I have a past of sin, how do I move forward?

I have a past of sin, how do I move forward?


I am a born Muslim woman, I have a past that is filled with sin regret and shame, being forced into a religion I never understood made me leave Islam for about two years. Although I returned to Islam, I am petrified that my past will be what burdens my afterlife. I try to be a good Muslim now, and I feel as if it is a constant battle, not that it stops me. It’s a struggle, but I am wondering whether even through my struggles will my efforts be wasted cos my past is too dark for my apologies.

Salaam alykum,

I think you have shown a strength that many of us, including myself, can hardly appreciate. It takes so much strength, so much courage, to return to Islam, to return to the path of righteousness, that I think you are short-changing yourself. While others may not have experienced your struggles, I am not sure how many of us could emerge from your past like you have, masha Allah.

So first things first, please, do not undermine what you have achieved.

The Qur’an deals with those who knowingly do wrong, and realize that the stress here is on consciously do what is wrong:

“Behold, as for those who suppress aught of the evidence of the truth and of the guidance which We have bestowed from on high, after We have made it clear unto mankind through the divine writ – these it is whom God will reject, and whom all who can judge will reject.” [2:159] Muhammad Asad

If you took this ayah alone, you would have a right to be afraid, but SubhanAllah, look at the very nextAyah:

“Excepted, however, shall be they that repent, and put themselves to rights, and make known the truth: and it is they whose repentance I shall accept – for I alone am the Acceptor of Repentance, the Dispenser of Grace” [2:160] Muhammad Asad

Thus, it is underlined that God realizes (obviously) that as human beings we are prone to making mistakes, even grave mistakes, but again, you and I, we are human beings, we are imperfect, that is why in The Qur’an God describes humanity as such:

“God wants to lighten your burdens: for man has been created weak.” [4:28] Muhammad Asad

We will sin, we all do, and that doesn’t mean that we should find this state of sin to be something to commiserate in, but rather, something to realize that sinning is actually harming ourselves, that what we were doing was to our detriment.

The Qur’an underlines this, where it says:

“And [always], O you believers – all of you – turn unto God in repentance, so that you might attain to a happy state!” [24:31] Muhammad Asad

Masha Allah, I think you have embodied this state better than I have. That is why I think you should give yourself a break, and that you should realize that God is Merciful, and that’s not just “my idea,” I mean, God starts every Surah (except one) with the words: “In the Name of God; The Most Gracious, The Most Merciful,” to underline the point that He is limitless in His Mercy and His Grace.

Truly, you are not wasting your time, and realize that your sins will be forgiven by God as long as you repent with sincerity and strive with genuine effort to avoid those sins, and if you fall victim to them again, continue to repent and continue to avoid them, in whatever ways that you can, insha Allah.

The Prophet described how much God loved those who repented with the following Hadith, found in Bukhari:

“God’s Apostle said, ‘God is more pleased with the repentance of His slave than anyone of you is pleased with finding his camel which he had lost in the desert.’”

Other variations of this Hadith underline how dire the situation is for the person looking for their camel: that this camel had all your food, water, and provisions, that you were lost in the middle of the desert, facing death and that the elation you would feel, should you find this camel, after facing your demise, is not close to the pleasure that God has for those who repent. This variation is found in the collection of Riyad as-Saliheen.

Again, please continue down your path of faith and righteous action, because you are the one who will benefit the most, and you are the one who has improved because of your repentance, and that God underlines this within The Qur’an and The Prophet underlined this in his teachings, so do not lose hope, and please continue your efforts, insha Allah.

If you, or anyone else, have any other questions, on this, or any other topic, please do not hesitate to ask me, insha Allah.

I am praying for you, and I hope that this message reaches you and your family in the best of health and Iman, insha Allah.

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