The Quran about repentance
In the name of God, the Gracious, the Merciful
The inner state of a person reflects the system of values that he has formed in relation to the world around him. The historical experience of people’s contact in the created social systems, in the formed cultures shows a wide range of attempts to find the optimal “scale” for spiritual orientation. However, no human project was able to provide a universal program for responding to an “external irritation.” This is clearly seen in the example of different reactions to the same event.
From the point of view of monotheism, such a state is natural, because the limited nature of reality does not allow the development of an ideal estimation scale. In order to regulate this sphere, God sent down the Prescriptions, which revealed all the weaknesses of people. All inconsistencies to the system of the Creator lead to a depressing result of the life of a person, which can be canceled only if the consequences for the deeds committed are leveled, and this is possible only with the sanction of the Almighty. In this regard, the Creator made it clear that He has such a necessary leveling quality – the quality of acceptance of repentance.
The revelation of the Prescription is from God, the Exalted in Might, the Knowing. The forgiver of trespasses, acceptor of repentance, severe in punishment, owner of abundance. There is no deity except Him; to Him is the destination. (40:1-3)
And it is He who accepts repentance from His servants and pardons misdeeds, and He knows what you do! (42:25)
O you who have believed! Avoid much assumption. Indeed, some assumption is sin. And do not spy or backbite each other. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his brother when dead? You would detest it. Beware of God! Indeed, God is Accepting of repentance and Merciful! (49:12)
Without the manifestation of the quality of acceptance of repentance, the further vital activity loses its meaning, does not allow the human person to develop for the better and fulfill his mission in this life.
Through the awareness of an error committed, almost all the messengers of God resorted to repentance, the first of whom was Adam.
Then Adam received words from his Lord, and He accepted his repentance. Indeed, he is repentant, regretting. (2:37)
Then the disobedient whispered to him, saying “O Adam, shall I direct you to the tree of eternity and unattainable kingship?” And Adam and his wife ate of it, and their misdeed became apparent to them. They began to repair the leaves of the garden above them. Adam disobeyed his Lord, being tempted. Then his Lord chose him and turned to him, accepted his repentance and guided. (20:120-122)
Wise Abraham understood the possibility of some violations of the prescriptions, which was expressed in the appeal to the Creator.
Our Lord! Make us both humble to You and from our descendants a humble headship before You. And show us our rites and accept our repentance. Indeed, You are the Accepting of repentance, the Merciful. (2:128)
The subsequent messengers certainly exhorted their people to call for repentance for the violations of the Prescriptions of the Creator.
And when Musa (Moses) said to his nation, “O my nation! Indeed you have wronged yourselves by your taking of the calf. So repent to your Creator and kill yourselves. That is best for [all of] you in the sight of your Creator.” Then He accepted your repentance; indeed, He is the Accepting of repentance, the Merciful!” (2:54)
Alif, Lam, Ra.
Whose signs are perfected and then presented in detail from [one who is] Wise and Acquainted.
A messenger said, “Do not worship except God. Indeed, I am to you from Him a warner and a bringer of good tidings. Seek forgiveness of your Lord and repent to Him, [and] He will let you enjoy a good provision for a specified term and give every doer of favor his favor. But if you turn away, then indeed, I fear for you the punishment of a great Day. (11:1-3)
And to ‘Aad [We sent] their brother Hud.
He said, “O my nation, worship God; you have no deity other than Him. You are not but inventors!
O my nation, I do not ask you for it any reward. My reward is only from the one who created me. Then will you not reason?
And O my nation, ask forgiveness of your Lord and then repent to Him. He will send rain from the sky upon you in showers and increase you in strength [added] to your strength. And do not turn away, [being] criminals!” (11:50-52)
And to Thamud [We sent] their brother Salih.
He said, “O my nation, worship God; you have no deity other than Him. He has produced you from the earth and settled you in it, so ask forgiveness of Him and then repent to Him. Indeed, my Lord is Near and Responsive!” (11:61)
They said, “O Shu’ayb, does your prayer command you that we should leave what our fathers worship or not do with our wealth what we please? Indeed, you are the forbearing, the discerning!”
He said, “O my nation, have you considered: if I am upon clear evidence from my Lord and He has provided me with a good provision from Him… ? And I do not intend to differ from you in that which I have forbidden you; I only intend reform as much as I am able. And my success is not but through God. Upon him I have relied, and to Him I return.
And O my nation, let not [your] dissension from me cause you to be struck by that similar to what struck the nation of Nuh (Noah) or the nation of Hud or the nation of Salih. And the nation of Lot are not from you far away. And ask forgiveness of your Lord and then repent to Him. Indeed, my Lord is Merciful and Loving!” (11:87-90)
The universality of the proposed system of repentance lies in its applicability to any situation.
