Question 49: What Is Meant By Tawbah an-Nasooha?

Question: The holy Ayat:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا تُوبُوا إِلَى اللَّهِ تَوْبَةً

Yaa ayyohal ladeena aamanoo toobu iallaahe tawbahtan nasooha

“O you who believe! Turn to Allah a sincere turning.”1

There is a difference regarding this Ayat, explain its meaning with clarity.

Answer: In the dictionary the meaning of 'Nasha' is to “be clean-pure”. On that basis by 'Tawbah an-Nasooh' is meant to that Tawbah which is clean, that is pure from sin. And for such pure Tawbah it is necessary that man should not return to that sin again. Many traditions narrated by Imams (a.s.) also confirm and support this fact. For example according to a tradition, Imam as-Sadiq (a.s.) was asked that what is meant by this Qur’anic Ayat. Imam (a.s.) said:

The servant of Allah repents on his sin and does not return to the same again.2

In another tradition from Imam Hadi (a.s.) it is related that he replied:
“Tawbah an-Nasooh” is this that while repenting for forgiveness man's apparent (outward behavior) should be exactly to his inner feelings (inner self).3

Many other traditions are narrated on the subject and all of them support that “Tawbah an-Nasooh” means pure repentance in which there is no going to the sin again. And in which the man's apparent self and the inner-self should be the same. His actions should conform to his intentions.

  • 1. Surah Tahreem 66:8
  • 2. Usoole Kafi
  • 3. Ma-aniul-Akhbar