In ayah 110, we can once again see the Wisdom of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala in order to save sinners from total disappointment. It was said that a sin was a sin, big or small. When a sinner repents and seeks Allah’s forgiveness, he finds Him forgiving, merciful. As obvious, there is an element of persuasion for those who have committed sin suggesting that they still had the time and the hope to just desist and repent sincerely; nothing is lost, Allah will forgive everything.
وَمَن يَعْمَلْ سُوءاً أَوْ يَظْلِمْ نَفْسَهُ ثُمَّ يَسْتَغْفِرِ اللَّهَ يَجِدِ اللَّهَ غَفُوراً رَّحِيماً
“And whoever does evil or wrong his soul and then seeks forgiveness of Allah he will find Allah Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.”
The Reality of Repentance
Ayah 110 tells us that all sins, whether they affect others or affect one’s own self i.e. whether they violate the rights of human being or the right of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, can be forgiven by one’s repenting and praying for forgiveness. But, it is necessary to know the reality of showing repentance and seeking forgiveness. Mere verbal declarations of, “I seek Allah’s forgiveness” and, “I turn to Him in repentance” are not acts of genuine repentance as such.
Therefore, according to a consensus of Ulema, the person who is involved in some sin, is not ashamed of it and does not leave it or, at least, does not resolve to leave it in the future, then, his verbal declaration of Astaghfirullah is an open mockery of repentance.
In short, for repentance to be genuine, three things are necessary:
1. Being ashamed of past sins.
2. Immediately leaving the sin one is in.
3. Resolving to stay away from sin in future.
However, forgiveness for sins related to the rights of the servants of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala has to be sought from the wronged party itself; or, one should, to begin with, pay what was due or fulfill what was denied. These are binding conditions of genuine repentance.