Repentance, Redemption, & Salvation: An Islamic Framework
Published: February 5, 2018 • Updated: November 12, 2023
Author: Roohi Tahir
بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيْمِ
In the name of God, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
Indeed, Allah loves those who are constantly repentant and loves those who purify themselves. [Qur’an 2:222]
But indeed, I am the Perpetual Forgiver of whoever repents and believes and does righteousness and then continues in guidance. [Qur’an 20:82]
Explore similar papers
The Afterlife, Repentance, and Redemption
[They are] those whose effort is lost in worldly life, while they think that they are doing well in work. [Qur’an 18:104]
Whoever disbelieves—upon him is [the consequence of] his disbelief. And whoever does righteousness—they are for themselves preparing—that He may reward those who have believed and done righteous deeds out of His bounty. Indeed, He does not like the disbelievers. [Qur’an 30:44-45]
[For such is the state of the disbelievers], until, when death comes to one of them, he says, "My Lord, send me back that I might do righteousness in that which I left behind." No! It is only a word he is saying; and behind them is a barrier until the Day they are resurrected. [Qur’an 23:99-100]
What is tawba?
And We said, "O Adam, dwell, you and your wife, in Paradise and eat therefrom in [ease and] abundance from wherever you will. But do not approach this tree, lest you be among the wrongdoers." But Satan caused them to slip out of it and removed them from that [condition] in which they had been. And We said, "Go down, [all of you], as enemies to one another, and you will have upon the earth a place of settlement and provision for a time." Then Adam received from his Lord [some] words, and He accepted his repentance. Indeed, it is He Who is the Accepting of repentance, the Merciful. We said, "Go down from it, all of you. And when guidance comes to you from Me, whoever follows My guidance—there will be no fear concerning them, nor will they grieve.” [Qur’an 2:35-38]
The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, "Were you not to commit sins, Allah would create people who would commit sins and ask for forgiveness and He would forgive them."
You have not besides Him any protector or any intercessor; so will you not be reminded? [Qur’an 32:4]
And those who, when they commit an immorality or wrong themselves [by transgression], remember Allah and seek forgiveness for their sins—and who can forgive sins except Allah?—and [who] do not persist in what they have done while they know. [Qur’an 3:135]
Sinless at birth
So he [Iblis] made them fall, through deception. And when they tasted of the tree, their private parts became apparent to them, and they began to fasten together over themselves from the leaves of Paradise. And their Lord called to them, "Did I not forbid you both from that tree and tell you that Satan is to you a clear enemy?" They said, "Our Lord, we have wronged ourselves, and if You do not forgive us and have mercy upon us, we will surely be among the losers." [Qur’an 7:22-23]
O mankind, fear your Lord and fear a Day when no father will avail his son, nor will a son avail his father at all. Indeed, the promise of Allah is truth, so let not the worldly life delude you and be not deceived about Allah by the Deceiver [Satan].[Qur’an 31:33]
Whoever does righteousness—it is for his [own] soul; and whoever does evil [does so] against it. And your Lord is not ever unjust to [His] servants. [Qur’an 41:46]
Understanding the nature of forgiveness
Say to those who have disbelieved [that] if they cease, what has previously occurred will be forgiven for them… [Qur’an 8:38]
Not all sins are alike
And establish prayer at the two ends of the day and at the approach of the night. Indeed, good deeds do away with misdeeds. That is a reminder for those who remember. [Qur’an 11:114]
Most certainly, My Mercy prevails over My Wrath50
And We have already created man and know what his soul whispers to him, and We are closer to him than [his] jugular vein [Qur’an 50:16]
Allah decreed good deeds and bad deeds, then He explained that whoever thinks of doing a good deed then does not do it, Allah will write it down as one complete good deed. If he thinks of doing a good deed and then does it, Allah [may He be glorified and exalted] will write it down between ten and seven hundred-fold, or many more. If he thinks of doing a bad deed then he does not do it, Allah will write it down as one complete good deed, and if he thinks of it then does it, Allah will write it down as one bad deed.
O Allah! Make us among the repentant, and make us among those who purify themselves.
1 Sunan Ibn Majah, Vol. 5, Book 37, Hadith 4251
2 "Repentance." Encyclopedia of Religion. Encyclopedia.com. (November 2, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/repentance
3 Wormald, Benjamin. "The Future of World Religions: Population Growth Projections, 2010-2050." Pew Research Center's Religion & Public Life Project. April 02, 2015. Accessed November 06, 2017. http://www.pewforum.org/2015/04/02/religious-projections-2010-2050/.
