What Should I Do If I Am Overwhelmed By My Sins?

Question: What do I do if I am overwhelmed by my sins and feel that I am going to Hell?

Answer:

In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate,

May Allah truly bless you for your sincere question.

 

Do Not Despair

The first and most important thing you must not lose sight of is that Allah Most High commands us in the Qur’an never to lose hope in His mercy.

He says, “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.1 He is indeed the All-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” [Qur’an; 39:53]

Anyone who sincerely repents to Allah Most High is forgiven without any shadow of a doubt.

 

Conditions Of a Sound Repentance

However, in order for the repentance to be sincere and sound one must fulfill the following conditions:
(1) Sincere remorse for the sin
(2) Immediately leaving the sin
(3) Firm resolve never to repeat the sin
[Nawawi, Riyadh al-Salihin]

Remorse

There is no doubt, from the sound of your question, that you are remorseful for your condition and that you truly seek a way out.

 

All Sound Repentance Is Accepted
Imam al-Ghazali said, “Know that if one makes sincere repentance there remains no doubt of its acceptance. Just as no thirst remains after taking a drink of water. [Ghazzali, Ihya ‘Ulum al-Din]
The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “The one who repents (sincerely) from a sin is like one with no sin.” [Ibn Majah, Tabarani in al-M’ujam al-Kabir, and Bayhaqi in Sh’ib al-Iman]

The First Step

In order to rectify your situation, you must start praying again. The five daily prayers do not take very long to perform, but they are the greatest connection between the servant and Allah Most High. Leaving the prayer brings upon us the wrath of Allah, severe ignominy, a feeling of distance, anxiety, and worldly and next worldly tribulations.

Allah Most High says, “But they were succeeded by generations who neglected prayer and followed their lusts and so will soon face the evil consequences. – As for those who repent, believe, and do good, it is they who will be admitted into Paradise, never being denied any reward.” [Qur’an; 19:60]

We see from the above, the dangers of leaving the prayer; we also see the importance of repentance.

 

Heaven and Hell

It is right for you to fear the Hell-Fire. However, this fear, if healthy, should motivate you to live according to the obedience of Allah Most High as best you can.

You are striving to live a life of obedience and returning to repentance whenever you slip is the ultimate proof of your being of the people destined for Paradise.

The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Verily Allah created Adam… and brought forth from his loins (some of) his progeny, then said, ‘I created these for Paradise and by the deeds of the people of Paradise they act.’ Then he brought forth (the rest of) his progeny and said, ‘I created these are for the Fire and by the deeds of the people of the Fire they act.'” [Ahmad]

 

Allah Wants To Forgive Us – Having a Good Opinion Of Allah
It is important to always have a good opinion of Allah Most High. Allah Most High says, in a Hadith Qudsi, “I am as My slave thinks of Me.” [Bukhari and Ahmad]
In the narration of Imam al-Darami is an additional, “so let them think of Me as they wish.” [Sunan al-Darami]
Allah Most High tells us in the Qur’an that He wants to forgive us. He says, “And Allah wants to accept your repentance, and those who follow (their) lusts want you to go far astray.” [Qur’an; 4:27]

Summary

Do not lose hope. If you are sincere, Allah will forgive you and rectify your state. Start with the prayer. Strive to perform the prayers, properly and on-time. After each prayer, supplicate to Allah Most High from the bottom of your heart and know that He will certainly respond.

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Hope this helps
And Allah knows best
[Shaykh] Yusuf Weltch

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Yusuf Weltch is a graduate from Tarim; a student of Habib Umar and other luminaries; and authorized teachers of the Qur’an and the Islamic sciences