How Do I Get Closer to Allah After a Very Sinful Lifestyle?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: Assalam aleykum,

I am a young woman born to Muslim parents. I have sinned in the past due to my very Western lifestyle and am so ashamed of myself. I want to get closer to Allah but have no idea how. How do I have greater taqwa?

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for reaching out to us.


It was narrated from Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (upon him be blessings and peace) said: “If you were to commit sin until your sins reach the heaven, then you were to repent, your repentance would be accepted.” [Sunan Ibn Majah]

Dear sister, I pray that Allah helps you make a complete and beautiful repentance. Alhamdulilah for your longing to draw closer to Allah. This is a wonderful sign of His favour upon you.


“Whoever has mindfulness of Allah, Allah grants a way out and provides for them in ways they could never imagine.” [Qur’an, 65.2-3]

Attaining higher levels of taqwa is a lifelong journey. I encourage you to listen to this inspiring lecture by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani:

Positive Spiritual Thinking: Choosing Mindfulness (taqwa) and Embracing Trust (tawakkul).

I encourage you to build a solid foundation of knowledge, and then for you to act upon it. When registration reopens, please enrol in courses such as Introduction to Islam: What It Means to Be Muslim and build up to courses like Essentials of Islamic Belief: Dardir’s Kharida Explained.

In the meantime, please listen to podcasts such as Why Islam Is True by Shaykh Hamza Karamali.


The time before the entry of Fajr is a blessed time. Please begin with making dua for Allah to guide you. Work your way up to

Practical steps

1) Guard your daily obligatory prayers.

If you have missed any obligatory prayers, then please make yourself a timetable and slowly but surely pay them back. Please esure that you are praying according to a valid school of thought: A Reader on Following Schools of Thought (Madhabs).

2) Seek out righteous company.

It is easier to live by the deen when your close friends are too. Perform the Prayer of Need and ask Allah for these kinds of friends.

3) Watch what you consume

When you eat and drink from the halal, then it is much easier for you to incline towards good actions. Listen to inspiring podcasts such as The Rawha: Daily Guidance for Seekers. Limit your time on social media, because that can stir up feelings of envy and longing for the forbidden.

4) Give in regular charity

Even a small amount, given regularly, will do wonders for the state of your heart.

5) Work out a daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly ibadah plan

Sit down with your planner and schedule in regular times for you to pray, read Qur’an, and so on. Once you pencil it in, then you are more likely to commit to it.

6) Patience

Be patient with yourself. You are making a tremendous change. Ask Allah to help you be steadfast.

I pray that Allah makes you steadfast in your journey of attaining closeness to Him. Please keep in touch. We are at your service.

Please see:

A Reader on Tawba (Repentance)
A Reader on Missed Prayers

[Ustadha] Raidah Shah Idil

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil has spent almost two years in Amman, Jordan, where she learned Shafi’i’ fiqh, Arabic, Seerah, Aqeedah, Tasawwuf, Tafsir and Tajweed. She continues to study with her Teachers in Malaysia and online through SeekersGuidance Global. She graduated with a Psychology and English degree from University of New South Wales, was a volunteer hospital chaplain for 5 years and has completed a Diploma of Counselling from the Australian Institute of Professional Counsellors. She lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with her husband, daughter, and mother-in-law.