Pearl of Wisdom
'Goodness in its entirety is man's guarding over himself.'
Imam Ali ibn Hussain Zayn al-'Abidin [as]
Tuhaf al-'Uqul, p. 278
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"Except those who repent and amend and make (the truth) manifest: to these do I turn (mercifully), and I am the oft-Returning (to mercy), the Most Merciful." (2:160).
"Al-Tawwab" is an Attribute whose root word is tawbah, repentance, which means: returning to Allah.
It means that He accepts His servants' repentance, that is, He resumes bestowing His grace upon them, enabling them to repent, making it easy for them to do so. Al-Tawwab, then, accepts repentance.
He says in the Holy Qur’an, "... then He turned to them (mercifully) so that they might turn (to Him); surely Allah is oft-Returning (to mercy), the Most Merciful" (Qur’an, 9:118). It is known, hence, that if Allah does not accept the repentance of one of His servants, the latter is not considered repentant, for the initiation of repentance in all reality is from Allah Who concludes it with His acceptance thereof.
Al-Tawwab facilitates repentance for His servants, time and over again, by the Signs which He manifests for them, and the warning whereby He warns them; so, when they become familiar with the penalty of their sins, they become frightened, and they return to repentance and Allah's favor returns to them when He accepts their repentance.
Al-Tawwab accepts the repentance of His servants and forgives their sins. He accepts the repentance of one who disobeys Him then returns to obeying Him. And if he commits sin then returns to Him, He welcomes him back. He forgives the one who slips from the right path then apologizes to Him and overlooks his sin. As long as the servant of Allah seeks tawbah, the Lord remains Forgiving.
The light inspired by this Attribute is that one who accepts the apologies of criminals as well as friends and relatives time and over again derives his conduct from this Attribute. So that we may model our conduct after it, we ought to repent and seek His acceptance of our repentance; we should go to Him in every circumstance. Also, repetition of repentance prepares a servant of Allah for Allah's love for him, which is the greatest honor and status, for repentance is admission of one's deficiency and shortcoming, and the standing at the threshold of the Most Knowing most humbly.
For this reason, the Messenger of Allah used to repent quite often in order to show us the path to happiness. It is also one of the good manners of a believer who repeats this Attribute quite often to forgive those who wrong him, to be benevolent to those who mistreat him, and to accept the apologies of others.
The Messenger of Allah has desired very much that those who believe in him should always seek Allah's forgiveness. He once said, "By Allah! I seek forgiveness of Allah, and I repent to Him, every day more than seventy times." Allah has forgiven all the faults of our master Muhammad, yet he seeks His forgiveness and repents to Him more than seventy times a day, nay, even a hundred times and a day! So, what can we say about how often should Muslims repent to Him and seek His forgiveness?
Anas ibn Malik has said that he had heard the Messenger of Allah quoting his Lord saying, "O son of Adam! So long as you invoke Me and place all your hope on Me, I shall forgive you, and I do not mind. O son of Adam! Even if your sins were to pile up and reach the skies, then you seek My forgiveness, I shall forgive you. O son of Adam! If you come to Me after having committed as many sins as would fill the earth, believing in Me, associating no partners with Me, I shall grant you their equal in forgiveness."