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Sealed Heart; I Want My Imaan (Faith) Back!

07 May, 2023
Q I am lost in many ways. I have committed terrible things in my life. Things that I could be put behind bars for. I want to repent against those I have hurt but I fear I will be sent to prison. The Quran Ayahs come to mind where it says whoever relies on Allah (SWT) will get provisions from places he could not have imagined. I keep this in mind and try to do good and repent but I can seem to do nothing.

I cannot seem to repent, cannot seem to do good things such as leaving haram money or leaving haram work etc etc. I also have committed awful sins, some that would get me kicked out of islam. The ayah in surah Munafiqun where it states that none of the munafiq will be guided and their hearts will be sealed...please I just want to get back to islam and want my imaan back but I keep feeling that I am not sincere as I cannot do the above steps...I feel even uncertain when saying the shahadah. Such is my plight.


Salam alaikom brother,

Thank you for opening up and sharing your struggle with us.

You say that you are feeling lost as you have committed many sins in the past. You feel that your repentance is not sincere, but you would like to gain back your imaan again. 

The ayas you mention are indeed very important reminders, and I feel that you are trying to rely on them for guidance.

What Prevents You

But ask yourself: What prevents you from changing and from staying away from harmful things? Think about it, and write down your thoughts. Is it related to some negative beliefs about yourself? What are these beliefs? 

Or is it more related to bad habits or perhaps bad company that prevents you from implementing the steps?

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If you decide on a change and you do not see the result right away, you do not need to lose your hope and give up.

You may perceive these events as evidence that you are not being heard and no one accepts your repentance. But you have to give yourself time, and be persistent in your willingness to change. 

Give Yourself Time

Also, try to set realistic goals and take a gradual approach. If your expectations are too high, the initial enthusiasm can easily turn into disappointment.

Set them according to your present possibilities and decide to increment these expectations gradually. 

I can reassure you that you are not alone. Most of us experience feelings of disconnection from Allah at least at one point in life.

And this feeling is indeed scary, especially if you have ever felt the sweetness of faith.

You have to know that all of us sin, and these sins affect our imaan. Remember the hadith:

“The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w) would often say: Ya Muqallibal-qulub, thabbit qalbi ‘ala dinik(‘O Changer of the Hearts! Strengthen my heart upon Your Religion.)’ So I said: ‘O Prophet of Allah! We believe in you and what you have come with, but do you fear for us?’ He said: ‘Yes. Indeed the hearts are between two Fingers of Allah’s Fingers, He changes them as He wills.'” Jami` at-Tirmidhi 2140

This was one of the frequent duas of the Prophet. Imagine, even he feared that Allah would turn his heart away from Him!

So, we all, without exception, need to constantly fear Allah and hope His Mercy at the same time.

He changes them as He wills.” Furthermore, this means that He can also change your heart towards Him and towards Islam, as long as you are alive, so no need to give it up and try.

I know that there are moments when you might feel that there is no way back. But our Islamic tradition, the Quran and Sunnah, is full of examples of the forgiveness of Allah and His Ultimate Mercy. Brother, there is always a way back to Islam, alhamdulillah

No matter how far you feel you have gone, if you decide that you want change and take steps and you persevere, success will come. 

Practical Steps to Gain Your Imaan Back

You stated near the end of your letter that you believe your repentance is not sincere because you cannot implement the steps and get back your imaan easily. Also, you mentioned Surah Munafiqun, verse 3:

“This is because they believed and then abandoned faith. Therefore, their hearts have been sealed, so they do not comprehend.”

According to this tafsir, this verse refers to the hypocrites, who believed outwardly but not inwardly. So, it might not be your case, as you are rather experiencing a faith crisis now.

However, sinning and turning way from Allah indeed sickens your heart and make you feel disconnected from the guidance of Allah.

The fact that you are seeking advice and “want your imaan back” are signs that your heart is still “alive”. I would advise you to focus on your heart, brother.

If your heart is sick, it will have both life and illness. It has the love of Allah, but also the love for desires and for this world, and is constantly waving between these two states. 

Some symptoms of the sick heart are having a preference for harmful and damaging things, whether they be food or other wrong habits.

You can read more about this topic in this compilation by Ahmad Farid, and in this one, translated by Sheikh Hamza Yusuf, for example.

How can you purify and cure your heart and feel the sweetness of imaan again?

By turning away from wrong deeds and everything and everyone that reminds you of them.

Get Ready for Change

Brother, try to change your habits. Make a concerted effort to break and avoid harmful and bad habits.

Make them inaccessible to you. Change passwords, get rid of stuff, whatever the case may be.

Identify your triggers that urge you to engage in wrongdoing and occupy yourself with something else while seeking refuge from Allah. 

At the same time, increase your good deeds, and you can also work on building new, healthy habits instead.

Try to do some exercise once a day, for example, and take care of your health by eating well.

Love yourself and respect your needs, whether physical, emotional ones. You deserve care, care of your needs, your feelings and to be heard.

Change your company, and evolve yourself with righteous and good people. Even if you feel like a “stranger” among them, as your heart is cleaning, you will feel more and more comfortable in their presence. Cut relationships with those who have a bad influence on you.

Good Deeds Eradicate Bad Deeds

Try to do as many good deeds as you can, as, according to authentic sources, it will uplift your imaan.

Just look around and see who needs some help. You can also start with a smile, with a greeting. Help your family, check upon the needy, etc. 

Be Patient & Seek Support

Give yourself time, too, brother. I am sure that you can make it. Be patient and accept that this process requires time and effort.

Try to find support around you, people who know what you have been going through and can help you when you need it.

If you are feeling stacked and helpless, try to contact a helpline, or see your local imam, or seek a counselor.

It would be better to have these phone numbers prepared somewhere so you can just dial them when you need to.

Here are some helplines: Open Counseling Hotlines, Umang Hotline, Solace Islamic Mental Health Services

I wish you brother ease and success. 

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About Orsolya Ilham O.
Orsolya Ilham has a BA in Communication and Manager in Public Relations, MA, BSC in Psychology. She studied Islamic sciences and obtained certificates in Islamic counseling, Islamic marriage counseling, and in the jurisprudence (fiqh) of counseling and psychology. Previously she worked in a client-centered atmosphere; currently, as a translator, counselor, and content creator related to Islam, counseling, and psychology.