“Say: “O ‘Ibaadi (My slaves) who have transgressed against themselves (by committing evil deeds and sins)! Despair not of the Mercy of Allah, verily, Allah forgives all sins. Truly, He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.
And turn in repentance and in obedience with true Faith (Islamic Monotheism) to your Lord and submit to Him (in Islam) before the torment comes upon you, (and) then you will not be helped.” [ Surah al-Zumar 39:53-54 ]
The word tawbah (repentance) is a great word with deep meaning. You will see that repentance is something more than seeking forgiveness. Because this is a serious matter, there have to be conditions attached. The scholars mentioned the conditions of repentance, based on ayahs from the Quran and ahadith.
Here is a list of some of them:
1) Giving up the sin immediately.
2) Regret / Remorse over having committed the sin in the past.
3) Resolve never to return to the sin.
4) If it relates to the rights of another person, then to) Return the rights or property one wrongly took. And/or making amends to those whom you have wronged, or asking for their forgiveness.
Some other important matters connected to sincere repentance:
1. You should give up the sin for the sake of Allah and not for any other reason.
2. He should feel repelled by the sin and the harm it causes. This means that sincere repentance cannot be accompanied by feelings of enjoyment and pleasure when remembering past sins, or wishing to go back to it in the future.
3. To be made out of fear and hope, and be accompanied by consistency in worship.
4. You should make up the duties towards Allah that you have missed, if that is possible, such as paying the zakah which you withheld in the past; and because this is something which is the right of the poor.
5. You should keep away from places of sin if your being there may make you fall into sin again and also you should keep away from those who helped you to commit sin. There are many cases in which people have gone back to sin because they resumed relationships with their former companions.
6. Destroy haram things that you may have in your possession, such as intoxicants, musical instruments, haram pictures and movies, statues and so on. They should be broken, destroyed or burnt.
7. Choose righteous friends who will help you against your nafs (self) and who will be an alternative to bad company.
8. Focus on your body which has been fed on haram substances and direct its energies towards obeying Allah. Seek out halaal substances with which to nourish your body.
9. Do a lot of good deeds, for good deeds cancel out bad deeds.
I ask Allah to give us and you strength to do that which He loves and is pleased with. May He accept the repentance of us all, for He is the One Who accepts repentance, the Most Merciful.