The act of seeking forgiveness is what gives us the opening we need after feeling overwhelmed by the burden of sin. Forgiveness means a way out, a second chance, a feeling of hope with which to turn a new page in life. It is through the seeking of forgiveness that we begin to understand that there is no reason whatsoever to despair of the mercy of Allah. Islam encourages us to not run away in fear of Allah but rather to turn toward Allah the same way a baby would run into its mother’s lap. So lovingly does Allah, Most High, address His sinful servants: “Say (to humanity, O Muhammad): O My servants—those (of you) who have committed (sins in great) excess against their own souls—never despair of the mercy of Allah! For, indeed, Allah forgives sins, one and all.
Indeed, it is He who is the All-Forgiving, the Mercy-Giving. So turn in penitence to your Lord. And submit yourselves to Him.” (al-Qur’an 39:53–54) This collection of seventy prayers for forgiveness [istighfarat] is attributed to one of the greatest spiritual luminaries of the past, Hasan al-Basri, and it has been presented here to offer a way for us to navigate through the complications and pitfalls of this life. Set out in Arabic script, with adjoining translation in English, this edition also includes transliteration of the prayers to facilitate reading for those who are not so well-versed in Arabic.