Turning back to Allah
Allah is al-Ghafoor (the ever forgiving) and al-Ghaffar (the all forgiving). He loves to forgive us and loves those who repent often so we should try our best to be from among them. We may at times feel overwhelmed by our sins however we should realise that through sincere repentance, no matter what we have done, we can be forgiven. As humans, we will inevitably fall into sin – this is in our nature. However it is what we do next that really counts. We can fall into despair and allow Shaytaan’s whispers to overcome us or we can transform the situation into an opportunity to experience Allah’s qualities of love and mercy and forgiveness. Allah says:
O son of Adam, so long as you call upon Me and ask of Me, I shall forgive you for what you have done, and I shall not mind. O son of Adam, were your sins to reach the clouds of the sky and were you then to ask forgiveness of Me, I would forgive you. O son of Adam, were you to come to Me with sins nearly as great as the earth and were you then to face Me, ascribing no partner to Me, I would bring you forgiveness nearly as great as it. [Hadith Qudsi – 34]
It may be that through committing a sin, and repenting sincerely for it, we take a step towards Allah that we may never have otherwise taken. In that way, we should see our sins as a path through which we can return to Allah rather than allowing them to create distance between us and Him.
Say, ˹O Prophet, that Allah says,˺ “O My servants who have exceeded the limits against their souls! Do not lose hope in Allah’s mercy, for Allah certainly forgives all sins. He is indeed the All-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” [39:53]
Seeking forgiveness often from Allah is something we can begin doing this Ramadan if we are not doing so already. One dua which allows us to do so is as follows:
Allahumma innaka `Afuwwun Tuhibbul `Afwa Fa`fu `Annii ( or Annaa)
O Allah, You are pardoning and you love to pardon, so pardon me.
We should especially make an effort to read this dua during the last 10 days of Ramadan, as the Prophet ﷺ recommended the above when Aisha (RA) asked him what she should read on laylatul qadr. [Riyadh-As-Saliheen]
Another habit we should try to form in relation to sin is following every bad deed we do with a good deed in order to erase it. This attitude embodies what Allah says in the Quran ‘Good and evil cannot be equal. Repel evil by that which is better, and then the one who is hostile to you will become as a devoted friend’ [41:34]. We can use this same concept not just when we commit sins but when sins are committed against us, by controlling our anger and being patient and forgiving, just as we hope Allah will be towards us.