Istighfar: A Prayer And Answer


By Sabiqah Bello

Istighfar is an Arabic term that essentially connotes to the act of seeking forgiveness from Allah. However, Istighfar is not only a means of gaining Allah’s forgiveness and mercy, it is a beautiful supplication with multitude benefits. Istighfar remedies anxiety and sorrow, and increases provision (rizq).

It is essential to the human heart in finding solace, ease, and a sense of profound connection to Allah. Ibn Abbas (ra) reported that the Messenger of Allah SWA said: “If anyone constantly seeks pardon (from Allah), Allah will appoint for him a way out of every distress and a relief from every anxiety, and will provide sustenance for him from where he expects not.” (Abu Dawud)

Istighfar for the heart

Istighfar is a source of strength and steadfastness for the heart. It cleanses the heart from the stain of sin, arrogance, lies, etc. Essentially, Istighfar is the ultimate cure for the spiritual diseases of the heart. These diseases have an impact on our outward actions, because they are often the cause of other sins. In a hadith, it is narrated that the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said: “When the believer commits sin, a black spot appears on his heart. If he repents and gives up that sin and seeks forgiveness, his heart will be polished. But if (the sin) increases, (the black spot) increases” [Ibn Majah].

Engaging in Istighfar does not only cleanse our hearts, but also helps to suppress the feelings and thoughts that distance us from our Creator. By removing the checks and hurdles in the way of obeying the commands of Allah, we act upon those commands in a practical manner, and keep our hearts nourished with His remembrance.

Istighfar as a means of earning wordly sustenance

Allah is Ar-razzaq, the provider of sustenance. He creates all means of nourishment and gives livelihood to His creations. By seeking His forgiveness, Allah promises to give provision and sustenance to His servants.

Ask forgiveness of your Lord. Indeed, He is ever a Perpetual Forgiver. He will send [rain from] the sky upon you in [continuing] showers. And give you increase in wealth and children and provide for you gardens and provide for you rivers.” (Quran 71: 10 -12)

When one engages in sincere Istighfar, Allah “provides for him in ways he does not expect.” Istighfar is a means of abundance, growth, and increasing glory and protection. It is the gateway to relief and happiness.

Istighfar as a means of earning for Allah’s mercy and attaiment of Jannah

In the Qur’an, Allah SWT constantly prompts mankind to seek His Forgiveness as He is the ‘Oft-Forgiving’ and ‘Most Merciful’. Say, “O My servants who have transgressed against themselves [by sinning], do not despair of the mercy of Allah SWT. Indeed, Allah SWT forgives all sins. Indeed, it is He who is the Forgiving, the Merciful.” (Quran 39: 53)

Sayyidul Istighfar is the best form of “Istighfar”,often considered the master prayer for seeking forgiveness from Allah SWT. Every sentence of Sayyidul Istighfar depends on eternity, where there is the confession of the Lordship of Almighty. Sayyidul istighfar is also an acknowledgment of His creation. The benefits of making the Sayyidul Istighfar dua is narrated in the following hadith:

“If somebody recites it during the day with firm faith in it, and dies on the same day before the evening, he will be from the people of Paradise; and if somebody recites it at night with firm faith in it, and dies before the morning, he will be from the people of Paradise.” (Sahih al-Bukhari 6306)

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