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Can I get a clarification regarding the meaning of istighfar?



Alhamdulillah, praise and thanks to Allah for the many countless blessings He has blessed us all with. Blessings and salutations to the Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his wives, his family, companions and all those that follow his teachings to the day of judgement.

The word istighfar is defined by al-Syeikh al-Jurjani in his book al-Ta’rifat as attaching little importance to one’s good deeds and try to do the best he could. While at the same time considers mistakes as great sins and avoid committing them.

According to ahl kalam, istighfar means repenting and asking for forgiveness after witnessing the harmful effects of one’s sin and turning away from it. A scholar once said istighfar is asking for forgiveness and improving oneself through one’s words and actions.

Another definition of istighfar is seeking forgiveness or asking for the nullification of sins, removing the effects and protection from their harms. Ibn al-Qayyim said: “The true meaning of al-Maghfirah (forgiveness) is the protection against harmful sins. Thus, anything that protects one’s head from harm is known as al-Mighfar.

Making istighfar is a commandment from Allah SWT:

فَقُلْتُ اسْتَغْفِرُوا رَبَّكُمْ إِنَّهُ كَانَ غَفَّارًا ﴿١٠﴾يُرْسِلِ السَّمَاءَ عَلَيْكُم مِّدْرَارًا

“And said, 'Ask forgiveness of your Lord. Indeed, He is ever a Perpetual Forgiver. He will send [rain from] the sky upon you in [continuing] showers.”

Surah Nuh (10-11)

Ibn Kathir said: “You should turn to your God from transgressions and repent, for every person who repents, no matter how great the sin is, surely Allah SWT will send pouring rain from the heavens.

May Allah SWT bless us with understanding in our religion. Amin.