Once Imam Ali (s) heard someone saying, “I ask Allah to forgive me”. He said to him, ‘Woe unto you! Do you know what “asking for forgiveness” is? Asking for forgiveness is the position of “illiyeen”. It includes six meanings; the first is to feel contrition for what one has committed before; the second is to determine not to commit it again forever; the third is to give people their rights until meeting Allah with no responsibility; the fourth is to perform every obligation that has been missed; the fifth is to melt the flesh that has been grown out of ill-gotten properties by regretting and sorrowing until the skin sticks on the bones and then new flesh grows, and the sixth is to make the body taste the pain of obedience as it has tasted the sweetness of disobedience and then it is possible to say “astaghfirullah-I ask Allah for forgiveness”.’
A repentant has to realize the meaning of repentance and to determine definitely to give up sins and not to commit them again forever. He should not think of repentance while he is still committing sins. Procrastination and hoping to repent in the future is no doubt one of the plots of the Satan. It has been narrated that Imam ar-Redha (s) had said, ‘He, who asks for forgiveness with his tongue and does not repent with his heart, mocks himself.’
In fact, it is ridiculous or regrettable that man throws himself into disease hoping that he may find the medicine! How much man loses because of this false hope of repenting and how much he commits crimes and sins while he talks with himself that the door of repentance is always open and that he can commit sins now and then he repents!
If man, when intending to repent, determines seriously and the conditions of repentance realize inside himself, this will lead to purify his inners and refine his soul and heart and then the dregs of sins will be removed from his organs inwardly and outwardly.
Repentance should not be just as a habit because sin, in fact, is darkness while repentance is light and often going and coming between darkness and light confuse the soul. Hence, if we repent of a sin and then we commit it again, we are still in the circle of sin and our repentance is just a temporary sentiment.
A human soul is like Hell. It does not become full at all. It does not satiate with sin and disobedience. It is always greedy to impermissible things. It is these things that make man keep on committing sins and not approach Allah the Almighty. Therefore, the door of this oven must be closed by repentance and this unruly beast must be tied with the chains of the real turning to Allah.
Repentance is the reversal of the present condition and the conscious movement of faith and piety and the internal change of the heart and soul. Then man’s connection with sins and their motives become weak and he is bound by a strong tie with the truth and the means of purity and lightness.
Repentance at its beginning is a new life; a pure and heavenly life. In this life man devotes his heart to Allah the Almighty and his soul to the good deeds. He purifies his inwards and outwards from the effects of sins.
Repentance in its essence is the extinction of the fire of fancies. It takes man to the path of the truth, obedience and submission to the Exalted Creator.
Repentance is the end of the control of the Satan over the inners of man. It prepares the tenacious psychological base that makes the truth rule over the inners of man and prevents him from slipping under the pressure of fancies and transient material pleasures.
Refrence: Repentance, The cradle of mercy by Professor Hossein Ansarian
source : Repentance, The cradle of mercy by Professor Hossein Ansarian