SHAFAQNA – One day Imam Ali (AS) heard a man was saying “I repent to Allah (SWT)”. Imam (AS) asked him: Do you know what is repentance? Then Imam Ali (AS) explained for that man, saying: First you have to regret your previous bad deeds; secondly, you need to decide to leave behind your bad deeds; thirdly, others rights on you (like taking loans from others, taking things off others by force or things belonging to others), must be paid back to them; fourthly, God’s rights on you (like Salats which have not been performed or other religious rights), must be compensated for. After the above stages, then say with your tongue “I repent to Allah (SWT)” . Therefore repenting is not just a phrase, it is a transformation/transition in a human being’s life.
 Nahjul Balaghah, Page 549.