Urging to repent before it is too late:
Scholars said that repenting from every sin is an obligation. If the sin is between the person and Allah Almighty and is not committed against any human or does not involve any pending rights, then it has three conditions that should be fulfilled:
First, to stop sinning.
Second, to feel remorseful for sinning.
Third, to have the intention never to go back to that sin again.
If any of those conditions are not fulfilled, then repentance is not sound.
If the sin involves the pending right of someone, then four conditions have to be met; the three previous ones and the fourth is to give the wronged person his right back. If the sin is seizing the money of someone, then the sinner should return that money back. If that pending right is a hadd punishment, then the person seeking repentance should submit himself to the person whom he wronged or ask for his forgiveness. If this sin is backbiting or slander, then he should ask him for forgiveness. Repentance should be immediate and the sinner should not delay it. He should repent from all sins, if he repents from some, his repentance is correct in terms of that sin he quit and repented from, but he still has to repent for the rest of sins. Proofs from the Quran, Sunnah and the majority of Scholars assert that repentance is obligatory.
Almighty Allah says: “And turn to Allah in repentance, all of you, O believers, that you might succeed.” [An-Nur: 24:31] He also says: “And [saying], "Seek forgiveness of your Lord and repent to Him.” [Hud: 11:3] Almighty Allah says: “O you who have believed, repent to Allah with sincere repentance.” [At-Tahrim: 66:8]
(1) - Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: I heard Messenger of Allah (Peace Be upon Him) saying: "By Allah, I seek Allah's forgiveness and repent to Him more than seventy times a day." [Al-Bukhari].
(2) Al-Agharr al-Muzani who was from amongst the Companions of Allah's Apostle (Peace Be upon Him) reported that Ibn 'Umar stated to him that Allah's Messenger (PBUH) said: O people, seek repentance from Allah. Verily, I seek repentance from Him a hundred times a day. [Muslim]
(3) Anas bin Malik Al-Ansari (May Allah be pleased with him) the servant of the Messenger of Allah narrated: Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, "Verily, Allah is more delighted with the repentance of His slave than a person who lost his camel in a desert land and then finds it (unexpectedly)". [Bukhari and Muslim]
(4) In another version of Muslim, he said: "Verily, Allah is more pleased with the repentance of His slave than a person who has his camel in a waterless desert carrying his provision of food and drink and it is lost. He, having lost all hopes (to get that back), lies down in shade and is disappointed about his camel; when all of a sudden he finds that camel standing before him. He takes hold of its reins and then out of boundless joy blurts out: 'O Allah, You are my slave and I am Your Rubb'. He commits this mistake out of extreme joy".
(5) Abu Musa reported Allah's Messenger (PBUH) as saying that Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, Stretches out His Hand during the night so that the people may repent for the fault committed from dawn till dusk and He stretches out His Hand during the day so that the people may repent for the fault committed from dusk to dawn. (He would accept repentance) before the sun rises in the west (before the Day of Resurrection). [Muslim]
(6) A hadith like this has been narrated on the authority of Shu'ba with the same chain of transmitters.
Abu Huraira reported Allah's Messenger (PBUH) as saying: He who seeks repentance (from the Lord) before the rising of the sun from the west (before the Day of Resurrection), Allah turns to him with Mercy. [Muslim]
(7) Ibn Umar narrated that the Prophet (PBUH) said: “Indeed Allah accepts the repentance of a slave as long as (his soul does not reach his throat).” [ Hadith Sahih, on authority of Ibn Majah, At-Tirmidhi, An-Nisai]
(8) Zirr bin Hubaish said: “I came to Safwan bin `Assal Al-Muradi to ask him about wiping over the Khuff, so he said: ‘What has brought you, O Zirr?’ So I said: ‘The desire for knowledge.’ So he said: ‘Indeed, the angels lower their wings for the seeker of knowledge, out of pleasure with what he is seeking.’ So I said: ‘Indeed there is some doubt in my chest concerning wiping over the Khuff after defecation and urination, and you were a man from the Companions of the Prophet (PBUH), so I came to you to ask you: Have you heard him (PBUH) mention anything concerning that?’ He said: ‘Yes, he (PBUH) used to order us, that when we were travelers’ - or - ‘in travel, to not remove our Khuff for three days and nights except, from sexual impurity, but not from defecation, urination, and sleep.’” He said: “Have you heard him (PBUH) mention anything concerning love?” He said: “Yes. We were with the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) on a journey when a Bedouin with a loud voice called upon him (saying): ‘O Muhammad!’ So the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) responded to him with a voice similar to him (saying): ‘Come.’ So we said to him: ‘Lower your voice for you are with the Prophet (PBUH), and you have been prohibited from this.’ He said: ‘By Allah, I will not lower (my voice).’ The Bedouin said: ‘A man loves a people but he is not with them (in terms of deeds)?’ He (PBUH) said: ‘A man is with whomever he loves on the Day of Judgment.’” So he did not cease talking with us, until he mentioned a gate in the direction of the west with the width of seventy years journey - or a rider would travel its width - for forty or seventy years.” Sufyan (one of the narrators) said: “In the direction of Ash-Sham (the Levant), Allah created it the Day He created the heavens and the earth, open - that is, for repentance. It shall not be locked until the sun rises through it.” [Hadith Hasan]
