* Courtesy of Neo Marketing
* Courtesy of Neo Marketing
I am a 26 year old male who did his nikah a few months back. I had approached this girl’s family as she was hijabi and seemed pious and simple. Before our nikah, she had confided in me that she was in contact with a boy who was a non-Muslim and had a soft spot for him. He had promised to convert to marry her but he did not, so she broke things off. At that time, the way she described it, it seemed like a verbal kind of innocuous relationship and I did not find it appropriate to probe further as we were not married.
I unknowingly came across some old messages of hers and she confessed to me that she had committed zina multiple times with that non-Muslim in different hotels throughout the period that she was in a relationship with him. He also possesses illicit images that she sent him during that time period.
For three months we have had the best of marriages AlhamduliLlah and we have been very compatible with each other, but this news has shattered me. I don’t want to end my marriage, but this has completely changed my perception of her and I am finding it hard to respect her even though she repented. She has also apologized for hiding things from me.
I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for reaching out to us.
Dear questioner, I am so sorry for your deep heartbreak. I cannot imagine how shocked and betrayed you must feel. Make space for your feelings – weep, journal, turn to Allah in dua – and work on slowly letting them go.
Abu Hurayra, may Allah be pleased with him, reported that Allah’s Messenger, peace and blessings be upon him, as saying: “All the people of my Umma would get pardon for their sins except those who publicize them. And (it means) that a servant should do a deed during the night and tell the people in the morning that he has done so and so, whereas Allah has concealed it. And he does a deed during the day and when it is night he tells the people, whereas Allah has concealed it.” Zuhair has used the word hijar for publicizing. (Sahih Muslim)
Please use this terrible incident as a reminder about why Allah has forbidden us to speak of past sin. Your wife made a grave mistake by confessing the explicit details of her sinful pre-marital relationship to you. Now you are both heartbroken.
It would have been better for her to carry her secret to her grave, and to trust in Allah’s Mercy. Instead, she has uncovered something that she can never take back.
Abu Sirmah narrated from Abu Ayyub, that when death reached him, he said: “I have concealed something from you that I heard from the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him. I heard the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, saying: ‘If you did not sin, Allah would create a creation that would sin, so He can forgive them.’” (Tirmidhi)
I do not need to remind you that repentance wipes away all sin. I encourage you to do everything within your power to forgive your wife, and to allow her back into your heart again.
Know that Allah has protected you from the sin of zina, and make shukr for that. None of us know what trials lie ahead of us. We are all in need of mercy from our Creator and His creation. Choose mercy, love and forgiveness.
Please make dua that Allah removes all evidence of those illicit photographs, then surrender the matter to Allah. Please do not torment yourself over her past.
I encourage you and your wife to attend culturally-sensitive counseling, as a way of finding your way back to each other. You have said so yourself, that you and your wife have had a happy marriage up until her confession.
Your wife will need to work through her own feelings of guilt over her past sin. If she had resolved them on her own, then she would not have confessed them to you. Perhaps she feels unworthy of your love, because she has not forgiven herself. Please see Learning to Love Again After an Affair.
If you absolutely cannot forgive your wife, then I encourage you to let her go. She would be happier with a husband who can respect her, even when she commits terrible sins. Please perform the Prayer of Guidance about how to proceed. If Allah softens your heart towards your wife, then stay in your marriage. If you still cannot look upon her with love, then it may be better for you to let her go. If this is what you decide on, then I pray that she has the wisdom to not confess her sins to the next man she marries.
Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.
I am a young Muslim guy. I do pray five times a day. But I have committed zina several times. I did make tawba and went back to it. And then I did make tawba again. I am trying to full fill the 3 conditions of tawba. But since my crime involves other individuals, how do I ask forgiveness from them?
I heard one of the condition of tawba involves the rights of others. But I am so ashamed to go to the person that I committed zina with and ask for forgiveness. My question is, will that be sufficient if I regret my sin and ask Allah for forgiveness? Or do I have to ask forgiveness from them too?
Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.
It’s enough in this case to seek the forgiveness of Allah, feel remorse for your sin, and intend to never return to it again.
