An-Nawawi on repentance

In the name of Allah, the Gracious, the Merciful

An-Nawawi writes in his book Riyāḍ al-Ṣāliḥīn:

قَالَ العلماءُ التَّوْبَةُ وَاجبَةٌ مِنْ كُلِّ ذَنْب فإنْ كَانتِ المَعْصِيَةُ بَيْنَ العَبْدِ وبَيْنَ اللهِ تَعَالَى لاَ تَتَعلَّقُ بحقّ آدَمِيٍّ فَلَهَا ثَلاثَةُ شُرُوط أحَدُها أَنْ يُقلِعَ عَنِ المَعصِيَةِ والثَّانِي أَنْ يَنْدَمَ عَلَى فِعْلِهَا والثَّالثُ أَنْ يَعْزِمَ أَنْ لا يعُودَ إِلَيْهَا أَبَدًا فَإِنْ فُقِدَ أَحَدُ الثَّلاثَةِ لَمْ تَصِحَّ تَوبَتُهُ

The scholars have said it is necessary to repent from every sin. If the offense is between the servant and Allah Almighty, unrelated to the right of a human being, then it has three conditions: First, to stop committing it. Second, to feel regret for committing it. Third, to be determined not to recommit it. If one of these three are missing, one’s repentance is not sound.

وإنْ كَانَتِ المَعْصِيةُ تَتَعَلقُ بآدَمِيٍّ فَشُرُوطُهَا أرْبَعَةٌ هذِهِ الثَّلاثَةُ وأَنْ يَبْرَأَ مِنْ حَقّ صَاحِبِها، فَإِنْ كَانَتْ مالًا أَوْ نَحْوَهُ رَدَّهُ إِلَيْه

If the offense is related to a human being, then its conditions are four: these three and fulfilling the rights of those involved. If it involves property and so on, it is restored to him.

Allah Almighty said:

وَتُوبُوا إِلَى اللَّهِ جَمِيعًا أَيُّهَ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُونَ

Turn to Allah in repentance, all of you believers, that you might succeed.

Surat al-Nur 24:31

And Allah said:

وَأَنِ اسْتَغْفِرُوا رَبَّكُمْ ثُمَّ تُوبُوا إِلَيْهِ

Seek forgiveness from your Lord and turn to Him in repentance.

Surat Hud 11:3

And Allah said:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا تُوبُوا إِلَى اللَّهِ تَوْبَةً نَّصُوحًا

O you who believe, turn to Allah with sincere repentance.

Surat al-Tahrim 66:8

Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

وَاللَّهِ إِنِّي لَأَسْتَغْفِرُ اللَّهَ وَأَتُوبُ إِلَيْهِ فِي الْيَوْمِ أَكْثَرَ مِنْ سَبْعِينَ مَرَّةً

By Allah, I seek forgiveness from Allah and I repent to him more than seventy times in a day.

Source: Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 5948, Grade: Sahih

Ibn Umar reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ تُوبُوا إِلَى اللَّهِ فَإِنِّي أَتُوبُ فِي الْيَوْمِ إِلَيْهِ مِائَةَ مَرَّةٍ

O people, turn to Allah in repentance. Verily, I repent to him one hundred times in a day.

Source: Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 2702, Grade: Sahih

Anas ibn Malik reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

اللَّهُ أَفْرَحُ بِتَوْبَةِ عَبْدِهِ مِنْ أَحَدِكُمْ سَقَطَ عَلَى بَعِيرِهِ وَقَدْ أَضَلَّهُ فِي أَرْضِ فَلَاةٍ

Allah is more delighted by the repentance of his servant than if one of you were to lose his camel in the desert and then he found it.

Source: Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 5950, Grade: Muttafaqun Alayhi

In another narration, the Prophet said:

لَلَّهُ أَشَدُّ فَرَحًا بِتَوْبَةِ عَبْدِهِ حِينَ يَتُوبُ إِلَيْهِ مِنْ أَحَدِكُمْ كَانَ عَلَى رَاحِلَتِهِ بِأَرْضِ فَلَاةٍ فَانْفَلَتَتْ مِنْهُ وَعَلَيْهَا طَعَامُهُ وَشَرَابُهُ فَأَيِسَ مِنْهَا فَأَتَى شَجَرَةً فَاضْطَجَعَ فِي ظِلِّهَا قَدْ أَيِسَ مِنْ رَاحِلَتِهِ فَبَيْنَا هُوَ كَذَلِكَ إِذَا هُوَ بِهَا قَائِمَةً عِنْدَهُ فَأَخَذَ بِخِطَامِهَا ثُمَّ قَالَ مِنْ شِدَّةِ الْفَرَحِ اللَّهُمَّ أَنْتَ عَبْدِي وَأَنَا رَبُّكَ أَخْطَأَ مِنْ شِدَّةِ الْفَرَحِ

Allah is more pleased with the repentance of his servant than one of you who has lost his camel on a journey in a waterless desert while it carries his food and drink. Having lost hope, he lies down in the shade and despairs over his camel, but all of a sudden he finds the camel standing over him. He takes hold of its reins and out of joy he proclaims: O Allah, you are my servant and I am your Lord. He makes a mistake due to his extreme joy.

