A Prayer for Forgiveness

December 18, 2008 at 6:07 am 8 comments

Taken from the book “Prayers for Forgiveness” which includes a collection of 70 prayers for forgiveness by Imam Hasan Al-Basri. (Its a fantastic book, trust me.)

“Though we spend time routinely cleaning up our machines, we often do so while neglecting our hearts, which are far more worthy of our careful attention since they become spiritually malnourished and deadened by the overwhelming burden of sin. The Companion Abu Hurayra RA relates that the Messenger of Allah SAW said, “When a believer commits a sin, a black dot appears on his heart. If he repents and seeks forgiveness, his heart becomes purified. If he advances in sin, the black dots increase until they overcome his heart. These black dots constitute the encrusted pollution [ra’n] that God Almighty refers to in the verse: “No, indeed! But, encrusted over their hearts is what they have earned.”‘(Al-Qur’an 83:14) [(Sunan al-Tirmidhi)]

If one allows sins to accumulate on his or her heart in the form of this inner rust, the heart gradually becomes blind and unreceptive to spiritual realities. One can easily observe this inner lack of spiritual cognition when, for example, a person yawns at the mention of the Hellfire and its severity, whereas another faints upon hearing of the same. We are thus in need of a reliable method and rigid routine for cleansing our hearts of the pollution they accumulate from frequent sinning.

Cleansing the heart is achieved through the remembrance of Allah [dhikr], repentance [tawba], seeking forgiveness [istighfar], and humbly turning to Him in penitence [inaba]. The Messenger of Allah SAW did this 70 to 100 times a day, despite being inerrant and guarded from sin [ma’sum]. He SAW also said, “Every descendant of Adam is a sinner, and the best of the sinners are those who repent” (Sunan al-Tirmidhi). When a person makes sincere repentance [tawba nasuh] for his sins, no matter how severe they may be, Allah purifies his heart and treats him as if he never committed them.

Why is it such a bounty that we are able to turn to the Almighty and seek His forgiveness? Turning to Allah in repentance and seeking His forgiveness provide us the release we need when feeling overwhelmed by the burden of sin. They give us a way out, another chance, a sense of lightheartedness, hope, and inspiration needed to turn a new page in life and start afresh. It is through forgiveness that we gain so much hope in our religion that there remains no reason whatsoever for us to despair of Allah’s mercy.”


And here is one of my most favourite prayer in that book. It gripped my heart like no other when I first read it, and I hope it does the same for yours.


“O Allah, I seek your forgiveness for every sin for which I presented my repentance before You; and regarding which I stood before You swearing an oath in Your name and called Your friends from among Your servants to be my witnesses – that I would never return to disobeying You.

But when Satan with his cunning tempted me to return to it; and Your forsaking me [due to Your anger over my impiety] caused me to [despairingly] waver toward it; and my lower self invited me to disobey You once more; I hid myself in shame from Your servants, but openly and daringly committed sins before You, though I knew full well that no covering nor any closed door could conceal me from You and no veil could hide me from Your sight.

I still defied You by disobediently doing what You had prohibited to me; but [despite my iniquity], You did not remove Your covering from me, but rather treated me equal to Your pious servants, as though I had always been an obedient servant and swift to fulfill Your every command and fearful of Your warnings.

I remained obscure in front of Your servants, and none besides You knew my secret. You did not single me out from Your servants with a mark of disgrace, but instead showered upon me blessings like theirs; and with this You distinguished me over them as though I were, in Your sight, of a status like theirs. All this was owing only of Your forbearance and abundant blessings – generous grace from You to me. For You then, O my Lord, belongs all praise.

I ask from You, O Allah, just as You have covered my evil deeds in this world, that You do not humiliate me with them on the Day of Judgment. Forgive my sins, O Most Merciful of the merciful!”


May Allah forgives all our sins, past & future, our parents’ sins, our teachers’ sins, the sins of our friends and the sins from the first Muslim till the last. May He accept all our repentance even when they fall short of sincerity and vigour. Amin!


Entry filed under: Al-Qur'an, Allah SWT, despair, hadith, Imam Hasan al-Basri, prayer, Prophet SAW, repentance, sins, supplication.

22 on the 17th Ya Rabbi,

8 Comments Add your own

  • 1. siswand  |  December 18, 2008 at 11:28 pm

    what Imam Hasan Al Basri wrote is so true…time and time again we sin, despite having repented and vowed not to sin again, all these while continuing to sin in full knowledge of His awareness of our actions, and yet He is Forebearing, Patient and Utmost Forgiving. Hopefully such a realization will help us reduce the number of times we go back on our words each time we repent.

  • 2. alfaqeer  |  December 19, 2008 at 9:42 am

    siswand: Say: “My servants, you who have transgressed against yourselves, do not despair of the mercy of Allah. Truly Allah forgives all wrong actions. He is the Ever-Forgiving, the Most Merciful.” (Surat az-Zumar: 53)

    Unfortunately, I fall into the trap of taking that line for granted and I use it to comfort myself and justify my sinning. =/

    May Allah reform our states and let us not be heedless. Amin!

  • 3. Mahirah  |  December 19, 2008 at 10:09 am


    Of course the next best step is also to not repeat the sin. I think when you sin, you really have to realise the gravity of the sin, no matter how small it is.

    You have to feel traumatised about committing any sin, because how do you know if Allah Decides to Take your life away at this very moment, and you have yet to repent for that sin?

    And sins are not just limited to lying or eating non-halal food, even your thoughts can be sins, like perceiving other people’s intentions negatively or thinking excessively about some hot guy you saw.

    I’m reminding myself first before anyone else, so I hope that we all would constantly be aware of the gravity of any of our sins and constantly repent to Allah for all sins, whether or not we’re aware of them (:

  • 4. alfaqeer  |  December 19, 2008 at 10:59 am

    Mahirah: Well said sister. :) I’ve got nothing else to add to that.

  • 5. Redwan Ahmed  |  December 20, 2008 at 12:03 am

    Assalamu alaykum,

    Ma’shallah, a great article. May Allah Bless you ukhti…ameen


  • 6. faruq  |  December 21, 2008 at 8:36 am

    Beautiful doa.

    If we are jealous enough of our hearts, jealous enough to guard it, we would be extremely careful not to allow anything to stain it.

    For our hearts are mirrors that reflect the Light of God and if these mirrors are rusty and stained, how much light can be reflected?

    We don’t have to bother even thinking about committing a new sin. What makes us think our past sins are even forgiven yet?

    When I see something bad, someone trespassing against His Limits, I cannot label that person as worse than I am.

    For I do not know that God may forgive him …

    … but not me.


  • 7. faruq  |  December 26, 2008 at 7:11 pm

    Is it better to live in false hopes of forgiveness, that we can get away scot-free, taking His Mercy for granted and belittling His Prohibitions and thus continuing to sin?

    Or to live in constant fear of not being forgiven, that we will be punished, taking His Wrath as certain thus motivating us to obsessively guard ourselves from falling into His Displeasure again?

    [ Waallatheena hum min AAathabi rabbihim mushfiqoona ]

    “And those who fear the torment of their Lord”

    [ Inna AAathaba rabbihim ghayru ma’moonin ]

    “Verily! The torment of their Lord is that before which none can feel secure”

    alMa’arij : 27- 28

    . . . . . . .




  • 8. Abd Rahman  |  November 16, 2009 at 12:20 pm

    Does anyone have a PDF of this book? Or can someone scan it?

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