The sin that you have committed is something quite serious. However, you should not lose hope in the mercy of Allah, which has lifted people who were trapped in much darker places to very lofty states. As the Qur’an states, “Do not despair of the mercy of Allah. Indeed, God forgives all sins.’ (Sura al-Zumar 39:53)
Keep turning to Allah in repentance, and in thankfulness for allowing you to realize your errors. You should also seek forgiveness for those who you assisted in carrying out sinful actions by being a partner to it. While, you do not have to actually seek their forgiveness, you should ask Allah to turn their hearts towards Him, wipe clean their sins, and allow them to enter into His obedience.
Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.
The Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings upon him, said, “None of you believe until I am more beloved to him than his parent, child, and all people.” (Bukhari and Muslim)
Love of the Prophet is a fundamental requirement in Islam that no Muslim is devoid of in some measure. Every individual who has truly acknowledged the Prophet as the final messenger sent by God to humankind, seldom fails to discover some element of this love in himself at particular moments. The degree and intensity of this love varies between people due to various factors. The tradition mentioned above has been commonly understood as a reference to the perfection of one’s faith and belief. In other words, no one has perfected their belief until the Prophet is more beloved to him than all of creation.
Love is a terribly difficult reality to describe. Imam al-Qushayri stated that it cannot be “defined by any clear and understandable description or definition” due to its complex nature. (al-Risala) Generally, love is identified as a feeling of the heart that draws an individual to some object of affection that is found to be pleasing and agreeable. Being a matter of the heart, it is easy for a person to believe that he possesses love and lay claim to it. Indeed, all people lay claim to love, but as the poet said:
Each person claims to have united with Layla
But Layla does not acknowledge this for any of them.
In the same vein, Imam al-Ghazali warns that it is necessary for a person to avoid being deluded by the Devil and the self (nafs) when it comes to claiming love of God and His Prophet. Rather, love is akin to a good tree whose roots are firmly in the ground, its branches in the sky, and its fruits manifest on the heart, tongue, and limbs. In other words, any claim to love must be tested in light of specific signs and proofs to see if it is true. (al-Ghazali, Ihya’ ʿUlum al-Din)
Qadi Iyad mentions the signs that manifest in an individual whose love for the Prophet (blessings upon him) is true as opposed to a mere claim. These include:
From the aforementioned signs, it is obedience to the Prophet and following his sunna that constitute the core of love and the clearest sign that it is true. Abu ʿAli al-Rudhabari said, “Love means compliance,” while Sahl al-Tustari said, “Love means to embrace obedience and parts ways with disobedience.” (al-Qushayri, al-Risala)
Qadi Iyad mentiones that one of the signs of love for the Prophet is letting oneself be guided his moral example. Similarly, Imam al-Junayd stated that love is “the substitution of the attributes of the lover for those of the beloved.” (Ibid) In other words, the true lover is one whose heart burns so passionately for his beloved that he divests himself of his own attributes. He wishes to be like his beloved in his inward and outward state.
The evidence for this is found in the Qur’an, where love is associated with obedience and submission. In one well-known verse, the Prophet says, “If you love God, follow me.” (3:31) This verse was said to have been revealed in response to a people who claimed that they loved God. The Prophet was commanded by God to tell these people that if their claim was to be beleived, they would submit to God and His command to love and follow the Prophet.
Similarly, it is related that one of the companions approached the Prophet (blessings upon him) and stated, “You are more beloved to me than my child, family, wealth, and even my own self.” He then wept and when asked by the Prophet (blessings upon him) what caused this sadness, he replied, “I remembered that you will pass away and so will we, then you will be raised with the prophets, and if we enter Paradise, we will be lower than you.”
God then revealed the following verse, “Whoever obeys God and the Messenger will be among those He has blessed: the messengers, the truthful, those who bear witness to the truth, and the righteous- what excellent companions these are.” (4:69) In this Qur’anic verse, it is not simply a feeling of love alone that unites a believer with the Prophet (blessings upon him) in the next life but actual obedience to him.
Love is a powerful emotion, and it is also one required of all believers in their relationship with God and His Prophet. The combination of these two elements makes love a potent tool in the hands of the Devil. Disbelievers may be driven to commit sinful actions out of an actual hatred for God and His Prophet. However, a Muslim may be driven to such behavior because it is cloaked in the guise of prophetic love. The very real passion and attachment the believer possesses for the Prophet is, therefore, a means by which he may be exploited. Indeed, the self and the Devil often trap the religious through religion itself by justifying sin as being an expression of faith. This is nothing but deception and delusion.
The Islamic tradition has a word for this: hawa, or caprice. If love is an inclination towards the truth, caprice is often used to refer to an inclination towards falsehood: “Do not follow capricious desire (hawa) for it will lead you astray from the path of God.” (38:26) Sin is a result of caprice, not love, even if the former may feel like the latter. The signs of love are clear. They are submitting to the Prophet, while every act that contravenes his noble way is from capricious desire. “None of you truly believes until his desires are subservient to what I have brought.” (al-Nawawi, al-Arbaʿin)
For a person to couch sin in the language of love is falling into the trap of the Devil. It minimises the gravity of sin and asserts a connection with the Prophet that does not exist. Indeed, anyone professing love for someone is forwarding an enormous claim as Imam al-Ghazali states. Thus, Fudayl ibn ʿIyad is reported to have said:
If you are asked, “Do you love God?” then remain silent. For if you reply in the negative, you have disbelieved. And if you reply in the affirmative, the attributes of true lovers are not found in you. So avoid being the object of detestation. (al-Ghazali, Ihya’ ʿUlum al-Din)
Similarly, it is related that some people were discussing love in the presence of Dhu’l Nun al-Misri. He exclaimed, “Refrain from this matter. If your selves fail to understand it properly, they might lay claims to it.” (al-Qushayri, al-Risala) The early Muslims were quite conscious of what it meant to declare someone the object of their love. This was especially in a religious context, where the weight of one’s claims would hang heavily in the next life. The true lovers of the Prophet (blessings upon him) were those who gave themselves completely to their beloved. Despite this recognised that all they could offer was an imperfect love. As al-Harith al-Muhasibi said:
Love means you are inclined toward someone in your entirety, then you give preference to this someone over yourself and your possessions, then you comply with his wishes openly and secretly, whereupon you acquire awareness of your love’s imperfection. (al-Qushayri, al-Risala)
Imagine those who appeal to this love in order to explain or justify sinful actions that they or others might be engaged in. Instead of framing the issue in a false light, individuals need to be made to realise that love for the Prophet (blessings upon him) can never manifest as sin. In this way, they can recognise the true nature of their actions, repent, and make sincere emends. Indeed, people who engage in anathematising other Muslims, murder, the destruction of property, spreading corruption in the land, and other enormities, as a result of of what they view as ‘defending’ the Prophet (blessings upon him) and his honor, are in reality involved in actions that are heinous to God and His Prophet
While the actions of such people can be described as the result of a mistaken or misguided sense of love for the Prophet in an attempt to better understand their state of mind and ameliorate it, their sinful actions can never be identified as an expression of true love for the Prophet itself. To present such actions in this light is to delude oneself and others.
Those who commit sins, however, are not necessarily deemed to be completely devoid of love for the Prophet. A sinner can still be characterised as possessing love for the Prophet in a general sense despite his sins and slips. This is evidenced in the tradition of the companion who repeatedly got intoxicated. He was punished, but his love for God and the Prophet was still affirmed. (Bukhari)
There is a difference, though, between negating love entirely from a Muslim who may commit sins and between identifying love as underpinning a specific act of sin. In the former, al-Ghazali indicates that the basic feeling of love that all Muslims are said to be characterised with as believers in God and the Prophet. But the moment one is engaged in sin, such love has been corrupted and discarded in favor of one’s own desires. In such situations, the obligation of sincere counsel (nasiha) requires that a person be told in no uncertain terms that his actions contravene the way of the Prophet, and the more egregious the sin, the more resolutely this needs to be pointed out.
Born and raised in New York, Ustadh Salman Younas graduated from Stony Brook University with a degree in Political Science and Religious Studies. After studying the Islamic sciences online and with local scholars in New York, Ustadh Salman moved to Amman. There he studies Islamic law, legal methodology, belief, hadith methodology, logic, Arabic, and tafsir.
