“Turn to Allah every one of you, mu’minun.” Surat an-Nur: 31
Turning to Allah (tawbah) is incumbent on every mu’min who is charged with responsibility (mukallaf) as is proved by the Book, the Sunnah and the consensus of the Ummah.
It has three obligations:
regret for the wrong action from the point of view that one has disobeyed the Possessor of Majesty not from the point of view that one has harmed one’s body or finances;
desisting from the wrong action at the very first possible moment without delay or tawan;
a strong resolve never to return to it ever again, and whenever it is decreed that one return to it, to renew the resolve afresh.
It has three courtesies:
acknowledgement of the wrong action coupled with contrition;
to make a great deal of entreaty and asking forgiveness;
and to do a great deal of good actions in order to erase previous evil deeds.
It has seven degrees:
the kuffar turn from kufr;
those who have mixed matters turn from major wrong actions;
upstanding people (‘udul) turn from minor wrong actions;
devotees turn from slackness;
people who are travelling the path methodically (salikun) turn from the illnesses of the heart and its defects;
people of scrupulousnes turn from ambivalent matters;
people of witnessing turn from moments of forgetfulness.
There are seven things which prompt tawbah:
fear of punishment;
hope of reward;
shame and shyness at the reckoning;
love of the Beloved;
vigilant watchfulness for the Vigilantly Watchful Who is Near;
exaltation of the station;
and gratitude for blessings.
(Courtesy of Bogvaerker.dk)