(8) Abu Sa'id Al-Khudri (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Allah’s Prophet (Peace Be upon Him) said: "There was a man from among a nation before you who killed ninety-nine people and then made an inquiry about the most learned person on the earth. He was directed to a monk. He came to him and told him that he had killed ninety-nine people and asked him if there was any chance for his repentance to be accepted. He replied in the negative and the man killed him also completing one hundred. He then asked about the most learned man in the earth. He was directed to a scholar. He told him that he had killed one hundred people and asked him if there was any chance for his repentance to be accepted. He replied in the affirmative and asked, 'Who stands between you and repentance? Go to such and such land; there (you will find) people devoted to prayer and worship of Allah, join them in worship, and do not come back to your land because it is an evil place.' So he went away and hardly had he covered half the distance when death overtook him; and there was a dispute between the angels of mercy and the angels of torment. The angels of mercy pleaded, 'This man has come with a repenting heart to Allah,' and the angels of punishment argued, 'He never did a virtuous deed in his life.' Then there appeared another angel in the form of a human being and the contending angels agreed to make him arbiter between them. He said, 'Measure the distance between the two lands. He will be considered belonging to the land to which he is nearer.' They measured and found him closer to the land (land of piety) where he intended to go, and so the angels of mercy collected his soul". [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
In another version: "He was found to be nearer to the locality of the pious by a cubit and was thus included among them". Another version says: "Allah commanded (the land which he wanted to leave) to move away and commanded the other land (his destination) to draw nearer and then He said: "Now measure the distance between them.' It was found that he was nearer to his goal by a hand's span and was thus forgiven". It is also narrated that he drew closer by a slight movement on his chest.
(9) Abdullah bin Ka'b, who served as the guide of Ka'b bin Malik (May Allah be pleased with him) when he became blind, narrated: I heard Ka'b bin Malik (May Allah be pleased with him) narrating the story of his remaining behind instead of joining Messenger of Allah (Peace Be upon Him) when he left for the battle of Tabuk. Ka'b said: "I accompanied Messenger of Allah (PBUH) in every expedition which he undertook excepting the battle of Tabuk and the battle of Badr. As for the battle of Badr, nobody was blamed for remaining behind as Messenger of Allah (PBUH) and the Muslims, when they set out, had in mind only to intercept the caravan of the Quraish. Allah made them confront their enemies unexpectedly. I had the honor of being with Messenger of Allah (PBUH) on the night of 'Aqabah when we pledged our allegiance to Islam and it was dearer to me than participating in the battle of Badr, although Badr was more well-known among the people than that. And this is the account of my staying behind from the battle of Tabuk. I never had better means and more favorable circumstances than at the time of this expedition. And by Allah, I had never before possessed two riding-camels as I did during the time of this expedition. Whenever Messenger of Allah (PBUH) decided to go on a campaign, he would not disclose his real destination till the last moment (of departure). But on this expedition, he set out in extremely hot weather; the journey was long and the terrain was waterless desert; and he had to face a strong army, so he informed the Muslims about the actual position so that they should make full preparation for the campaign. And the Muslims who accompanied Messenger of Allah (PBUH) at that time were in large number but no proper record of them was maintained." Ka'b (further) said: "Few were the persons who chose to remain absent believing that they could easily hide themselves (and thus remain undetected) unless Revelation from Allah, the Exalted, and Glorious (revealed relating to them). And Messenger of Allah (PBUH) set out on this expedition when the fruit were ripe and their shade was sought. I had a weakness for them and it was during this season that Messenger of Allah (PBUH) and the Muslims made preparations. I also would set out in the morning to make preparations along with them but would come back having done nothing and said to myself: 'I have means enough (to make preparations) as soon as I like'. And I went on doing this (postponing my preparations) till the time of departure came and it was in the morning that Messenger of Allah (PBUH) set out along with the Muslims, but I had made no preparations. I would go early in the morning and come back, but with no decision. I went on doing so until they (the Muslims) hastened and covered a good deal of distance. Then I wished to march on and join them. Would that I had done that! But perhaps it was not destined for me. After the departure of Messenger of Allah (PBUH) whenever I went out, I was grieved to find no good example to follow but