“But whosoever repents after his crime and does righteous good deeds (by obeying Allah), then verily, Allah will pardon him (accept his repentance). Verily, Allah is Oft Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (Maidah 5:39)
Allah (swt) has sent us all on this earth to worship Him only. This life is momentary and full of trials and adversities. We are given a method to live this life but as humans, we are likely to make mistakes along the way. There will be daily encounters with the Shaytan. We have to make choices every now and then in this temporary life.
Repent in good and bad times
Life is a continuous struggle. We fall and we get up again but the struggle continues till our last breath. Allah (swt) tests us every day through blessings and through trials. A Muslim is patient when he is going through a trial, and in times of blessings, he is grateful to Allah (swt). Thus, a Muslim is in a state of either Sabr (patience) or Shukr (gratefulness).
When we face difficulties in life, we are worried and often repent. We ask Allah (swt) for His forgiveness and pray more. But as soon as the tough period is over, we gradually lose contact with our Lord (swt) and get busy in our worldly matters. Some people need a few such incidents to make sincere Taubah; but for others, a whole lifetime is not enough, as they forget their Master (swt) and continue to commit sins.
Sins may be huge but they are not greater than Allah’s (swt) mercy
Abu Hurairah (rtam) narrated that the Prophet (sa) said: “When Allah (swt) created the creation, He wrote in His Book. He wrote (that) about Himself, and it is placed with Him on the Throne: Verily My mercy overcomes My anger.” (Bukhari)
People often think that their sins are huge, but they do not realize the enormity of Allah’s (swt) forgiveness. He waits patiently for His people to turn to Him in repentance: “O you who believe! Turn to Allah with sincere repentance! It may be that your Lord will expiate from you your sins, and admit you into Gardens under which rivers flow (Paradise).” (At-Tahrim 66:8)
Often, when a Muslim’s faith becomes weak, he may be overwhelmed by his desires. Shaitan makes the forbidden attractive to him, so he wrongs himself and commits sins. Allah (swt) accepts the repentance of anyone who repents sincerely after doing wrong as He (swt) is the most Forgiving and the most Merciful.
Repent from your heart
Repentance does not mean to utter certain words without thinking. A Muslim should repent honestly from his heart, realizing his wrongdoings, regretting his sins, and offering a sincere apology and promise to his Lord (swt) not to repeat the ill actions.
Repent before death
The doors of Allah’s (swt) forgiveness remain open until a Muslim faces his death. Allah (swt) mentions in the Quran:
“And of no effect is the repentance of those who continue to do evil deeds until death faces one of them and he says: ‘Now I repent;’ nor of those who die while they are disbelievers. For them We have prepared a painful torment.” (An-Nisa 4:18)
The Prophet (sa) said: “Allah (swt) extends His hand at night to forgive those who sinned during that day, and He extends His hand during the day to forgive those who sinned during the night. This will continue to be the case until the sun rises from the west.” (Muslim)
We may get tired of repenting but Allah (swt) never tires of forgiving
We may get tired of committing sins, but He never gets tired of forgiving His slaves. Allah (swt) loves the repentance of His slaves and expresses joy over it. The Prophet (sa) said: “When a person repents, Allah (swt) rejoices more than any one of you would rejoice after finding a camel you had lost in the desert.” (Bukhari)