4 "The World's Newest Major Religion: No Religion." National Geographic. April 22, 2016. Accessed November 06, 2017. https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/04/160422-atheism-agnostic-secular-nones-rising-religion/.
5 Sahih Muslim 214 In-book reference: Book 1, Hadith 426 USC-MSA web (English) reference: Book 1, Hadith 416
6 Muhiyaddin, Mohammed Ali. A comparative study of the religions of today. New York: Vantage Press, 1985. https://s3.amazonaws.com/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/documents/1329911133books/13487787.pdf pp. 23-24
7 Ibid pp. 26-27, p. 102
8 The Prophet ﷺ said, “The believer who mixes with the people and endures their harm has a greater reward than one who does not mix with the people nor endures their harm.” Musnad Ahmad 22588
9 "Salvific Exclusivity – Shaykh Yasir Qadhi." MuslimMatters.org - Discourses in the Intellectual Traditions, Political Situation, and Social Ethics of Muslim Life. Accessed November 06, 2017. https://muslimmatters.org/2014/04/11/salvific-exclusivity-i-shaykh-yasir-qadhi/.
11 Philips, Abu Ameenah Bilal. Salvation through repentance (An Islamic view). Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: International Islamic Pub. House. p. 1
12 Who perfected everything which He created and began the creation of man from clay. [Qur’an 32:7]
13 And He taught Adam the names - all of them. [Qur’an 2:31]
14 [Qur’an 7:11-18]
15 Philips, Abu Ameenah Bilal. Salvation through repentance (An Islamic view). Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: International Islamic Pub. House. pp. 13-14
16 Philips, Abu Ameenah Bilal. Salvation through repentance (An Islamic view). Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: International Islamic Pub. House. pp. 3-4
17 Sahih Muslim, Riyad as-Salihin, Book 1, Hadith 423
18 Jami’ at-Tirmidhi, English reference: Vol. 4, Book 12, Hadith 2526 Arabic reference: Book 38, Hadith 2717
19 This is in reference to ultimate forgiveness in the Hereafter. Forgiveness at a human level between people for injustice toward one another will be discussed under the practical aspects of tawba concerning sins pertaining to the rights of man.
20 When Allah revealed the Verse: "Warn your nearest kinsmen," Allah's Messenger ﷺ got up and said, "O people of Quraish (or said similar words)! Buy (i.e., save) yourselves (from the Hellfire) as I cannot save you from Allah's Punishment; O Bani `Abd Manaf! I cannot save you from Allah's Punishment, O Safiya, the Aunt of Allah's Messenger ﷺ! I cannot save you from Allah's Punishment; O Fatima bint Muhammad! Ask me anything from my wealth, but I cannot save you from Allah's Punishment." Sahih al-Bukhari 2753, In-book reference: Book 55, Hadith 16, USC-MSA web (English) reference: Vol. 4, Book 51, Hadith 16
21 Philips, Abu Ameenah Bilal. Salvation through repentance (An Islamic view). Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: International Islamic Pub. House. pp. 15-19
22 Muhiyaddin, Mohammed Ali. A comparative study of the religions of today. New York: Vantage Press, 1985. https://s3.amazonaws.com/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/documents/1329911133books/13487787.pdf pp. 49-50
23 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 gone far astray. [Qur’an 4:116]
24 “Al-Bukhari recorded that Ibn `Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, said that some of the people of Shirk killed many people and committed Zina (illegal sexual acts) to a great extent; they came to Muhammad and said, ‘What you are saying and calling us to is good; if only you could tell us that there is an expiation for what we have done.'” Then this verse was revealed. Quran Tafsir Ibn Kathir. The Call to repent before the Punishment comes. http://www.qtafsir.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1972&Itemid=95
26 The Prophet ﷺ said, "Do good deeds properly, sincerely and moderately, and receive good news because one's good deeds will not make him enter Paradise." They asked, "Even you, O Allah's Messenger ﷺ?" He said, "Even I, unless and until Allah bestows His Pardon and Mercy on me." Sahih al-Bukhari: 6467, In-book reference: Book 81, Hadith 56, USC-MSA web (English) reference: Vol. 8, Book 76, Hadith 474
