If your heart isn’t penetrated when listening to the Qur’an or reciting it, do istighfar and make du’a as it’s an extremely bad sign.
As mentioned by one of the scholars of the past, the heart is in need of:
- That which will protect its strength and that is emaan and acts of obedience.
- Protection from harm and evil and that is avoiding sins and that which will affect the heart.
- And to be free from corruption and evil which have afflicted it and that is through tawbah and istighfaar.
Doing istighfar after Sunnah prayers seems to be permissible as some of the people of the past did it as narrated by Ibn Rajab (rh). A scholar of the past said that it’s allowed due to the generality of the narrations that mention doing istighfar after Salaah.
Du’a of Yunus (as)
“No Muslim recites this du’a concerning any matter but Allaah will answer him.” Narrated by al-Tirmidhi and classed as saheeh in Saheeh al-Jaami’, 3383.
So use the du’a of Yunus (as) in your sujood in optional prayers.
The benefits of doing a lot of istighfar:
Ibn Abbas (May Allah be pleased with them) said: The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said,
“If anyone constantly seeks pardon (from Allah), Allah will appoint for him a way out of every distress and a relief from every anxiety, and will provide sustenance for him from where he expects not.” [Abu Dawud].
In another Hadith, Abdullah bin Abbas (May Allah be pleased with them) narrates that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said:
“The one who (regularly) says Istighfaar, that is, frequently repent to Allah Ta’aala for sins committed, Allah Azza Wa-Jal will open a path from poverty and difficulties. All sorrow and hardship will be removed, and in its place prosperity and contentment granted. One will receive sustenance from unimagined and unexpected sources.”
Praying at least Fajr and Esha in the musjid
Doing morning and afternoon adkhar
Adkhar before sleep
Memorise the book of Allah
Constantly doing dhikr; including lots of istighfar
Portion of the night prayer whether before or after sleep
Praying Sunnah prayers
These are just some of the ibaadaat a person should be doing. These are basic actions that even a pious Muslim should be doing.