I Feel Overwhelmed By Past Sins. What Should I Do?

Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad


I come from a secular Muslim country and no one around me practices so I didn’t know the basics of Islam until this year. I learned how to pray fajr but haven’t actually prayed yet. I want to put on the hijab but I have pictures that I cannot remove from social media (an account got frozen with my pictures in it and I can’t log in) containing school pictures of me, beach pictures, and prom pictures. This is preventing me from praying because the sin of these pictures is on me. 

Because of this, since Ramadan I can’t sleep or concentrate, and sink into depression and think whatever I do won’t be worth it. Also, I’m a student of nursing which requires touching males and studying with males. I really love nursing but I heard scholars say that it’s haram. So I feel empty because even if I change my major (which is not possible) I’m not interested in anything else. The only religious girl I know is one of my cousins who started praying and then within a year wore the hijab and eloped and cut off all contact with me and her family. I need to finish my nursing degree and work to support my family a little bit at least, which with the hijab would be near impossible.


Thank you for your question. Sister, I am so extremely proud of you for taking the step to learning your religion and learning how to pray. Your reward will be manifold just from your intention alone, in sha Allah. You also sound like you are in a lot of pain and I pray that you can move on from these doubts.

Frozen social media account

If you have a frozen account, first, take action. Call the company or email them incessantly until they respond and correct your situation. That is what customer service is for. Also, know that Allah knows your intention to remove the pictures and you will be rewarded for that even if you are unable to do it right now.

Whatever you do IS worth it

Please erase this negativity from your mind because anything that you do for Allah IS worth it for this world and the next. Consider this verse: “So whoever does an atom’s weight of good will see it.“ [Qur’an, 99:7] Anything that you do for the sake of Allah, whether it be closing your eyes, restraining your tongue, smiling, or giving a couple of Euros in charity will not be lost on Allah and this is how Allah’s blessings start to rain down. All rain starts with a few first drops, doesn’t it? Doesn’t every marathon start with the first step? Doesn’t becoming a scholar start with reading the first word of a book?

Consider this hadith to prove this point. Abu Dharr reported: The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and give him peace, said, “Allah Almighty says: Whoever comes with a good deed will have the reward of ten like it and even more. Whoever comes with an evil deed will be recompensed for one evil deed like it or he will be forgiven. Whoever draws close to me by the length of a hand, I will draw close to him by the length of an arm. Whoever draws close to me by the length of an arm, I will draw close to him by the length of a fathom. Whoever comes to me walking, I will come to him running. Whoever meets me with enough sins to fill the earth, not associating any idols with me, I will meet him with as much forgiveness.” [Muslim]

Don’t give in to the Shaytan

I promise you and guarantee you that if you start praying, your problems, anxiety, and depression will get better and you are worthy of worshipping Allah. If you are human and believe in Allah, his Prophets, His Angels, His books, the Day of Judgment and His decree, good or evil, then Allah already loves you and wants you to worship him. Believing that you are not good enough is simply a trick of the Shaytan to keep you squashed in your secular ways and to stop you from breaking out of your old routine.


As for nursing, it is permissible for a woman to become a nurse and you are most likely fulfilling a communal obligation because Muslim women are needed in all facets of life. Do not consider leaving your studies or trying to change your major. Rather, study hard and do your job well and by the grace of Allah, you will find blessings in your work. Learn the shari`ah guidelines and be sure to follow them at work. See these links:

Is It Impermissible for Me to Work Even If I Observe Proper Limits?

Can a Muslim Woman Have a Career? [Video]

How Can I Follow My Religion Working as a Female Doctor?

May Allah reward you for intending to change and may Allah make it easy for you to practice and may all those around you start practicing as well.

[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad 
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria, for two years, where she studied Aqidah, Fiqh, Tajweed, Tafseer, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Master’s in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan, where she studied Fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She recently moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.