“So from Shaddaad ibn Aws from the Prophet sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, that he said, “The noblest and most excellent manner of seeking forgiveness is that the servant says:
`O Allaah, You are my Lord. None has the right to be worshipped except You. You created me, and I am Your slave/worshipper. And I am faithful to my covenant and my promise as far as I am able. I seek Your refuge from the evil of what I have done. I acknowledge before You all the favours that You have bestowed upon me. And I confess all my sins to You. So forgive me, since none can forgive sins except You.’
This wording occurs in one of the two narrations brought by Bukhaaree.
The Prophet sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam said, “Whoever says it in the day, with firm conviction in it, and dies in that day before evening – then he is from the people of Paradise. Whoever says it in the night,with firm conviction in it, and he dies before the Morning -then he is from the people of Paradise.”
The scholars count this hadeeth as one of the narrations both for the night and for the day – one of the adhkaar that should be said in early morning (sabaah), between dawn and sunrise, and at the start of the evening (masaa). Whoever says it and dies in that day, before evening, will enter Paradise. Similarly, whoever says it at night, and then dies before morning, will enter Paradise. Paradise is guaranteed for him.
This tremendous hadeeth of Shaddaad ibn Aws is reported by al-Bukhaaree in his Saheeh in the Book of Supplications, under the title: `Chapter: The most excellent manner of seeking forgiveness.’
He also quotes it in a second place in the same Book under the title:`Chapter: What to say when one gets up in the (early) morning.’ This shows that Imaam al-Bukhaaree (rahimahu`Allaah) holds that, in the saying of the Prophet sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam , “The most excellent manner of seeking forgiveness …” to the end of the hadeeth, there is proof that this is indeed the best wording for seeking forgiveness and the wording that is most complete.
When we study and reflect upon these words and what they contain, with regard to all aspects of supplication: humble submission, humility, ones abject poverty and need before Allaah, acknowledgement of His favour and blessings, and the fact that none forgives sins except Him-when we consider this, then it becomes clear to us that the wording of this hadeeth is very great and that it indeed deserves its description by the Prophet as, “The noblest/most excellent manner of seeking forgiveness.”
Furthermore, this is the only hadeeth of the noble Companion Shaddaad ibn Aws that is reported by al-Bukhaaree in his Saheeh, and it is a noteworthy fact that he reports it twice. This is a point of benefit for the science of hadeeth and, although Muslim excludes it, it is also reported by some of the compilers of the Sunan, such as an-Nasaa’ee and at-Tirmidhee with wordings that also show the importance of learning this manner of seeking forgiveness. In a narration of at-Tirmidhee the Prophet sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam said: “Shall I not guide you to the most excellent manner of seeking forgiveness?” And, in a narration of an-Nasaa’ee he said, “Learn the most excellent manner of seeking forgiveness.” This shows that learning this wording for seeking forgiveness from Allaah, the Perfect and Most High, was encouraged by the Prophet.sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam.”
To read the book in its entirety: http://islamic-knowledge.com/Books_Articles/Purification__Excellent_Manner_to_Seek_Forgiveness__Sh_Al_Abbaad.pdf