I Feel Depressed From My Cycle of Sin and Repentance. What Should I Do?
Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil
Question: For several years, I have been struggling with sin. I repent and try to refrain from it, but I always end up repeating it. Now I don’t feel like repenting because it feels too late. I have no right to ask for forgiveness. I feel depressed and sick of this cycle. What should I do?
Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
I pray this finds you well. Dear sister, don’t despair in the Mercy of Allah. The fact that you even sent this question is a sign that Allah wants good for you. Alhamdulilah, you still care enough to ask.
Abu Hurairah narrated that the Messenger of Allah (upon him be blessings and peace) said: “Verily, Allah when He created the creation, He wrote with His Hand concerning Himself, that: ‘My mercy prevails over My wrath.’” [Tirmidhi]
When we are stuck in a cycle of sin and repentance, it is tempting to give into despair. Rather than give up, choose to look away from your state, and look to Allah. Have hope that His Mercy is tremendous, and more than enough to forgive you, along with all of creation, if He wishes.
Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Messenger (upon him be blessings and peace) having said: “By Him in Whose Hand is my life, if you were not to commit sin, Allah would sweep you out of existence and He would replace (you by) those people who would commit sin and seek forgiveness from Allah, and He would have pardoned them.” [Sahih Muslim]
Please on the beauty of this hadith. We are all prone to sin, and Allah loves to hear our repentance. Even if we get tired of asking for forgiveness, He does not tire of hearing our pleas.
When you feel paralysed by despair after repeatedly sinning, have hope in Allah’s Mercy. Do not focus on His Wrath. When you slacken and feel close to sin, then remind yourself of Allah’s Wrath.
Our brains rewire, so you can break bad habits. It will take a lot of effort, so take it one step at a time, and please be consistent.
Investigate what triggers your sin. Is it the company you keep? Is your income halal? What kind of food are you eating? Are you more inclined to sin when you are feeling sad or lonely? Do you fall into sin during times of stress and anxiety?
I’m not sure what your specific sin is, so please do a thorough self-assessment of what causes it. Think of a plan to help you move forward. Use this time of remorse to help you plan for times of heedlessness.
Please aim to build healthier spiritual habits into your life. You know yourself best. Start with performing the obligatory prayers on time. Fast in Ramadan, give zakat, and save up and plan to go on Hajj if you are able.
Find healthier ways of self-soothing. If you feel tempted to do something sinful when you feel bad, ensure that you have something halal to do instead. Seek out better friends; friends who remind you of Allah.
A sign of true repentance is that there is no more sweetness left in the sin. Please have hope that Allah can make this happen for you.
I pray that Allah grants you a complete repentance, and raises your rank in Jannah.
Please refer to the following links:
A Reader on Tawba (Repentance)
Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani