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Istighfar (Arabic: ٱسْتِغْفَار, romanizedistighfār) is the act of seeking forgiveness of God in Islam. This is usually done by saying "I seek the forgiveness of God" (Arabic: أَسْتَغْفِرُ ٱللَّٰهَ, romanizedastaghfiru llāha), or the longer version "I seek the forgiveness of God, my Lord, and turn to him (in repentance)" (Arabic: أَسْتَغْفِرُ ٱللَّٰهَ رَبِّي وَأَتُوبُ إِلَيْهِ, romanizedastaghfiru llāha rabbī wa-atūbu ilayhi).[1] It is considered one of the essential parts of worship in Islam.


"Istighfar" is derived from the Arabic root غ-ف-ر, which is related to the covering of a thing with that which will keep it clean.


"Istighfar" means to pray to Allah that he may protect the supplicant from worldly desires, both in this world and the hereafter. Astaghfirullah literally translates to "I seek forgiveness in God".[2] Usually, a Muslim recites it as part of dhikr, that is to say that Allah is the greatest or that goodness comes from Allah.

The phrase can also be used in popular culture when seeing something wrong or shameful.


Islam posits that human beings were created by God, with the ability to choose their own actions; either to do good deeds and obey Allah or to do evil deeds and disobey (Him).[Quran 76:3] However, as a result of human error, God offered humans who might have mistakenly committed sin or submitted to their desires and ignored the dictates of their conscience to perform istighfar. Thus, Muslims use istighfar as they believe it counters Shaytan who tries to lead them into hell by inviting them to sin.

In the Qur'an[edit]

Istighfar, and some other words from the same root such as Ghafir, Al-Ghafoor, Ghaffar, occur in the Qur'an more than seventy times.[3]

Quranic verses regarding istighfar[edit]

In the Qur'an, there are numerous verses on the issue of istighfar, in which Allah commands the believers to always seek his forgiveness and turn to Him. Some examples of these verses are:

  • "And those who, when they commit an immorality or wrong themselves [by transgression], remember Allah and seek forgiveness for their sins – and who can forgive sins except Allah? – and [who] do not persist in what they have done while they know." (Al Quran 3:135) [4]
  • "Those – their reward is forgiveness from their Lord and gardens beneath which rivers flow [in Paradise], wherein they will abide eternally; and excellent is the reward of the [righteous] workers." (Al Quran 3:136) [4]
  • "Whoever commits evil or wrongs themselves then seeks Allah's forgiveness will certainly find Allah All-Forgiving, Most Merciful." (Al Quran 4:110) [5]
  • "So will they not repent to Allah and seek His forgiveness? And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful." (Al Quran 5:74) [6]
  • "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." (Al Quran 11:3) [7]
  • "And return to your Lord time after time and submit to Him before there comes to you the punishment, then you shall not be helped." (Al Quran 39:54) [8]
  • "O you who have believed, repent to Allah with sincere repentance. Perhaps your Lord will remove from you your misdeeds and admit you into gardens beneath which rivers flow [on] the Day when Allah will not disgrace the Prophet and those who believed with him. Their light will proceed before them and on their right; they will say, 'Our Lord, perfect for us our light and forgive us. Indeed, You are over all things competent.'" (Al Quran 66:8) [9]

In narrations[edit]