His teachers include: Shaykh Faraz Rabbani, Shaykh Salah Abu’l Hajj, Shaykh Ashraf Muneeb, Shaykh Ahmad Hasanat, Shaykh Hamza Karamali, Shaykh Ahmad Snobar, Shaykh Ali Hani, Shaykh Hamza Bakri, Ustadh Rajab Harun and others.
Ustadh Salman’s personal interests include research into the fields of law/legal methodology, hadith, theology, as well as political theory, government, media, and ethics. He is also an avid traveller and book collector. He currently resides in Amman with his wife.
Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil
Question: Assalam aleykum,
I have been dealing with an affliction (sihr) from a long time, and it has been properly diagnosed by a reliable Raqi and scholars. Some of my symptoms are panic attacks, crying for no reason, severe waswasa (repeating things, negativity about matters and others, anger and becoming stuck in little things etc.)
This affliction made me much closer to practicing Islam, but sometimes my faith decreases. I participated in a deeply sinful act with a lady, and another man witnessed it via video call. I am so ashamed, and asked forgiveness from her. Do I tell her about him?
Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for reaching out to us. Please forgive me for the delay.
Dear questioner, please do not get married yet, especially not out of feelings of guilt. There are ways for you to let go of your guilt, but marrying the woman you sinned with is not one of them.
Your mental state is deeply concerning. Please seek out a culturally-sensitive counsellor to help you before you even consider getting married.
Marriage is a blessing. However, if you are not stable enough, then the stress of a new marriage can further worsen your condition. I pray that one day soon, when you are in a better emotional and spiritual state, that Allah will bless you with the gift of a loving and righteous wife.
Anas (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (upon him be blessings and peace) said, “Allah, the Exalted, has said: ‘O son of Adam, I forgive you as long as you pray to Me and hope for My forgiveness, whatever sins you have committed. O son of ‘Adam, I do not care if your sins reach the height of the heaven, then you ask for my forgiveness, I would forgive you. O son of ‘Adam, if you come to Me with an earth load of sins, and meet Me associating nothing to Me, I would match it with an earthload of forgiveness.”‘ [Tirmidhi].
Sometimes, we can sin so badly we fear that Allah will never forgive us. We can lose ourselves in deep feelings of shame. Anchor yourself with the unwavering belief that Allah’s Mercy is greater than anything you can ever imagine. Please know that Allah still loves you, and that through His help, you can feel better.
It is better for past sin to be left alone. Please – do not tell the lady in question about the other man who saw her in a compromising situation. It is better for her not to know, especially as you describe her as being sensitive.
Please refer to these links to help you understand the obligation of concealing sin:
I strongly suggest that you consult holistic healers such as Aafiyah Healing or Elements of Healing. I pray that these will be part of your journey to recovery. You do not need to carry your burdens alone. Allah is with you, and He has placed people on this earth to help manifest His qualities of Mercy and Healing.
With sincere repentance, your sin is wiped away. Knowing this, please breathe through your feelings of deep regret and shame. I recommend apps like Calm and Headspace to help bring you back into your body, through paying attention to your breath. If you struggle to do this on your own, then please do not hesitate to reach out to a culturally-sensitive counsellor/therapist to help you.
Know that time heals. Give yourself time to recover, and time to move past this terrible experience.
I encourage you to perform the Prayer of Need in the last third of the night. Pour out your deepest fears, worries and anxieties to Him.
A Reader on Tawba (Repentance)
Selected Prophetic Prayers for Spiritual, Physical and Emotional Wellbeing by Chaplain Ibrahim Long
Love, Marriage and Relationships in Islam: All Your Questions Answered
[Ustadha] Raidah Shah Idil
Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil has spent almost two years in Amman, Jordan, where she learned Shafi’i’ fiqh, Arabic, Seerah, Aqeedah, Tasawwuf, Tafsir and Tajweed. She continues to study with her Teachers in Malaysia and online through SeekersHub Global. She graduated with a Psychology and English degree from University of New South Wales, was a volunteer hospital chaplain for 5 years and has completed a Diploma of Counselling from the Australian Institute of Professional Counsellors. She lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with her husband, daughter, and mother-in-law.
Answered by Shaykh Farid Dingle
Question: Assalamu alaykum
I have commited a sin towards my mother so bad that I’m afraid to tell her. Should I confess to my mother and tell her everything or should I just sincerely ask for forgiveness from Allah and her?
