How Does One Avoid Excessive Worry About One’s Sins?

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question

I have an excessive worry of sins and I consider them heavily each, and while I do know it is good to remind oneself, this makes my life very difficult. But it feels like stopping such a thing or allowing it to solve itself is hypocrisy and insincerity since I do desire to enjoy the wrong things with my Nafs without being so worried. I am very conflicted and very scared for my iman. I do not want to be careless, neither can I control my feelings and I know it is wrong.

Please help me and may Allah help you.

Answer

I hope you’re doing well, insha’Allah.

The believer is balanced. We have fear in Allah Most High, but also hope in Allah Most High. And we know without a doubt that Allah is the All-Merciful (al-Rahman) and the Most Merciful (al-Rahim).

The very fact that you regret your sins is a sure sign of repentance. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Remorse is repentance.” [Ibn Maja; Hakim]

All sins require is sincere repentance. The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “The one who repents from sin is like one who never sinned.” [Ibn Maja]

The Believer Never Despairs

And the believer never despairs–as despair is contrary to both good opinion of Allah, and of the Divine Promise:
Allah Most High says: “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.” [Quran, 39:53]

The Vastness of Divine Mercy

The final Hadith in Imam Nawawi’s collection of 40 Hadiths–which are sayings of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) that the message of Islam revolves around–should instill us in deep hope and joy at the absolute vastness of Divine Mercy:

Anas ibn Malik relates that: I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) say that Allah Most High says,
“O child of Adam, any time you call upon Me or seek from Me, I will forgive you for whatever you did, without holding back.
O child of Adam, even if your sins reach the highest of the skies and you then seek my forgiveness, I will forgive you.
O child of Adam, if you come to me with errors to the extent of the Earth, and then face Me without having associated partners with Me, I would face you with forgiveness to the extent of the Earth.”
[Related by Tirmidhi, who said it is a sound and rigorously authentic hadith]

One of the commentators on this Hadith stated:  “In this hadith is a tremendous glad tiding, and tremendous Forbearance and Generosity—and limitless expression of Divine Grace.”

Al-Hasan al-Basri said: “Seek much forgiveness in your houses, upon your food, when walking, in the market, in your gatherings, and wherever you may be—for you don’t know when forgiveness might descend.”

Also remember that Allah is al-Ghaffar — the All-Forgiving: “He is the One who manifests the beautiful and conceals the ugly.” [Ghazali, 99 Names]

Two SeekersGuidance courses you’ll find of benefit
Nawawi’s 40 Hadith: The Essential Guidance of Islam
Understanding the Most Beautiful Names: The 99 Names of Allah Explained in Detail

You might also benefit from the following links:
How Do I Stop Obsessing With Guilt and Worry for My Past Sins?
How Can I Be Sure That My Repentance Is Accepted?
How Do I Sincerely Repent for an Enormity?
Is It Pathetic To Believe That Allah’s Mercy Is Greater Than One’s Sins?
How Can I End The Cycle of Sin and Repentance?
How Do I Cope With the Pain and Despair of Committing Fornication?
Will Allah Accept My Supplications Despite My Sins?

And Allah is the giver of success and facilitation.
[Shaykh] Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Faraz Rabbani spent ten years studying with some of the leading scholars of recent times, first in Damascus, and then in Amman, Jordan. His teachers include the foremost theologian of recent times in Damascus, the late Shaykh Adib al-Kallas (may Allah have mercy on him), as well as his student Shaykh Hassan al-Hindi, one of the leading Hanafi fuqaha of the present age. He returned to Canada in 2007, where he founded SeekersGuidance in order to meet the urgent need to spread Islamic knowledge–both online and on the ground–in a reliable, relevant, inspiring, and accessible manner. He is the author of: Absolute Essentials of Islam: Faith, Prayer, and the Path of Salvation According to the Hanafi School (White Thread Press, 2004.) Since 2011, Shaykh Faraz has been named one of the 500 most influential Muslims by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Center.