Originally Posted by therebbe
(sincere repentance) has four conditions in Islam:
1. The person must recognize that he or she has committed a sin and truly regret having done so.
2. The person must have a sincere resolve never to commit the sin again.
3. The person must turn to Allah in humility and ask for forgiveness.
4. If the sin had caused harm to someone else, the person must make every attempt to redress the harm. [*
I believe Teshuva
is the equivalent of Tawba
The following hadîth of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) shows us that for one who sincerely repents, the gates of Allah's mercy will never be closed:
"There was a person before you who had killed ninety-nine persons and then made an inquiry about the learned persons of the world (who could show him the way to salvation). He was directed to a monk. He came to him and told him that he had killed ninety-nine persons and asked him whether there was any scope for his repentance to be accepted. The monk said: "No." So the man killed the monk as well and thus completed one hundred.
He then asked about the learned persons of the earth and he was directed to a scholar, and he told him that he had killed one hundred persons and asked him whether there was any hope for his repentance to be accepted. He said: Yes; what stands between you and the repentance? You better go to such and such land; there are people devoted to prayer and worship and you also worship along with them and do not come to the land of yours since it was an evil land (for you).
So he went away and he had hardly covered half the distance when death came to him and there was a dispute between the angels of mercy and the angels of punishment. The angels of mercy said: This man has come as a penitant and remorseful to Allah and the angels of punishment said: He has done no good at all. Then there came another angel in the form of a human being in order to decide between them. He said: You measure the land to which he has drawn near. They measured it and found him nearer to the land where he intended to go (the land of piety), and so the angels of mercy took possession of it." (Sahîh Muslim)
As well the following hadith:
A man came to the Prophet and asked, "What do you think of a man who has committed every sin, not leaving out any sin, major or minor [according to another report: if his sins were to be divided among all the people of the world, they would destroy them]. Can such a man repent?” The Prophet (peace be upon him) asked, “Have you become Muslim?” He said: “I bear witness that there is no god except Allah and that you are the messenger of Allah.” The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Do good deeds and keep away from evil deeds, and Allah will turn them all into good deeds for you.” He asked, “What about my acts of treachery and immorality?” The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Yes, (those too).” The man said, “Allaahu akbar (Allaah is most great)!” and kept glorifying Allah until he was out of sight. (Musnad Al-Bazzâr, Mu'jam At-Tabarânî)
The problem with continually sinning is that each sin takes you further and further away from the straight path, causes you to increase in misguidance and makes your heart hardened. As one continues to sin it becomes more difficult for them to rectify themselves and return to God and they may continue to sin until their hearts are sealed completely:
45:23 Have you seen he who has taken as his god his [own] desires, and knowing this Allah has sent him astray and has set a seal upon his hearing and his heart and put over his vision a veil? So who will guide him after Allah ? Then will you not be reminded?
The fact that sins and good deeds bring about an opposite change in one's state is shown in this hadîth:
The Prophet said: "The one who does bad deeds then does good deeds is like a man who wears a tight coat of mail which almost chokes him; when he does a good deed, it becomes a little looser, and as he does more good deeds it becomes even looser, until it falls off him and drops to the ground." (Mu'jam At-Tabarânî)
So the more one sins, the worse their condition becomes and the greater the struggle is for them to come back to the right path; this is why one who succeeds in coming back to the straigth path after having gone astray will have his sins transformed into good deeds.
There's also a difference between whether someone may be forgiven before God (and thus spared punishment in the afterlife), but due to their infringement of someone else's right they must still face the punishment implemented by the state.
So being a non-Muslims is worse than being a Murderer/Rapist to you?
Here's what I wrote in another thread
Originally Posted by Ansar Al-'Adl
What I said about shirk
(associating partners with God) applies to kufr
(disbelief) as well.