There are several verses of the Quran [e.g 2:284, 3:129, 5:18, 5:40, 48:14] which are usually interpreted as "Allah grants Maghfirat Whom He Wills". These verses can also be interpreted as, "Allah grants Maghfirat Whoever wills to have it". Either interpretation begs a question. If "Allah grants Maghfirat Whom He Wills", then question is whether Allah selects people randomly or (dare I say) blindly to grant Maghfirator Does He have any criteria for this i.e. Does Allah's Will follow any criteria defined, of course, by Allah Himself or not?. or if "Allah grants Maghfirat Whoever wills to have it", then question is whether JUST WILLING to have Maghfirat is enough or one has to fulfil some criteria? Indeed the study of the Quran makes very clear that there are certain criteria according to which Allah grants Maghfirat. Neither Allah selects people randomly to bestow Maghfarat nor JUST WILLING (or just sayinga staghfiru-Allah) of a man is enough to have Maghfirat.
People to whom Allah grantsMaghfirat
In the following, some of the verses of the Quran are given which outline the criteria for maghfirat and give some of the characteristics of those to whom Allah grants maghfarat
Those who believe and do deeds of righteousness
5/9 Allah has promised to those who believe and do deeds of righteousness( that) they shall have maghfirat and a mighty reward.
33:35 Verily, for:
-Muslim men and Muslim women.
- Believing men and believing women.
- Committed men and committed women(committed to Allah's Cause).
- Truthful men and truthful women.
- Steadfast men and steadfast women.
- Humble men and humble women.
- Charitable men and charitable women.
- Abstaining men and abstaining women (abstaining from all vices).
- Chaste men and chaste women.
- Men who remember Allah much and women who remember (Him much).
(For them) Allah has readied maghfirat (i.e. the protection of forgiveness) and an Immense Reward.
22/50 Then (as for) those who believe and do deeds of righteousness these it is for whom is maghfarat and an honourable sustenance.
11/11...those who show patience, steadfastness, perseverance and constancy, and work righteousness for them is maghfirat and a great reward.
34/4 That He may reward those who believe and do deeds of righteousness these it is for whom is maghfirat and an honourable sustenance.
35/7 For those who reject Allah, (deny His Laws and Commands, and fall short of following His Commands), is a terrible Penalty: butfor those who believe and work righteous deeds, is maghfirat, and a magnificent Reward.
48:29 .. Unto those who believe and do deeds of righteousness, Allah promises maghfirat and Immense Reward
46/31 O our people! accept the Divine caller and believe in Him, He will grant you maghfirat and protect you from a painful punishment.
3:134-136 The candidates to this Paradise keep their wealth open for mankind in favorable as well as in adverse circumstances. They divert and sublimate their anger and potentially virulent emotions to creative energy, and become a source of tranquility and comfort to people. They pardon people gracefully. Allah loves the benefactors of humanity. Such men and women quickly correct any wrong or indecency that has occurred from them, they remember Allah, and seek protection for themselves from trailing behind in dignity. And who can absolve imperfections but Allah? They refrain from willfully persisting in error.For such the reward is maghfirat from their Lord, and Gardens with rivers flowing underneath,-an eternal dwelling: How excellent are compense for those who work (and strive)!
8:2 The true believers are those who feel a tremor in their hearts when Allah is mentioned. And when His Revelations are conveyed to them, they find their faith strengthened. They do their best and then put their trust in their Lord.They help establish the Divine System and keep the provision that We have given them, open for the good of humanity.Such are the true believers. They have high ranks with their Lord and for them is maghfirat (i.e. the security of forgiveness) and honorable provision.
Those who love Allah and follow His Messenger [p.b.u.h]
3/31Say[O Messenger]:If you love Allah, then follow me, Allah will love you andgrant you maghfirat, and Allah is Ghafoor-ur-Raheem
Those who are Muttaqeen
8/29 O you who believe! If you guard yourself against the inevitable harmful consequences of violating Allah's Laws and Commands by carefully abiding by His Laws and Commands, He will grant you a distinction and do away with your evils and grant you maghfirat, and Allah is the Lord of mighty grace.
57:28 O You who have chosen to be graced with belief! Guard yourself against the inevitable harmful consequences of violating Allah's Laws and Commands by carefully abiding by His Laws and Commands,and put faith in His Messenger. He will grant you double the reward of His Grace, here and there, and appoint for you a light wherein you shall walk, and will grant you maghfirat. For, Allah is Ghafoor-ur-Raheem.
Those who have Khair (i.e. goodness) in their hearts
8/70 O Prophet! say to those of the captives who are in your hands:If Allah knows anything good in your hearts, He will give to you better than that which has been taken away from you and willgrant you maghfarat, and Allah is Ghafoor-ur-Raheem
Those who turn to Allah, believe and do good and continue to follow the right direction
20/82 And most surely I am most Protecting/Forgiving (Ghaffar) to himwho repents (and turns to me) and believes and does deeds of righteousness, then continues to follow the right direction.
Those who fear (the inevitable harmful consequences of violating the Laws and Commands of) their Lord
67/12 (As for) those who fear (the inevitable harmful consequences of violating the Laws and Commandsof)their Lord, even in privacy , they shall surely have Maghfirat and a great reward.
36:11 You can only warn him who would follow the Admonition, and fear (the inevitable harmful consequences of violating the Laws and Commands of) the Most Beneficent, even in privacy. Unto such give the good news of Maghfiratand a most honorable reward.
Those who abstain from greater transgressions and from shameful deeds and stinginess
53/32Those who abstain from the greater transgressions that drain and debilitate their human potential, and from shameful deeds and stinginess, except inadvertent mistakes, behold, your Lord is Immense in granting them maghfirat.
Those who are of good character
24:26 Evil women keep company with evil men, and evil men keep company with evil women. Likewise,men and women of good characterare companions to one another. The latter are innocent of whatever people might say about them. For them is the maghfirat and honorable provision.
Those who strive hard in Allah's way, with their lives and wealth
61:11-12 That you put your Faith in Allah and His Messenger and strive in Allah's Way with your wealth and person. This is for your own good, if your knowledge could encompass it. He will guard you (with maghfirat) from trailing behind in humanity, and admit you into Gardens beneath which rivers flow, and into beautiful mansions in the Gardens of Eden, (Gardens of Eternal Bliss). That is the Supreme Triumph.
8:74 Those who believed and emigrated, and strove in the Cause of Allah, and those who hosted them and supported them, are True believers. For them is maghfarat (i.e. the protection of forgiveness) and honorable provision.
Those who die in the way of Allah
3/157 And if you are slain in the way of Allah or you die, certainly maghfarat from Allah and mercy is better than what they amass.
Those who lend unto Allah a goodly loan
64:17 If you lend unto Allah a goodly loan, He will multiply it for you and will grant you the protection of forgiveness. Allah is Appreciative, Clement