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Suppose I have done the sin X - Will Allah forgive me for doing it? What must I do to be forgiven?

Motivation: We have a load of questions (see the list at the end) on the site where someone confesses to have committed some sin and asks whether Allah will forgive him or her. I think that all of these questions essentially have the same answer and it is counterproductive to repeat it all the time. The sin itself and the backstory of the one asking the question is largely irrelevant.

Optional guidelines for an answer:

Feel free to link to other questions where something is already covered in more depth.

  • To what extent can a human speak on behalf of Allah, does one have the permission to say whether Allah will forgive a specific person?
  • What should a person do after committing a sin? (kaffara, repentance etc.)
  • Could a person be forgiven if he has not repented?
  • Is it guaranteed that Allah will accept repentance of everyone who repents?

A list of some related questions:

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    +1 I agree it is a common type of questions
    – IrbidMath
    Jul 30 at 14:22
3
+250

Bismillah. Alhamdulillahi rabbil-'alamin was-Salatu was-Salam 'ala Sayyidil-Mursalin wa 'ala 'Alihi wa Sahbihi Ajma'in.


I have done the sin X - Will Allah forgive me for doing it?

First of all, we must mention that nature of human being to commit sins is the reason why Allah created him:

Abu Ayyub Ansari reported that Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) said:

If you were not to commit sins, Allah would have swept you out of existence and would have replaced you by another people who have committed sin, and then asked forgiveness from Allah, and He would have granted them pardon.

Sahih Muslim 2748b, Sahih Muslim 2749

Another evidence is:

It was narrated from Anas that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said:

Every son of Adam commits sin, and the best of those who commit sin are those who repent.’”

Sunan Ibn Majah 4251, Mishkat al-Masabih 2341

Quran says following

Sahih International

And if Allah were to impose blame on the people for what they have earned, He would not leave upon the earth any creature. But He defers them for a specified term. And when their time comes, then indeed Allah has ever been, of His servants, Seeing.

Quran, 35:45

This basically means that no one has "insurance" from committing sins except those for whom Allah wills (Prophets, for example).

In Islamic Sharia there are types of sins, like major and minor and Shirk is considered to be the number one. Shirk is an unforgivable sin if one dies without repenting from it:

Indeed, Allah does not forgive association with Him, but He forgives what is less than that for whom He wills. And he who associates others with Allah has certainly fabricated a tremendous sin.

Quran 4:48

As such, becoming hopeless of the mercy of Allah is prohibited. The Quran declares:

Say, "O My servants who have transgressed against themselves [by sinning], do not despair of the mercy of Allah . Indeed, Allah forgives all sins. Indeed, it is He who is the Forgiving, the Merciful."

Quran 39:53

These evidences lead to conclusion that Allah can forgive any kind of sin, be it a number one sin - Shirk or smallest sin if the sinner does not despair of the mercy of Allah and sincerely repents (makes Tawba).

What must I do to be forgiven?

In order to be forgiven for committing a sin one should make Tawba.

According to Islamic Sharia, when an act of tawba is performed by a Muslim, Allah generally accepts it. However, that tawba should be sincere and true. Islamic scholars agree upon the fact that if a person is not ashamed of his past misdeeds, or does not intend to forsake those, then his verbal announcement of tawba is an open mockery of repentance. Mere verbal repentance does not account for a true tawba. A sincere tawba has some criteria.

Ali was asked as to what is tawba, and he replied that tawba consists of six elements:

  1. to regret one's past evil deeds;
  2. to carry out Divine duties (fard, wajib etc.) that were missed;
  3. to return the rights/properties of others that were usurped unjustly;
  4. to ask forgiveness of a person who has been wronged by him, physically or verbally;
  5. to make a firm resolve of avoiding the sin in future; and
  6. to employ oneself in Allah's obedience, as he previously employed himself in Allah's disobedience.

Wikipedia

If a sinner seriously takes the step of repentance - makes Tawba sincerely then he leaves no way for Allah except forgive him.

Narrated Abu Huraira:

The Prophet (ﷺ) said, "When Allah created the Creation, He wrote in His Book--and He wrote (that) about Himself, and it is placed with Him on the Throne--'Verily My Mercy overcomes My Anger.'"

Sahih al-Bukhari 7404, Sahih Muslim 2751c, Mishkat al-Masabih 2364

Narrated Anas bin Malik:

Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) said, "Allah is more pleased with the repentance of His slave than anyone of you is pleased with finding his camel which he had lost in the desert."

Sahih al-Bukhari 6309

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    Is this shi'a view? If so please make some kind of distinction. What I mean to say the agreed upon steps according to sunni's are less than those quoted in the statement of 'Ali ibn Abi Talib however they might be included.
    – Medi1Saif
    Jul 30 at 16:51
  • No. This is not Shi'a view.
    – Muslim
    Jul 30 at 17:36
  • Well the source of the quote Na'aruful Qur'an certainly is.
    – Medi1Saif
    Jul 30 at 18:02
  • I gave all the references to sources I used.
    – Muslim
    Jul 30 at 18:07
  • Yeah and Wikipedia is referring to a shi'a tafsir. Your comment doesn't answer my inquiry.
    – Medi1Saif
    Aug 1 at 12:04

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