We’d like to state that such Muslims should sincerely repent to Allah so that Allah may forgive them the sins of lying and cheating. But we cannot be true and sincere in repentance unless we have taken the following steps: To shun the sin altogether; feel deep sorrow and remorse for the sin we have committed, resolve never to do it again, and finally, follow it up by good deeds. But if the sin involves the rights of people as cheating and lying, then one must also do whatever it takes to return or compensate or redress the grievances of the person he/she has wronged. Paying him his dues or compensating him in whatever ways possible becomes an essential condition of valid repentance.
However, if the wronged person does not forgive the wrongdoer, while the latter has sincerely repented, then Allah will forgive him and accept his repentance and let the wronged person forgive him on the Day of Resurrection after compensating him for whatever wrongdoing he has suffered.
Dr. Taha Jaber Al-`Alwani, president of the Graduate School of Islamic and Social Sciences and former president of the Fiqh Council of North America, states: “There are a lot of conditions to be met for repentance to be sincere as follows:
1. The person should feel very sorry and true sorrow for committing that sin.
2. Through this feeling, he must determine that he will never approach this sin again.
3. If that sin was against the people, he should seek forgiveness from them.
If he took money of some of their rights, he must return it back and ask them for forgiveness. If he said some bad words against them, he also must go to them and ask them for forgiveness and pray for them and mention them in a good way.
4. Finally, you must replace the sins that you have committed by doing good deeds. You must make more hasanat (good deeds). Almighty Allah says: “Lo! good deeds annul ill deeds.” (Hud: 114) You should give sadaqah (charity), perform voluntary fasting and prayers, etc.”
The eminent Muslim scholar, Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, adds:
“If one devours people’s property unlawfully through cheating, bribery, or any other unlawful means, it is not sufficient for him to declare repentance and then head to perform Hajj or even strive in the Cause of Allah and die therein as a martyr. Rather, he must pay back the financial rights to their owners whom he has wronged as this issue cannot be tolerated or taken lightly.
However, if one is unable to pay back such financial rights, then one should go to their owners and seek their forgiveness so that they may forgive him/her. If they did not forgive the wrongdoer what he/she has taken, then one should have the intention to pay back as much as he can of these financial rights whenever he is able. If one dies before paying back all what is due on him/her, then Allah will take upon Himself to let the owners forgive him/her on the Day of Resurrection as Allah is All-Forgiving, All-Pardoning.”