Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad
My husband does not pray, and his reason is that he has hurt many people in his teens and has begged for their forgiveness, but they have never forgiven him. We know Allah does not forgive on behalf of matters, relating to humans. My husband feels hopeless and does not sleep because of it. It’s taken a toll on me as well, seeing him so down.
He is a changed person who would never do any of that again. This was years ago, but he believes he’s destined for hell because they will never forgive him. What can he do other than gain their forgiveness? He has talked to scholars who say he’s a lost cause. Their words really gave him no hope. What can he do? Does Hajj erase those sins if he sincerely repents for hurting?
Thank you for your question. This is the saddest case that I have ever heard, and I am shaken to the core by his despair, which is totally uncalled for.
What those scholars have told your husband is absolutely not true. All can be forgiven on the day of Judgment, and your husband’s repentance is enough for His Creator. He is not destined for the Hellfire, and it is unlawful for him to assume that he is. Allah’s forgiveness is far greater than your husband’s sins, and Allah rejoices at the repentance of believers. Tell him there is no barrier between him and his Lord except his own doubts.
The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) reinforced this point when he told us, “Allah, Glorified is He and Most High, said: ‘O son of Adam! Verily as long as you called upon Me and hoped in Me, I forgave you, despite whatever may have occurred from you, and I did not mind. O son of Adam! Were your sins to reach the clouds of the sky, then you sought forgiveness from Me, I would forgive you, and I would not mind. O son of Adam! If you came to Me with sins nearly as great as the earth, and then you met Me not associating anything with Me, I would come to you with forgiveness nearly as great as it.’” [Tirmidhi] How can any doubt remain after this?
The Rights of Others
The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “‘Do you know what a bankrupt person is?’ They said, ‘Someone without money or goods is bankrupt.’ The Prophet said, ‘Verily, the bankrupt of my nation are those who come on the Day of Resurrection with lots and lots of prayers, lots and lots of fasting, and lots and lots of charity, but he comes having had insulted others, slandered others, wrongfully consumed the wealth of others, having had shed the blood of others, and having had struck others. So some (of those whom he has wronged) will be given some of his good deeds, and others will be given others. If his good deeds run out before justice is fulfilled, then their sins will be cast upon him, and he will be thrown into the Hellfire.’” [Muslim]
This must be the hadith that your husband is worried about, but this is not a guarantee at all that your husband will be thrown into the Hellfire. How does he know how many of his good deeds will be given to others? One, four, six? And does your husband not draw hope from this following hadith?
Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “The believers, after being saved from the (Hell) Fire, will be stopped at a bridge between Paradise and Hell, and mutual retaliation will be established among them regarding wrongs they have committed in the world against one another. After they are cleansed and purified (through the retaliation), they will be admitted into Paradise; and by Him in Whose Hand Muhammad’s soul is, every one of them will know his dwelling in Paradise better than he knew his dwelling in this world.” [Bukhari]
So instead of dooming himself to Hell, your husband should be filled with hope and fulfill his obligations to show Allah that he is trying and that he places his full trust and reliance in His Lord. Not praying is a grievous sin, and hateful to Allah, and your husband has no reason to incur more anger from Him. Remind him of the tremendous benefits of praying, the peace and blessings that come into the home from it, and the obligation that he has to teach his children. It is a crime against children that they don’t see both their parents praying.
Please tell your husband to say this dua regularly:
”اَللّهُمَّ إِنِّيْ أَسْتَغْفِرُكَ لِكُلِّ ذَنْبٍ لِّيْ وَأَسْأَلُكَ أَنْ تَغْفِرَ لِيْ مَا أَحْصَيْتَ عَلَيَّ مِنْ مَّظَالِمِ الْعِبَادِ قِبَلِيْ فَإِنَّ لِعِبَادِكَ عَلَيَّ حُقُوْقًا وَّمَظَالِمَ وأَنَا بِهَا مُرْتَهِنٌ اَللّهُمَّ وَإِنْ كَانَتْ كَثِيْرَةً فَإِنَّهَا فِيْ جَنْبِ عَفْوِكَ يَسِيْرَةٌ اللّهُمَّ أَيُّمَا عَبْدٍ مِّنْ عِبَادِكَ أَوْ أَمَةٍ مِّنْ إِمَائِكَ كَانَتْ لَهُ مَظْلِمَةٌ عِنْدِيْ قَدْ غَصَبْتُهُ عَلَيْهَا فِيْ أَرْضِها أَوْ مَالِها أَوْ عِرْضِها أَوْ بَدَنِها أَوْ غَابَ أَوْ حَضَرَ هُوَ أَوْ خَصْمُهُ يُطَالِبُنِيْ بِهَا وَلَمْ أَسْتَطِعْ أَنْ أَرُدَّهَا إِلَيْهِ وَلَمْ أَسْتَحْلِلْهَا مِنْهُ فَأَسْأَلُكَ بِكَرَمِكَ وَجُوْدِكَ وَسِعَةِ مَا عِنْدَكَ أَنْ تُرْضِيَهُمْ عَنِّيْ وَلاَ تَجْعَلْ لَّهُمْ عَلَيَّ شَيْئًا مُّنَقِّصَةً مِّنْ حَسَنَاتِيْ فَإِنَّ عِنْدَكَ مَا يُرْضِيْهِمْ عَنِّيْ وَلَيْسَ عِنْدِيْ مَا يُرْضِيْهِمْ وَلاَ تَجْعَلْ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ لِسَيِّئَاتِهِمْ عَلىٰ حَسَنَاتِيْ سَبِيْلاً.“
“O Allāh, I seek Your forgiveness for all my sins. I ask You to forgive me for all my wrongdoings (mazālim) against people that You have recorded, for there are many rights (huqūq) and dues (mazālim) owed to Your servants that I am burdened with and for which I am hostage (murtahin). O Allāh, even if these (wrongdoings) are many they are insignificant in comparison with the magnitude of Your forgiveness. O Allāh, any male or female servant of Yours who has rights upon me, in either that I have unjustly taken from him (ghasabtu) in regards to his land, possession, honor, body; whether he was absent or present; or he or his representatives demanded it from me and neither was I able to return it to him nor did I seek release of it from him. So I ask You through Your benevolence, generosity, and abundance of what You possess that You satisfy them on my behalf, and not give them a position over me that will decrease my good deeds; for You possess what You can satisfy them with on my behalf and I do not possess what to satisfy them with; and do not allow for their bad deeds to find a path over my good deeds on the Day of Judgment.” [Mangera, Prayers for Forgiveness]
Please see this as well
How Do I Repair Harm Done to Others?
May Allah give you the best of this world and the next.
[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, tafsir, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Masters in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She later moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.