Source: Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 2747, Grade: Sahih

Abu Musa reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ يَبْسُطُ يَدَهُ بِاللَّيْلِ لِيَتُوبَ مُسِيءُ النَّهَارِ وَيَبْسُطُ يَدَهُ بِالنَّهَارِ لِيَتُوبَ مُسِيءُ اللَّيْلِ حَتَّى تَطْلُعَ الشَّمْسُ مِنْ مَغْرِبِهَا

Verily, Allah the Exalted stretches out his hand by night for those who repent until the coming of the day, and he stretches out his hand by day for those who repent until the coming of the night. This will be until the sun rises from the west.

Source: Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 2759, Grade: Sahih

Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

مَنْ تَابَ قَبْلَ أَنْ تَطْلُعَ الشَّمْسُ مِنْ مَغْرِبِهَا تَابَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ

Whoever repents before the sun rises from the west, then Allah will forgive him.

Source: Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 2703, Grade: Sahih

Ibn Umar reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَقْبَلُ تَوْبَةَ الْعَبْدِ مَا لَمْ يُغَرْغِرْ

Verily, Allah accepts the repentance of His servants so long as they are not on their death bed.

Source: Sunan al-Tirmidhī 3537, Grade: Hasan

Abu Sa’eed Al-Khudri reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

كَانَ فِي بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ رَجُلٌ قَتَلَ تِسْعَةً وَتِسْعِينَ إِنْسَانًا ثُمَّ خَرَجَ يَسْأَلُ فَأَتَى رَاهِبًا فَسَأَلَهُ فَقَالَ لَهُ هَلْ مِنْ تَوْبَةٍ قَالَ لَا فَقَتَلَهُ فَجَعَلَ يَسْأَلُ فَقَالَ لَهُ رَجُلٌ ائْتِ قَرْيَةَ كَذَا وَكَذَا فَأَدْرَكَهُ الْمَوْتُ فَنَاءَ بِصَدْرِهِ نَحْوَهَا فَاخْتَصَمَتْ فِيهِ مَلَائِكَةُ الرَّحْمَةِ وَمَلَائِكَةُ الْعَذَابِ فَأَوْحَى اللَّهُ إِلَى هَذِهِ أَنْ تَقَرَّبِي وَأَوْحَى اللَّهُ إِلَى هَذِهِ أَنْ تَبَاعَدِي وَقَالَ قِيسُوا مَا بَيْنَهُمَا فَوُجِدَ إِلَى هَذِهِ أَقْرَبَ بِشِبْرٍ فَغُفِرَ لَهُ

There was a man among the children of Israel who had killed ninety nine people. Then he set out seeking repentance. He came upon a monk and he asked him if his repentance would be accepted. The monk said no, so the man killed him. He continued asking until another man advised him to go to a certain village. He set out for it but death overtook him on the way. As he died, he turned his chest toward the village. The angel of mercy and the angel of punishment argued about him among themselves. Allah ordered his destination to move closer to him and his old village to move away. Then, Allah ordered the angels to measure the distance between his body and the two villages. He was found to be one span closer to his destination, so he was forgiven.

Source: Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 3283, Grade: Muttafaqun Alayhi

Imran ibn Hussein reported: A woman from the tribe of Juhaina came to the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, while she was pregnant from committing adultery. She said, “O Prophet of Allah, I have committed an offense deserving of legal punishment, so establish it upon me.” The Prophet called her guardian and he said:

أَحْسِنْ إِلَيْهَا فَإِذَا وَضَعَتْ فَأْتِنِي بِهَا

Treat her kindly and bring her after she delivers the child.

The guardian did so and the Prophet ordered the sentence to be carried out. Her clothes were secured around her and she was stoned. Then, the Prophet led her funeral prayer. Umar said, “O Messenger of Allah, she committed adultery and you have prayer for her?” The Prophet said:

لَقَدْ تَابَتْ تَوْبَةً لَوْ قُسِمَتْ بَيْنَ سَبْعِينَ مِنْ أَهْلِ الْمَدِينَةِ لَوَسِعَتْهُمْ وَهَلْ وَجَدْتَ تَوْبَةً أَفْضَلَ مِنْ أَنْ جَادَتْ بِنَفْسِهَا لِلَّهِ تَعَالَى

She repented in a manner that would suffice for seventy of the people of Medina if it were divided among them. Can there be a greater repentance than sacrificing herself for the sake of Allah the Exalted?

Source: Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 1696, Grade: Sahih

Anas bin Malik reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

لَوْ أَنَّ لاِبْنِ آدَمَ وَادِيًا مِنْ ذَهَبٍ أَحَبَّ أَنْ يَكُونَ لَهُ وَادِيَانِ وَلَنْ يَمْلأَ فَاهُ إِلاَّ التُّرَابُ وَيَتُوبُ اللَّهُ عَلَى مَنْ تَابَ

If the son of Adam had a valley full of gold, he would like to have two valleys for nothing fills his mouth except dust. Allah will forgive whoever repents to Him.

Source: Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 6075, Grade: Muttafaqun Alayhi

Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

يَضْحَكُ اللَّهُ إِلَى رَجُلَيْنِ يَقْتُلُ أَحَدُهُمَا الْآخَرَ يَدْخُلَانِ الْجَنَّةَ يُقَاتِلُ هَذَا فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ فَيُقْتَلُ ثُمَّ يَتُوبُ اللَّهُ عَلَى الْقَاتِلِ فَيُسْتَشْهَدُ

Allah laughs at two men, one of them killed the other yet they both entered Paradise. This one fought in the way of Allah and was killed, then his killer repented and was also martyred.

Source: Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 2671, Grade: Muttafaqun Alayhi

Success comes from Allah, and Allah knows best.