SHAFAQNA – The Grand Ayatollah Sistani answered a question about the real repenting.
Question: How does real repenting is achieved?
The Grand Ayatollah Sistani: The reality of repenting is to regret committing the sin, and therefore it is said: The regret (remorse) is the same as repenting and the real regret is always accompanied by decision to abandon the sin and not to return to it. And the real regretful person must avoid the past sins, and if his sin is the right of Allah (SWT), must ask forgiveness from God, and pay Kaffarah (financial penalty) or to compensate for it. And if it is the right of people, must either ask the owner of the right for forgiveness or pay his right back, and if this causes disrespect for that person, can return it as a gift or pay the sum into his account.
Repenting is not achieved by just saying “I ask God for forgiveness”, but regret, and decision to abandon the sin for ever, and preparation for that as much as possible. And the sinner must not lose hope of God’s mercy as God is merciful and kind, and likes those who repent.
It is narrated: (An hour of reflecting is better than 70 years of prayers), and of the effective cases in repenting is thinking about the greatness of God, and the rights of God on human beings, and that God is present, and is a witness everywhere, and so it is narrated from Imam Ali (AS): Avoid committing sins even in secret because the same God who is a witness is also the ruler.
Source: PERSIAN SHAFAQNA