Repentance is obligatory that one repents immediately after realizing one’s mistake. Committing a sin is a part of human nature. The Prophet (PBUH) said: “Every son of Adam repetitively commits sins, and the best of those who repetitively commit sins are the ones who often repent.” (at-Tirmidhi)
He also said: “If you weren’t to commit sins, Allah would have wiped you out of existence and replaced you by another people who would commit sins.
They would ask forgiveness from Allah and He would forgive them.” (Muslim)
The real problem is persisting stubbornly in committing sins and delaying seeking repentance for them.
Satan wishes to tempt mankind to fall into one of seven pitfalls. He wishes for the most sinful first and, if he is unsuccessful in that, he tries the next and so on.
These seven are, in descending order from the most sinful to the least:
1) Associating partners with Allah in polytheism/idolatry (Shirk) and disbelief ( Kufr);
2) Innovation in religion (Bid’ah) and abandoning the way of the Prophet(PBUH) and the way of his companions;
3) Committing the greater sins (Kaba’ir);
4) Committing the lesser sins (Syagha’ir);
5) Inciting to an over abundance of the allowed things; 6) Inciting to do certain acts of obedience when there are others that are more obligatory and greater in reward;
7) Sending the devils of the men and jinn to annoy and bother the Muslim
There are two kinds of sins: major sins and minor sins.
1) Major sins (Kaba’ir), include every sin for which either a prescribed punishment has been legislated in this life, a punishment has been associated with it in the Hereafter, it is mentioned to be a reason of earning the anger or curse of Allah, or it is mentioned that it negates faith.
2) Minor sins (Sagha’ir) are all types of sins other than the above.
Minor sin to become a major one
There are many reasons that cause a minor sin to become a major one. They include being determine in doing them, persistence in committing them again and again, thinking them to be insignificant, bragging about them and committing them in public.
Repentance is accepted from each and every sin. Allah accepts a person’s repentance as long as he is not in the face of death and the sun has not yet risen from the west.
If one is truthful in seeking repentance, his sins will be changed into good
deeds”, even if they were so many that they reached into the sky.
There are four conditions for repentance to be accepted:
1) discontinuation of that sin;
2) feeling remorse and regret for committing it;
3) determination not to return to that sin in the future;
4) if the sin is related to the rights of another person, then ensuring that the rights are returned to those to whom the injustices were done.
Those who repent are of four types:
1) A person who repents from all sins and is
constant in repentance until his death, and does not intend to return to committing sins. He only falls into small faults that no one is free from.
This represents straightforwardness in repentance and this person is foremost in good deeds. This kind of repentance is called sincere repentance and this soul is in complete rest.
2) A person who repents and performs the essential matters pertaining to the
religion, but continues to commits some sins unintentionally.
He commits them without being determined to do so. Every time he commits a sin, he blames himself, regrets doing it and is determine to stay away from what causes him to commit it. This is the reproaching soul.
3) A person who repents and continues without committing sins for some time, then his desire overtakes him and he commits some sins, except that he still performs good deeds.
He stopped committing most sins even though he was able to do them len hy one or two of his desires. Once he has done committing a sin, he regrets and promises himself to repent and stay away from that sin.
This is the responsible soul and he is in danger due to his delay and respite of repentance. For death may attack him before repentance. Verily, the (results of) deeds done depend upon the last actions.
4) The one who repents and continues for a while then returns and commits sins without thinking of neither repentance nor remorse, for what he has done. This soul is inclined to evil, and there is fear that he may have a bad ending.
Source: Tefseer Ushr lihakr