Amongst various creations, Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى rates humans as His best creation, as narrated in the 4th verse of Surah Tin.
Indeed, We created humans in the best form
But at the same time, He warns that despite being created in the best of the state, wrongdoers’ destiny is the lowest place in Hell, as narrated in the next two verses of this surah.
But We will reduce them to the lowest of the low ˹in Hell˺
except those who believe and do good—they will have a never-ending reward.
So, it is up to the humans what path they want to choose. But on the other hand, Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى has also assured that if someone expresses repentance, Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى will accept his appeal and forgive his sins and wrongful acts, as narrated in 135th verse of Surah Al-Imran.
˹They are˺ those who, upon committing an evil deed or wronging themselves, remember Allah and seek forgiveness for their sins—and who forgives sins except Allah? — and they do not knowingly persist in wrongdoing?
So, forgiveness is always there and Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى likes to forgive His followers, being Al-Ghaffar, one of the 99 names of Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى. That’s why Muslims are always advised to recite Astaghfirullah.
Astaghfirullah – What it Means?
Astaghfirullah in Arabic is written as (أَسْتَغْفِرُ ٱللَّٰهَ). The origin of this expression is derived from the Arabic word Istighfar (ٱسْتِغْفَار), which means seeking forgiveness. The Islamic way of seeking forgiveness from Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى, is to recite أَسْتَغْفِرُ ٱللَّٰهَ. This is the shortest form of seeking forgiveness, the longer version being أَسْتَغْفِرُ ٱللَّٰهَ رَبِّي وَأَتُوبُ إِلَيْهِ. It means I seek the forgiveness of God, who is my Lord and Sustainer, and I turn to Him in repentance.
So, in a broader sense, Astaghfirullah meaning is the declaration that Allah is the supreme power Who has the authority to forgive every wrongdoing and sin of a human when he expresses sorrow and regrets his wrongful acts. That’s why we often recite this word either in its shorter or longer form, showing our repentance and seeking mercy and forgiveness from Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى.
Astaghfirullah and Quran
Apart from the above referred verses from the Quran, Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى has repeatedly offered mankind to seek His mercy and forgiveness in various other verses, as well. That shows the importance of saying Astaghfirullah, such as the 3rd verse of Surah Hud
And seek your Lord’s forgiveness and turn to Him in repentance. He will grant you a good provision for an appointed term and graciously reward the doers of good. But if you turn away, then I truly fear for you the torment of a formidable Day
Similarly, in the 110th verse of Surah Nisa narrates as follows:
Whoever commits evil or wrongs themselves then seeks Allah’s forgiveness will certainly find Allah All-Forgiving, Most Merciful.
There are various other such verses in different surahs of the Quran, whereby Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى assures us that He will forgive our wrongful acts and sins if we seek His mercy and forgiveness.
Astaghfirullah and Hadith
The importance and usefulness of reciting Astaghfirullah is also established in many Hadith, as quoted in different Hadith Books such as Bukhari and Muslim.
In Hadith number 1869, as appears in the Riyad As Salihin, quoted from Sahi Al-Muslim, it is quoted as under:
The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “Sometimes I perceive a veil over my heart, and I supplicate Allah for forgiveness a hundred times in a day.”
Another similar reference of Hadith is quoted from Sahi Al Bukhari in Riyad As Salihin, at serial number 1870, as under
I heard the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) saying, “I swear by Allah that I seek Allah’s Pardon and turn to Him in repentance more than seventy times a day.”
Another Hadith about reciting Astaghfirullah is quoted in Riyad As Salihin at serianl number 1873, from Sunan Abu Dawud
The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “If anyone constantly seeks pardon (from Allah), Allah will appoint for him a way out of every distress and a relief from every anxiety, and will provide sustenance for him from where he expects not.”
That shows the importance of offering repentance and seeking the mercy of Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى, as established in the Hadith quoted above.
How to Use Astaghfirullah
Taking guidance from the above quoted verses from the Quran and Hadith, it is established that one should seek forgiveness of Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى so often. Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى likes the repentance and forgives our sins instantly.
Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, used to recite this verse a hundred times a day, as narrated in the Hadith. So, taking that as a baseline, we should recite it repeatedly during our daily life, especially when something goes wrong or when we see something happening wrong by us or any other fellow Muslim. It can also be made a part of our daily duas and supplications.
Benefits of Reciting Astaghfirullah
We are prone to many wrongful acts and sins in our lives. But Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى is so merciful that He always forgives us whenever we approach Him. Astaghfar is one of the best ways of seeking the mercy of Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى.
Here are some very powerful benefits of offering repentance by reciting Astaghfirullah.
· Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى Forgives Our Sins
As quoted above, Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى, in Surah Hud verse number 3, assures us that whenever we approach him with our sorrow and regret, He is always ready to forgive us. So, the topmost benefit of reciting Astaghfirullah is that Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى forgives all our sins.
· Reciting Astaghfirullah 100 Times a Day Is a Sunnah
As quoted in two different Hadith, as referenced above, Prophet Muhammad ﷺ used to recite Astaghfirullah 100 times a day to seek mercy and forgiveness of Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى. It shows the importance of seeking forgiveness from Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى. So, we can understand how useful it is when the Prophet offers it 100 times a day. We should also follow this pattern to get maximum benefits out of it. Another benefit is that we can get the rewards of following the Sunnah.
· Astaghfirullah a Source of Relief From Distress
Life is a continuous struggle. There are so many occasions in our lives when we feel distressed. It may be the outcome of our wrongdoings and sins. Or it may be due to disappointment in our failures in life. In any such situation, a person comes under immense mental or emotional distress. Reciting Astaghfirullah repeatedly in times of distress relieves sorrow, distress, and grief.
· Astaghfirullah a Source of Life Sustenance
Reciting Astaghfirullah so often is also a source of life sustenance. Islamic Scholars are of the view that if a person follows the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ by reciting Astaghfirullah 100 times a day, he will be relieved from the financial crunch.
· Astaghfirullah a Source of More Rains
Rain plays a vital role in the life of humans on this planet. It is necessary to grow various crops and plants that provide food for us. The importance of rain in sowing and harvesting such crops and fruits can be experienced during droughts. Reciting Astaghfirullah is rewarded by Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى in the shape of more rains, as narrated in the 52nd verse of Surah Hud.
And O my people! Seek your Lord’s forgiveness and turn to Him in repentance. He will shower you with rain in abundance, and add strength to your strength. So do not turn away, persisting in wickedness.”
· Astaghfirullah Prevents Punishment
A person commits a lot of wrongful acts during his life, which are liable to be punished by Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى, on the Day of Judgment. But if one expresses repentance and appeals to forgive him, Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى assures that he will not be punished, as narrated in 33rd verse of Surah Al Anfal.
But Allah would never punish them while you ˹O Prophet˺ were in their midst. Nor would He ever punish them if they prayed for forgiveness.
· Astaghfirullah a Source of Increase in Wealth and Children
Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى assures us that He will give us a lot of wealth and children if we adopt a habit of seeking forgiveness and mercy from Him. It is mentioned in the Quran in Surah Nuh at verse number 10, 11 and 12.
saying, ‘Seek your Lord’s forgiveness, ˹for˺ He is truly Most Forgiving.
He will shower you with abundant rain,
supply you with wealth and children, and give you gardens as well as rivers.
The benefits of seeking forgiveness and mercy by reciting Astaghfirullah are countless. So many Quran verses and Hadith and Sunnah references explain the importance of reciting Astaghfirullah. Seeking forgiveness is the much-liked act of a person, by Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى. Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى likes the humbleness of His believers and is always ready to forgive our sins and wrongdoings. Reciting Astaghfirullah is one of the best ways of doing so.
Hence, we should make it a habit to recite Astaghfirullah so often during our daily routines. It gives us peace of mind and heart and is a major source of avoiding punishment on the Day of Judgment. It is a source of prosperity in our life.