How to seek forgiveness.
Mu' meneen Brothers and Sisters,
As Salaam Aleikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh. (May Allah's Peace, Mercy and Blessings be upon all of you)
One of our brothers/sisters has asked this question:
Asalamualaikum Warahmatullah I wanted to ask if someone in the past has sinned by stealing something but is now truly sorry for those sins and ashamed for having ever commited them and they turn to Allah the most merciful to forgive them what should he/she do if they still have the items they stole but it`s not possible to return them to the person they were taken off? what course of action should one take?
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How to seek forgiveness
In the name of Allah, We praise Him, seek His help and ask for His forgiveness. Whoever Allah guides none can misguide, and whoever He allows to fall astray, none can guide them aright. We bear witness that there is none worthy of worship but Allah Alone, and we bear witness that Muhammad (saws) is His slave-servant and the seal of His Messengers.
Whatever deeds one might have done, if one turns to Allah Subhanah in sincere Taubah and seeks forgiveness, Allah Subhanah has promised in the Holy Quran that He will forgive all the sins of such a believer, even if one has committed the gravest sin of all: ‘Shirk’! Not only that, our Lord is so Merciful and Generous, that He not only will forgive the sins of the believer, He will change his evil deeds done into good deeds!
The conditions or ways to seek sincere Taubah or Repentance from the Merciful Lord are:
Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 39 Surah Zumur verses 53-54:
(O Prophet) say: “O My servants who have wronged their own souls….Do not despair of Allah’s Mercy! Surely, Allah forgives all sins. He indeed is the All Forgiving, All Merciful. Return to your Lord and submit to Him before the scourge overtakes you; for then you may get no help from anywhere.”
Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 3 Surah Ale Imraan verse 135-136:
Allah likes such good people very much, who, if ever they commit a base deed or wrong their own soul by the commission of a sin, remember Allah instantly, and ask for forgiveness from Him for their shortcomings. For who, but Allah, can forgive sins? (And Allah loves those) who do not knowingly persist in the wrongs they did. These will be rewarded with forgiveness from Allah, and with Gardens beneath which canals flow, and they will reside therein forever! How excellent is the reward of those who do good deeds!
Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 25 Surah Furqaan verses 63-71:
The (true) servants of the Merciful are those who walk humbly on the earth. When the ignorant people behave insolently towards them, they say, “Peace to you”; (And those) who pass their nights in prostrating themselves and standing before their Lord and pray, “O our Lord, save us from the torment of Hell, for its torment is killing! It is an evil abode, and an evil resting place”. (And those) who, when they spend are neither extravagant, nor miserly, but keep the golden mean between the two extremes. (And those) who do not invoke any god but Allah Alone, nor kill a soul unjustly, which Allah has forbidden, nor commit adultery… He who does this shall be punished for his sin, and his torment shall be doubled on the Day of Resurrection, and he shall abide in a state of ignominy; EXCEPT THE ONE WHO MAY HAVE REPENTED (AFTER THOSE SINS), AND HAVE BELIEVED AND DONE RIGHTEOUS DEEDS. For then, Allah will change his evil deeds into good deeds, and He is very Forgiving and Merciful. In fact, one who repents and does righteous deeds, returns to Allah as one rightly should!
Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 6 Surah Anaam verse 54:
When those come to you who believe in Our Signs, say: "Peace be on you! Your Lord had inscribed for Himself (the rule of) Mercy. Verily if any of you did evil in ignorance, and thereafter repented and amended (his conduct), Lo! He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful."
Al-Tirmidhi Hadith 2357 Narrated by Abdullah ibn Mas'ud
Allah's Messenger (saws) said, "He who repents of a sin is like him who has committed no sin."
Al-Tirmidhi Hadith 2338 Narrated by Abdullah ibn Umar
Allah's Messenger (saws) said, "Allah accepts a servant's repentance (taubah) till he gives up his spirit in death."
Al-Tirmidhi Hadith 2339 Narrated by Abu Sa'id
Allah's Messenger (saws) said that the Shaytaan said, "By Thy Might, my Lord, I shall continue to lead Thy servants astray as long as their spirits are in their bodies!" The Lord, Who is Great and Glorious, replied, "By My Might, Glory and Exalted Station, I shall continue to pardon them as long as they ask My forgiveness!"
Question: …..what should he/she do if they still have the items they stole but
it`s not possible to return them to the person they were taken off? what course
of action should one take?
If one has stolen some things or unjustly usurped the rights of another in one’s past, and subsequently they turned unto their Lord and sought sincere forgiveness….they should manifest their ‘taubah’ unto their Lord by striving their absolute utmost to search for the person whose rights they had unjustly taken, return their goods back to them and also seek their forgiveness.
If the person from whom they stole has died, then they should strive to return the stolen property to their legal heirs. But in the case where the person from whom they stole in the past is absolutely unreachable, then the person should either sell the goods and give the cash unto charity or give the goods which he unjustly stole to charity with the intention that the reward for the charity is deposited in the account of the rightful owner of the property…..this would serve as a manifestation of their sincere ‘taubah’ unto their Lord Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
Whatever written of Truth and benefit is only due to Allah’s Assistance and Guidance, and whatever of error is of me alone. Allah Alone Knows Best and He is the Only Source of Strength.
Your brother and well wisher in Islam,