Answer: Wa alaykum assalam wa rahamtullah wa barakatuh,
You clearly know better than I that the rank of the mother in Islam is something really great. Allah Most High has conjoined the command to worship Him alone with kindness to parents saying, ‘And your Lord has decreed that you not worship except Him, and to parents, good treatment. Should either o of them reach old age [while] with you, say not to them [so much as], “uff,” and do not repel them but speak to them a noble word.’ [17:23] A man came to the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) and said, ‘O Messenger of Allah, who has the best right to my kind companionship?’
‘Your mother,’ replied he.
‘Then your mother.’
‘Then your mother.’
‘Then your father.’ [Bukhari and Muslim]
Having a general feeling of guilt that one has not given one’s mother her due, is a sign of iman and faith in Allah, as long as it doesn’t go to extremes. In reality, this feeling is an extension of of unlimited indebtedness to Allah Most High that extends to all those of His creation that He employs to our benefit.
Telling others of one’s sins
Generally speaking, as you have mentioned, sins should not be shared with another, even if they are against the person you wish to mention it to. However, if it involves financial or legal rights, you must mention it to someone, so that you don’t add insult to injury and withhold a right of theirs.
If it sin does not affect her rights or it can or has been repaid finacially or otherwise, then just repent to Allah.
I pray that this helps,
[Shaykh] Farid Dingle
Shaykh Farid Dingle grew up in a convert family in Herefordshire, UK. In 2007, he moved to Jordan to pursue traditional studies. Shaykh Farid continues to live in Amman, Jordan with his wife and kids. In addition to continuing his studies he teaches Arabic and several of the Islamic sciences.
Shaykh Farid began his journey in sacred knowledge with intensives in the UK and Jordan (2004) in Shafi’i fiqh and Arabic. After years of studying Arabic grammar, Shafi’i fiqh, hadith, legal methodology (usul al-fiqh) and tafsir, Sh. Farid began specializing in Arabic language and literature. Sh. Farid studied Pre-Islamic poetry, Umayyad, Abbasid, Fatimid, and Andalusian literature. He holds a BA in Arabic Language and Literature and continues exploring the language of the Islamic tradition.
In addition to his interest in the Arabic language Shaykh Farid actively researches matters related to jurisprudence (fiqh) which he studied with Shaykh Hamza Karamali, Shaykh Ahmad Hasanat, and continues with Shaykh Amjad Rasheed.
A lot of times people entertain doubts and even disbelief because of some wrong they did and because they can’t live with themselves having done it. Maybe they’re now mired in an addiction. Their conscience won’t let them sleep at night.
To escape this misery, they search for a way to change the rules of the game. “Well, who said this or that is haram anyway?” And that’s where whim and doubt start taking over.
The reality however, is that none of that is really necessary. Islam’s doctrine on sin is so different from anything the Western world has known that it’s actually refreshing.
Before I explain, let me take you back to the 1990’s. Roller blades came out then. And I remember that when you bought a pair there was a little instruction manual with illustrations of how to fall. Not how to skate. How to fall. Think about that.
On blades you’re only three or four inches off the ground, but if you fall at those speeds and try to land on your wrists, you’re done. Wrist injuries suddenly became common occurrences back then. And they were gruesome. You have to fall on your shoulder ideally or at least your fore-arm.
So likewise in today’s world, every Muslim has to learn how to fall. “What should I be thinking after falling into a gruesome act of disobedience?” It’s even more important than learning how to advance. That’s because a sin can dig so deep into your psyche it’ll make you go crazy and one can even lose their iman. That’s Shaytan’s real goal.
As for Islam’s “Doctrine of Sin” it begins firstly with something I don’t think exists in any other religion. That is, to commit sins is built into our system as human beings, and to get forgiven is one of the purposes of our creation:
By the One who controls my soul, if you did not sin, Allah I would have done away with you and brought a creation that sinned, so they could repent and He could forgive them.
This is in Sahih Muslim, the second most reliable canonical source in Islam after Sahih Bukhari. Not even second, it’s more like 1a and 1b. The scholars say, from the Divine attributes is The Forgiver, The Patient, The Merciful, and thus in the creation there will manifest those to whom these attributes can apply.
