The Shaykh was the Ghawth of his time and almost all the chains of the Shadhili Tariqa link up to him. He was the senior and contemporary of Shaykh Muhiyuddeen ibn Arabi Rahimahullah who had great love for the Shaykh and regarded him as the most senior Awliya of his time.
This Istighfar is one of the best ever written in asking Allah for forgiveness. Shaykh Abu-Madyan divided the poem to several sections, where in each of five sections of several verses each he asks Allah forgiveness in a different way.
The first verse is for asking for prayers upon and praising the prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam.
The following 4 verses (2-5) he asks for forgiveness by praising Allah by His Glorious Descriptions.
The next 11 verses (6-16) he asks for forgiveness for some of what he sees as having been wrong.
The next 3 verses (17-19) he states how long or the length of the duration he asks for forgiveness (he uses different expressions to express that he is asking for forgiveness forever).
The next 8 verses (20-27) he states how much he asks for forgiveness, and the verses indicate that he asks for forgiveness uncountably.
The next 3 verses (28-30) he asks for forgiveness again by praising Allah.
The next verse (31) he asks for forgiveness multiples of all that he has already did.
The last verse (32) he closes by asking for prayers upon and praising Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam.