [Abu
Dawûd and At-Tirmidhî, who said it is hasansahîh]

[Majmu’ al-Fatawâ 10/88-90]

(NOTE: If you want to build a strong and powerful relationship with Allah, check out Islamia TV, where you can watch Islamic speakers from across the globe deliver inspiring and motivational courses. Learn more at

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