I know, I know… you’re frustrated and tired of falling into the same trap. The trap of going back to the same sin that you’ve sworn you’re never gonna do again.
I’ve been there, you’ve been there and we’ve all been there! Don’t worry though, there is a way out inshAllah.
Making sincere tawbah to Allah will cleanse your heart and nudge you in the right way no matter how far you’ve wandered. We just need to know the way to implement it rightly to gain the desired outcome and that is ditching the sin once and for all.
What is Tawbah?
The word Tawbah (توبة) in Arabic means “turning back” or “return”. Therefore, to make tawbah from a sin is to turn back and to repent from for committing that sin.
When it comes to repentance, however, many people fall into two extremes. On the one hand, you have the people who take it for granted. It’s okay. Allah is merciful. What? I’ll just lie and pretend I’m sick to get outta work and make tawbah later- Allah will forgive me. On the other hand, you have the people that continue committing sin because “they are too deep” and do not believe that they are “good enough” for His mercy. No way Allah is gonna forgive me. What’s the point? I am just gonna live my life – I am going to Hell anyway.
Both extremes are dangerous, and in what follows, I offer a simple 5-step recipe to make sure you are on your way to having a tawbah accepted inshAllah.
So What are the 5 Steps to Tawbah?
1. Acknowledge what you did wrong and take full responsibility
Don’t give yourself excuses to feel better, instead, be upfront and say, “I know what I’m doing is haram and I need to stop”. Afterward, move on to the next step and avoid dwelling.
2. Make tawbah with the intention of not going back to the sin
Ask Allah for forgiveness with all your heart and soul. Beg Him to help you to give up this sin and admit to Him how hard it is to do the right thing sometimes.
Make a sincere intention to ditch that sin completely and ultimately. Do whatever it takes to prevent falling back into it.
Okay, but is the sincere intention enough to steer me away from the sin? Why do most of us do it again shortly despite our remorseful Tawbah?
The answer lies in the next step.
3. Trace back the steps that ultimately lead you to commit the sin
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تَتَّبِعُوا خُطُوَاتِ الشَّيْطَانِ ۚ وَمَن يَتَّبِعْ خُطُوَاتِ الشَّيْطَانِ فَإِنَّهُ يَأْمُرُ بِالْفَحْشَاءِ وَالْمُنكَرِ ۚ وَلَوْلَا فَضْلُ اللَّهِ عَلَيْكُمْ وَرَحْمَتُهُ مَا زَكَىٰ مِنكُم مِّنْ أَحَدٍ أَبَدًا وَلَٰكِنَّ اللَّهَ يُزَكِّي مَن يَشَاءُ ۗ وَاللَّهُ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ – 24:21
O you who have believed, do not follow the footsteps of Satan. And whoever follows the footsteps of Satan – indeed, he enjoins immorality and wrongdoing. And if not for the favor of Allah upon you and His mercy, not one of you would have been pure, ever, but Allah purifies whom He wills, and Allah is Hearing and Knowing.
Notice the way Allah warns us about following the “steps” of the shaytan. Go back in time before you committed the actual sin; do you notice a certain pattern of actions that lead you to the mistake?
For example, watching pornographic videos is unfortunately common amongst Muslims, men and yes, women as well.
The possible motives that might have led to the final sin, which is watching of the videos, in this case, could be:
- Spending long periods of time sitting alone
- Not lowering the gaze (applies more to men)
- Feeling lonely
In order to eliminate the sin completely, you can’t keep doing the same actions expecting different results. Therefore, in the previous example, distracting oneself, lowering the gaze, or fasting are all possible resolutions. Remember, we need a cure and not just a treatment.
4. Plan to do more good deeds
This is pretty much self-explanatory. Make amends with Allah by acts of genuine good deeds because they erase and replace bad deeds.
5. Be hopeful that Allah will accept your Tawbah
No matter how much you think your heart is filled to the brim with shameful actions, do not despair of Allah’s mercy. He is the Forgiver.
Making dua to Allah and putting in the work with the right intention will place you back on track inshAllah. If Allah, with His infinite Power and Might, offered the tyrannical baby-slaughtering-shirk-committing Pharoah multiple chances to make tawbah, why would He not forgive you?
- Having a sincere intention is the main key to accepting your tawbah.
- Allah’s door to forgiveness is always open and He is the only one who knows what’s in our hearts.
- There are no limitations to the number of tawbahs you can ask of Allah, as long as you are truly striving for his forgiveness and guidance.
- Being fallible and committing sins are inevitable parts of being a human. However, Allah has given each of us a functioning mind and a choice to improve constantly.