  • Ibn Abbas narrated Muhammad said, "Whoever increases seeking forgiveness, God will grant him relief from every worry, a way out from every hardship, and provide for him in ways he does not expect."
  • Abu Hurayrah narrated Muhammad said, "A servant committed a sin and said, "O God, forgive me of my sin." God, the Most Blessed and Exalted, says, 'My servant committed a sin and knows he has a Lord who forgives sins and holds him accountable.' Then the servant returned to his sin and said, 'O God, forgive me of my sin.' God says, 'My servant committed a sin and knows he has a Lord who forgives sins and holds him accountable.' Then the servant returned to his sin and said, 'O God, forgive me of my sin.' God says, 'My servant committed a sin and knows he has a Lord who forgives sins and holds him accountable, so do what you wish as I have forgiven you.'"
  • Anas ibn Malik narrated Muhammad said, "God, the Most High, says, 'O son of Adam, if you call on me and place your hope in me, I will forgive you despite what is within you, and I will not hesitate. O son of Adam, if you have sins piling up to the clouds and then ask for my forgiveness, I will forgive you, and I will not hesitate. O son of Adam, if you come to me with enough sins to fill the earth, and then meet me without associating anything with Me, I will come to you with enough forgiveness to fill the earth."
  • Abu ad-Darda narrated Muhammad said, "God, the Most High, says, 'O son of Adam, whenever you worship me and place your hopes in me, without associating anything with me, I will forgive whatever you have done. If you turn to me with the likes of the heavens and earth full of sins and shortcomings, I will turn to you with the same amount of forgiveness, and I do not mind.'"
  • Abu Dharr al-Ghifari narrated Muhammad said, "Indeed, God, the Most Majestic and Glorious, says, 'O my servant, as long as you worship me and place your hopes in me, I will forgive you despite what you have done. O my servant, if you meet me with enough sins to fill the earth, I will meet you with as much forgiveness, as long as you do not associate anything with me."
  • It was narrated Muhammad said, "I seek the forgiveness of God, and I repent to him" (astaghfiru llāha wa-atūbu ilayh) 80/100 times a day. [10]


  • Istighfar safeguards the supplicant against the evil consequences of their sins.
  • Istighfar increases the blessings of Allah (both material and spiritual).
  • Istighfar is one of the ways of finding inner peace and tranquillity.
  • Istighfar purifies ones from the physiological results of sins.
  • Istighfar turns evil deeds to good deeds.
  • Istighfar paves way for the acceptance of prayer.
  • Allah forgives those who sincerely seek forgiveness unconditionally.
  • The Prophet said: "Whoever makes Istighfar frequently, Allah will provide a way for him out of every distress and provide for him from sources he could never expect". powerful-duas-for-forgiveness

Conditions for istighfar[edit]

Seeking forgiveness has three conditions, with an additional fourth one if the sin involves the violation of another person's rights:

  1. To discontinue the sin
  2. To regret having committed it
  3. To resolve to never return to the sin
  4. To restore the rights of the person that has been wronged.


Among the etiquette of seeking forgiveness are:

  • Istighfar during the dawn (sahar سَحَر – the late time of night before the daylight – time before daybreak).
  • Istighfar the eve before or during Jumu'ah.
  • To recognize one has wronged.
  • Confession (to God) of one's mistakes. (If necessary confession to the person involved)
  • Testimony of faith and submission to God.
  • Stop the sin, regret the sin, repent and intend to never do it again.

Note: Istighfar can be done at any time, above mentioned are a few Sunnahs followed by Prophet Muhammed's teachings.

Istighfar of prophets[edit]

The Istighfar of an ordinary person was not a special case since they are not infallible. However, in the case of the prophets and angels, such an act may be interpreted otherwise, because it contradicts the attributes of infallibility in the prophets. Though, there is some relevant evidence showing the fact that prophets and angels were also engaged in asking for divine forgiveness.

"The heavens nearly burst, one above the other, ˹in awe of Him˺. And the angels glorify the praises of their Lord, and seek forgiveness for those on earth. Surely Allah alone is the All-Forgiving, Most Merciful." (Al Quran 42:5) [11]

Related invocations[edit]

رَبَّنَا إِنَّنَا آمَنَّا فَٱغْفِرْ لَنَا ذُنُوبَنَا وَقِنَا عَذَابَ ٱلنَّارِ

Rabba-nā inna-nā Ãman-nā fa-ʾaghfir la-nā ḏunūba-nā wa-qinā ʿaḏāba -n-nār.

Our Lord! We have believed, so forgive our sins and protect us from the torment of the Fire.

— Mustafa Khattab, The Clear Quran[12]

سُبْحَانَكَ تُبْتُ إِلَيْكَ وَأَنَا۠ أَوَّلُ ٱلْمُؤْمِنِينَ

Subḥāna-ka tub-tu ilay-ka wa-ana awwalu -l-muʾminīn.

Glory be to You! I turn to You in repentance and I am the first of the believers.

