In order to achieve the real repentance man has to be cautious of three things:
(1) The Satan
The words “Satan” and “Iblis” have been mentioned in the Holy Qur'an about ninety-eight times. This dangerous and malicious creature has no aim out of his devilish acts and insinuation except to cut the connection between man and his Creator and to involve man into sins and crimes. The Holy Qur'an has warned man of a deviate and misleading invisible being living inside man which is called as “Satan”.
Satan linguistically means vile, disobedient, mutinous, deviate and misleading whether this being is a human being or jinnee.
The Holy Qur'an and the traditions that have interpreted and explained the words of the Qur'an have mentioned the aspects of the Satan whether of human beings or jinn in this way: (open enemy, he who incites people to do evil and atrocity, he who ascribes bad things to Allah the Almighty, he who frightens good people of poverty if they spend their monies on good, he who involves man in sins, he who incites man towards the valley of deviation, he who paves the way for man to slip into the circle of gambling and drinking wine, causes enmity and hatred among people, shows vices to them as good deeds, promises them of untruth, causes pride into man’s heart, involves man into lowness, puts obstacles in the way of the truth, invites man to what leads to the torment of Hell, encourages man to divorce and prepares the background for it, fills man with desire to disobey (Allah) and to spread debauchery among people, makes the worldly life appear beautiful before man, fills man with love to money and wealth, incites man to commit sins and convince him to procrastinate repentance, plants selfishness, stinginess, backbiting, and telling lies into man’s mind, motivates lusts and incentives of anger, encourages man to declare sins and disobediences, etc…)
As long as man is still in the traps of the devils of the human beings and jinn, he remains unable to walk in the way of the real repentance because the prevalence of the Satan and the devils over man’s heart paves the way for man to slip into the swamp of disobedience after repenting again and again because of the evil whispering of these devils and hence man breaks his promise and repentance and follows his desires and his Satan.
A repentant must pray Allah to grant him success to keep on his repentance, to keep on being away from sins and rebelling against the Satan and the devils and then he can be free from the control of the wicked Satan little by little and at last he can drive him away from his life and get rid of his rule over his soul and body. By doing this man prepares for himself a good base to repent and to turn to Allah with his deep heart and then this luminous covenant will not be broken by the darkness of sins and disobediences after that.
(2) The worldly life
The worldly life in its religious meaning is the way of man’s relation with all the constituents of nature and all what makes his life and survival continue.
If this relation is based on the truth and the Divine system, no doubt this worldly life will be praiseworthy and it will lead man to (build) the afterlife too but if man’s relation with this worldly life is based on one’s tendencies and material pleasures, it will be dispraised and lead to the (destruction) of the afterlife.
Of course the relation that is based on worthless tendencies, pleasures and material lusts will be the first step leading to the mires of sin definitely.
Man in this wrong relation will be excessive lover to lusts and material pleasures and then he will commit what contradicts the commands of Allah. Such relation will deceive man to involve him in material pleasures and lusts and it will not bring him save loss and then to come on the Day of Resurrection with a back overburdened with sins, crimes and faults.
Imam Ali (s) says about such a worldly life, ‘The worldly life deceives, harms and passes away…’
In the Qudsi tradition it is narrated that Allah has addressed His messenger (Muhammad) describing to him the people of this worldly life who have been involved in its traps saying, ‘The people of the worldly life are those whose eating, laughing, sleeping and anger are much. They are of little contentment. They do not apologize to whom they do wrong to and do not accept the apology of that who apologizes to them. They are lazy when it is time to obey (Allah) and brave when they disobey (Him). Their hopes are too far whereas their ends are too near. They do not blame themselves. They fear Allah little and become too happy when eating foods. The people of the worldly life do not thank Allah at welfare and are not patient at misfortune. They belittle the great deeds of the others. They praise themselves with what they have not done themselves and they pretend to have what they do not have. They talk of what they wish, mention the defaults of the others and hide their (other people’s) good deeds.’
He (Prophet Muhammad) asked, ‘O my Lord! Is there any defects in the people of the worldly life other than these ones?’
Allah said, ‘O Ahmad! The defects of the people of the worldly life are so many. Among them there are ignorance, stupidity…They do not be humble before the one whom they learn from. They consider themselves as wise while they are stupid near the knowing people.’
If one repents of his sins but at the same time still lives under the domination of the worldly tendencies and pleasures, he cannot achieve inside himself the real repentance because whenever he repents, those pleasures and lusts attack him and draw him towards sin and then he breaks his repentance.
Strong adhering to the worldly life, excessive love to pleasures and lusts, changing according to tendencies, fancies and instincts besides the material and immaterial interests and pleasures all are considered as dangerous plagues that obstacle man’s way and behavior and prevent him from achieving the real repentance. So a repentant must purify himself from all these things and try to cure these diseases and plagues so that he can follow the way of repentance and turning to Allah the Almighty.