Short Answer: Whenever you feel overwhelmed with guilt, sister, please remember one thing. There is still much you can do for your father, even though he is deceased. You can recite Quran, give charity, and even perform umrah on his behalf. Every act of worship that you perform in life, will send him a portion of the reward. It will elevate his ranks and enlighten his grave (Allah willing). For more details, please visit the links here and here.
Asalaamu alaykum, and thank you for sending in your question to our website.May Allah reward you, sister, for being such a pillar of support for your family. Reading your question has been awe-inspiring. I can see that Allah has chosen you to do much noble work. I ask Him to make your trials easy for you, and reward you.
Demoralizing despondence and regret: ploys of Satan
Sister, it is praiseworthy that you feel guilty about supposedly “neglecting” your father before his death. However, to feel so guilty about it that you neglect your current responsibilities in life, is a red flag. It indicates that Satan is using this despair to demotivate and distract you from doing good deeds.
The door to repentance, expiation, and atonement remains open for a Muslim until their final breath. No sin or misdeed is too great for Allah to forgive. As long as we are alive, we can make up for whatever sin we committed in the past.
Please do no get despondent about your treatment of your father in the last part of his life. Recall the reason why you were unable to tend to him more. It was because you were caring for your mother, who needed round-the-clock care. So you did not neglect him deliberately, out of laziness.
Furthermore, you are also a single parent to three children. Either you have gone through divorce, or have been widowed. These are indeed difficult trials for any woman. Not to mention, no other sibling was living with your parents, either (to share the task of care-taking).
The whole point of trials and tests in this world, is to see what we do. Are we patient and steadfast upon Islam, as we struggle? Do we keep turning to Allah? Or do we defy His commands without regret?
Indeed, you have struggled much to fulfill all your duties towards family. While feeling regret for your shortfalls is good, guilt that debilitates and makes you lose hope, is not. So please turn to Allah and ask Him to forgive your past lapses. Pray supererogatory prayers and give in charity to seek His forgiveness every day.
You can still be do much for your father
Whenever you feel overwhelmed with guilt, sister, please remember one thing. There is still much you can do for your father, even though he is deceased. You can recite Quran, give charity, and even perform umrah on his behalf. Every act of worship that you perform in life, will send him a portion of the reward. It will elevate his ranks and enlighten his grave (Allah willing). For more details, please visit the links here and here.
Do not overlook the rights of your current dependents
In the end, sister, I want to emphasize one thing. Do not let the past destroy your present and future. What I found most disturbing about your question was not that you supposedly fell short in caring for your elderly father. Instead, it was the last part, in which you stated the effects of your guilt. That is, how your remorse is causing you to neglect the rights of your living relatives. That you feel so hopeless that you are unable to perform daily activities. Including taking care of your mother and children.
What you have to keep in mind is that what is past is past. The past can never return. It is Allah’s immense mercy that He allows us to repent. He then accepts our repentance if it is sincere and allows us to atone for what we did. Conclusion: Optimism under all circumstances.
Now, please be positive, and appreciate what you do have. Take pleasure in caring for your mother and children. Try to maintain a healthy balance i.e. do not forget your self-care as well.
Please do not let Satan make you neglect yourself, your ailing mother, or your children because of your guilt. Never lose hope in Allah’s mercy.
Whenever you feel remorse about your father, give some charity. Perform prayers, and make dua for him. Ask Allah to forgive you. Then move on. Try to start and end your day with optimism and gratitude for the family that Allah has blessed you with. And Allah knows best.
And Allah knows best.
I hope this helps.
Salam and please keep in touch.
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