Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil
Question: I recently organised a sinful event for my course project. During the end of the semester, I realised that I did a grave mistake but it was too late. I had to conduct it unwillingly and I hated every bit of it. How should I repent? I feel really hopeless and guilty now. I fear people’s reactions a lot.
Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
I pray this finds you well. May Allah ease your distress and fill your heart with tranquility.
“Say: My servants who have wronged yourselves, never despair of God’s mercy. God forgives all sins: He is truly the Most Forgiving, the Most Merciful.” [Qur’an, 39.53]
Dear sister, only the Prophets were Divinely protected from sin. The rest of us will continue to make mistakes, sin and do things we regret. Knowing this, it’s important for you to focus on moving forward, instead of dwelling on what you cannot change. The conditions for a valid repentance are as follows:
1. Leaving the sin;
2. Remorse over having committed the sin;
3. Resolve never to return to the sin;
4. (If it relates to the rights of another person, then to) Return the rights or property one wrongly took. [al-Bariqa fi Sharh al-Tariqa; Riyad al-Salihin, excerpt from How Do You Know If Your Repentance Is Sincere?]
There is a place for feelings of guilt and remorse, but if you let it get out of hand, you can end up getting very depressed. Allah forbids despair for His servants. Try your best to focus on Allah’s Mercy instead of giving your sin so much power over you.
Each of us have different temperaments. Some people are very bold and can dominate the room very easily. Others are mild-mannered and struggle with asserting themselves. Allah knows each of us better than we know ourselves. Rather than beat yourself up over being unable to assert yourself in your Islam, do something about it. Enrol in public speaking classes. Learn how to be assertive from a counsellor or psychologist.
It sounds like you could benefit from active seeking of sacred knowledge. When you know more about Islam, you will naturally feel more confident. More importantly, you will be connected to teachers whom you can ask advice from. Please look at the list of SeekersHub global courses and start by completing one.
Give yourself time. Be patient with yourself. Learning and practising Islam is a process, and a journey which will span your entire life. Don’t expect to transform into a confident defender of the deen overnight. Set realistic goals, and learn from your mistakes.
Please refer to the following links:
A Reader on Tawba (Repentance)
What Are Some Prophetic Supplications That Can Help Me Deal With Trials in My Life?
Raidah Shah Idil
Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani