Description: The means of salvation from an Islamic perspective. Part 3: Prayers of repentance from the Qur’an and Sunnah.
· Appreciate the prayers of repentance from the Quran and Sunnah as being superior to manmade invocations in terms of language, words and expression.
· Memorize several invocations of repentance from the Quran and Sunnah.
A Muslim may choose any language and wording to express feelings of remorse and return to God as long as they do not contain expressions contrary to the prophetic teachings. At the same time, prayers taught by Allah Himself in the Final Revelation, the Quran, or through His Prophet are superior in that they comprise of direct, comprehensive words reflecting humility and proper etiquette of addressing the divine. Using the words of God in itself is an act of worship for which one will receive additional reward. Also, the Prophet knew his Lord best and was the most humble of men and intimately close to His Lord. Consequently, his prayers have a special potency in attracting divine grace, not to mention that many of these words were revealed by God through Gabriel.
I highly encourage my new Muslim brothers and sisters to memorize the words of God and His Prophet to approach their Lord in repentance. You can say them in English at first, because unlike salah these prayers are not required to be said in Arabic. But with time, please try to memorize the Arabic text using the transliteration provided. For one, it brings us back to the source of revelation. For another, Arabic is the language that unifies all Muslims together. Remember, God is the source of our strength!
First, we will learn the ‘best prayer of forgiveness.’ The Prophet Muhammad, may Allah praise him, said:
‘Anyone who says it during the day, firmly believing in it, and dies before the evening; or says it in the evening, firmly believing in it, and dies before the following morning, will be among the people of Paradise.’
“Allah-humma ’Anta Rób-bee laa ’ilaaha il-la ’Ant. Kha-laq-ta-ni wa ana ’abduka wa ana ’alaa ’ah-dika wa wa’dika mas-ta-tó’t. ’A’oodhu bika min sharri ma san’at. ’Aboo-u la-ka bi ni’mati-ka ’alayy, wa ’aboo-u bi dhan-bee faghfir-lee fa ’in-nahu laa yaghfir udh-dhunuba ’il-la ’Ant.”
“O Allah, You are my Lord. There is no true god besides You. You created me and I am your slave, following Your covenant and Your promise as much as I can. I seek refuge in You from the evil I have done. I acknowledge before You Your blessings bestowed on me and I confess to You my sins. So forgive me, for surely, no one can forgive sins except You.” (Saheeh Al-Bukhari, Abu Dawood)
Prayers from Quran
1. “Rub-bana in-nana samiAAna munadiyan yunadee lil-eemani an aminoo birub-bikum faamanna rub-bana faighfir lana thunoobana wakaffir AAanna sayyi-atina watawaffana maAAa al-abrar.”
“Our Lord, indeed we have heard a caller [i.e., Prophet Muhammad] calling to faith, [saying], ‘Believe in your Lord,’ and we have believed. Our Lord so forgive us our sins and remove from us our misdeeds and cause us to die with the righteous.” (Quran 3:193)
2. “Rabbi ighfir wairham waanta khayru ar-rahimeen.”
“My Lord, forgive and have mercy, and You are the best of the merciful.” (Quran 23:118)
3. “Rabbana thalamna anfusana wa-in lam taghfir lana watarhamna lanakoonanna minal-khaasireen.”
“Our Lord, we have wronged ourselves, and if You do not forgive us and have mercy upon us, we will surely be among the losers.” (Quran 7:23)
Short Prayers of the Prophet
1. When a person would accept Islam, the Prophet would teach him salah and instruct him to beseech God with the words:
“Allah-humma igh-fir lee war-ham-nee wah-dinee war-zuqnee.”
“O Allah, forgive me, have mercy on me, guide me, and provide for me.” (Saheeh Muslim)
2. Whoever says:
100 times, his sins will be removed from him even if they are like the foam on the ocean.” (Saheeh Al-Bukhari)
3. The Prophet taught us words to be said at the end of a gathering to atone for whatever takes place in it.
“Subhana-kalla humma wa-bi-hamdika. Ash-hadu al-laa ilaa-haa illaa anta.As-tagh-fi-roo-ka wa-atoobu ilaay-ka.”
“How perfect are You, O Allah, and praised! I testify that there is no true god besides You. I ask Your forgiveness and turn to You in repentance.” Al-Tirmidhī, Abu Da’wūd, Hakīm)