Wa Alaykum Assalam Dear Brother,
Thank you so much for contacting us and seeking help.
It is a vast blessing from Allah (SWT) that He inspired you to seek knowledge that will help you get closer to Him.
We ask Allah (SWT) to make it easy for you, show you the path of goodness and purity and bring you out of hardship into ease, relief and satisfaction. Ameen.
Return These Items
With regards to your question on stealing, please read here a very relevant answer our scholar has presented before to a case very similar to yours.
In a nut shell, what you need to do is return what you have stolen if it’s still with you, or compensate it if it’s lost.
Return the items even by mail without giving your name or putting yourself into shame or difficulty. But, you have to return to people their due rights.
In addition, you can give the equivalent amount of what you have stolen to charity.
Also, try to ask those you’ve stolen from for forgiveness, even if it’s by sending a letter or an email–anonymously.
It might sound hard, but this is actually the path of ease, and Allah (SWT) will help you if you truly want to make things right.
The point here is: when you put all effort in your capacity to make things right, the feeling of shame, guilt or burden will insha’Allah be lifted off your chest.
This will also be a truly honest and sincere way to start clean because this deen is about justice, fairness and righteousness.
In this path we shouldn’t wrong or commit injustice against ourselves or others.
So, first step: remove the evil out of the way. Now, let us explore the good.
Seeking Allah Sincerely
The most important advice is to know that Allah (SWT) is your Hope and your Answer and your Haven and your Ultimate Desire and Destination.
Open up your heart to Allah (SWT) your Creator, and tell Him everything you’ve done, everything you regret, everything you want to do and seek His forgiveness and He will surely accept every sincere repentance.
When He sees sincere desire in your heart to live a pure, good life, He will most definitely open doors for you from where you haven’t expected.
Allah (SWT) says what means:
[…] And whoever fears Allah – He will make for him a way out, and will provide for him from where he does not expect. And whoever relies upon Allah – then He is sufficient for him. Indeed, Allah will accomplish His purpose. Allah has already set for everything a [decreed] extent. (Quran 65: 2-3)
Trust that and trust Allah (SWT). No one can truly help you until you truly seek Allah Himself.
He is closer to you than your own limbs and your own thoughts that run in your mind right now as you read those words. He is Nearer to you than anyone. So, speak to Him.
Don’t give up or feel shy or run away from Allah (SWT) no matter what you’ve done.
Allah (SWT) always gives us hope and tells us about those who thought they were hopeless, yet He showed them the way and accepted them.
And [He also forgave] the three who were left behind [and regretted their error] to the point that the earth closed in on them in spite of its vastness and their souls confined them and they were certain that there is no refuge from Allah except in Him. Then He turned to them so they could repent. Indeed, Allah is the Accepting of repentance, the Merciful. (Quran 9:118)
If the weakness of our nafs or temptations of Satan caused us to err before, then we should never give up entirely or submit ourselves entirely to Satan or despair because that’s exactly what the Satan wants.
Allah can always bring us from darkness into light, from loss into guidance and from despair into relief, ease and contentment.
Now, that’s the most important thing to work on right now. Prayer and Quran are interlinking.
Your knowledge of the Quran and understanding of it will increase your concentration and your presence in prayer and the degree to which you really feel connected to Allah (SWT) in it.
This is khushoo. It is to truly feel the presence of Allah (SWT), His Might and Majesty in a way that makes you tremble and fee humble during the prayer.
It is an experience in which one truly listens, feels and ponders on the verses of the Quran that are being recited in prayer. Those are Allah’s Direct Words.
When we truly listen and concentrate on the words of Allah and the fact that we’re standing between His Hands in prayer, then we will feel the love of Allah, awe of His Power and Might, the fear of misguidance, remembrance of the Day of Judgment, and the closeness of death.
You can find several lectures here on different dimensions of prayer.
So, seek knowledge with pure intention and insha’Allah, Allah will help you.
Connecting with the Quran
Reading the Quran shouldn’t be a burden, it should be a pleasure, guidance, cure, relief and a transformative experience.
Try to learn the meanings of what you read in depth. This will truly fill your heart and mind with awe of Allah (SWT) and it will keep you focused on the straight path.
If there are Quranic sessions in your area, attend them. If there is an institute that holds sessions on tadabbur Al Quran (pondering on the meaning of the Quran), then seek this opportunity.
Try to seek righteous companionship
It is a very important aspect of this path to have righteous friends that aid you on the path, remind you when you forget and uplift you when you feel down.
See if you can volunteer in a nearby masjid.
Find charitable projects (this one in Australia for example) to volunteer in. Help the poor, the needy and the orphans.
These are all activities that shall fill your time with goodness and introduce you to pious friends.
And don’t forget that first and foremost, you must seek Allah (SWT)’s Help.
Make sincere dua (supplication) to Allah (SWT) to really help you and guide you and show you the way, and most definitely Allah is The Ever Responsive, The Near.
Salam, and please send us any other questions you shall have.
(From AboutIslam’s archives)