Tawbah from all sins is wājib (obligatory) upon every Muslim, no matter how small or how great, and in all situations till death.
Allāh the Exalted has mentioned many qualities that He likes and loves that His servants possess them. He has also made entry into Paradise dependent upon such qualities.
Allāh says, for example:
Indeed Allāh loves those who do good (muhsineen) Indeed Allāh loves those who have taqwá of Him (muttaqeen) Indeed Allāh loves those who place their reliance upon Him (mutawakkileen) Indeed Allāh loves those who are just (muqsiteen)
One such quality is Tawbah – repentance. The Exalted said:
Indeed Allāh loves those who constantly repent and those who keep themselves clean and pure [2:222]
Anas ibn Mālik reported that the Messenger (ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam) said:
Allāh is more pleased with the repentance of His servant than a person who rides his camel in a waterless desert and the camel is lost; even though upon it is his provision and drink. Having lost all hope of finding it he sits down in the shade of the tree. While he is resting the camel appears in front of him. He gets hold of it by the nose-string and out of extreme joy says: O Lord you are my servant and I am your Lord. He says this out of boundless joy.
Allāh is more pleased than this person who at the muʿmīnt of thinking he is ruined finds that his lost camel returns to him along with all his provisions and drink without which he would starve and die. Imagine the joy that you would feel in such a situation.
So what does the word tawbah mean?
The word Tawbah comes from the verb ‘Taaba’ meaning to return, to come back. In the Shar’eeah it means to return from the disobedience of Allāh to His obedience, to return from sinning to obedience and fear of Allāh Azza wa jall
Tawbah is wājib (obligatory) upon every Muslim from all sins no matter how small or how great in all situations till death. Allāh the Exalted says:
O you who believe! Turn to Allāh in sincere repentance [66:8]
Tawbah is one of the means by which one enters Paradise and achieves salvation. The Exalted says:
And turn to Allāh together O believers, in order that you may succeed [24:31]
By sincere Tawbah, Allāh forgives sins whether serious/grave or numerous. He said:
Say: O my servants who have been excessive in sins! Despair not of the mercy of Allāh. Who forgives all sins. Indeed, He is the Forgiver, the Mercy -Giving [39:53]
The door of Tawbah is open till the sun rises from the west. This is one of the signs of the Day of Judgement. There are many other signs which the Messenger (ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam) has pointed out to us such as the frequent occurrence of earthquakes, the increase in the number of women, the rise in killings and many others. The Messenger (ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam) said:
Allāh, the Glorious and Exalted stretches His Hand out during the night so that people may repent for the sins committed from dawn to dusk and He stretches out His hand during the day so that people may repent for the sins committed from dusk to dawn until the sun rises from the West
Allāh has given examples of some of the serious sins which he forgives: He said:
And those who invoke not any other deity along with Allāh nor take the life which Allāh has made sacred except for just cause and whoever does that shall (not only) encounter sin but the punishment will be doubled for him on the Day of Judgement and he will dwell therein in humiliation: unless he repents, reaffirms his faith and works righteous deeds. For them Allāh will change their evil deeds into good. Allāh is the Forgiver, the Mercy-Giving [25:68-70]
So Allāh’s Mercy encompasses every single thing and every single sin. Provided that the servant repents for that sin. The angels say as mentioned in Allāh’s Book:
O our Lord! You have encompassed everything with (your) Mercy and your Knowledge
So these are just some aspects of the quality of Tawbah . In the second khuṭbah we shall go through the necessary conditions of Tawbah.