The vastness of Allah’s forgiveness



On the authority of Anas (RadiyAllahu ‘anhu) who said: I heard the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) say,

“Allah the Almighty has said: ‘O Son of Adam, as long as you invoke Me and ask of Me, I shall forgive you for what you have done, and I shall not mind. O Son of Adam, were your sins to reach the clouds of the sky and you then asked forgiveness from Me, I would forgive you. O Son of Adam, were you to come to Me with sins nearly as great as the Earth, and were you then to face Me, ascribing no partner to Me, I would bring you forgiveness nearly as great as it [too].’” 

It was related by at-Tirmidhi, who said that it was a hasan hadeeth.

Brief Commentary

  • It was from the habits of the scholars that collected 40 hadith to collect only 40, but Imam Al-Nawawi increased it by two. The 41st to remind us to adhere to the 40 before, and this as a form of seeking forgiveness
  • We see from this hadith how easy Allah made seeking His forgiveness
  • The main themes of the hadith are:
    • The extent of Allah’s forgiveness
    • How to have hope in Allah and not despair of His mercy
  • The hadith started with “O son of Adam” to remind us that we are all sinners and that our father Adam sought forgiveness after his sin, so we should emulate him in that
  • Du’a is essential in seeking forgiveness as it is the essence of worship/servitude
  • Servitude of two pillars:
    • Recognition of our weakness/need for Allah
    • Recognition that only Allah can see to our need
  • Our du’aa is weak/lacking when:
    • We have little knowledge of Allah, so don’t feel that He can see into our needs hence,
    • We feel independent and don’t need any help, thus have arrogance which is the opposite of servitude
  • From the important factors that help us in having our du’aas accepted is the presence of the heart, and hope is what supports us in achieving that
  • The prophet (ﷺ) said, “Ask Allah with certainty of Him answering your du’aa, and know that Allah does not accept the du’aa from a heedless distracted heart.” [Reported by Tirmidhi]
  • The prophet (ﷺ) said, “It (du’aa) is accepted from you so long as you are not haste, saying I asked but I was not answered.” [Reported by Bukhari & Muslim]
  • It is from the mercy of Allah to give a delayed response, as that makes the servant turn closer to Allah
  • This hadith is also a form of having hope in Allah, so we end the study of the 40 ahadith by having hope in Allah
  • Ibn Rajab said about hope, “It is comfort in waiting for what is beloved to a person”
  • Ibn Al-Qayyim said, “Hope is important for the traveller to Allah, and if the worshipper leaves from it for a moment then he will be ruined, or nearly ruined. The Muslim revolves around a sin which he hopes to have forgiven, a defect which he hopes to rectify, a righteous action which he hopes is accepted, steadfastness which he hopes to gain and hold on to, and closeness to Allah which he hopes to reach. Therefore hope is from the strongest things that aid a person in travelling to his Lord and staying firm on the religion”
  • If a believer find himself not having hope in any of the matters above, then he will live a miserable life, and it is due to this that people suffer from depression and its like
  • When du’a is coupled with hope, then it is an open door for forgiveness and acceptance. If either of these is present, then du’a will not work and it will be like a wish
  • Ibn Al-Qayyim said, “A heart in its travel to Allah glorified may He be is like a bird, love is its head, and hope and fear are its wings”
  • We seek forgiveness:
    • To remove the worldly ill-effects of sins
    • To remove the ill-effects of sins in the hereafter
    • As a form of gratitude
    • For our shortcomings in worship
    • For our shortcomings in being grateful to Allah
  • The last part of the hadith explains the 3rd contributor to forgiveness, which is pure tawheed (monotheism)
  • Tawheed is not just an academic thing, but it is very spiritual, and that is the meaning here
  • Ibn Rajab said, “Whoever sets tawheed in his heart, it will remove everything other than Allah from his heart with regards to love, veneration, respect, reverence, fear, hope, and reliance. And then all of his sins will be burned, even if they were like the foam of the sea, and it may change them into good deeds”

Benefits and Action points:

  • Always finish off anything you do whether act of worship or not, with seeking forgiveness in Allah
  • Praise Allah for the vastness of His forgiveness that he promised us
  • When making du’aa, recognize your weakness in front of Allah and your need for Him, along with His ability to see to your needs
  • Always believe in Allah’s answering of your du’aa and never give up on that, no matter how long you have been making du’aa for
  • Have hope in Allah in everything you do/want
  • Realize that tawheed is not just an academic thing, and it is something that you must feel in your heart

(Imam Nawawi’s Forty Hadith, Hadith 42)



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