But how come the men of God and the Infallible (AS), who are role models for the faithful and are away from any sin or wrongdoing, do the most Itighfar and cry the most when talking to God?
It has been reported, for instance, that the Holy Prophet (PBUH) did Istighfar 70 times a day.
There are also supplications from the Infallible (AS), such as Supplication of Abu Hamza al-Thumali, Kumayl Supplication and Iftitah Supplication, in which there is a lot of statements about regret, criticism of oneself and firm decisions to abandon sins.
Do they only serve as lessons for us to learn? Maryam Parto, a university scholar and expert in the field of Quran and Hadith, says:
We might wonder why the Infallible (AS) who never commit sins and are immaculate and free from sin do Iatighfar. One explanation is such supplication as Abu Hamza al-Thumali are aimed at teaching us. Otherwise, why would an Infallible Imam (AS) say “Or, perhaps, You have found me fond of the sessions of the wrongdoers and thus You have referred me to them!” Or why else should the Holy Prophet (PBUH) say, “(Oh God! … don’t entrust me to myself even for a blink of an eye.”
The answer could also be that because of having a sublime status and being closer to God, these noble individuals realize their need to Allah more than others. We, ordinary people, recognize this much less and are negligent of how we need God. What the Holy Prophet (PBUH) meant by saying, “Alfaqru fakhri (Poverty is my pride),” was poverty and need in relation to God.
That is why the Quran refers to special servants of God as Awwab (frequently repenting) four times, three of which are about messengers of God: “(Muhammad), bear patiently what they say and recall Our servant, David, who had strong hands and who was most repentant.” (Surah Saad (38), verse 17)
“We granted Solomon to David, a blessed servant of Ours and certainly the most repentant person.” (Surah Saad, verse 30)
“We told him, ‘Take a handful of straw. Strike your wife with it to fulfill your oath.’ We found him to be patient. What an excellent servant he was. He was certainly most repenting.” (Surah Saad, verse 44)
So the fact that men of God do so much Istighfar and are so repentant is because they recognize the necessity and importance of serving God. That is why they are Awwab.