According to Islamic Sharia, when an act of tawba is performed by a Muslim, Allah generally accepts it. However, that tawba should be sincere and true. Islamic scholars agree upon the fact that if a person is not ashamed of his past misdeeds, or does not intend to forsake those, then his verbal announcement of tawba is an open mockery of repentance. Mere verbal repentance does not account for a true tawba. A sincere tawba has some criteria.
Ali was asked as to what is tawba, and he replied that tawba consists of six elements:
to regret one's past evil deeds;
to carry out Divine duties (fard, wajib etc.) that were missed;
to return the rights/properties of others that were usurped unjustly;
to ask forgiveness of a person who has been wronged by him, physically or verbally;
to make a firm resolve of avoiding the sin in future; and
to employ oneself in Allah's obedience, as he previously employed himself in Allah's disobedience.
In Islamic sharia, tawba is a twofold approach: a person first should be able to recognize and forsake his/her sins upon which Allah promises to forgive them. Islam expects Muslims to realize their mistakes and shortcomings, and to seek His forgiveness. Forgiveness for one's sins is not something that comes automatically; it is something that must be sought for, with sincereness and true devotion. Becoming indifferent to one's sins is seen as dangerous.[original research?] Muhammad said:
A believer sees his sins as if he were sitting under a mountain which, he is afraid, may fall on him; whereas the wicked person considers his sins as flies passing over his nose and he just drives them away like this (and he moved his hand over his nose in illustration).
— Sahih al-Bukhari, 8:75:320
Another important perspective on repentance in Islam is that a person should always seek God's forgiveness even when they are not apparently guilty of any particular sin. This is because there are many subtle natures of sin involving immorality which escape notice, and also because it is a Muslim's duty to turn towards God.
In hadith, Muhammad asked people to seek Allah's forgiveness:[original research?] "O people, seek repentance from Allah. Verily, I seek repentance from Him a hundred times a day."
In Islamic sharia, submission to Allah is necessary not only for achieving God's forgiveness, but also for being worthy of entering into paradise.[original research?] Muhammad said: "Do good deeds properly, sincerely and moderately, and receive good news because one's good deeds will not make him enter Paradise." The companions asked, "Even you, O Allah's Apostle?" He said, "Even I, unless and until Allah bestows His pardon and Mercy on me."
Demerits of turning away from tawba
Turning away from repentance or postponement of tawbah, was attached with some ill-effects including the follows:
He who turn away from tawbah was refers to as an Unjust.[Quran 49:11][original research?]
He who decide to postpone his repentance till their last breath, his repentance shall not be accepted.[Quran 3:90][original research?]
Postponement of tawbah according to Islam was seen as a great sin.[32