Human beings are imperfect creatures, who inevitably commit sins and fall into error. This even includes the best of the believers, for everyone has their own flaw. Astaghfar in English means to ask for Allah’s forgiveness. When prophets were among those who sought Allah’s Mercy, we can imagine how critical it is for us, as ordinary believers, to make dua for the forgiveness astaghfar of our sins.
Turning to Allah in repentance is enjoined upon all believers
“Every son of Adam sins, and the best of those who sin are those who repent.” (Jami at-Tirmidhi)
“O you who have believed, repent to Allah with sincere repentance. Perhaps your Lord will remove from you your misdeeds and admit you into gardens beneath which rivers flow [on] the Day when Allah will not disgrace the Prophet and those who believed with him. Their light will proceed before them and on their right; they will say, “Our Lord, perfect for us our light and forgive us. Indeed, You are over all things competent.” (Quran 66:8)
The Prophet (PBUH) categorically stated that all humans sin. However, those who make dua for repentance and forgiveness are the best among us. Allah calls on all believers to make dua for repentance in the Quran. Moreover, one’s dua asking Allah for forgiveness and mercy needs to be genuine and pure in its intentions.
How to make Dua for forgiveness
Repentance for sins that exclusively involve the rights of Allah has three prerequisites. The first requirement is that one should abstain from recommitting the sin. Secondly, the believer must be remorseful for his evil deed. The last condition is for one to make a sincere intention not to repeat one’s wrongdoing. These three preconditions are a must for genuine repentance.
In the case of repenting for a sin that is related to the rights of a fellow human being, the aforementioned three conditions all apply. There is, however, also a fourth stipulation. It entails making amends with the individual who was wronged. If the issue in question is another person’s asset or property, it ought to be restored to its owner. Meanwhile, in the case of backbiting, the victim’s forgiveness shall be sought.
We are required to make dua for the forgiveness of all our sins. Although repentance for specific sins is accepted, it’s imperative to also appeal for one’s remaining sins to be pardoned.
Duas for forgiveness, from the Quran
أَنتَ وَلِيُّنَا فَٱغۡفِرۡ لَنَا وَٱرۡحَمۡنَا وَأَنتَ خَيۡرُ ٱلۡغَـٰفِرِينَ وَٱڪۡتُبۡ لَنَا فِى هَـٰذِهِ ٱلدُّنۡيَا حَسَنَةً۬ وَفِى ٱلۡأَخِرَةِ
Transliteration: Anta waliyyuna faghfirlana warhamna waanta khayru alghafireen Waktub lana fee hathihiaddunya hasanatan wafee al-akhirati.
Translation: “You are our Protector, so forgive us and have mercy upon us; and You are the best of forgivers. And decree for us in this world [that which is] good and [also] in the Hereafter.”
رَبَّنَا ظَلَمۡنَآ أَنفُسَنَا وَإِن لَّمۡ تَغۡفِرۡ لَنَا وَتَرۡحَمۡنَا لَنَكُونَنَّ مِنَ ٱلۡخَـٰسِرِينَ
Transliteration: Rabbana thalamnaanfusana wa-in lam taghfir lana watarhamnalanakoonanna mina alkhasireen.
Translation: “Our Lord, we have wronged ourselves, and if You do not forgive us and have mercy upon us, we will surely be among the losers.”
رَبِّ إِنِّى لِمَآ أَنزَلۡتَ إِلَىَّ مِنۡ خَيۡرٍ۬ فَقِيرٌ۬
Transliteration: Rabbiinnee lima anzalta ilayya min khayrin faqeer.
Translation: “My Lord, indeed I am, for whatever good You would send down to me, in need.”
أَنِّى مَسَّنِىَ ٱلضُّرُّ وَأَنتَ أَرۡحَمُ ٱلرَّٲحِمِينَ
Transliteration: Annee massaniya addurru waanta arhamuarrahimeen.
Translation: “Indeed, adversity has touched me, and you are the Most Merciful of the merciful.”
لَّآ إِلَـٰهَ إِلَّآ أَنتَ سُبۡحَـٰنَكَ إِنِّى ڪُنتُ مِنَ ٱلظَّـٰلِمِينَ
Transliteration: La ilaha illa anta subhanaka inneekuntu mina aththalimeen.
Translation: “There is no deity except You; exalted are You. Indeed, I have been of the wrongdoers.”