It has been made permissible for you the night preceding fasting to go to your wives for intimacy. They are clothing for you and you are clothing for them. God knows that you used to deceive yourselves, so He accepted your repentance and forgave you. So now, have intimacy with them and seek that which God has decreed for you. And eat and drink until the white thread of dawn becomes distinct to you from the black thread of night on the sunset. Then complete the fast until the night. And do not have intimacy with them as long as you are staying in the places for earthly worship. These are the limits of God, so do not approach them! Thus does God make clear His signs to the people that they may become circumspect. (2:187)
Those who commit excessiveness of your women – bring against them four witnesses from among you. And if they testify, confine the guilty women to houses until death takes them or God ordains for them a way. And the two who commit excessiveness among you, dishonor them both. But if they repent and correct themselves, leave them alone. Indeed, God is ever Accepting of repentance and Merciful. The repentance accepted by God is only for those who do wrong in ignorance and then repent soon after. It is those to whom God will turn in forgiveness, and God is ever Knowing and Wise! (4:15-17)
And never is it for a believer to kill a believer except by mistake. And whoever kills a believer by mistake – then the freeing of a deprived believer and a ransom to his owner, unless he counts it as charity. But if the deceased was from a people at war with you and he was a believer – then the freeing of a deprived believer. If he was from a people with whom you have a covenant – then the freeing of a deprived believer and a ransom to his owner. And whoever does not find a ransom – must fast for two months consecutively, as repentance before God. And God is ever Knowing and Wise! (4:92)
As for the thief, both male and female, cut off two hands for two. It is the reward of their own deeds, an exemplary punishment from God. God is Mighty, Wise. Yet whoever repents, even after his injustice, and corrects himself, then surely God accepts his repentance. Surely God is Forgiving, Merciful! (5:38-39)
They have certainly closed themselves who say, “God is the third of three.”
And there is no god except one God. And if they do not desist from what they are saying, there will surely afflict the closed ones a painful punishment. So will they not repent to God and seek His forgiveness? And God is Forgiving and Merciful! (5:73-74)
Would you not fight a people who broke their oaths? They conspired to expel the messenger! They had begun first. Do you fear them? But God has more right that you should fear Him, if you are believers.
Fight them; God will punish them by your hands and will disgrace them and give you victory over them and satisfy the breasts of a believing people and remove the fury in the believers’ hearts. And God turns in forgiveness to whom He wills; and God is Knowing and Wise! (9:13-15)
They swear by God that they did not say, while they had said the word of closed nature. They closed themselves after their humility. They were aware of that which they were not to attain. And they revenge when God and His Messenger do not enrich them of His bounty. So if they repent, it is better for them; but if they turn away, God will punish them with a painful punishment in this world and the hereafter. And there will not be for them on earth any patron or helper! (9:74)
And [there are] others who have acknowledged their trespasses. They had mixed correcting deeds with another that was bad. Perhaps God will turn to them in forgiveness. Indeed, God is Forgiving and Merciful.
Take from their wealth a charity by which you purify them and cause them increase, and pray for them. Indeed, your prayers are reassurance for them. And God is Hearing and Knowing!
Do they not know that it is God who accepts repentance from His servants and receives charities and that it is God who is the Accepting of repentance, the Merciful?
And say, “Do [as you will], for God will see your deeds, and [so, will] His messenger and the believers. And you will be returned to the Knower of the hidden and the witnessed! And He will inform you of what you used to do!”
And [there are] others deferred until the command of God – whether He will punish them or whether He will accept their repentance. And God is Knowing and Wise! (9:102-106)
Allah has already forgiven the Prophet and the emigrants and helpers who followed him in the hour of difficulty after the hearts of a party of them had almost inclined [to doubt], and then He forgave them. Indeed, He was to them Kind and Merciful. And [He also forgave] the three who were left behind to the point that the earth closed in on them in spite of its vastness and their souls confined them and they were certain that there is no refuge from God except in Him. Then He turned to them so they could repent. Indeed, God is the Accepting of repentance, the Merciful. (9:117-118)
Indeed, your Lord knows that you stand [in prayer] almost two thirds of the night or half of it or a third of it, and [so do] a group of those with you.
And God determines [the extent of] the night and the day. He has known that you will not be able to do it and has turned to you in forgiveness.
So recite what is easy of the Literature (Quran). He has known that there will be among you those who are ill and others traveling throughout the land seeking [something] of the bounty of God and others fighting for the way of God.
So recite what is easy from it and establish prayer and give purifying expenditure and loan God a goodly loan. And whatever good you put forward for yourselves – you will find it with God. It is better and greater in reward.
And seek forgiveness of God. Indeed, God is Forgiving and Merciful! (73:20)
The conclusion suggests that: a person avoids punishment when repenting. However, the following conditions are necessary for the acceptance of repentance.