Secondly, moral failings are considered in Islam to be the beginning of advancement in a way: “Verily the believers, if they are touched by a demon, they remember, and lo, they quickly become more insightful” (Sura al A‘raf 7:201). Like all advancements, spiritual advancement is born out of a failing of some sort, which makes us dig deep and search for ways to avoid it or wash it away.
In light of this, the forgiveness of a moral failing is actually an easy thing. “Don’t they know that Allah accepts repentance from His slaves.” (Sura al Tawba 9:104) It is a general and absolute statement. Tawba has four parts:
If it’s truly in the heart, then it’s that simple.
Ok, I can understand easy forgiveness once, but what if it happens again? And again. And again. If it was your child you would say, Ok there’s either something wrong with you or you have no respect for me. Either way, I have to start treating you differently now. But Allah does not do this with us. “The one who repents is never considered persistently sinful, even if he repeats it seventy times a day.” (Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi, Tabarani)
Given this, we as parents should be very patient with our kids, as Allah is patient with us, when our kids repeat the same mistake over and over even though, “I told you a thousand times!” In another hadith Allah says: “Son of Adam, if your sins were to reach the height of the skies, but you sought My forgiveness, I would forgive you with ease.” (Tirmidhi)
The best indicator of sincerity in repentance is charity. And by the way, giving someone your time, or being in a good mood with people are also forms of charity in case you don’t have much money.
Here’s the real bad part: If your sins have victims. Oh that’s deadly. A scholar of Bani Isra‘il used to give rulings for the elite all the time and reap the benefits of being their scholar. In old age he wanted to repent. Allah told the prophet of that time: “I will readily forgive him, but what about all the people he led astray?”
If your sins are victimless, you’re very fortunate. If not, you have your work cut out for you. If you cannot ever make it up in this life, then pray Allah covers your back in the Afterlife with large payouts to your victims in exchange for their pardoning you.
3. The last point is between the two, neither very easy nor very hard. It’s the effect of the sin. Sins black out the heart like smoke. Akin to how nicotine totally brutalizes the pure pink tissue of the lungs. Those ashes have to be washed away. The effect of sins make a person miserable and shuts out their inner eye from seeing the truth clearly. It’s cleaned away easily though, but takes time and effort. It is a lot of dhikr and ibada. We should be listening to Qur’an all the time.
This is why I think public dhikr is important. Most people are lazy to sit and do dhikr, or they don’t know how. But public dhikr is easy. You sit and read what the people are reading, and make dua as the people make dua. Dhikr is nur and it will enter your heart and clean out all that gunk. But you need alot of it to take effect.
Gatherings of washing away our sins should be a norm that occurs on a routine basis in our homes and masajid. Our hearts thus become like rivers, the faster the water keeps moving, the harder it is to stain. But if there’s no movement at all, it becomes stagnant and collects rot.
The doctrines of sins, forgiveness and the understanding of the effect of sins and how to wipe it away is so important to us. This is life for all of us on a daily basis. It’s Lesson #1 in spirituality, and I hope you as readers pass this on and give the downtrodden hope and motivation.
May Allah accept from us, forgive us and make our wrongs a way for us to be stronger. Ameen.
Dr Shadee Elmasry was born and raised in New Jersey. He began studying at the age of eighteen, traveling to a number of countries including Egypt, KSA, Yemen and Morocco.
In addition to traditional learning, Dr Elmasry has received has an MA from The George Washington University and a PhD from the University of London SOAS.
Dr Elmasry went on to teach at several universities including Yale University, University of London SOAS, Trinity College, Hartford Seminary, and Manhattanville College.
Currently, he serves as Scholar in Residence at the New Brunswick Islamic Center in New Jersey. He is also the founder and head of Safina Society — an institution dedicated to the cause of traditional Islamic education in the West.
His courses can be found at Safina-Online.Teachable.com.
Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Question: Assalamu alaykum
If you sin knowing that Allah is watching you at the very instant you are sinning what punishment does that entail? Are you considered a kafir at that moment?
Answer: Walaikum assalam,
I hope you’re doing well, insha’Allah.
This is not kufr. It is sinful, and a sign of weakness of faith.
