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Old Friends Always Remind Me of My Sinful Past

Questioner

A

Reply Date

Jan 13, 2018

Question

Salam! I am a 22 years old Muslim girl. I used to do very bad things in the past like smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol and so on. Once I met a hijabi, pious girl. She never judged me but instead helped me to become a better person and showed me the way of repentance. I went on YouTube and watched a lot of inspirational videos of imams and sheikhs which touched my heart and made me want to change myself. Eventually, I stopped smoking, drinking alcohol and everything bad I was doing. I asked Allah for repentance and started praying and now I fast every Monday and Thursday. I feel very bad for what I did in the past; when I think about it, I become very sad. My problem is that since I’ve changed, I try to surround myself with pious women, because I don’t want to be tempted by my old friends to return to my old life. I just feel more at peace in my heart with pious Muslimahs who are very kind and peaceful. Now, those people who witnessed me smoking and drinking in the past throw it back at my face every time they get a chance. They say like "oh, you want to act like an angel now? Don’t think we forget about what you used to do. We know you." Then they start talking about my sins and how I used to sin. This makes me so sad. I’m discouraged and I have a constant fear that Allah won’t forgive me. I feel worthless when they say that to me. I don’t know what to answer to them because Allah said that we should not talk about our sins if we want forgiveness. But what can I answer to shut down the conversation when they say such things?

Counselor

Answer


Old Friends Always Remind Me of My Sinful Past

Answer:

As-Salamu `Alaikum dear sister A,

First, I have to remind you that in sha’ Allah all your sins are now totally wiped away. They don’t exist anymore as you have sincerely repented, took a new path, and took several steps toward Allah. So, congratulations! Forget about the fears that Allah won’t forgive you; Allah is actually happy with you, welcoming you and taking steps toward you more than the steps you took toward him.

“ …… and if he draws near Me by the span of a palm, I draw near him by a cubit, and if he draws near Me by a cubit I draw near him by the space (covered by) two arms. And if he walks towards Me, I rush towards him. [Sahih Muslim]

You left all the haram pleasures and your past friends for the sake of Allah; you exerted an effort in getting more knowledge about the way of Allah; you exerted an effort in finding good company; you bore the difficulties any person faces when he decides to make a drastic change in his life. All these need a lot of strength, persistence, and patience. It also implies that the person who chose this path has a really good heart inside. You worth much dear sister in the eyes of Allah, so never feel you are worthless.

Now, we come to the part that is causing you great stress which is what to answer your past friends in a way that makes them stop bothering you and dragging you down. Indeed, the best answer for them is that you continue on your path and be persistent in what you do and believe in. The drastic change in you is difficult for them to fathom. They are unable to cope with the situation that their friend they knew has changed 180 degrees in a short period of time. Thus, they are doing this with you in attempt to bring you back to do what you used to do with them in the past and live that lifestyle in general.

It is also difficult for them to be faced with a live example that has been able to be strong enough to overcome her weaknesses and take a major decision to do what is right. Hence, you are a mirror of them which shows how weak they are. It shows them that they have still not been able to be strong enough and choose the right path. This feeling of weakness they have now is very difficult to accept for anybody, thus some people choose to escape that feeling by not focusing on themselves and instead focusing on others through criticizing, belittling, mocking, etc. All these are the weapons of the weak. A strong person would instead accept that he is now doing something wrong and that maybe in the future he would be able to overcome his weakness and join you on your new path. He would respect your choice and leave you alone or would even try to understand and support you.

So, dear sister, you should not be frustrated by what they say. You should feel empathy for them. They are in the weak position. Implore Allah to show them the beauty of the right path. Of course, you should always remind yourself that no one but Allah knows the inside of everyone, therefore you should never judge anyone personally or say he is good or bad. What you only need to think about is that now at this very moment those people are not on the right path and that in sha’ Allah in the future they may choose to take the right path. You don’t have to reply back to their insults. You may just keep silent and continue on what you are doing, or you may just tell them that yes, I know that I was doing these sins in the past, but now I regretted doing them and have asked forgiveness from Allah. I have changed and I am happy like this, so please respect me if indeed you were/are my friend. This is what a good friend should do.

Try to minimize your contact with them as much as possible. By doing this, you would be preventing yourself from any harm that could be coming from their part, and you would be preventing yourself from any temptations or bad influence.

While taking this distance, keep praying to Allah to help them see what is good for them and to choose the path of Allah. One may tell you that you should not take a distance from them and you should instead try to bring them with you in your path. However, when you decide to take this step, you have to be in a stronger, more settled state and have the knowledge needed for this. So, now focus on strengthening yourself in the faith and knowledge and your relationship with Allah. Focus on becoming stronger and more settled in your path while being in good company. Go on dear sister and take further steps ahead.

Also, once you gained enough knowledge and you feel your faith is strong enough, I believe it would be better if you talk to them on a one-on-one basis and not when you are in a group. When you are facing a group of people alone, it would be more difficult for you to talk, and more difficult for them to accept what you say and think about it. I pray to Allah I have been able to touch upon the points that would be helpful for you. Feel free to contact us again if you need any further assistance.

Salam,

***

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.




About Layla Al Qaraqsi

Layla Al Qaraqsi has worked with islamonline.net since 2008. She has been the editor of the counseling section till May, 2013; then a counselor and writer since March, 2015. She has also worked in early childhood psychosocial development;and managed a support group in Egypt. Layla has been studying psychology and counseling since 2011 in the Islamic Online University (IOU) of Dr. Bilal Philips, University of North Dakota, and in several specialized psychological institutions in Egypt including Tawasol Center, one of the offline projects of Islamonline.net. Her studies also included group psychotherapy, psychodrama techniques, mindfulness.  You can contact her via: [email protected]

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