The Prophets Sought Forgiveness from their Lord
From a transcribed khutbah:
All Praise is due to Allaah, we praise Him, seek His aid and His Forgiveness. We seek refuge in Allaah from the evils of our souls and the evils of our actions. Whomsoever Allaah guides there is none to misguide and whomsoever Allaah misguides there is none to guide. I bear witness that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, alone, without any partners and I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and messenger.
“O you who believe, fear Allaah as He should be feared, and die not except as Muslims.” (3:102)
“O mankind! Be dutiful to your Lord, Who created you from a single person (Adam), and from him (Adam) He created his wife [Hawwa (Eve)], and from them both He created many men and women and fear Allah through Whom you demand your mutual (rights), and (do not cut the relations of) the wombs (kinship). Surely, Allah is Ever an All-Watcher over you.” (4:1)
“O you who believe! Keep your duty to Allaah and fear Him, and speak (always) the truth. He will direct you to do righteous good deeds and will forgive you your sins. And whosoever obeys Allaah and His Messenger he has indeed achieved a great achievement (i.e. he will be saved from the Hell-fire and made to enter Paradise).”(33:70-71)
The truest speech is the Book of Allaah, and the best way is the way of Muhammad (ﷺ). The worst of affairs are the newly invented matters, every newly invented matter is an innovation, every innovation is misguidance, and every misguidance is in the Fire.
My brothers and sisters, I admonish you with the admonishment of Allaah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala) « Ittaqullaah » : Fear Allaah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala) as He deserves to be feared, and know that Allaah has commanded us throughout His Book the Qur’an in many many verses to make tawbah, to seek Allaah’s forgiveness and to turn to Him repentantly.
And He has named and described Himself as Al-Ghaffaar, Al-Ghafoor, Al-Ghaafir adh-dhunoob, dhil-Maghfira. Allaah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala) has described Himself with these titles, with these names, descriptions and attributes: that He is The Oft-Forgiving, He is the One who forgives, the Possessor of forgiveness. Allaah is vast in terms of His forgiveness for those who turn to Him and seek it from Him.
Allaah (the Most High) praises and commands those who seek forgiveness from Him, and those who seek forgiveness from Allaah (the Most High) He has promised them an immense reward. And all of this shows us the great importance of al-istighfaar, and its excellence, and our need for it. And Allaah (the Most High) mentions to us the stories of His Prophets and their people – and those Prophets, they were the ones who were foremost in seeking forgiveness from Allaah, and they would constantly repent to Allaah, and they would constantly ask Allaah (the Most High) to forgive them. The likes of our two parents Adam (‘alayhi salaam) and his wife, they said : « Our Lord we have transgressed against our own selves, and if You do not forgive us, and if You do not show us mercy, we shall surely be amongst the losers. » [7:23]
And likewise, Allaah (the Most High) mentions to us the case of Nuh (‘alayhi salaam), that he said : « And unless You forgive me, O Allaah, and You have mercy upon me, I will indeed be amongst the losers. » [11:47] And likewise, in another place Allaah (the Most High) mentions with regard to Nuh, that he said : « My Lord forgive me and my two parents, and fogive whomsoever enters my house as a believer, and forgive all the believing men and believing women. » [71:28]
And likewise Allaah (the Most High) makes mention of Moosaa (‘alayhi salaam), that he said : « O my Lord, indeed I have transgressed against my own soul, so forgive me. » [28:16]
And likewise, Allaah (the Most High) mentions with regard to His Prophet-King Dawood (‘alayhi salaam), that he sought forgiveness from his Lord and he fell down in prostration, turning to Allaah in repentance.
And Allaah said regarding Sulayman (‘alayhi salaam), that he said : « My Lord forgive me and bestow upon me a kingdom that will not belong to anyone after me (meaning « give me a kingdom that will not be given to anyone, of that magnitude, after me »), for indeed You are Allaah The Bestower. » [38:35]
And likewise He commanded the seal of all the Prophets and the Messengers, Muhammad ﷺ when he said to him : « And seek forgiveness for your sins O Muhammad, and for the believing men and the believing women. » [47:19] Prophet after Prophet, Messenger after Messenger, all of them seeking from their Lord forgiveness. Just as Allaah’s Messenger said : « O mankind, O people, seek forgiveness and turn to Allaah in repentance, for indeed I repent to Allaah a hundred times in a day. » That’s Muhammad ﷺ.
So Allaah (the Most High) Has commanded us to seek forgiveness, just as He commanded the Prophets and the Messengers to seek forgiveness, and we cannot do without that, my brothers and sisters. Just as Allaah (the Most High) commanded the believers and He commanded the ummah of Muhammad ﷺ with these words, that you should be upright and steadfast in the obedience to Allaah, and that you must seek forgiveness from Him, (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala).