Address this with:
(a) sincere repentance and (b) commiting the actively remembering Allah.
Strive to follow the Prophetic sunna to, “Keep your tongue moist with the remembrance of Allah.” [Tirmidhi] In your walking, work, and rest. Engage your tongue, heart, and mind with the remembrance of Allah.
One way is to repeat the the “lasting good deeds” the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) recommended: Subhana’l Llah; Alhamdu li’l Llah; la ilaha illa’l Llah; and Allahu Akbar. These can be recited in order or individually. Stay constant on them, and you’ll find peace of heart and increasing presence with Allah.
And Allah alone gives success.
[Shaykh] Faraz Rabbani
Shaykh Faraz Rabbani is a scholar and researcher of Islamic law and Executive Director of SeekersHub Global After ten years overseas, Shaykh Faraz returned to Canada in the Summer of 2007. In May 2008 he founded SeekersHub Global to deal with the urgent need to spread Islamic knowledge—both online and on the ground—in a reliable, relevant, inspiring, and accessible manner. He has been repeatedly listed as one of the world’s 500 most influential Muslims (The Muslim500).
Answered by Shaykh Jamir Meah
Question: Assalamu alaykum
How can I resist temptations and sins?
Answer: Wa’alaykum assalam. Jazakum Allah khayr for writing to us. May Allah grant you success in striving against your desires and seeking the obedience and pleasure of God.
We should know that temptations and sins are part and parcel of this worldly life. Sins appear attractive for a reason. Man has been created weak and so he inclines towards temptations and is prone to fall into it. How we deal with and overcome the tests of life is the very the battlefield of our soul, the alchemical process of struggling and striving to rise above and beyond our base selves and transform into pure and Godly beings. Like any battle, we need tools and training.
The Greater Jihad
It is reported that the Prophet ﷺ said, ‘We have returned from the lesser jihad to the greater jihad’ [al Bayhaqi]. The hadith is weak, but the meaning is sound, for if one has not struggled within, then they cannot hope to conquer external struggles.
Allah loves those who when they sin they turn to him in sincere repentance
Other than the Prophets, none of us are infallible. Allah has created us prone to mistakes and sins on purpose, and through this, Allah’s vast forgiveness is manifested. This is why the blessed Prophet ﷺ said, ‘By Him in whose hand is my soul, if you did not sin Allah would replace you with people who would sin and they would seek the forgiveness of Allah and He would forgive them.’ [Muslim]
Therefore, as long as we strive and turn to God in sincere repentance when we fall, we must equally take heart that the Divine Pardon is ever at hand. Whenever you fall into sin, return again and again to Allah.
However, sincere repentance also means taking the means to avoid sins in the first place and striving to avoid them.
The following are practical tools and suggestions for understanding and dealing with temptations:
al Ta’awudh – Seeking refuge in Allah: Recognise that temptations are tests which Allah sends to one. Our leaning towards them are either from our own base inclinations or the whisperings of satan, or both. The solution then is to seek their absolute opposite, which is absolute purity and goodness, namely, seeking refuge in God from the devil. Allah has said, ‘And if you are tempted by Satan, then seek refuge with Allah. Indeed, He [alone] is the All-Hearing, All-Knowing.’ [41:36]
Du’a: Never stop making du’a for yourself. Anas bin Malik narrated that Prophet ﷺ used to supplicate,
يا مُقلِّبَ القُلُوْبِ ثَبِّت قَلْبِي عَلَى دِيْنِكَ
‘O Turner of the hearts, keep my heart firm upon your religion’ [al Tirmidhi]
Muraqaba – Self Vigilance: One should make a practice each day of noting down the following 3 things together a) sins committed, b) what situations led to the act, c) possible solutions. Each night, before retiring to bed, one should review what was written, pray two cycles of tawba and resolve to avoid those situations and try the solutions the next day. This self-vigilance and taking stock of one’s self was advised by Sayyidna Umar, when he said, ‘Take yourselves into account before you are taken to account. Weight yourselves before you are weighed.’ [Ahmad]. If you find that you are able to avoid sins, then give thanks and praise to Allah. Even if you fail, keep going. ‘Fake it ‘til you make it’ as they say.
