Will Allah Forgive Me?
Sometimes a man asks: I would like to repent, but I have such a huge collection, and such a wide variety of evil deeds in my account that I do not know if Allah will forgive me.
Let me tell you in reply, my brother, that this is not your specific problem but that of many a young man who wants to repent his sins. Let me give you the example of a young man. He started his career of sin at a very early age. By the time he had reached seventeen years of his there was not a sin - major or minor - that he had not committed teeming up with people of all sorts - young and old. He had even committed indecencies with a little girl adding to the list of thefts committed on various occasions. Then he repented, began to do his tahajjud, fast every Monday and Thursday, and read the Qur'an after every morning Prayer. But, he used to ask, is this repentance acceptable (to Allah)?
Our Answer to him and to every sinner is that we should always turn to the Qur'an and sunnah to find out what they have to say about the problem at hand, and what is the cure and solution they offer. When we refer to the qur'an in this regard we find that Allah, glorified be He, tells us: "Tell them (O Muhammad ): 'O My slaves who have wronged their souls, do not despair of Allah's mercy, for Allah will forgive all the sins. He is indeed very Forgiving, very Compassionate, Turn to Him then, and obey Him (in all your affairs).'" (Al-Zumar:53,54). This then is the Answer which does not need further elucidation.
As for the thought that the sins are so numerous that Allah may not forgive them, it arises, first of all, from a lack of faith and knowledge of the magnitude of Allah's mercy. Secondly, it is because of the lack of appreciation of Allah's capability to forgive any number of sins. Thirdly, it indicates failure on the part of the penitent to come up with another important deed of the heart viz., "hope". And fourthly, it is lack of appreciation of the way in which repentance can wipe out sins. we shall therefore, discuss each of these points a little more in detail.
As for the first, it should be enough to quote Allah Himself who says: "My mercy has encompassed every thing." (Al-A'raf:56)
As for the second, a hadith qudsi should be enough to quote. Said the Prophet on whom be peace: "Says Allah, 'He who knows (and believes) that I forgive all sins, then I do forgive all his sins, and do not care - so long as he does not suggest partners unto Me." And the rule will be applied (continues the Prophet ) in the Hereafter."
As for the third, another hadith should offer the cure. The Prophet quotes Allah as having said: "Son of Adam! If your sins were to reach the limits of the sky, and then you seek My forgiveness, I shall forgive you, and I do not care. Son of Adam! If you will bring sins equal in volume to the earth and then you meet Me (on the day of Judgment) in the state that you would not have suggested partners unto Me, I shall give you in return forgiveness equal to the volume of the earth."
And, as for the fourth, another hadith of the Prophet should be enough for the purpose. Said he: "He who repented is like him who has no sin on him."