— Mustafa Khattab, The Clear Quran[13]

ٱللَّٰهُمَّ إنِّي أسْأَلُكَ يَا ٱللَّٰهُ بِأَنَّكَ ٱلْوَاحِدُ ٱلأَحَدُ ٱلصَّمَدُ ٱلَّذِي لَمْ يَلِدْ وَلَمْ يُولَدْ وَلَمْ يَكُنْ لَهُ كُفُوًا أَحَدٌ أَنْ تَغْفِرَ لِي ذُنُوبِي إِنَّكَ أَنْتَ ٱلْغَفُورُ ٱلَّرَحِيمُ

Allahumma inni as'aluka ya Allah! Bi-annakal-Wahidul-Ahad us-Samad, alladhi lam yalid wa lam yowled, wa lam yakun lahu kufuwan ahad, an taghfirali dhunubi, innaka antal-Ghafurur-Rahim.

O Allah! I ask You, O Allah, You are the One, the Only, Self Sufficient Master, who was not begotten and begets not and none is equal to Him. Forgive me my sins, surely you are Forgiving, Merciful.

— Narrated by Hanzalah bin 'Ali (R.A.), Sunan an-Nasa'i: The Book of Forgetfulness (In Prayer) V.2, Book 13, Hadith 123[14]

ٱللَّٰهُمَّ ٱغْفِرْ لِي وَٱرْحَمْنِي وَعَافِنِي وَٱهْدِنِي وَٱرْزُقْنِي

Allahumma-ghfir li, warhamni, wa 'afini, wahdini, warzuqni.

O Allah! Forgive me, have mercy on me, guide me, guard me against harm and provide me with sustenance and salvation.

— Narrated by Tariq bin Ashyam (R.A.), Riyad as-Salihin: The Book of Du'a (Supplications) Book 16, Hadith 5[15]

ٱللَّٰهُمَّ أَنْتَ رَبِّي لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا أَنْتَ خَلَقْتَنِي وَأَنَا عَبْدُكَ وَأَنَا عَلَىٰ عَهْدِكَ وَوَعْدِكَ مَا ٱسْتَطَعْتُ أَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنْ شَرِّ مَا صَنَعْتُ أَبُوءُ لَكَ بِنِعْمَتِكَ عَلَيَّ وَأَبُوءُ لَكَ بِذَنْبِي فَٱغْفِرْ لِي فَإِنَّهُ لَا يَغْفِرُ ٱلذُّنُوبَ إِلَّا أَنْتَ

Allahumma anta Rabbi la ilaha illa anta, Khalaqtani wa ana `Abduka, wa ana `ala `ahdika wa wa`dika mastata`tu, A`udhu bika min Sharri ma sana`tu, abu'u Laka bini`matika `alaiya, wa abu'u laka bidhanbi faghfir lee fa innahu la yaghfiru adhdhunuba illa anta.

O Allah! You are my Lord! None has the right to be worshipped but You. You created me and I am Your slave, and I am faithful to my covenant and my promise as much as I can. I seek refuge with You from all the evil I have done. I acknowledge before You all the blessings You have bestowed upon me, and I confess to You all my sins. So I entreat You to forgive my sins, for nobody can forgive sins except You.

— Narrated by Shaddad bin Aus (R.A.), Sahih al-Bukhari: Invocations, V.8, Book 80, Hadith 3[16]


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  3. ^ "Forgiveness and Repentance in Islam". IslamiCity. Retrieved 12 March 2018.
  4. ^ a b "Surah Ali 'Imran - 1-200". Retrieved 2021-06-21.
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  7. ^ "Surah Hud – 1-123". Retrieved 2021-06-21.
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  11. ^ "Surah Ash-Shuraa - 1-53". Retrieved 2021-06-21.
  12. ^ "Surah Ali 'Imran – 1-200". Retrieved 2021-06-21.
  13. ^ "Surah Al-A'raf - 1-206". Retrieved 2021-06-21.
  14. ^ "Sunan an-Nasa'i 1301 – The Book of Forgetfulness (In Prayer) – كتاب السهو". – Sayings and Teachings of Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه و سلم). Retrieved 2021-06-21.
  15. ^ "Riyad as-Salihin 1469 - The Book of Du'a (Supplications) - كتاب الدعوات - - Sayings and Teachings of Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه و سلم)". Retrieved 2021-06-21.
  16. ^ "Sahih al-Bukhari 6306 - Invocations - كتاب الدعوات - - Sayings and Teachings of Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه و سلم)". Retrieved 2021-06-21.