Repentance is an integral component in the life and path of the believer, and is based upon the light and teachings of the Holy Qur’an as well as the noble example, way and sunnah of the beloved Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. There are two essential conditions for repentance to be true, valid and effective, and by deepening our sincerity in repentance, we accelerate our spiritual development and progress towards the Divine Presence of our Lord and Creator, Allah Almighty.
Two Conditions of Repentance
The noble and blessed Messenger of God, the last and final prophet sent to humanity for guidance towards that which is excellent and beautiful, Sayyiduna Muhammad ﷺ stated that he seeks forgiveness from his Lord at least seventy (in other narrations one hundred) times each day.
As human beings and as creatures still bound by limited consciousness, we err continuously. Yet as we grow in awareness and in excellence, we increasingly immerse ourselves in repentance and the seeking of the pleasure of God Most High.
It is absolutely essential for a believer to be sincere in repentance, and in seeking the forgiveness and grace of God, there are two essential conditions for repentance.
Essential Conditions for Repentance: #1, Remorse
The first and foremost condition of repentance is remorse. If there is no remorse, there is no point to ask for forgiveness. Yet with remorse, we attract the healing mercy and grace of God, and His divine light to guide us beyond the very errors we have committed.
Because the human ego has reached a gross level of arrogance, pride and narcissism in the modern world, the conscious, intentional, sincere and humble seeking of forgiveness through daily repentance is more important than perhaps ever before.
The only path to God is through the humility and surrender that ultimately leads to selflessness, or the transcendence of the self and of ego-based consciousness, the primary veil between a creature and his or her Creator.
If by the mercy of God our sight and vision are opened to see the consequences of our sins, mistakes and transgressions, we will truly be remorseful and will immerse ourselves in repentance, thereby growing in love for God, His Messenger ﷺ, the believers and all that is good.
Yet if we persist in arrogance, self-righteousness and self-validation, our hearts will be veiled from Divine mercy and light, and we will be barred from the Divine Presence.
The way of the noble Messenger of God ﷺ is the way of humility. Towards increasingly developing the beauty of such prophetic character and thus the pleasure of God, let us make repentance a daily part of our lives. And for repentance to be valid and acceptable in the Presence of God, the first condition of repentance is remorse, sincerely feeling ashamed for our transgressions against His law and the Way of the Prophet ﷺ.
With remorse, Allah Almighty, the One who is Forgiving, Loving, Kind, Compassionate and Pardoning will erase our sins, heal us from the traumas they cause our own souls, and elevate us in His Divine Presence.
Who humbles him or herself will be raised by God in His Divine Presence, and who is arrogant or proud will be very far from the Presence of the Most Merciful.
Essential Conditions for Repentance: #2, Repentance
Once there is acknowledgement and remorse for the wrongdoing, the next step then is to actually apologize and ask for forgiveness. One can simply say astaghfirullah with consciousness and with intent, and it is a good practice to seek forgiveness continually.
By increasingly becoming aware of our sins and transgressions, we grow in awareness, consciousness and transcendence of self. It is but attachment to the self and identification with the ego and personality that veils us from Truth and Reality. The believer is one who does not seek to perpetually validate the self, but is rather he or she who seeks to transcend the self and thus rise to the Divine Presence of God, the ultimate pleasure, joy, happiness, success and freedom.
It is important to mention that if we have hurt another human being by our actions, it is very important to apologize and ask for their forgiveness as well, if at all possible. There is nothing more beautiful and endearing than a human being that admits their mistakes and apologizes for them. Thus the humble advance, improve and enjoy happiness and success. Such humility and excellence is most pleasing to and rewarded by God Almighty.
We must remember that the great sin of Iblis was rebellion against the order of the Most High as a result of arrogance and pride, and he continues in error by refusing to seek forgiveness for his mistake and transgression. Pride and arrogance in the heart are the source of all sin, yet through humility and surrender, we are purified, awakened and brought near unto the Divine Presence of our Lord, Allah Almighty.
Once one acknowledges their transgression against the way of excellence established by God and His Messenger ﷺ, the second essential condition for repentance is to actually repent by apologizing and asking for forgiveness.
The Conditions of Repentance and Ultimate Success
Allah Almighty is the Most Merciful and Forgiving, the Most Loving and Kind, the One Who Pardons and the One Who Heals. Yet there is a deeper secret in seeking forgiveness. When we sin, we transgress against and harm our own souls. By seeking repentance and asking for forgiveness, we actually heal ourselves and shift our own paradigms to one of mercy, light and love.
Often, we do not admit wrong and seek forgiveness because we are not ready to forgive ourselves. We subconsciously, or in the case of true arrogance, consciously resist repentance because we have not yet developed the necessary compassion towards our very selves that we are worthy of forgiveness and love.
By seeking forgiveness through repentance, we in fact affirm that our Lord is the Lord of Mercy and Compassion, and that we are through His light, love and grace worthy of forgiveness, pardon and healing.
Beloved brothers and sisters, honor these two fundamental and essential conditions of repentance, seek forgiveness constantly and daily as did our beloved Messenger ﷺ, and you will grow in both awareness, transcendence and most importantly the pleasure of the Most High Who will lift you towards His Divine Presence, the ultimate success.
To your divine, eternal and absolute success.