confirmed hypocrites or weak people whom Allah had exempted (from marching forth for Jihad). Messenger of Allah (PBUH) made no mention of me until he reached Tabuk. While he was sitting with the people in Tabuk, he said, 'What happened to Ka'b bin Malik?' A person from Banu Salimah said: "O Messenger of Allah, the (beauty) of his cloak and an appreciation of his finery have detained him.' Upon this Mu'adh bin Jabal (May Allah be pleased with him) admonished him and said to Messenger of Allah (PBUH): "By Allah, we know nothing about him but good.' Messenger of Allah (PBUH), however, kept quiet. At that time he (the Prophet (PBUH)) saw a person dressed in white and said, 'Be Abu Khaithamah.' And was Abu Khaithamah Al- Ansari was the person who had contributed some dates and was ridiculed by the hypocrites." Ka'b bin Malik further said: "When the news reached me that Messenger of Allah (PBUH) was on his way back from Tabuk, I was greatly distressed. I thought of fabricating an excuse and asked myself how I would save myself from his anger the next day. In this connection, I sought the counsels of every prudent member of my family. When I was told that Messenger of Allah (PBUH) was about to arrive, all the wicked ideas vanished (from my mind) and I came to the conclusion that nothing but the truth could save me. So I decided to tell him the truth. It was in the morning that Messenger of Allah (PBUH) arrived in Al-Madinah. It was his habit that whenever he came back from a journey, he would first go to the mosque and perform two Rak'ah (of optional prayer) and would then sit with the people. When he sat, those who had remained behind him began to put forward their excuses and take an oath before him. They were more than eighty in number. Messenger of Allah (PBUH) accepted their excuses on the very face of them and accepted their allegiance and sought forgiveness for them and left their insights to Allah, until I appeared before him. I greeted him and he smiled and there was a tinge of anger in that. He then said to me, 'Come forward'. I went forward and I sat in front of him. He said to me, 'What kept you back? Could you not afford to go in for a ride?' I said, 'O Messenger of Allah, by Allah, if I were to sit before anybody else, a man of the world, I would have definitely saved myself from his anger on one pretext or the other and I have a gifted skill in argumentation, but, by Allah, I am fully aware that if I were to put forward before you a lame excuse to please you, Allah would definitely provoke your wrath upon me. In case, I speak the truth, you may be angry with me, but I hope that Allah would be pleased with me (and accept my repentance). By Allah, there is no valid excuse for me. By Allah, I never possessed so good means, and I never had such favorable conditions for me as I had when I stayed behind.' Thereupon, Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, 'This man spoke the truth, so get up (and wait) until Allah gives a decision about you.' I left and some people of Banu Salimah followed me. They said to me, 'By Allah, we do not know that you committed a sin before. You, however, showed inability to put forward an excuse before Messenger of Allah (PBUH) like those who stayed behind him. It would have been enough for the forgiveness of your sin that Messenger of Allah (PBUH) would have sought forgiveness for you.' By Allah, they kept on reproaching me until I thought of going back to Messenger of Allah (PBUH) and retract my confession. Then I said to them, 'Has anyone else met the same fate?' They said, 'Yes, two persons have met the same fate. They made the same statement as you did and the same verdict was delivered in their case.' I asked, 'Who are they?' They said, 'Murarah bin Ar-Rabi' Al-'Amri and Hilal bin Umaiyyah Al- Waqifi.' They mentioned these two pious men who had taken part in the battle of Badr and there was an example for me in them. I was confirmed in my original resolve. Messenger of Allah (PBUH) prohibited the Muslims to talk to the three of us from amongst those who had stayed behind. The people began to avoid us and their attitude towards us changed and it seemed as if the whole atmosphere had turned against us, and it was in fact the same atmosphere of which I was fully aware and in which I had lived (for a fairly long time). We spent fifty nights in this very state and my two friends confined themselves within their houses and spent (most of their) time weeping. As I was the youngest and the strongest, I would leave my house, attend the congregational Salat, move about in the bazaars, but none would speak to me. I would come to Messenger of Allah (PBUH) as he sat amongst (people) after the Salat, greet him and would ask myself whether or not his lips moved in response to my greetings. Then I would perform Salat near him and look at him stealthily. When I finish my Salat, he would look at me and when I would cast a glance at him he would turn away his eyes from me. When the harsh treatment of the Muslims to me continued for a (considerable) length of time, I walked and I climbed upon the wall of the garden of Abu Qatadah, who was my cousin, and I had a great love for him. I greeted him but, by Allah, he did not answer to my greeting. I said to him, 'O Abu Qatadah, I adjure you in the Name of Allah, are you not aware that I love Allah and His Messenger (PBUH)?' I asked him the same question again but he remained silent. I again adjured him, whereupon he said, 'Allah and His Messenger (PBUH) know better.' My eyes were filled with tears, and I came back climbing down the wall.
