Requirements of Repentance, its Prescribed Practices, its Etiquette, and its Preferred Observances
Al-Junayd said to Mālik ibn Dīnār (may God be pleased with the both of them): 'Inform me as to the requirements of repentance, its prescribed practices, its etiquette, and its preferred observances.'
[Mālik ibn Dīnār] replied: 'There is no capability and no power except through God, the Most High, the Almighty! As for the requirements of repentance, [they consist of] paying back the injustices [one had committed] to those who have suffered them and making up the prayers, fasts, and alms that have been missed. As for its prescribed practices, [they consist in] avoiding the companions that were befriended during the period of one's disobedience, renouncing [one's past], and weeping for what has gone before. As for its supererogatory acts, [they consist in] continuously reciting invocations and [maintaining] the presence of the heart [with God]. As for its preferred observances, they [consist in] choosing a shaykh who is knowledgeable, God-fearing, scrupulous, and ascetic. As for its etiquette, [it consists of] happiness and excitement in [one's] obedience toward God, the continuous practice [of obedience], visiting other shaykhs, love for the poor and indigent, and the carrying out of [one's] obligations at the first moment that they are due.'