Astaghfirullah is the act of seeking forgiveness from Allah. This is done by repeating the Arabic words astaghfirullah, meaning “I seek forgiveness from Allah “.
The Prophet Muhammed was masoum (innocent) and the most virtuous human being alive yet he used to ask Allah for forgiveness more than seventy times a day (Sahih Bukhari Volume 8, Book 75, Number 39).
Sometimes we make mistakes we are not even aware of and at other times in trying our best to help, we cause some kind of harm(s). For example: a doctor in providing a cure for a disease may cause some distress along with the cure such as in surgery or giving a medication that may have adverse effects. In all these situations and more, it is good to turn to Allah for forgiveness.
The fifth Kalima Astaghfar provides beautiful words with which to seek forgiveness. They are as follow: “I seek forgiveness from Allah, my Lord, from every sin I committed knowingly or unknowingly, secretly or openly, and I turn towards Him from the sin that I know and from the sin that I do not know. Certainly You, You (are) the knower of the hidden things and the Concealer (of) the mistakes and the Forgiver (of) the sins. And (there is) no power and no strength except from Allah, the Most High, the Most Great.”
In Tafseer Al-Qurtubi (18/301-302) it says “Ask forgiveness from your Lord, verily, He is Oft Forgiving; He will send rain to you in abundance. And give you increase in wealth and children, and bestow on you gardens and bestow on you rivers.”
According to a narration regarding Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal and the Baker, Astaghfirullah is beneficial for having all of one’s duas (supplications made to God) come true. The narration is as follows: Imam Ahmed, may God be pleased with him, once was traveling and needed to stay somewhere overnight. When he went to the masjid, the guard (not recognizing Imam Ahmed) denied him entrance. Imam Ahmed tried numerous times, but the guard did not accept his requests. Frustrated, Imam Ahmed resolved to spend the night in the masjid yard. The guard became furious and dragged him away, despite the old age and frailty of Imam Ahmed.
A baker, whose shop was nearby, watched this scene and took pity on Imam Ahmed. He invited the Imam to stay with him for the night. While there, Imam Ahmed noticed that the baker continually made istighfaar (asking for Allah’s forgiveness) while working, and in the morning, the Imam eagerly asked his host about the latter’s continual seeking of forgiveness. The baker said it had become like second nature, and Imam Ahmed then asked whether the man had experienced any reward from this practice.
The baker answered,
“By Allah! No duaa (supplication to God) I made except that it was answered but one.”
“And what is that duaa?” asked Imam Ahmed.
“To be able to see the famed Imam Ahmed ibn Hanbal!”
Imam Ahmed interjected, “I am Ahmed ibn Hanbal!”
He then went on to add:
“By Allah! I was dragged to your place so that you can have your duaa/wish come true.”
Thus, constant reciting of astaghfirullah has numerous benefits. Also asking Allah for forgiveness is very pleasing to him, it says in the sahih Bukhari (Volume 8, Book 75, Number 321) narrated by Anas bin Malik Allah’s Apostle said,”Allah is more pleased with the repentance of His slave than anyone of you is pleased with finding his camel which he had lost in the desert.” So, let’s please Allah (s.w.t) and reap the benefits of asking Allah for forgiveness by making it a habit to recite Astaghfirullah as often as possible.