How to Turn Back to Allah after Repeating the Same Sin?

Answered by Shaykh Yusuf Weltch

Question

I am a person with extremely low Iman and I am corrupt. I have a sin that has become a routine and i hardly feel any guilt for it. I have a severe disease where i can die at any moment, and yet i still am going further away from Allah. I’m always thinking about my Iman, where now i am in a loop of thoughts to make myself closer to Allah but only get further away.

I do obligatory deeds but i repeat the same sin. How do I bring the light of Iman back to my heart? How do I balance Dunya and Deen in this state?

Answer

In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate

Not Always as it Seems

The state of your heart is not always in accordance to what you perceive outwardly or feel on the basis of emotions. It is likely that a person be very near to Allah Most High, despite their sins, due to the sheer brokenness and neediness of their hearts. It is this brokenness that brings them closer to their purpose, being realized in one’s servanthood to Allah Most High, which in turn brings them closer to Allah.

Ibn ‘Ataillah (Allah be pleased with him) said, “It is possible that a sin that brings about a state of lowliness and brokenness is better than a righteous deed that brings about a state of exaltedness and arrogance.” [Ibn ‘Ataillah, al-Hikam al-‘Ataiyya]

Balancing the Dunya and Deen

The only one who needs to find a way to balance between their worldly and religious life is the one that thinks that they are two separate things. For the believer, every aspect of life, whether worldly in nature or religious, whether mundane or essential, is part and parcel of their relationship with Allah Most High, i.e. their religion.

The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and give him peace) taught us to make righteous intentions in all that we do, even the mundane acts of our day to day lives. By this intention, one brings meaning and spiritual fulfilment to all actions of their life. As the great scholar and poet said:

وَمَنْ نَوَى لِأَكْلِهِ قُوَى – لِطَاعَةِ اللهِ لَهُ مَا قَدْ نَوَى
Whoever, intends when eating, to gain strength – in order to worship Allah, for them is (the reward) of what they intended.
[Ibn Ruslan, Matn al-Zubad]

This line is a reference to the following Prophetic narration:

The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “(The reward of) All actions are based on their intention, and for each person is what they intend…”  [Bukhari; Muslim]

Strive to train yourself to see in everything you do, the various aspects of that action that contain meanings that are pleasing to Allah Most High. I advise you to buy ‘The Book of Intentions’ by Habib Muhammad bin ‘Alwi al-Aydarus (a.k.a. Habib Sad).

Good Opinions of Allah versus Despair

It is the Devil’s goal to make us so focused on our own inadequacies, sins, and shortcomings such that we lose hope in Allah’s mercy or that we fall into a deep depression focused on the self. It is very subtle, however, it is possible for one’s ego to be inflated by negativity. The sign of this is one’s constant focus on themselves: I am not worthy; I am a sinner; and I am this or I am that.

The reality of the matter is that it isn’t about I or us or we. It is and has always been about Allah Most High. None of us are worthy. None of us are adequate.

This is why the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “There is none amongst you, whose deeds will attain them salvation.” They said, “Not even you, O Messenger of Allah?” He replied, “Not even me. Only if Allah shrouds me in His mercy.” [Ahmad]

That said, it is a great consolation for the entirety of the Muslims throughout the world and throughout the centuries, that Allah Most High has prohibited us from losing hope in His mercy, that Allah says that His mercy outstrips His wrath, and that the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and give him peace) will never be pleased until all of His community is in Paradise. These are our hopes and in these things do we place our reliance – not in ourselves nor our deeds.

Final Advice

Habib Ali bin Abi Bakr bin Shaykh Abi Bakr bin Salim (Allah be pleased with him) told us to always focus on the positives. He said that whenever we do a good deed or accomplish something good, we should perform a prostration to show gratitude and thank Allah Most High for that blessing, and Allah will increase you. Only Shaytan wants us to focus on the negatives, so that we give up.

Hope this helps
Allah knows best

[Shaykh] Yusuf Weltch
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Yusuf Weltch is a teacher of Arabic, Islamic law, and spirituality. After accepting Islam in 2008, he then completed four years at the Darul Uloom seminary in New York where he studied Arabic and the traditional sciences. He then traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he stayed for three years studying in Dar Al-Mustafa under some of the greatest scholars of our time, including Habib Umar Bin Hafiz, Habib Kadhim al-Saqqaf, and Shaykh Umar al-Khatib. In Tarim, Shaykh Yusuf completed the memorization of the Qur’an and studied beliefs, legal methodology, hadith methodology, Qur’anic exegesis, Islamic history, and a number of texts on spirituality. He joined the SeekersGuidance faculty in the summer of 2019.