Think positive: Think positive about yourself and about Allah. If you think you can do something, then you can, as long as you rely on Allah.
Tahajjud: Try to wake up before Fajr, pray two cycles or more, and make supplication to Allah to keep you away from sins. The Prophet ﷺ said, ‘Verily, Allah the Exalted stretches out his hand by night for those who repent until the coming of the day.’ [Sahih Muslim]. Tahajjud also help one avoid sins during the day.
Obedience: Ensure you are at least fullfing all the obligatory commands of Allah, particularly your prayers. Strive to do what sunnas you can do during the day. Follow the command of Allah by ‘lowering your gaze’ from that which is forbidden to see or hear, whether in real life or online.
Remembering Allah: The Prophet told us to ‘Keep Your Tongue Moist with Remembrance of Allah.’ [Arba’in al Nawawi]. Have a daily litany of dhikr, Quran, as well as saying the sunna du’as throughout daily affairs. Do not deem these insignificant. ‘Indeed, when Satan whispers to those mindful [of Allah], they remember [their Lord] then they start to see [things] clearly.’ [7:201]. Send abundant salutations and blessing on the Prophet ﷺ throughout the day.
Seek the Halal: Ensure your income and food are all lawful.
Organise your time: Make a timetable for every day of the week, accounting for how you spend every hour of the day. Ensure to include time of worship, time for work or study, time for self-reflection, time for sleep, time for recreation and socialising. Stick to the timetable as much as possible, tweaking it as you go along. The timetable will work as an anchor for the day, so you always know where you should be and what you should be doing. If you fall short each day, then don’t worry, just keep going. Make an intention for the sake of Allah in upon commencement of each act of the day, even for eating, sleeping, exercise, family time etc. This way they become worship.
Avoiding that which doesn’t benefit you: Keep away from anything that is of no benefit to you. Included in this is internet usage other than what you may genuinely need the net for.
Fasting and Marriage: If temptations are of a sexual nature, then the Prophet ﷺ said, ‘O young men, whoever among you can afford it, let him get married, and whoever cannot, let him fast, for it will be a shield for him.’ [al Bukhari]. Also, revise your eating habits, check that there are no foods that increase desire after eating them. Eat light, for the stomach has a huge effect on the rest of our faculties and desires. Eating less but enough to get on with our daily affairs is the goal, but this requires gradual training.
Knowing Allah and the Prophet: We can begin to know God and the Prophet ﷺ by learning. I would highly recommend learning the sciences of fiqh, aqida, and seerah. These will provide you with the framework to understand your objectives.
Company: Do not spend long hours in your own company (especially in front of screens), nor time with bad company. Seek the company of righteous people that you get on with. The Prophet ﷺ said, ‘Verily, the parable of a good friend and a bad friend is that of a seller of musk and a blacksmith. The seller of musk will give you some perfume, you will buy some, or you will notice a good smell. As for the blacksmith, he will burn your clothes or you will notice a bad smell.’ [Sahih al Bukhari]. ‘Company’ can also be extended to the websites and literature one reads in private.
Remembering Death: The Salaf would constantly remember death as a means to act in obedience to God, for the Prophet advised, ‘Remember often the destroyer of pleasures.’ [Ibn Maja]. Take time out at the end of the day or when waking up for Tahajjud to contemplate on the brevity of life, what await us in the grave, the standing in front of God on the Day of Judgement, and the heat and torture of the Fire.
Do not despair: Despite the need to instil fear of Allah in our hearts in order to avoid sins, even greater than this is avoiding sins out of the love of Allah. Therefore, do everything you can to fall in love with your Lord, by performing your obligatory duties, performing sunnas, doing good deeds, thinking well of Allah, His Prophets, the Muslims and all people, and thank Him for all your blessings.
May Allah make you and us among the righteous and those whom God loves.
[Shaykh] Jamir Meah
Shaykh Jamir Meah grew up in Hampstead, London. In 2007, he traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he spent nine years studying the Islamic sciences on a one-to-one basis under the foremost scholars of the Ribaat, Tarim, with a main specialization and focus on Shafi’i fiqh. In early 2016, he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continues advanced studies in a range of Islamic sciences, as well as teaching. Jamir is a qualified homeopath.
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