ISTIGHFÂR - استغفار
An asking for Allah's pardon and forgiveness. Especially, the phrase أستغفر الله Astaghfirullah (I seek forgiveness from Allah). Asking forgiveness and the absolving of sins and faults. Repentance. Penitence. Performing istighfâr. Asking forgiveness without feeling regret and without the true meaning of repent may not be accepted by Allah (‘Azza wa jalla).
The true meaning of repentance and istighfâr:
“Another of shaytan's important wile is to prevent man admitting his faults so that the way of istighfâr and isti’âdha should be closed. He also incites the ananiyyah of the human nafs, so that the nafs defends itself like a lawyer, quite simply acquitting itself of all fault.
Yes, a nafs that listens to shaytan does not want to see its own faults. Even if it does see them, it explains them away in a hundred ways. According to the mystery of: وَ عَيْنُ الرِّضَا عَنْ كُلِّ عَيْبٍ كَلِيلَةٌ 1 when a person looks with the eye of contentment on his nafs, he does not see its faults. And because he does not see its faults, he does not admit to them, and does not istighfâr, nor isti’âdha from them, and becomes the plaything of shaytan. How can the nafs be relied on when a noble prophet like Hazrat Yûsuf ‘Alayhissalâm said: وَمَا اُبَرِّئُ نَفْسِى اِنَّ النَّفْسَ َلاَمَّارَةٌ بِالسُّوءِ اِلاَّ مَا رَحِمَ رَبِّى ? 2
One who accuses his nafs sees its faults. And one who admits his faults does istighfâr. And one who does istighfâr does isti’âdha. And one who does isti’âdha is saved from shaytan's sharr. Not to see his faults is a greater fault than the first fault. And not to admit to his faults is a serious defect. If he sees the fault, it ceases to be a fault. If he admits it, he becomes worthy of forgiveness.” The 13th Flash-13th Indication-Second Point
“For sure, man's particular faculty of irâdah and juz’ al-ikhtiyârî are weak and an i’tibârî action, but Janâb-i Haqq the Absolutely Hakîm, made that weak juz’ al-ikhtiyârî a condition for the connection of His universal Irâdah. That is, He says in a ma’mawî manner: "Oh my ‘abd! Whichever way you wish to take with your power of choice, I will take you there. In which case the responsibility is yours!" If the comparison is not mistaken, you take a powerless child onto your shoulders and leaving the choice to him, tell him you will take him wherever he wishes. The child wants to go to a high mountain so you take him there, but he either catches a cold or falls. So, of course, you reprimand him, saying, "You wanted to go there," and you give him a slap. Thus, Janâb-i Haqq, the Ahkam ul-Hâkimîn (Firmest of Judges), makes His ‘abd's irâdah, which is utterly weak, a condition, and His universal Irâdah follows it.
In Short : O man! You have an irâdah known as the juz’ al-ikhtiyârî which is extremely weak, but whose hand in evil acts and destruction is extremely long and in good deeds is extremely short. Give one of the hands of that irâdah of yours to du'â, so that it may reach Jannah, which is a fruit of the chain of good deeds, and stretch to eternal happiness which is a flower of Jannah. And give its other hand to the istighfâr, so that it may be short for evil deeds and will not reach the Zakkum-tree of Jahannam, which is one fruit of that accursed tree. That is, just as du'â and tawakkul greatly strengthen the inclination to khayr, so the istighfâr and tawbah cut the inclination to sharr, putting an end to its transgressions.” The Words ( 483 )
KNOW, O FRIEND, that those who fear the punishment and cannot fulfil to ‘amal, desire the non-existence of punishment and an argument against it. When they see signs that seem to confirm such an argument, they begin to be recruited by shaytans into their legions. [If you are in such a state,] give a sincere and attentive ear to the promise of Taâ’lâ:
3 قُلْ يَا عِبَادِىَ الَّذِينَ اَسْرَفُوا عَلَى اَنْفُسِهِمْ لاَ تَقْنَطُوا مِنْ رَحْمَةِ اللّٰهِ اِنَّ اللّهَ يَغْفِرُ الذُّنُوبَ جَمِيعًا اِنَّهُ هُوَ الْغَفُورُ الرَّحِيمُ
Al-Mathnawi al-Nuri (85-86)
1 (The eye of contentment is blind to faults)
2 (Nor do I absolve my nafs [of blame]; the nafs is certainly prone to evil unless my Rabb bestows His rahmah)
3 (Report [to them what I say]: “O My ‘abds who have transgressed against their nafs! Do not despair of Allah’s Rahmah. Surely Allah forgives all sins; for He is Al-Ghafûr, Ar-Rahîm.” / 39:53)