What is the difference between Tawbah and Istighfar?

difference between tawbah and istighfar
What is the difference between tawbah and istighfar? When making sins we turn to Allah asking for forgiveness, hoping if Allah could forgive us and erase away the sins we made.

As humans we are not capable of stopping making mistakes, it’s who we are and what makes us humans. But what we are capable of is to repent to Allah, try not to make mistakes.

In this article, we will understand what is tawbah and what is istighfar in addition to the difference between them. Let’s start.

What is tawbah?

Tawbah is the act of asking Allah for forgiveness, repenting for a sin we made, telling Allah that we are not going to repeat that mistake again. Tawbah is the way to coming closer to Allah, walking on the right path, and staying away from doing any sin. It is the first step of discipline and our key to walking in the right way that gets us closer to Allah.

Tawbah is what we should all do and understand, Allah created us for a purpose and that’s what we should focus on. And not to let life distract us from our real goal. It might be hard at the beginning to stay away from doing mistakes and sins but with time it will become easier.   

Seeking forgiveness is what we should do, Allah prophet used to seek Allah’s forgiveness 70 times each day.  

Abu Hurairah said: 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.”

What is sin?

Sin means doing something that Allah forbade, each sin accounts for punishment by Allah. Allah may punish you in the afterlife and this life or in the afterlife alone.

Sins will take us nowhere; it will make you drown if you don’t stop doing them. The worst thing is when a person’s sins turn into a habit, and we keep doing it. With time it will sound like something regular to do and you won’t be able to resist or even differentiate if it’s a sin or not. Yes, life has many tempting things, no one can say the opposite, but our role here is to try our best to not fall for that. Life’s pleasures are a trap, if you let it guide you until the end you will be the ones who will regret it in the end.

We should put limits to what we can and cannot do; if you are addicted to sin you should try your best to stop doing it. Don’t wait for someone to point it out for you, or say that you will stop doing it tomorrow. Starting from today, repent to Allah and ask for forgiveness. Ask Allah to give you the power to resist the pleasures of life. I know it is hard to drop what has become an essential part of your life but you have to do it now, don’t wait for tomorrow.


When understanding or realizing that what you’re doing is wrong you should turn to Allah and ask for forgiveness. That’s the purpose of tawbah prayer, So let’s see what the conditions are.

The conditions of tawbah include the following:

  •         Regretting what you did wrong and any sin you did.
  •         Stop doing the sin and stay away from anything that will lead you to do it again. There is no meaning in abandoning the sin one day and then going back to it again and keep doing it over and over again like you haven’t learned your lesson. Otherwise, there is no meaning to your tawbah. But that doesn’t mean to give up on tawbah because you can’t stop doing the sin. Keep asking for Allah forgiveness and ask for strength to resist going back to the mistakes you have done.
  •         Promise to not commit the sin ever again. Asking Allah for forgiveness means that we truly mean to stop committing sin. So you have to stop doing it and be sincere about your promise. And try your best not to go back to it again. However, al tawbah doesn’t mean that you will not feel weak sometimes or that you won’t go back to the sin again. It means that you will try your best not to return to it again. So, don’t get disappointed if you return to the sin again, just make sure to stop yourself and don’t lose hope.


However, that is not all, when committing a sin against humans like stealing or anything you could think of adds more conditions. For example, if you stole something then you should give it back to its owner and apologize to him.   

If you have taken someone else’s rights or their property, then you should return it to them. The aim of repentance is not to cause more harm, it is to rectify the situation. Putting right into what we have done is one of the greatest acts of goodness that we could do. However, it should not be at the expense of causing more harm.

So we know that Allah is known for mercy and will forgive us for our sins, but in order to have our repentance accepted, we must meet the conditions. And being forgiven is what we aim for; it’s the purpose of tawbah. Regretting what we did wrong.

At-Tawbah is the act of returning to Allah for forgiveness after committing a sin or doing something wrong. It is for worshiping Allah. The prophet told us that Allah will forgive us for any mistake we do or any sin we commit as long as we abandon the sin and ask for forgiveness.  

How to make tawbah? how to perform salatul tawbah?

There is a simple way that you could follow as the prophet told us, which is praying 2 Rakat Nafal Prayer (the optional prayer). Then ask Allah for forgiveness in Dua. The condition of tawbah prayer is to be in the state of Wudu and that you are remorseful about transgressing the bounds of Allah.

For short here are the conditions of salat al tawbah:

  •         Be in the state of Whudu.
  •         pray 2 Rakat .
  •         Ask Allah to forgive you for the sin you did.

Pray these two Rakat as you pray the other Sunnah prayers. Recite any surah you know by heart after reciting al Fatiha. Here are the suggested Surahs that you can read:

First tawbah prayer  Raka:

In the first rak’ah, recite surah Al-Fatihah and followed by surah Al-Ikhlas or other surahs as you like:

“Qul huwallahu ahad. Allahus-samad. Lam yalid wa lam Yuulad. Wa lam Yakul Lahuu Kufuwan Ahad.”


Say, “He is Allah, [who is] One, Allah, the Eternal Refuge. He neither begets nor is born, Nor is there to Him any equivalent.”

