Short Answer: First of all, let me point out one important thing. Reminding a repentant Muslim about their past sins is itself a sin. The people who remind you about your past mistakes are committing a transgression. When a Muslim repents and gives up sins, their social contacts do not always do the same. You see, sister, most Muslims want to be more righteous. They want to submit to Allah, have high ranks of faith, and be more steadfast. They want their religious practice to be better. They want to enjoy the sweetness of faith. But they are unwilling to give up worldly pleasures and pursuits to come to that level. So when they see someone who used to be like them, make a turnaround for the better. They feel very bad about themselves.
Asalaamu alaykum, and thank you for sending in your question to our website.
Sister, there is absolutely no doubt about the fact that Allah forgives all sins. No matter how great a sin, and how many times it is committed. Allah can forgive it not just once, but repeatedly. He says in the Quran:
“Say, “O My servants who have transgressed against themselves [by sinning], do not despair of the mercy of Allah. Indeed, Allah forgives all sins. Indeed, it is He who is the Forgiving, the Merciful.” [39:53]
The only condition for His forgiveness is that the repentance be sincere. So please do not doubt the acceptance of your repentance. Do not despair of the mercy of Allah. If you regret your past mistakes, then this is a sign of sincerity.
The fact that people still remind you about your past sins does not mean that Allah has not forgiven you.
It only means that you need to change a few things about your interactions with them.
The sin of reminding a repentant sinner about their past
First of all, let me point out one important thing. Reminding a repentant Muslim about their past sins is itself a sin. The people who remind you about your past mistakes are committing a transgression.
This is because repenting for a past sin wipes away that sin from a Muslim’s record of deeds. It is as if they never committed that sin in the first place. Now, if someone taunts them about it, they are doing something prohibited. They are transgressing against their own souls.
So these people are not just guilty of hurting you. But also of causing your painful memories to return.
Why people remind righteous people of their past sins
Now let us discuss why people remind others about their past mistakes.
When a Muslim repents and gives up sins, their social contacts do not always do the same. That is, their family members and friends might not join them on this new path. There are those who might show support but continue their old habits. There might be those who are unaffected and indifferent. And then there are those who are openly hostile and antagonistic. This latter category is often the most aggressive in opposing the visible 180-degree turnaround in a repentant Muslim.
You see, sister, most Muslims want to be more righteous. They want to submit to Allah, have high ranks of faith, and be more steadfast. They want their religious practice to be better. They want to enjoy the sweetness of faith.
But they are unwilling to give up worldly pleasures and pursuits to come to that level.
So when they see someone who used to be like them, make a turnaround for the better. They feel very bad about themselves. They feel severely lacking in their own faith. They feel miserable, unworthy and small. Because they see the proof in front of their eyes that someone can change for the better. That someone can give up sins and improve as a Muslim.
In order to stop feeling so bad about themselves, they lash out. They try to bring you down to their level again. So they throw your past sins in your face.
The message they want to send to you is, “Don’t think you are any better than us!”
This behavior speaks loudly of their own insecurities. Of their own desire of wanting to become like you.
So the reality is, sister, that you should rejoice! Even though it hurts, this behavior of people towards you is indicative of your faith. It shows that you really have changed for the better. That Allah has chosen you over them to become close to Him.
You are now treading the path of Allah’s Prophets, who received much hate from their own people. So try to be patient and forgive them.
Change how you react to what they say
Now, as for what you should do to prevent their hurtful behavior. Sister, you might have heard a famous adage. That we cannot change people’s behavior, we can only change how we react to it. So this is what you need to do as well.
Analyze how you react when they throw your past mistakes in your face:
– Do you go into lengthy explanations to defend yourself?
– Do you become emotional and apologetic?
– Do you try to reassure them that you regret your past mistakes? That you have repented for them?
– Do you try to appease them?
If the answer to the above questions is yes, then sister, you are making a mistake. You are allowing these people to push your buttons! This is why they keep doing it.
Instead, you need to erect some boundaries of interaction. This might take time, but learn to do it. Start off by controlling your emotions in their presence. Gradually, reduce your frankness with these people. Do not always jump at the chance to meet/see them. Be calm, distant, and collected, though cordial.
Furthermore, even if you meet them, do not react when they make digs at you. Remain calm and unruffled, but be polite in response. No matter what, do not give any justifications or explanations. Just smile, and change the subject.
Keep this up and soon, insha’Allah, you will notice that their attitude will change towards you. They will start to show you the respect that you deserve!
Lastly, do not forget to pray for their guidance.
I pray that Allah keeps you steadfast. Ameen.
And Allah knows best.
I hope that this answers your question.
Salam. Please stay in touch.
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