Liaison office of Grand Ayatullah Sayyid Ali Al Sistani (L.M.H.L) in London, Europe, North and South America.

The Representative of the leading Marja’iya in Europe calls on Muslims to seek ‘Istighfar’
[repentance/forgiveness] in this holy month because of its importance in human life in this world and the hereafter.

Here is the text of his speech:
A mindful Muslim must actively include ‘Istighfar’ his Ramadhan schedule
According to the words of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.w.) (O people, your souls are reliant on your deeds, so free them by seeking forgiveness, and your backs are heavy from your burdens, so lighten them by the length of your prostration).
And on the authority of the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.):
(You must in the month of Ramadan seek much forgiveness)
During the month of Ramadhan, Ali bin Al-Hussein Zain Al-Abidin (a.s.) would not speak except by supplication, seeking forgiveness, and Takbir [Allaho-Akbar]
This is because seeking forgiveness has amazing effects in a person’s life, in this world, and in the afterlife. Because the seeker of forgiveness may reach a superior level, as in some of the reported Hadiths by the pure and chaste household (a.s.).
But what is the essence of this request for forgiveness desired by the Prophet (s.a.w.w.) and the Imams (a.s.)?
This is what Imam Ali (a.s.) explains in Nahj al-Balagha, as he said to someone who said in his presence, “I seek forgiveness from Allah.” He (a.s.) said: Do you know what seeking forgiveness is? Asking forgiveness has a superior status, and it is a name that has six meanings: the first of which is regret for what has passed, the second is the determination to never repeat it, the third is that you fulfil your rights towards others until you meet Allah Almighty, clear and free of responsibility, and the fourth is that you intend to fulfil the rights of every obligation you neglected. The fifth is to reach the flesh that grew due to wrongdoing and melt it with grief until the skin sticks to the bone, and new flesh grows in-between. The sixth is to let the body taste the pain of obedience just as you made it taste the sweetness of disobedience. Then you can say: I ask forgiveness from Allah.
Asking forgiveness has important effects on a person’s life in this world and the hereafter, as has been stated in many narrations, including:

1. Spreading hope: This is because if a person thinks about the seriousness of his sin and the severity of the punishment promised by Allah Almighty, he may become despondent and despair, and seeking forgiveness prevents that. On the authority of the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) (I am amazed at one who despairs, and with him is forgiveness)

2-The abundance of divine blessings: Sins prevent sustenance and prevent a person from receiving Allah’s blessings. This can be removed through seeking forgiveness. On the authority of the Commander of the Faithful (a.s) (And Allah Almighty has made seeking forgiveness a means of bringing about abundant provision and His mercy to creation) and according to the Almighty’s saying ((And O my people! Ask forgiveness of your Lord, and turn to Him (in repentance): He will send you the skies pouring abundant rain, and add strength to your strength: so, turn ye not back in sin!)) Holy Qur’an (11:52)

Just as this includes material sustenance related to the needs of this world, it also includes moral sustenance from blessings of the divine - obtained by the one who seeks forgiveness - which are linked to raising his rank in the afterlife and achieving closeness to divine positions.
3- Safety from the perils of sins: On the authority of the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) (On earth there were two safeguards from Allah’s punishment. One of them was removed, so hold tight to the other one. As for the removed safeguard , He is the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.w.), and as for the remaining one, it is seeking forgiveness. Allah Almighty said:

((But Allah was not going to send them a penalty whilst thou wast amongst them; nor was He going to send it whilst they could ask for forgiveness)). Holy Qur’an (8:33)
Sins and mistakes inevitably have negative effects and consequences that reflect on one’s life, including the soul; such as sadness, grief, worry, anxiety, turmoil, immediate anger, and transgression on others. The cure for this is by seeking forgiveness. Because it is calmness to the soul, peace of mind, and attachment to the creator of the heavens and the earth.

4- Safeguard from sins: On the authority of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.w.) (There are three who are protected from Iblis [Satan] and his soldiers: those who remember Allah, those who cry out of fear of Allah, and those who seek forgiveness at dawn), which is a blessing from Allah Almighty to those who seek forgiveness - whose sins will not be repeated.

We ask the Lord Almighty to make us among those who remember and seek forgiveness in this holy month by His benevolence and generosity. For He is the Grantor of success.