Second Rakats:

In the second rak’ah, recite surah Al-Fatihah and followed by surah Al-Nas or other surahs as you like:

“Qul a’uzu birabbin-nas. Malikin-nas. Ilahin-nas. Min syarril-waswasil-khannas. Allazii Yuwaswisu fi Sudurin-nas. Minal jinnati wan-nas.”


Say, “I seek refuge in the Lord of mankind, The Sovereign of mankind. The Allah of mankind, From the evil of the retreating whisperer – Who whispers [evil] into the breasts of mankind -From among the jinn and mankind.”

What to read In the Final Sujood?

During the final sujood (before getting up for attahiyat), say the following 40 times: “Laa ilaaha illa Anta subhanaka Inni Kuntu Minazzolimin”


There is no Allah but You, O Allah! Glory be to You! I am of those who do wrong.

How to make tawbah dua?

You could ask Allah to forgive you for any sin you did but if you don’t know what to say while you pray salat al taubah you could say the following dua:

“Allahumma inni Zholamtu Nafsi Zull-man Kasiran Walaa Yagh-firu Zunuuba illa Anta, Fagh-firli Min indika Magfirotan innaka Antal Rgho-fuu Rur-rahim.”


O Allah, indeed I have wronged myself with great injustice. And no one can forgive my sins except you. So forgive me with great forgiveness from your side. You are indeed Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.

When to pray Tawbah?

You can pray Tawbah at any time except the forbidden time. But it is better to pray it after midnight, during Qiamullai. The best is when you feel guilty and want to speak to Allah, ask for forgiveness. when you must pray immediately, don’t wait until after midnight.

What is the meaning of istighfar?

Istighfar is what Muslims use around the world to seek Allah’s forgiveness, the word Muslims use is “Astaghfirullah”. There is a dua that you should say when asking for Allah’s forgiveness. It is called Istighfar Dua.  

In the Quran, Surah Baqarah, Ayat no. 222, it’s written that Allah likes the person who accepts Istighfar, move towards it, and invert sins.

In Surah Taha, Ayat no. 82, Allah says “I forgive the people who move towards me, who seek forgiveness with me but must have Imaan and do good deeds after seeking forgiveness.

Istighfar dua:

Douaa istighfar is as follows:

Astaghfirullaha Rabbi Min Kulli Zambiyon Wa Atubu Ilaih”


I ask forgiveness of my sins from Allah who is my Lord and I turn towards Him.

Ssayyidul istighfar Dua:

Here are the Syed ul istighfar dua

“Allaahumma Anta Rabbii Laa ilaaha illaa Annta Kholaq-tanii Wa Anaa ‘Abduka Wa Anaa ‘Ala ‘Ahdika Wawa’ Dika Maas-tatha-tu ‘Auudzu-bika Min Syarrimaa Shana-tu AbuuU-laka Bini’matika Alayya Wa AbuuU Bidzanmmbi Fagh-fir-lii Fa-innahu Laa Yagh-firudz-Dzunuuba Illaa Annta.”


O Allah, You are my Lord, there is no Allah but You, You have created me, and I am Your servant. I will indeed obey Your provisions, Your promises according to my ability. I ask for Your protection from the evils of all my deeds, and I acknowledge all the favors You have given and acknowledged the existence of the sins I have committed. No one forgives sins except you.

According to Sahih al-Bukhari, the Prophet (ﷺ) said:

“If somebody recites it during the day with firm faith in it, and dies on the same day before the evening, he will be from the people of Paradise; and if somebody recites it at night with firm faith in it, and dies before the morning, he will be from the people of Paradise.”

Istighfar in Quran:

Very powerful yet simple to do is Istighfar, which means to say “Astaghfirullah”. The prophet told us to say “Astaghfirullah” 100 times a day. In the Quran. Istighfar brings us closer to Allah and redemption.  

The Holy Quran states: “But surely the righteous will be in the midst of gardens and springs, receiving what the Lord will give them; for they used to do good before that. They used to sleep but a little of the night, and at the dawn of the day they sought forgiveness…”

What we understand is that we must always ask for forgiveness. In another verse, Allah Almighty says: “Truly, Allah loves those who repent, and He loves those who cleanse themselves.”

We don’t have to say Astaghfirullah because we have committed a sin or something wrong. Seeking forgiveness brings us closer to Allah. By Istighfar we tell Allah that we know that we did something wrong and that we are asking for forgiveness.

  •         Istighfar helps you get rid of any stress you are feeling and makes you feel relieved and happy. Whenever you get stressed or feel anxiety, turn to Allah and ask for forgiveness, say Astaghfirullah. And all your worries will go away, and you will have some peace of mind.
  •         It helps you remove any anxiety, and Allah will answer your duas.
  •         Istighfar opens the door of sustenance.
  •         It opens the door of mercy.
  •         Istighfar opens the door of knowledge
  •         It will help you get relieved, so when you are sad or don’t know what to do, feeling frustrated and feel like there is no way out, say          Astaghfirullah. Keep repeating it.
  •         Repeating Astaghfirullah will make you calm down and take away all your worries from your body and mind. Even if you are depressed, Astaghfirullah will make you feel better and calmer.

Hadith about istighfar:

According to Ibn Abbas, The prophet, peace, and blessings be upon him, said, “Whoever increases his prayers for forgiveness, Allah will grant him relief from every worry, a way out from every hardship, and provide for him in ways he does not expect.”

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