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A knowledgeable person’s view on Tasbih and Istighfar

Is there any mention regarding the name of this teacher of Ibn Qayyim Al Jawziyyah? Please mention the Arabic text as well.

Ibn Qayyim (rahimahullah) asked his teacher: “Is it more beneficial to make tasbih [glorify Allah] or to make istighfar [seek Allah’s forgiveness]?” He replied, ‘The dirty garment is more in need of soap than perfume’” (Al Wabilus Sayyib)


‘Allamah Ibn Qayyim Al Jawziyyah (rahimahullah) has mentioned this in his book Al Wabilus Sayyib.

The translation above is inaccurate.

Arabic text

قلت لشيخ الإسلام ابن تيمية رحمه الله تعالى يومًا: سئل بعض أهل العلم أيهما أنفع للعبد التسبيح أو الاستغفار؟ فقال: إذا كان الثوب نقيًا فالبخور وماء الورد أنفع له، وإذا كان دنسًا فالصابون والماء الحار أنفع له. فقال لي رحمه الله تعالى: فكيف والثياب لا تزال دنسة؟

Correct translation

‘Allamah Ibn Qayyim Al Jawziyyah (rahimahullah) says, “I once mentioned to Shaykhul Islam Ibn Taymiyyah (rahimahullah) that a knowledgeable person was asked, ‘Which is more beneficial for a person; tasbih [glorifying Allah] or istighfar [seeking forgiveness]?’ The knowledgeable person replied, ‘If the garment is already clean, then incense and rose water is more beneficial. [i.e. for pious people, tasbih is more beneficial]. However, if the garment is soiled, then soap and hot water is more beneficial.’ [i.e. istighfar is more beneficial for sinners]. ‘Allamah Ibn Qayyim (rahimahullah) says, ‘Allamah ibn Taymiyyah (rahimahullah) then said to me, ‘What about those whose garments are perpetually soiled? [i.e Will they be deprived of making tasbih? or the sinners will need to habitually seek forgiveness to purify themselves]’”

(Al Wabilus Sayyib, pg. 181-182, Maktabah Darul Bayan edition)


Regardless of whether a person is a sinner or a pious person, he should endeavour to recite tasbih as well as istighfar. The above quote is merely a guideline. There are great rewards for reciting tasbih as well.

On the other hand, Nabi (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) was protected from sin. However, he would habitually and constantly make istighfar on a daily basis.

And Allah Ta’ala Knows best.

Answered by: Moulana Suhail Motala

Approved by: Moulana Muhammad Abasoomar

This answer was collected from HadithAnswers.com. The answers were either answered or checked by Moulana Haroon Abasoomar (rahimahullah) who was a Shaykhul Hadith in South Africa, or by his son, Moulana Muhammad Abasoomer (hafizahullah), who is a Hadith specialist. 

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