How Do I Stop Obsessing With Guilt and Worry for My Past Sins?

Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad

Question

In my past, I have done some shameless things such as sexting/sending pictures amongst other lustful sins. I have stopped these particular sins yet I am in constant fear that I will be exposed and/or punished in this life or next for who I actually was and that my future will be ruined. My Muslim friends or future wife might leave me.

To try and avoid this I am constantly making tawba but I am worried from waswasa that my tawba won’t be accepted for some reason. I even asked for forgiveness from someone that I sexted with (maybe for leading them into this sin as well).

In what case should I seek their pardon? Is it necessary for tawba to be accepted? How do I know my past won’t destroy my future?

Answer

Thank you for your question. May Allah reward you for your sincerity and for transforming yourself for the sake of Allah.

Despair

First of all, you should never despair of Allah’s mercy. He has told us in these very merciful words, “Say, ˹O Prophet, that Allah says,˺ ‘O My servants who have exceeded the limits against their souls! Do not lose hope in Allah’s mercy, for Allah certainly forgives all sins. He is indeed the All-Forgiving, Most Merciful.’” [Quran, 39:53]

Waswasa (Baseless Misgivings)

You have repented sincerely, and your continuous repentance for the same point is causing you baseless givings. Spend time in supplication thanking Allah for what He has given you, repent for other sins, major and minor, future and past. Raise your hands, bless the prophet, and ask Allah for what you want. Develop a relationship with Him, not just based on fear, but on hope as well.

It was narrated from Anas that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), entered upon a young man who was dying and said, “How do you feel?” He said: “I have hope in Allah, O Messenger of Allah, but I fear my sins.” The Messenger of Allah, (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: “These two things (hope and fear) do not coexist in the heart of a person in a situation like this, but Allah will give him that which he hopes for and keep him safe from that which he fears.” [Ibn Majah]

Asking Forgiveness

You don’t need to ask forgiveness from anyone else, in this matter. Staying away from those girls is better for you. Keep within the limits of gender interaction. The best way to behave with people whom you sinned with in the past, is to stop talking to them and erase that part of your life from sight and mind.

Past and Future

While it is possible that someone finds out about your past and is upset by it, you should not live like you are walking on eggshells. Have a good degree of reliance on Allah, trust in Him, and know that whatever hits you was never going to miss and that what missed you was never going to hit. Worrying about it will get you nowhere. When you have these thoughts, seek refuge from the Devil, and bless the prophet. He has elevated you above your past habits, and you must seek guidance, learn it and practice it so that you can continue to grow spiritually.

Please see these links as well:
How Do I Overcome My Guilt Over Past Sins?
Does Sincere Repentance Eradicate Sin?

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.