And Allaah (the Most High) stated in a hadith Qudsi, that Allaah’s Messenger ﷺ said , that Allaah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala) said : « O My servants, indeed you commit errors in the night and in the day, and I forgive all of sins, so seek forgiveness from Me, and surely I shall forgive you. »
So, servants of Allaah, my brothers and my sisters, in seeking forgiveness there is immense benefits and there is tremendous reward, and it is the reason for attaining the actual forgiveness from Allaah, and for our shortcomings and the errors that we commit in the day and in the night, as occurs in the hadith of the Prophet ﷺ , that Allaah said : « Seek forgiveness from Me and I shall forgive you. »
Just as Allaah (the Most High) Has said : « Whomsoever does an evil against himself and transgresses against his own soul (whoever commits a sin) then he seeks forgiveness from Allaah, he will find Allaah All-Forgiving and Most-Merciful. »
And there occurs in a hadith Qudsi, that Allaah’s Messenger ﷺ said, that Allaah (the Most High) said : « O son of Adam, so long as you call upon Me and you ask of Me, I shall forgive you for whatever you have done and I do not care » and then He said (the Most High): « Even if your sins were to reach the hights of the clouds of the sky and were you then to seek forgiveness from Me, I would forgive you. » and Allaah (the Most High) continues in this very same hadith : « O son of Adam, were you to come to Me with sins as great as the earth itself , and were you then to face Me, ascribing no partner with Me in worship, I would bring to you forgiveness nearly as great as it. »
Forgiveness, my brothers and sisters, is something that Allaah (the Most High) bestows upon His believing servants, we cannot do without istighfaar, we cannot do without our Lord. If the Messenger Muhammad ﷺ was commanded to seek forgiveness, then who are we ? If the Messenger Muhammad ﷺ sought Allaah’s forgiveness a hundred times a day, are we not more in need of Allaah’s forgiveness ? A Prophet of Allaah whose earlier sins and later sins were forgiven, he would say « that I seek forgiveness a hundred times a day »… we are in more need, my brothers and sisters, because our sins are great and our shortcomings are many, and our need of Allaah (the Most High) is immense.
So we ask Allaah (the Most High) to forgive us, and we ask Allaah to make us from those who are repentant, and not to be negligent with regard to turning to Allaah (the Most High).
And from the benefits, my brothers and sisters, of seeking forgiveness, is that it is a defense and a protection from the punishment and retribution of Allaah, that Allaah will not punish so long as you are seeking forgiveness from Him. Allaah Has said in this aayah : « And Allaah will not punish them whilst they seek forgiveness » [8:33], whilst you are making istighfaar, whilst you are seeking forgiveness from Allaah, Allaah (the Most High) will not punish.
So making istighfaar is a barrier to the punishment of Allaah – if only we knew, my brothers and sisters.
Second part :
And from the benefits of making istighfaar, of seeking forgiveness from Allaah (the Most High), no doubt they are numerous : from those benefits is that Allaah (the Most High) will remove distress from you, that He will remove the sadness from you, that He will dispel the worries and the anxiety that you feel, and there is not a person except that from time to time he feels sadness and distress and anxiety. Turn to Allaah in repentance and Allaah will remove that from you.
There occurs in a hadith – though the hadith is dha’eef, as Shaykh Al-Albani (rahimahullaah) has pointed out, many of the scholars have declared it to be authentic. Nevertheless the meaning of the hadith is correct, wherein it is ascribed to the Prophet ﷺ that he said: « Whomsoever clings to istighfaar (to seeking forgiveness), Allaah (the Most High) will find him a way out from every constriction, and from every distress Allaah will give him an exit, and Allaah will provide for him from places that he could never have imagined » … istighfaar removes constriction, removes distress. And Allaah will provide… you are looking for a sustenance from some direction ? by making istighfaar Allaah will give you from directions you never would have imagined in your life, because of the fact that you turned to Him with istighfaar. It is a reason for the sending down of rain, istighfaar. You want crops to come out of the ground ? You need rain ? Seek forgiveness from Allaah and Allaah sends down the rain. You want provision from Allaah ? Make istighfaar. You want children ? Make istighfaar. You want increase in vegetation and trees and plentiful water ? Make istighfaar.
Just as Allaah (the Most High) said, mentioning the Prophet Nuh (‘alayhi salaam) that he said to them : « Seek forgiveness from your Lord, verily He is Oft-Forgiving, He will send down rain to you in abundance and He will give increase in wealth and children, and He will bestow upon you gardens, and He will bestow upon you rivers. » [71:10-12] For whom ? For those who worship Allaah alone and seek forgiveness from Him : abundance of rain, increase in children, increase in wealth, He will give you gardens and He will give you rivers ; for those who seek forgiveness from Allaah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala).
