A man came to the Commander of the Faithful and said: Commander of the Faithful, I am a poor man, with no money and no children.
ʿAlī replied: Have you not heard God’s words in his Book, {Ask forgiveness of your Lord: He is ever forgiving. He will send down abundant rain from the sky for you; He will give you wealth and sons; He will provide you with gardens and rivers.} [Soorah Nuh 10-12]
Teach me how to ask God for forgiveness, said the man.
ʿAlī answered: Say this:
I seek your forgiveness, God, for every sin that my body committed using the fortitude you gave it; for every sinful act my strength acquired using the favors you bestowed upon it; for every sinful thing my hand stretched out to grasp, fortified by your sustenance; for every sin I hesitated at but committed anyway, relying upon your patience, believing in your forgiveness, and trusting that you would not strike me in your wrath.
I seek your forgiveness, God, for every sin by which I betrayed my trust, or short-changed my soul, or transgressed upon my body, or gave precedence to my pleasures, or preference to my desires, and for the times when I answered roughly any who would try to stop me.
I seek your forgiveness, God, for every sin that you knew I would commit, but that I entered into of my own will, perpetrating it blithely, and coming to it through my own desires. I tried to deceive you, lord, but could not vanquish you. You disliked my disobedience, but had prior knowledge about me, and so were patient. You did not force me to sin, nor push me into it. No, you did me no injustice there. Forgive me, God. None can forgive sins but you.
- `Alī b. Abī Tālib (Dastur Mu`alim al-Hikam, 5.10)
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