27 "Original sin." Original sin - New World Encyclopedia. http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Original_sin
28 “The Christian belief is that Jesus (peace be on him) died on the cross to save his devotees and to blot out the "original sin" committed by Adam (peace be on him) and that sheer faith in Jesus as the son of God (peace he on him) acting as and on behalf of God through the holy bond of the Trinity alone would free them from all sins.” Muhiyaddin, Mohammed Ali. A comparative study of the religions of today. New York: Vantage Press, 1985. https://s3.amazonaws.com/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/documents/1329911133books/13487787.pdf p. 51
29 Philips, Abu Ameenah Bilal. Salvation through repentance (An Islamic view). Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: International Islamic Pub. House. pp. 16-17
31 "How Can I Help." Dalits and Untouchability. https://www.dalitsolidarity.org/dalits-and-untoucchability.html
32 Stern, M. S. Al-Ghazzali on Repentance. New Delhi: Sterling Publishers, 1990. p. 22
33 Sunan Ibn Majah English reference: Vol. 1, Book 5, Hadith 1275 Arabic reference: Book 5, Hadith 1334
Also, “And let there be [arising] from you a nation inviting to [all that is] good, enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong, and those will be the successful.” [Qur’an 3:104]
34 “‘Nor let the chief deceiver deceive you about Allah’ refers to the Shaytan. This was the view of Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid, Ad-Dahhak and Qatadah. The Shaytan makes promises to them and arouses in them false desires, but there is no substance to them, as Allah says: He makes promises to them, and arouses in them false desires; and Shaytan's promises are nothing but deceptions. [4:120]” Tafsir Ibn Kathir - English [31. Luqman - Verse: 33]. http://www.recitequran.com/en/tafsir/en.ibn-kathir/31:33
35 Sahih al-Bukhari 1385, In-book reference: Book 23, Hadith 138 USC-MSA web (English) reference: Vol. 2, Book 23, Hadith 467
36 The Prophet ﷺ said: "The pen has been lifted from three: From the sleeper until he wakes up, from the minor until he grows up, and from the insane until he comes back to his senses or recovers." Sunan an-Nasa'i 3432 and in another narration: “Verily, Allah has pardoned my nation for their mistakes, their forgetfulness, and what they are coerced into doing.” Sunan Ibn Majah 2043
37 Sunan Ibn Majah (4250)
38 Sharh al-‘Umdah (4/39)
39 Sahih Muslim (121)
40 Alkhateeb, Firas. "Who Were the Kharijis?" Lost Islamic History. October 30, 2017. http://lostislamichistory.com/who-were-the-kharijis/
41 Stern, M. S. Al-Ghazzali on Repentance. New Delhi: Sterling Publishers, 1990. p. 38
42 "Al-Aqīdah of Imām Al-Ṭaḥāwī in English and Arabic." Faith in Allah الإيمان بالله. May 22, 2016. Accessed November 06, 2017. https://abuaminaelias.com/aqeedah-of-imam-tahawi/.
43 Stern, M. S. Al-Ghazzali on Repentance. New Delhi: Sterling Publishers, 1990. pp. 56-65
44 Musnad Ahmad 22302
45 Tafsīr al-Ṭabarī 9207
46 Risaalah fi al-Taubah, Zarabozo, Jamaal Al-Din M. Purification of the soul: Concept, process, and means. Denver, CO: Al-Basheer Publications & Translations, 2002. p. 382
49 Stern, M. S. Al-Ghazzali on Repentance. New Delhi: Sterling Publishers, 1990. p. 59
50 Al-Bukhari and Muslim, Riyad as-Salihin, Book 1, Hadith 419
51 Sahih Muslim 2753
52 Al-Bukhari and Muslim, Riyad as-Salihin, Book 1, Hadith 1
53 Al-Bukhari 5269
54 Al-Bukhari 6491
55 The Prophet ﷺ said, “Allah accepts the repentance of His slave so long as the death rattle has not yet reached his throat.” Sunan Ibn Majah, English reference: Vol. 5, Book 37, Hadith 4253. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “Whoever repents before the sun rises from the west, then Allah will forgive him.” Sahih Muslim 2703
56 Majmoo, Vol. 10, p. 88; Zarabozo, Jamaal Al-Din M. Purification of the soul: Concept, process, and means. Denver, CO: Al-Basheer Publications & Translations, 2002. pp. 386 - 387
57 Jami` at-Tirmidhi 55