- awareness of wrongdoing:
And We did not send any messenger except to be obeyed by permission of God. And if, when they wronged themselves, they had come to you and asked forgiveness of God and the messenger had asked forgiveness for them, they would have found God Accepting of repentance and Merciful! (4:64)
God will accept repentance after that for whom He wills; and God is Forgiving and Merciful! (9:27)
- error correction:
Indeed, those who conceal what We sent down of clear proofs and guidance after We made it clear for the people in the Prescription – those are cursed by God and cursed by those who curse, except for those who repent and correct themselves and make evident [what they concealed]. Those – I will accept their repentance, and I am the Accepting of repentance, the Merciful! (2:159-160)
And when those come to you who believe, say, “Peace be upon you!”
Your Lord has decreed upon Himself mercy: that any of you who does wrong out of ignorance and then repents after that and corrects himself – indeed, He is Forgiving and Merciful!” (6:54)
But there came after them successors who neglected prayer and pursued passion; so they are going to meet evil – except those who repent, believe and corrected themselves; for those will enter the garden and will not be wronged at all. [Therein are] gardens of Adn (Eden) which the Merciful has promised His servants being invisible for them. Indeed, His promise has ever been coming. (19:59-61)
But indeed, I am the Perpetual Forgiver of whoever repents and believes and corrects himself and then continues in guidance! (20:82)
And the servants of the Gracious are:
- those who walk upon the earth easily, and when the ignorant address them [harshly], they say [words of] peace,
- And those who spend [part of] the night to their Lord prostrating and standing [in prayer] And those who say, “Our Lord, avert from us the punishment of Hell! Indeed, its punishment is ever adhering; Indeed, it is evil as a settlement and residence.”
- And [they are] those who, when they spend, do so not excessively or sparingly but are ever, between that, [justly] moderate!
- And those who do not invoke with God another deity or kill the personality which God has forbidden [to be killed], except by right, and do not commit fornication. And whoever should do that will take a sin upon himself! Multiplied for him is the punishment on the day of standing before God, and he will abide therein humiliated – Except for those who repent, believe and corrected themselves. For them God will replace their evil deeds with good. And ever is God Forgiving and Merciful.
- And he who repents and corrects himself does indeed turn to God with repentance. (25:63-71)
But as for one who had repented, believed, and corrected himself, it is promised by God that he will be among the successful. (28:67)
There are situations in which repentance is not accepted by the Almighty.
Indeed, those who closed themselves after their belief and then increase in closed nature- never will their [claimed] repentance be accepted, and they are the ones astray. (3:90)
But repentance is not accepted of those who do evil deeds up until, when death comes to one of them, he says, “Indeed, I have repented now,” or of those who die while they closed themselves. For them We have prepared a painful punishment. (4:18)
Therefore, a simple declaration of repentance, without correction, will not have a chance for success, because it provokes relapse and hypocrisy, precedents of which are vividly described in the Quran.
And they thought there would be no temptation, so they became blind and deaf. Then God turned to them in forgiveness; then [again] many of them became blind and deaf. And God is Seeing of what they do! (5:71)
Along with this, many people, because of the rejection of God’s prescriptions, do not repent at all before the Lord.
But as for those in whose hearts is disease, it has [only] increased abomination in them to their abomination. And they will have died while they closed themselves.
Do they not see that they are tempted every year once or twice but then they do not repent nor do they remember? (9:125-126)
Indeed, those who have tempted the believing men and believing women and then have not repented will have the punishment of Hell! (85:10)
To avoid such problems, the following is recommended for believers:
So stand straight as you have been commanded, and those who have turned back with you, and do not transgress. Indeed, He is Seeing of what you do. (11:112)
…And turn to God in repentance, all of you, O believers, that you might succeed! (24:31)
O you who have believed! Repent to God 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 God 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!” (66:8)
When the help of God has come and the conquest,
And you will see the people entering into sincere duty before God in multitudes!
Then exalt [Him] with praise of your Lord and ask forgiveness of Him!
Indeed, He is ever Accepting of repentance! (110:1-3)
The meaning of this instrument was established in the days of accepting a pledge from the Creator – amanat. The voluntary adoption of the “amanat” made it possible to determine the degree of sincerity and loyalty of our “I” to the Creator
Indeed, we offered the trust to the heavens and the earth and the mountains, and they declined to bear it and feared it; but man [undertook to] bear it. Indeed, he was obscurant and ignorant! [It was] so that God may punish the venal men and venal women and the men and women who associate others with Him and that God may accept repentance from the believing men and believing women. And ever is God Forgiving and Merciful. (33:72-73)
Opportunities for repentance are available to all and the conditions for this are not burdensome, because our Lord does not want evil for us.
God wants to make clear to you [the lawful from the unlawful] and guide you to the [good] practices of those before you and to accept your repentance. And God is Knowing and Wise.
God wants to accept your repentance, but those who follow [their] passions want you to digress [into] a great deviation. And God wants to lighten for you [your difficulties]; and mankind was created weak. (4:26-28)