From the morals and manners of the Salaf was that they would have abundant repentance (tawbah) and the seeking of forgiveness (istighfaar) throughout the day and night because of their realization that they were not free from sins even in their good deeds. So they would seek forgiveness because of the deficiency or lack of awe and sublime fear in the prayer (salah) and callousness of Allaah the Most High who is ever watching.
Allaah the Most High said, All of you repent to Allaah O believers, so that you might be successful.¹
The Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallaam) said, “By Allaah I seek the forgiveness of Allaah and repent to Him more than seventy times a day”. ²
One of the Salaf said, “Whoever does not repent in the morning and evening is from the wrongdoers”. Allaah said: “Whoever does not repent then he is of the wrongdoers”.³
Yahya ibn Mu’aadh (rahimahullaah) would say, “One mistake after repentance is uglier than seventy mistakes before it.”
Sufyaan ibn ‘Uyainah (rahimahullaah) was asked, “What are the indications of a sincere repentance?” He replied, “Four things: Taking little of the world, a humble soul, seeking many ways of closeness to Allaah with obedience, and seeing one’s deficiency and insignificance in that.”
Fudhayl ibn ‘Iyaad (rahimahullaah) used to say to the mujahidoon (fighters purely in the cause of Allaah) before they left for jihaad, “Do tawbah because it pushes away from you what swords cannot”.
‘Umar ibn-ul-Khattab (radiallaahu anhu) used to say, “Sit with those who repent frequently as they have the softest hearts.”
Realize this brother and as long as you are in this world increase in asking forgiveness as it extinguishes the anger of al-Jabbaar. Do not think that if you do the deeds that wipe away sins that your sins indeed have been forgiven, because those deeds could have preconditions which you have not performed. Understand that a believer does not become truly content until he enters Paradise. All praise be to Allaah the Lord of the worlds.