[ثُمَّ أَفِيضُوا مِنْ حَيْثُ أَفَاضَ النَّاسُ وَاسْتَغْفِرُوا اللَّهَ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ]
Then hasten on from the Place from which the people hasten on and ask the forgiveness of Allah; surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. [2:199]
You would think that the pilgrims hastening from Mount Arafah after asking Allah [SWT] for forgiveness would be asked to praise and pay gratitude to Allah [SWT] for the Prophet (saw) said, “There is no day on which Allah ransoms more of His slaves from the Fire than the day of ‘Arafah. He draws close then He boasts about them before the angels and says, ‘What do these people want?'” (Muslim)
So, why is the ayah saying that they need to continue asking for forgiveness, even though the possibility of them being sin free like newborn babes is so great? Scholars have a beautiful tafseer of this, which goes off of the Prophet’s practice talked about in this hadith narrated by Al-Mughira that the Prophet used to offer night prayers till his feet became swollen. Aishah (raa) said to him,” Allah has forgiven you, your faults of the past and those to follow.” On that, he said, “Shouldn’t I be a thankful slave of Allah)?” (Bukhari)
There is an Istighfar [asking Allah for forgiveness] that is for expiation of sins, and there is an Istighfar that is an apology to Allah [SWT] for being deficient, lacking, and insufficient in ones praise for all His [SWT] blessings on them. That no matter how much we praise Him [SWT] it is never and will never be enough:
[وَإِن تَعُدُّوا نِعْمَةَ اللَّهِ لَا تُحْصُوهَا ۗ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَغَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ]
If ye would count up the favours of Allah, never would ye be able to number them: for Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. [16:18]
So, continue this kind of Istighfar following the example of our beloved Prophet (saw), for the companions (raa) say that they counted the Prophet saying it more than 70 times in a single sitting.
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