ASSALAM ALAYKUM WARAHMATULLAHI WABARAKATUHU.
Narrated Tariq: ‘Abdullah said, “The best talk is Allah’s book (Qur’an), and the best guidance is the guidance of Muhammad(P.BU.H).”
SAHIH BUKHARI (Volume 8 Book #73, Hadith #120)
There is indeed the best example for you to follow in the Messenger of Allah (Mohamed saws), for every such person who looks forward to Allah and the Last Day, and remembers Allah much.
(Surah Al Ahzab 33 Verse 21)
PRAYER OF REPENTANCE (SALAAT UL TAWBAH):-
Praise be to Allaah.
By the mercy of Allaah towards this ummah, He has opened the gate of repentance to it, and it will not cease until the soul reaches the throat (at death) or the sun rises from the west. By His Mercy to this ummah, He has prescribed for them an act of worship which is one of the best acts of worship, by means of which the sinner can draw close to his Lord with the hope of his repentance being accepted. This is salaat al-tawbah (the prayer of repentance) and there follow some issues that have to do with this prayer.
THE REASON FOR THE PRAYER OF REPENTANCE:-
The reason for the prayer of repentance is if a Muslim falls into sin, whether it is a major or minor sin, he has to repent from it straight away and it is recommended for him to pray these two rak’ahs. And when he repents he should do a righteous deed which is one of the best of deeds, namely prayer. So he may draw close to Allaah by means of this in the hope that He may accept his repentance and forgive his sin.
DESCRIPTION OF PRAYER OF REPENTANCE (SALAAT – TAWBAH)
THE PRAYER OF REPENTANCE IS TWO RAKA’H :-
The prayer of repentance is two rak’ahs, as it says in the hadeeth of Abu Bakr al-Siddeeq (may Allaah be pleased with him). It is prescribed for the one who is repenting to pray alone, because it is one of the naafil prayers that it is not prescribed to offer in congregation. After that it is prescribed to ask Allaah for forgiveness, because of the hadeeth of Abu Bakr (may Allaah be pleased with him). There is no report from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) to say that it is mustahabb to recite any particular soorahs in these two rak’ahs, so the worshipper may recite whatever he wants.
Narrated abubakr as-Siddiq: Asma’ bint al-Hakam said: I heard Ali say: I was a man; when I heard a tradition from the Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him), Allah benefited me with it as much as He willed. But when some one of his companions narrated a tradition to me I adjured him. When he took an oath, I testified him. abubakr narrated to me a tradition, and abubakr narrated truthfully. He said: I heard the apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) saying: When a servant (of Allah) commits a sin, and he performs ablution well, and then stands and prays two rak’ahs, and asks pardon of Allah, Allah pardons him. He then recited this verse: “And those who, when they commit indecency or wrong their souls, remember Allah” (3.135).
ABU DAWOOD (Book #8, Hadith #1516)
Asma bin Al-Hakam Al-Fazari said:
“I heard Ali saying: ‘Indeed I am a man who, when I heard a Hadith from Allah’s Messenger (S) then Allah causes me to benefit from it as much as He wills for me to benefit from it. When a man among his Companions narrated to me I ask him to swear an oath to me about it, and when he swears an oath to me I trust him. And Abu Bakr narrated to me – and Abu Bakr told the truth – he said: “I heard Allah’s Messenger (S) saying: ‘There is no man who commits a sin, then makes Wudu, then performs Salat, then seeks forgiveness from Allah, except that Allah forgives him.’ Then he recited this Ayah: Those who when they have committed Fahishah or wronged themselves with evil, remember Allah. (3:135) until the end of the Ayah.” (Hasan)
SUNAN TIRMIDHI (Vol. 1, Book 2, Hadith 406)
THE TIME FOR THE PRAYER OF REPENTANCE :-
It is mustahabb to offer this prayer when the Muslim has decided to repent from the sin that he has committed, whether this repentance comes immediately after committing the sin or later on. The sinner must hasten to repent but if he delays it, it will still be accepted, because repentance is accepted so long as one of the following impediments does not occur:
This prayer is prescribed at all times including times when prayer is disallowed (such as after ‘Asr prayer), because it is one of the prayers that are done for a reason, so it is prescribed when the reason for it is present.
SHAYKH AL-ISLAM IBN TAYMIYAH SAID:-
Prayers which are done for a reason, such as the prostration of recitation, greeting the mosque, the eclipse prayer, prayer immediately after purifying oneself, as mentioned in the hadeeth of Bilaal, and istikhaarah prayer should not be delayed if the reason comes up at a time when prayer is disallowed, because delaying them may cause one to miss them, such as if the one who is praying istikhaarah may miss the thing concerning which he is seeking guidance if he delays the prayer. The same applies to the prayer of repentance. If a person commits a sin, then it is obligatory to repent straight away, and it is recommended for him to pray two rak’ahs, then repent, as it says in the hadeeth of Abu Bakr al-Siddeeq.
Majmoo’ al-Fataawa (23/215).
*** This prayer is proven from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him).
*** It is prescribed when the Muslim repents from any sin, whether it is a major sin or a minor sin, and whether this repentance comes immediately after committing the sin or after some time has passed.
*** This prayer may be offered at any time, including times when prayer is disallowed.
*** It is mustahabb for the penitent to do some good deeds along with this prayer, such as charity etc.
ALLAH SWT KNOWS BEST.