”O ye who believe, turn to Allah with sincere repentance, in the hope that your Lord will remove from you your sins and admit you to the Heavens ……….” (Qur’an, 66 : 8).
This Holy month of Ramadhan is generally referred to as the month of Tauba’ (repentance). Repentance is the best way to the Grace of Allah for a person who has sinned. Allah is His infinite grace, forgives sins if the sinner repents sincerely. The operative word is ‘sincerely’.
To describe ‘sincere repentance’. Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (A.S.) said: “Repenting and never committing that sin again”.
According to the ‘Islamic belief, repentance uttered by tongue, without a change of heart, is no repentance at all Repentance must produce change in habit, honesty in dealings, fear and Love of Allah in prayers, improvement in character, generosity in behavior and humility in nature.
Amir-ul-Mumeneen Ali (A.S.) described the characteristics of repentance in the following word: “Repentance has six elements: A repentant must be really sorry for what he had done: he must have firm determination not to do it again; he must make amends for whatever wrongs he did to others; he must fulfill all the obligations of religion which he had neglected previously; he should fast long enough to melt away the flesh grown from unclean and unlawful food; and he should feel the taste of obedience to God, as he was previously enjoying the taste of sin”.
When a man repents sincerely Allah makes him as clean as he was on the day he was born. The Holy Prophet (S.A.) has said: “One who repents from sin is like the one who never committed any sin”.