Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad
I was not always a Muslim. Like every convert, I engaged in pre-marital sex with many boyfriends and lovers until I became a Muslim. I get annoyed at seeing chaste Muslim women and start to tag them with my former days of fornication instead of repenting. How can I stop and focus on myself and repent for my days of fornication instead?
Thank you for your question.
Repentance is not due from you for anything that you did before you were Muslim. However, after having reverted to Islam, one can and should focus on purifying their heart and establishing good habits of worship, health, and work to gain closeness to the Divine.
Advice from Shaykh Abdullah Misra
The following advice is from someone who is a convert, a counselor, and a scholar:
“You will encounter a wealth of advice and guidance. But I urge you to take your time. Take small steps. Step by step, work on yourself. Limit your exposure to controversies and debates. Go easy on rules and practices. Learn the values of being close to God and your character. Build on this with practices (fiqh). It might be tempting to leave your worldly life but aim for balance. New Muslims sometimes leave their worldly pursuits only to be completely changed – keep your identity. Incorporate small lifestyle changes over time, not overnight.
Start with distancing yourself from any sinful practices. God is merciful and forgiving towards new Muslims. When seeking advice, take from good company and your teachers. Good company is essential – we are interdependent on one another. When adversities in the Muslim community occur, attribute these to the person, not to Islam. When you find yourself in doubt, suspend judgment until you can seek clarity. Take your time with knowledge. Try to resist falling in love with specific groups of people or values they possess. If God and the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) are the cornerstones of your faith, you will not be disappointed.“
Establish good habits
Start with acquiring personally obligatory knowledge, or reviewing it, and studying tajweed and Arabic.
Keep a distance from social media and record what kinds of internet activity distract you or lead you to sin or waste your time.
Surround yourself with pious, religious sisters who don’t care about your past and are on a path to changing themselves and seeking knowledge.
Build a routine for worship, dhikr, exercise, eating healthily, study and work.
In short, seek only what benefits you, repent daily, and take to this advice to heart, “Your nafs If you do not keep it busy with truth it will keep you busy with falsehood”. [Imam al-Shafi’i] Please see these links for self-change:
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, Tafseer, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Master’s in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan, where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She recently moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.