Sunnah Duas for Astaghfar (Astaghfar Dua)
اللَّهُمَّ اغْفِرْ لِي خَطِيئَتِي وَجَهْلِي وَإِسْرَافِي فِي أَمْرِي وَمَا أَنْتَ أَعْلَمُ بِهِ مِنِّي اللَّهُمَّ اغْفِرْ لِي جِدِّي وَهَزْلِي وَخَطَئِي وَعَمْدِي وَكُلُّ ذَلِكَ عِنْدِي اللَّهُمَّ اغْفِرْ لِي مَا قَدَّمْتُ وَمَا أَخَّرْتُ وَمَا أَسْرَرْتُ وَمَا أَعْلَنْتُ وَمَا أَنْتَ أَعْلَمُ بِهِ مِنِّي أَنْتَ الْمُقَدِّمُ وَأَنْتَ الْمُؤَخِّرُ وَأَنْتَ عَلَى كُلِّ شَىْءٍ قَدِيرٌ
Transliteration: Allaahumma ghfir li khati’ati wa jahli wa israafi fi amri kullihi wa ma anta a’lam bihi minni, Allaahumma ighfir li khataayaaya wa ‘amdi wa jahli wa hazli wa kulla dhaalika ‘indi, Allaahumma ighfir li ma qaddamtu wa ma akhkhartu wa ma asrartu wa ma a’lantu anta al-Muqaddim wa anta al-Mu’akhkhir wa anta ‘ala kulli shay’in qadeer.
Translation: “O Allah, forgive me my faults, my ignorance, my immoderation in my concerns. And Thou art better aware (of my affairs) than myself. O Allah, grant me forgiveness (of the faults which I committed) seriously or otherwise (and which I committed inadvertently and deliberately). All these (failings) are in me. O Allah, grant me forgiveness from the fault which I did in haste or deferred, which I committed in privacy or in public and Thou art better aware of (them) than myself. Thou art the First and the Last and over all things Thou art Omnipotent.”
رَبِّ اغْفِرْ لِي وَتُبْ عَلَىَّ إِنَّكَ أَنْتَ التَّوَّابُ الرَّحِيمُ
Transliteration: Rabbighfirli wa tub `alayya innaka Antat-Tawwabur-Rahim.
Translation: “O Allah forgive me and accept my repentance, for You are the Accepter of repentance, the Most Merciful.”
أستغفر الله الذي لا إله إلا هو الحي القيوم وأتوب إليه
Transliteration: Astaghfir ullah-alladhi la ilaha illa Huwal-Haiyul-Qayyumu, wa atubu ilaihi.
Translation: “I seek the forgiveness of Allah, there is no true god except Allah, the Ever-Living, the Self- Subsisting, and I turn to Him in repentance.”
اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي ظَلَمْتُ نَفْسِي ظُلْمًا كَثِيرًا وَلاَ يَغْفِرُ الذُّنُوبَ إِلاَّ أَنْتَ فَاغْفِرْ لِي مَغْفِرَةً مِنْ عِنْدِكَ وَارْحَمْنِي إِنَّكَ أَنْتَ الْغَفُورُ الرَّحِيمُ
Transliteration: Allahumma inni zalamtu nafsi zulman kathiran wa la yaghfirudh-dhunub illa Anta, faghfirli maghfiratan min ‘indika warhamni, innaka Antal-Ghafurur-Rahim.
Translation: “O Allah, I have wronged myself greatly and no one forgives sins but You, so grant me forgiveness from You and have mercy on me, for You are the Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.”
Sayyidul-Istighfaar: The best Dua for forgiveness
اللَّهُمَّ أَنْتَ رَبِّي لاَ إِلَهَ إِلاَّ أَنْتَ خَلَقْتَنِي وَأَنَا عَبْدُكَ وَأَنَا عَلَى عَهْدِكَ وَوَعْدِكَ مَا اسْتَطَعْتُ أَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنْ شَرِّ مَا صَنَعْتُ أَبُوءُ لَكَ بِذَنْبِي وَأَبُوءُ لَكَ بِنِعْمَتِكَ عَلَىَّ فَاغْفِرْ لِي فَإِنَّهُ لاَ يَغْفِرُ الذُّنُوبَ إِلاَّ أَنْتَ
Transliteration: Allaahumma anta Rabbiy laa ilaaha illa anta, khalaqtani wa ana ‘abduka wa ana ‘ala ‘ahdika wa wa’dika ma astata’tu, a’oodhu bika min sharri ma sana’tu aboo’u laka bi ni’matika ‘alayya wa aboo’u laka bi dhanbi, faghfir li fa innahu laa yaghfir ul-dhunooba illa anta
Translation: “O Allah, You are my Lord and I am Your slave, You have created me and I am faithful to my covenant and my promise (to You) as much as I am able. I seek refuge with You from the evil of that which I have done. I acknowledge before You all the blessings You have bestowed upon me and I confess to You my sin. Forgive (astaghfar) me for there is no one who forgives sin except You.”
The Prophet (PBUH) described this noble dua as “the best prayer for forgiveness astaghfar ”. He (PBUH) asserted that one should recite this blessed Istighfar dua while believing in it with firm conviction. If a believer recites it in the day and dies prior to the evening, he will be bestowed with a place in Jannah (Paradise). Furthermore, one who reads it at night and passes away before the morning arrives will also be granted, Heaven. (Sahih al-Bukhari)