I have committed apostasy several years ago, but in secret. Then I reintroduced myself back to Islam. But I didn't know that I should've repented in 3 days, now I do know that ruling. I still haven't repented (but said the Shadah). So, how should I repent?
My dear friend, don't worry. In Islam there's no restriction of repenting within 3 days. A person can repent until he reaches the state of Naza’, (just before death, when he sees angles coming to take out his soul). In fact, Allah not only forgives the one who repents, but also loves those who asks for forgiveness from Allah.
In Surah-e-Az-Zumar, verse #53 it is written that:
"Qul ya ibadi yallazina asrafoo alaa anfusihim la taqnatoo min rahmatillahi innallaha yaghfiruzzunooba jameeAAan innahu huwal ghafoorur raheem"
Translation: Say ,O my people who have been prodigal against yourselves , do not despair of Allah`s mercy, surely Allah forgives sins altogether; surely He is the All-forgiving, the All-Compassionate
So it doesn't matter how much sins a person commits, once he repents, Allah forgives him and makes him his friend.
Allah says in Quran that "lnnallaha yuhibbut-tawwabeen"; which means Allah loves those who repents.
Our beloved Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) interpreted that verse as follows:
Doubtlessly, Allah loves His slave who repents again and again although he commits sins repeatedly.
So basically there's no such word as hopelessness in Islam's dictionary. Anyone can become Allah's friend within seconds, no matter how much he has committed sins.
How should a person repent There are basically 4 things you must do in order to fulfill repentance requirements.
- Get away from the sin (In your case you've said Kalama-e-Shahdah, so you've made yourself distant from the sin)
- To feel embarrassed of committing the sin
- To promise yourself that you won't commit a sin again (but in case you commit it again, you can repent again, unlimited number of times)
- If you've skipped any individual's rights, you should give it back to him. (In your case you haven't done anything with respect to others' rights, so this requirement is not necessary for this situation).
Brother, Satin always comes to a sinner and tells him that Allah won't forgive you since you've committed so many sins repeatedly. But he actually lies in an attempt to instill despair and hopelessness. But always remember Allah forgives ANYONE who asks for forgiveness.
To the 3rd point you mentioned: you need to have the intention to never commit that sin again, you don't need to intend to never commit any sin. Thats a difference