PARDON FOR SIN.
The words used to exprees pardon for sins on the part of the Almighty, are ‘Afin عفين, Maghfirah مغفرة, and Ghufran غفرانThe act of seeking pardon is Istighfar استغفار.
The following is the teaching of the Qur’an on the subject:-
Surah liii. 32, 33: God’s is what is in the heavens and what is in the earth, that He may reward those who do evil with evil, and those who do good with good. Those who shun great sins and iniquities — all but venial sins, — verily thy Lord is of ample forgiveness.”
Surah lxvii. 12: “Verily those who fear their Lord in secret, for them is forgiveness and a great reward.”
Surah xxxii. 71: “He (God) will correct you for your works and pardon you for your sins: for he who obeys God and His Apostle has attained a mighty happiness.”
Surah xxxv. 8: “Those who believe and do right, for them is forgiveness.”
Surah viii. 29: “O ye who believe! if ye fear God, He will make for you a discrimination, and will cover your offences and will forgive you; for God is the Lord of mighty grace.”
Repentance is expressed in the Qur’an by the word Tabah , which the Imam an-Nawawi says means ” turning the heart from sin.” (Commentary on Sahihu Muslim, vol. ii. p. 354.) The word frequently occurs in the Qur’an. For example : —
Surah iv, 20: “If they repent and amend, then let them be. ‘Verily God relenteth. He is merciful.”
Surah xxv 71: “Whoso hath repented and hath done what is right, verily it is he who turneth to God with a true conversion” (matab).
The teaching of the traditions ‘on the subject of repentance and pardon for sin is in some places exceedingly wild, as will be seen from the following selections taken from the sayings of the Prophet given in the Mishkat, book x. ch. iii:-
“There was a. man of the children of Israel, who killed ninety-nine people, after which he came out. asking if his repentance would be accepted; and having met a monk, he asked him. ‘Is there acceptance for repentance?’ The monk said, ‘No.’ Then the man killed the monk, and stood asking about the approval of his repentance. And a man said to him, ‘Come to such a village.’ Then the signs of immediate death were upon him, and he tried to reach the village upon his knees. and died on the way. Then the angels of mercy and punishment disputed about him. Then God ordered the village towards which the man had attempted to go to be near to the corpse; and the village which he had fled from to be far away from him. Then God said to the angels, ‘Compute, and measure the distance between the two villages’ And it was found that the village towards which he was going was nearer to him by one span. And he was pardoned.”
An incesant sinner has not sinned that has asked pardon, although he may have sinned seventy times a day, because asking pardon is the coverer of sin.”
God has said, ‘Verily if you come before Me with sins equal to the duet of the earth, and then come before Me without associating anything with Me, verily I will come before you with the pardon equal to the dust of the earth.”
“Verily God. accepts of the repentance of His servant as long as is soul does not come into his throat.”
“I swear by God that verily I ask pardon of God and repent before – Him more than seventy times daily.”
“Verily my heart is veiled with melancholy, and verily I ask pardon of God one hundred times a day.”
“Verily, when a true believer commits a sin, a black spot is created in his heart; and if he repents and asks pardon of God, the black spot is rubbed off his heart; but if he increases his sins, the black spot increases, so that it takes hold of the whole heart. Then this spot is a rust which God has mentioned in the Qur’an, ‘their hearts became rusty from their works.'”
“Verily there were two men of the children of Israel who had a friendship for each other. One of them was a worshipper of God, and the other a sinner. The worshipper of God said to the sinner, ‘Give up sinning.’ he said, ‘Leave me to my Lord.’ At length he found him committing a very great sin, and said, ‘Give up sinning’ The sinner said, ‘Leave me to my Lord. Were you sent as a guard over me?’ The worshipper said, ‘I swear by God He will not always forgive your sins, nor will He bring you Into Paradise.’ Then God sent an angel to them, who took both their souls, and they both appeared before God together. And God said co the sinner, ‘Come into Paradise.’ And he said to the other: ‘What, can you prevent My compassion on my servant?’ He said, ‘I cannot, O my Lord.’ And God said to the angels, ‘Carry him to the fire.'”
Based on Hughes, Dictionary of Islam