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Human beings are indeed imperfect creatures, who inevitably commit sins and fall into error. This surely even includes the best of the believers, for everyone has their own flaw. Astaghfar in English means to explicitly 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 for astaghfar is enjoined upon all believers
The Prophet (PBUH) said in a Hadith recorded in Jami at-Tirmidhi that all human beings unquestionably sin. However, the best of them are those who ask Allah for forgiveness.
In Surah at-Tahrim, Allah asks believers to particularly turn to Him in repentance. He says that it may be that He will forgive humans’ misdeeds and admit them into Paradise on the Last Day. There, He will not disgrace the Prophet (PBUH) and, hence, the people who believe in him.
The Prophet (PBUH) stated without reservation that all humans sin. However, those who make dua for repentance and forgiveness are the best among us. Allah calls on all believers to specifically 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 astaghfar Dua for forgiveness
Repentance for sins that especially involve the rights of Allah has three prerequisites. The first requirement is that one should obviously 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 indeed 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 surely apply. There is, however, also a fourth stipulation. It chiefly 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 undeniably 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
Transliteration: Anta waliyyuna faghfirlana warhamna waanta khayru alghafireen Waktub lana fee hathihiaddunya hasanatan wafee al-akhirati.
Meaning: Allah, forgive us and have mercy on us. You are our Protector and the best of forgivers. Prescribe for us good things in this world and the next.
Transliteration: Rabbana thalamnaanfusana wa-in lam taghfir lana watarhamnalanakoonanna mina alkhasireen.
Meaning: O Allah, we have done wrong to ourselves. If you don’t forgive us and have mercy on us, we’ll be amongst the losers.
Transliteration: Rabbiinnee lima anzalta ilayya min khayrin faqeer.
Meaning: My Allah, I am in need of whatever good you’d send down to me.
Transliteration: Annee massaniya addurru waanta arhamuarrahimeen.
Translation: Indeed, adversity has touched me, and you are the Most Merciful of the merciful.
Transliteration: La ilaha illa anta subhanaka inneekuntu mina aththalimeen.
Meaning: There is no God except for you. Glory be to you. I have indeed been amongst the evildoers.
Sunnah Dua for Astaghfar (Astaghfar Dua)
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.
Meaning: Oh Lord, forgive my faults and ignorance. You are better aware of what I do than myself. Forgive me for the wrong I have done, knowingly and unknowingly. All these shortcomings are within me. Forgive me for the things I did in haste, private or public and you know better than me. You are the First and the Last and You are Omnipotent over all things.
Transliteration: Rabbighfirli wa tub `alayya innaka Antat-Tawwabur-Rahim.
Meaning: Allah, forgive me. Accept my remorse, You are the Accepter of repentance and the Most Merciful.
Transliteration: Astaghfir ullah-alladhi la ilaha illa Huwal-Haiyul-Qayyumu, wa atubu ilaihi.
Meaning: I seek the forgiveness of my Allah, there’s no God except for Him, the Eternal and Self-Sufficient, I turned to Him in remorse.
Transliteration: Allahumma inni zalamtu nafsi zulman kathiran wa la yaghfirudh-dhunub illa Anta, faghfirli maghfiratan min ‘indika warhamni, innaka Antal-Ghafurur-Rahim.
Meaning: Allah, I’ve done wrong to myself. No one can forgive sins except for You so forgive me and have mercy on me. You are the Oft-Forgiving and the Most Merciful.
Sayyidul-Istighfaar: The best Dua for forgiveness
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
Meaning: Oh Allah, You’re My Lord, I’m Your slave. You created me and I’m faithful to my promise as much as I’m able. I seek refuge in you from the evil consequences of the sins I’ve committed. I acknowledge all that You have given me and I admit that I have sinned. Forgive me as You’re the only Forgiver.
The Prophet (PBUH) in Sahih al-Bukhari described this noble dua as the best prayer for forgiveness. 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.
The Steps and Conditions of Repentance
While repentance and astaghfar are necessary for all Muslims, there are some conditions for it. Muslims must try their best o adhere to these conditions to give themselves the best chance of gaining Allah’s mercy.
The first and foremost step is to stop committing a sin. This is the most crucial part of repentance because, without it, a person is merely regretting their actions while still doing them continuously. While forgiving and not forgiving is solely in Allah’s hands, repentance without stopping sinning indeed rings hollow.
Next, the second step is for us to have regret about what we did. We should wholeheartedly feel sorrow about our actions, realizing that they go against Islam and Allah’s commands. Disobeying Allah should be the greatest cause of regret for any human because that is the very purpose of our existence. Allah says in the Quran that He created us to worship Him alone.
The third step is where astaghfar comes in. We must ask Allah to forgive us for the sins that we have committed. As described earlier in this article, there are many ways of achieving this. True and meaningful repentance will see Allah forgive us. We have the example of the man who killed 99 people and then went in search of a way to repent and died. Allah forgave him because of his intentions.
The fourth and final step is to make the intention to stop committing the sin. We should intend to not return to that sin again, rather than thinking that it’s just a temporary pause before we go back. The key is intention. We may even resume sinning again later on because we are too weak to resist, but we should have the intention of not doing so.