Answered by Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat
Question: Assalamu alaykum
I have an engineering degree. But I’m reluctant in pursuing any job using that degree. The reason is because, every single moment of my life during which I earned the degree was soaked in sin.
However, a year later or so, Allah blessed me with Islam and helped me get started in reforming myself!
I also get unrelenting waswas regarding that dark past. I feel guilty to make use of the degree.
Should I pursue a career using that degree?
Answer: Wa ‘alaykum as-salam wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh.
I pray you are well.
Focus on Allah – Ignore the Devil
Alhamdulillah. Allah has blessed you with a means to pursue a halal income with which you can support yourself, your dependants, and even give a little something in charity to help the needy. You should use this opportunity and not let doubts and regrets about the past throw you of course. These are the tricks of the Devil; ignore him and thank Allah by making the most of this blessing and with gratitude.
Besides the prophets, everyone commits sins. Sometimes, Allah takes people with the worst of sins and changes them into the best of people as way of showing how loving and merciful He is to us, and to thwart the Devil’s plan to make us lose hope in Allah. The door of repentance is open, and Allah is more pleased when a servant who says ‘I’m sorry for my sins’ than any one of us would be after narrowly escaping certain death (Muslim).
Let me leave you with a conversation between Fuḍayl b. ʿIyaḍ and another man. Fuḍayl is one of these signs of Allah. He was a brigand – a crime which has the most severe stipulated punishment (ḥadd) in the Qurʾan. When he was inspired to leave his ways, he stopped, returned all the wrongfully taken property, studied ḥadith and lived in Mecca for the rest of his days. He is someone who’s sainthood would be declared by the likes of Imam Junayd and Shaykh ʿAbdul-Qadir al-Jilani.
Fuḍayl said to a man, ‘How old are you?’ The man said, ‘Sixty years old.’ Fuḍayl said, ‘You have been travelling to Allah for sixty years; you’ve almost reached him.’
‘O Abu ʿAli’, he replied, ‘Indeed we belong to Allah and to Him we are returning (2:156)’ (A verse recited when one recognises he is in a calamity).
Fuḍayl asked, ‘Do you realise what you are saying?’ and the an replied, ”Indeed we belong to Allah and to Him we are returning.’
After being requested to explain the words Fuḍayl said, ‘When you say “Indeed we belong to Allah” you are saying “I am a slave of Allah and I am returning to Him.” So whoever knows he is a slave of Allah and that he is returning to Him, he should know that he is going to be stood [before Him]. Whoever knows this, should know that he is going to be questioned, so he had better have an answer prepared.’
The man asked, ‘What’s the way out of this predicament?’
‘Easy,’ replied Fuḍāyl.
‘What?’ said the man.
‘Do well in what remains [of your life] and what has passed and what is to come will be forgiven.’ (Abu Nuʿaym, Hilyat al-Awliyaʾ).
This is sound advice from someone who has been in both situations: sin and sainthood.
Allah has opened the door of repentance and forgiveness for you. Don’t close it for yourself, and don’t let anyone else do so either.
May Allah lead us to that which is most pleasing to Him, always.
[Shaykh] Abdul-Rahim Reasat
Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat began his studies in Arabic Grammar and Morphology in 2005. After graduating with a degree in English and History he moved to Damascus in 2007 to study and sit at the feet of some of the most erudite scholars of our time.
Over the following eighteen months he studied a traditional curriculum, studying with scholars such as Shaykh Adnan Darwish, Shaykh Abdurrahman Arjan, Shaykh Hussain Darwish and Shaykh Muhammad Darwish.
In late 2008 he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continued his studies for the next six years, in Fiqh, Usul al-Fiqh, Theology, Hadith Methodology and Commentary, Shama’il, and Logic with teachers such as Dr Ashraf Muneeb, Dr Salah Abu’l-Hajj, Dr Hamza al-Bakri, Shaykh Ahmad Hasanat, Dr Mansur Abu Zina amongst others. He was also given two licences of mastery in the science of Qur’anic recital by Shakh Samir Jabr and Shaykh Yahya Qandil.
His true passion, however, arose in the presence of Shaykh Ali Hani, considered by many to be one of the foremost tafsir scholars of our time who provided him with the keys to the vast knowledge of the Quran. With Shaykh Ali, he was able to study an extensive curriculum of Qur’anic Sciences, Tafsir, Arabic Grammar, and Rhetoric.
When he finally left Jordan for the UK in 2014, Shaykh Ali gave him his distinct blessing and still recommends students in the UK to seek out Shaykh Abdul-Rahim for Quranic studies. Since his return he has trained as a therapist and has helped a number of people overcome emotional and psychosomatic issues. He is a keen promoter of emotional and mental health.