As I was walking in the bazaars of Al-Madinah, a man from the Syrian peasants, who had come to sell food grains in Al-Madinah, asked people to direct him to Ka'b bin Malik. People pointed towards me. He came to me and delivered a letter from the King of Ghassan, and as I was a scribe, I read that letter whose purport was: 'It has been conveyed to us that your friend (the Prophet (PBUH)) was treating you harshly. Allah has not created you for a place where you are to be degraded and where you cannot find your right place; so come to us and we shall receive you graciously.' As I read that letter I said: 'This is too a trial,' so I put it to fire in an oven. When forty days had elapsed and Messenger of Allah (PBUH) received no Revelation, there came to me a messenger of the Messenger of Allah and said, 'Verily, Messenger of Allah (PBUH) has commanded you to keep away from your wife.' I said, 'Should I divorce her or what else should I do?' He said, 'No, but only keep away from her and don't have sexual contact with her.' The same message was sent to my companions. So, I said to my wife: 'You better go to your parents and stay there with them until Allah gives the decision in my case.' The wife of Hilal bin Umaiyyah came to Messenger of Allah (PBUH) and said: 'O Messenger of Allah, Hilal bin Umaiyyah is a senile person and has no servant. Do you disapprove if I serve him?' He said, 'No, but don't let him have any sexual contact with you.' She said, 'By Allah, he has no such desire left in him. By Allah, he has been in tears since (this calamity) struck him.' Members of my family said to me, 'You should have sought permission from Messenger of Allah (PBUH) in regard to your wife. He has allowed the wife of Hilal bin Umaiyyah to serve him.' I said, 'I would not seek permission from Messenger of Allah (PBUH) for I do not know what Messenger of Allah might say in response to that, as I am a young man'. It was in this state that I spent ten more nights and thus fifty days had passed since people boycotted us and gave up talking to us. After I had offered my Fajr prayer on the early morning of the fiftieth day of this boycott on the roof of one of our houses, and had sat in the very state which Allah described as: 'The earth seemed constrained for me despite its vastness', I heard the voice of a proclaimer from the peak of the hill Sal' shouting at the top of his voice: 'O Ka'b bin Malik, rejoice.' I fell down in prostration and came to know that there was (a message of) relief for me. Messenger of Allah (PBUH) had informed the people about the acceptance of our repentance by Allah after he had offered the Fajr prayer. So the people went on to give us glad tidings and some of them went to my companions in order to give them the glad tidings. A man spurred his horse towards me (to give the good news), and another one from the tribe of Aslam came running for the same purpose and, as he approached the mount, I received the good news which reached me before the rider did. When the one whose voice I had heard came to me to congratulate me, I took off my garments and gave them to him for the good news he brought to me. By Allah, I possessed nothing else (in the form of clothes) except these garments, at that time. Then I borrowed two garments, dressed myself and came to Messenger of Allah (PBUH) On my way, I met groups of people who greeted me for (the acceptance of) repentance and they said: 'Congratulations for acceptance of your repentance.' I reached the mosque where Messenger of Allah (PBUH) was sitting amidst people. Talhah bin 'Ubaidullah got up and rushed towards me, shook hands with me and greeted me. By Allah, no person stood up (to greet me) from amongst the Muhajirun besides him." Ka'b said that he never forgot (this good gesture of) Talhah. Ka'b further said: "I greeted Messenger of Allah (PBUH) with 'As-salamu 'alaikum' and his face was beaming with pleasure. He (PBUH) said, 'Rejoice with the best day you have ever seen since your mother gave you birth. 'I said: 'O Messenger of Allah! Is this (good news) from you or from Allah?' He said, 'No, it is from Allah.' And it was common with Messenger of Allah (PBUH) that whenever he was happy, his face would glow as if it were a part of the moon and it was from this that we recognized it (his delight). As I sat before him, I said, I have placed a condition upon myself that if Allah accepts my Taubah, I would give up all of my property in charity for the sake of Allah and His Messenger (PBUH)!' Thereupon Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, 'Keep some property with you, as it is better for you.' I said, 'I shall keep with me that portion which is in Khaibar'. I added: 'O Messenger of Allah! Verily, Allah has granted me salvation because of my truthfulness, and therefore, repentance obliges me to speak nothing but the truth as long as I am alive." Ka'b added: "By Allah, I do not know anyone among the Muslims who has been granted truthfulness better than me since I said this to the Prophet (PBUH). By Allah! Since the time I made a pledge of this to Messenger of Allah (PBUH), I have never intended to tell a lie, and I hope that Allah would protect me (against telling lies) for the rest of my life. Allah, the Exalted, the Glorious, revealed these Verses: “Allah has already forgiven the Prophet and the Muhajireen and the Ansar who followed him in the hour of difficulty after the hearts of a party of them had almost inclined [to doubt], and then He forgave them. Indeed, He was to them Kind and Merciful. And [He also forgave] the three who were left behind [and regretted their error] to the point that the earth closed in on them in spite of its vastness and their souls confined them and they were certain that there is no refuge from Allah except in Him. Then He turned to them so they could repent. Indeed, Allah is the Accepting of repentance, the Merciful.” [Surat At-Tawbah: 117-118]
Ka'b said: "By Allah, since Allah guided me to Islam, there has been no blessing more significant for me than this truth of mine which I spoke to Allah’s Messenger (PBUH), and if I were to tell a lie I would have been ruined as were ruined those who had told lies, for Allah described those who told lies with the worst description He ever attributed to anybody else, as He sent down the Revelation:
“They will swear by Allah to you when you return to them that you would leave them alone. So leave them alone; indeed they are evil; and their refuge is Hell as recompense for what they had been earning. They swear to you so that you might be satisfied with them. But if you should be satisfied with them - indeed, Allah is not satisfied with a defiantly disobedient people.” (At-Tawbah:95,96)
Ka'b further added: "The matter of the three of us remained pending for decision apart from the case of those who had made excuses on oath before Messenger of Allah (PBUH) and he accepted those, took fresh oaths of allegiance from them and supplicated for their forgiveness. The Prophet (PBUH) kept our matter pending till Allah decided it. The three whose matter was deferred have been shown mercy. The reference here is not to our staying back from the expedition but to his delaying our matter and keeping it pending beyond the matter of those who made their excuses on oath which he accepted". [Al- Bukhari and Muslim]
Another version adds: "Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) set out for Tabuk on Thursday. He used to prefer to set out on journey on Thursday." Another version says: "Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) used to come back from a journey in the early forenoon and went straight to the mosque where he would perform two Rak'ah prayer. Afterwards he would seat himself there".
'Imran bin Husain (RAA) narrated, 'A woman from Juhainah came to the Prophet (PBUH) while she was pregnant due to committing adultery and said, 'O Messenger of Allah! I have done something for which a prescribed punishment is to be inflicted, so please inflict it on me.' Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) called her guardian and said, "Be good to her, and when she delivers bring her back to me." Her guardian brought her back when she had delivered and Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) gave his commands and her clothes were tied around her and then the Prophet (PBUH) gave his commands and she was stoned to death. Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) offered funeral prayer for her and thereupon 'Umar said, 'O Messenger of Allah! You offer funeral prayer for her even though she committed adultery?' Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) replied, "She has offered such a repentance (for her sin) that if it was divided between seventy of the inhabitants of Madinah, it would be sufficient for them. Have you found such repentance better than sacrificing her life for the sake of Allah, the Almighty?" [Related by Muslim]
Ibn 'Abbas and Anas bin Malik (May Allah be pleased with them) reported: Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) said, "If a son of Adam were to own a valley full of gold, he would desire to have two. Nothing can fill his mouth except the earth (of the grave). Allah turns with mercy to him who turns to Him in repentance". [Bukhari and Muslim]
Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) said, "Allah, the Exalted, smiles at two men, one of them killed the other and both will enter Jannah. The first is killed by the other while he is fighting in the Cause of Allah, and thereafter Allah will turn in mercy to the second and guide him to accept Islam and then he dies as a Shaheed (martyr) fighting in the Cause of Allah." [Bukhari and Muslim]