The first aspect of Tawbah is to see how one was taken away from seeking the pleasure of Allah, by committing sins. And then, he has to recognize that Allah didn’t safeguard him from sin. And he should ponder how happy he was while sinning, and being persistent on the sin – despite knowing full well that Allah ever watches over whatever is done in the heavens or on the earth. If he had sought refuge in Allah, he would not have gone away from the guidance of obedience:
“And whoever holds firmly to Allah, then he is indeed guided to a Right Path.”
[Ali Imran 3:101]
If one’s holding onto Allah is firm, he would never be forsaken by Allah:
“And hold firmly to Allah, He is your Protector
and what an excellent Protector and what an excellent Helper.”
In other words, whenever we hold firm to Him, He will become our Protector and He will support us against our nafs and the Shaytan. These 2 enemies, the nafs and Shaytan, are the ones that do not leave the slave for even a moment. Their enmity is more harmful to the slave than the enemies without. Attaining victory over such enemies is more difficult, and the slave’s need for such a victory is far more important.
The degree of help rendered to defeat these enemies is dependent upon the degree of our dependence and holding onto Allah. If we do not hold firmly to Allah, we will leave Allah’s protection. And this is indeed true loss. For Allah could have aided us in staying away from sins, however, because we deserted Him, we were allowed to listen and obey our nafs.
If He wished to protect us, the sin would not have found a way to get to us.
Madaarij us-Saalikeen, by Ibn al-Qayyim rahimahullah (paraphrased)