Allaah gives strength to the ones who seek forgiveness from Him. Just as Allaah said, regarding Hud (‘alayhi salaam), when he said to his people : « O my people, seek forgiveness from your Lord, then turn to Him in repentance, and He will send down upon you an abundance of rain, and He will give increase in strength upon the strength that you possess. » [11:52] Istighfaar. If a person repents to Allaah and seek forgiveness from Allaah (the Most High), Allaah will send down upon him an abundance of rain for their crops to grow and their fruits to come out of the ground, and He will increase them in « quwwa ila quwwatikum », upon the quwwa (strength) that you already possess.
So O servants of Allaah, seeking forgiveness is legislated for any time, any moment, there is no particular time of day when it is forbidden for you, so seek forgiveness from Allaah (the Most High. Seeking forgiveness is legislated for any time, however there are times within which seeking forgiveness is more excellent, so the Most-High loves forgiveness to be sought after the fulfillment of the acts of worship, and that will be an expiation for the shortcomings in worship. Just as it is legislated after each of the five daily prayers, that Muhammad ﷺ used to seek istighfaar thrice after every tasleem – so this is legislated, straight after an act of worship, istighfaar – Because this is the Sunnah, after acts of worship a person seeks forgiveness from Allaah.
It is also legislated to seek forgiveness upon concluding the night prayer. Allaah Has stated regarding the muttaqeen : « They used to sleep but little at night, and the hours before dawn they were found asking Allaah’s forgiveness. » [51:18] And likewise Allaah said « And those who pray and beg Allaah’s pardon in the last hours of the night. » It is also legislated to seek forgiveness after departing ‘Arafat, another tremendous act of worship, at Hajj, as they depart from ‘Arafat, after one standing there, just as Allaah Has said : « Then depart from whence the people depart, and ask Allaah for forgiveness, truly Allaah is Oft-Forgiving, Most-Merciful. » [2:199] Seeking Allaah’s forgiveness after an act of ‘ibaadah (worship), not just moving away and forgetting. Ask Allaah to forgive you, because your du’a (supplication) is likely to be accepted.
And there are many times, my brothers and sisters, and there are many things that can be done wherein Allaah (the Most High) will forgive you and accept your repentance : whomsoever says « SubhanAllaah wa bihamdihi » (how perfect is Allaah, free from all imperfections, and I praise Him), a hundred times a day, the Prophet ﷺ said, will be forgiven his sins even if they were like the foam upon the sea. In a narration he said : « Whomsoever says : Laa ilaaha illa Allaah, wahdahu laa sharikalah, lahul-mulk wa lahul-hamd wa huwa ‘ala kulli shay-in qadeer, a hundred times a day, he will receive the reward of freeing ten slaves, a hundred good deeds will be written for him, a hundred sins will be wiped away from him, and he will receive protection with Allaah from the shaytaan up until night. And no one will come with anything better except for the one who comes with more than that. »
In the last third of the night, my brothers and sisters, turn to Allaah in repentance, just as the Prophet ﷺ said : « Our Lord descends to the lowest heaven, and He says : « Is there anyone who will invoke me so that I may respond to him ? Is there anyone who will ask Me so I will grant his request ? Is there anyone asking My forgiveness so I may forgive him ? ».
And likewise the Prophet ﷺ said : « A supplication made between the adhaan and the iqaamah it is not refused. »
Likewise, the Prophet ﷺ said : « There are three supplications that are answered, and about which there is no doubt : the du’a of the parent for his child, the du’a of the traveller, and the du’a of the one who is oppressed – in a narration, « even if he be a kaafir » – for indeed there is no hijaab between the du’a of the oppressed and Allaah (the Most High), there is no barrier between them.
And likewise the Prophet ﷺ said that « The du’a is accepted at the descend of the rain. » So the believers in the time of the Prophet used to rejoice at the rain, and they used to call upon Allaah and seek His forgiveness at the time of rain.
And likewise, the Prophetﷺ said that « When you are in sajdah (prostrating) make plentiful du’a because you are worthy of being answered. »
And likewise he said : « The supplication of anyone of you will be answered so long as he is not hasty, and he does not say « I supplicate yet I was not answered. » So you should be expecting to being answered and be attentive and certain, my brothers and sisters, just as the Prophet ﷺ said : « Supplicate to Allaah whilst you are certain of a response, and know that Allaah does not respond to a du’a emanating from a heart that is negligent and inattentive. »
Make du’a to Allaah and seek His forgiveness, race to the forgiveness of your Lord, run to it, march towards it, my brothers and sisters, for indeed the du’a of the believer, the worshipper of Allaah, is worthy of being answered. Allaah said (the Most High) : « And march forth towards the forgiveness from your Lord, and for a Paradise that is as wide as the heavens and the earth, prepared for the muttaqeen (the righteous and pious ones) »
May Allaah (the Most High) make us from amongst them.
Transcribed by Umm Hurayrah. May Allaah reward her with good.