In this counseling answer:
• If you have sincerely repented and said shahada Allah will and has forgiven you.
• Replace the negative statement with a positive.
As Salamu Alaykum brother,
Thank you for writing to us. As I understand your question, you stated when you were 16 you developed an interest in Egypt. You read many things about the kings in Egypt and then you read a story about a boy who had a major God complex. You indicated this was more of a cautionary tale about arrogance but in the end, he faced punishment. At this point, you stopped reading when you became aware of how bad it was. So, your question is if you were committing shirk.
Brother, I’m not exactly sure what your activities entailed besides reading. The question that you must ask yourself is, did you engage an act of worship not for the sake of Allah but directed towards other deities? If you did and you were not knowledgeable about Islam, you did not know you were committing shirk as you stated.
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As you know Allah swt is the most merciful, most forgiving and He forgives all sins except for shirk at the time of death. If you feel that you did commit shirk (and only you know what activities you engaged in), insha’Allah brother, please do repent to Allah and ask for forgiveness.
When we sincerely repent to Allah it is like our slate is wiped clean, we are forgiven. With this knowledge of Allah’s love and mercy, you need to let go of the past concerning your possible sin of shirk and move on with your life, focusing on other things which are more conducive to your Islam and your life.
It seems that this has been in your mind for a long time tormenting you, brother, but if you believe in Allah’s promise to forgive then you can be sure you are forgiven.
The evil whispers can either be something your mind has produced out of anxiety (obsessive-compulsive disorder) and worry or it may be the Shaitan. When these thoughts come brother, seek refuge in Allah and make duaa.
Next, replace the negative statement with a positive (i.e. yes, Allah has forgiven me) and repeat this process until it stops. It can be quite possible it has turned into a learned thought, one which you taught yourself when you discovered you may have committed shirk. You probably thought Allah would never forgive you. By thinking this over and over for a year, it became part of your cognitive process.
You can change it, brother, by replacing the negative thought with the positive. If you are unsuccessful, please do seek counseling with a therapist who is familiar with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.
AboutIslam states, “There is no doubt shirk is an unforgivable sin. However, a person who has renounced shirk and affirmed the faith in the Oneness of Allah has left it behind and started a clean slate. So, it does not matter that he or she committed shirk in the past. The testimony of faith or shahadah wipes out the past. This is why all those who had been guilty of the most sins including shirk and bowing and sacrificing to the idols and became Muslims later were forgiven.”
Brother, as you can see, if you have sincerely repented and said shahada Allah will and has forgiven you. Please do insha’Allah, work on correcting your thinking in regards to the negative thoughts.
We wish you the best,
Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees be held liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.