d) Forgiving Sins through Turning to Allah in Repentance and Seeking His Pardon:
Allah is Much-Forgiving; He is the only One entitled to accepting repentance and to forgiving
sins. He says in the Holy Qur'an, "O ye who believe! Turn to Allah with sincere repentance: in the hope that your Lord will remove from you your evil deeds, and admit you to Gardens beneath which Rivers flow."
And He says, "Know they not that Allah doeth accept repentance from His votaries?" Abu Huraira narrated that I heard Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) saying, "By Allah! I seek Allah's Forgiveness and turn to Him in repentance for more than seventy times a day."
The heart of man, as created by Allah, is pure and unsullied. Every time that a man does an ill deed, it marks a stain or rust on his heart. But on repentance and forgiveness, such stain is washed off. If there is no repentance and forgiveness, the stains deepen and spread more and more, until the heart is sealed, and eventually the man dies a spiritual death.
Due to human weaknesses, Allah urges all Muslims to seek His forgiveness and to turn to Him in repentance. He says in the Holy Qur'an, "And seek ye the Grace of Allah: for Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful." And He says, "If anyone does evil, or wrongs his own soul but afterwards seeks Allah's forgiveness, he will find Allah Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful."
The Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) used to urge his companions to seek Allah's repentance, telling them how to do it. Shaddad bin Aus narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, "The most superior way of asking for forgiveness from Allah is: 'O Allah, You are my Lord! None has the right to be worshipped but you. You created me and I am Your slave, and I am faithful to my covenant and, my promise (to you) as much as I can. I seek refuge with You from all the evil I have done. I acknowledge before you all the blessings You have bestowed upon me, and I confess to You all my sins. So I entreat You to forgive sins, for nobody can forgive sins except You."
When sins concern one's obligations and duties towards Allah are committed, repentance can only be accepted of those who meet the following provisions: feeling regretful, refraining from committing more sins, and having firm resolution not to commit such sins again. And when sins are related to one's transgression upon somebody else's right, the transgressor will have to repair what he has imparted, and compensate affected person for the damage done until, by fair means, both sides reach a mutual consent.