I Can’t Let Go of The Past

20 February, 2017
Q As-Salamu ‘Alaykum. I have a huge problem with living in the past. I can't let the past go. I also daydream a lot which affects my studies, prayers, and everything. In addition, I cannot control my anger. When I am angry, I say horrible things that hurt people's feelings. I sometimes feel like I am going nowhere in life, and when these feelings arise, I kind of give up on my prayers and all the other good things. These days I ALWAYS feel that Allah is angry at me. Thank you for reading, and may Allah bless you for your answer.

Answer

Answer:

As-Salamu ‘Alaikum sister,

Thank you for sharing with us your concerns. You provide us with very little detail, so we can only respond in the general.

Surprise! Surprise! You are not the only one who lives in the past. With all the traumas of life today, it is actually quite easy to do. With the past, we as humans have a clever way of recalling the past selectively, and we choose, either consciously or subconsciously, to call upon the past in the way we choose. We erase the bad times and magnify the good times, and if we are not careful enough, the yearning for this image of the past can prevent us from appreciating or missing out completely what the present has to offer. In fact, against this backdrop, the present does not stand a chance.

However, equally, we might be trapped in the past for reasons contrary to the above. It might be the case that something traumatic happened and we find ourselves unable to let go. The trauma might have been imbedded with betrayal, guilt, or abuse on an emotional, psychological or physical level. It might be that a significant person from our past is no longer in our present. This means that there are some issues we need to work through or accept that it happened and we are not to blame.

How much we can cope with whatever happened is largely based upon our vulnerabilities. Some people are affected more on the mental plane than on the physical plane, or more on the physical plane than on the emotional plane. Some people can be affected on all three planes. When we do not allow ourselves the chance to heal and learn the lessons in order to be able to move on, the consequence on the physical, emotional, or mental plane can set up patterns of ill-health.

Allah (swt) has given us the gift of “choice”. When we neglect to use that gift, whether we feel justified or not, we end up abusing ourselves. Islam does not support the mentality of being a victim. We are supposed to learn from what has happened and move on. When we do not, we bleed the life energy from the present, so it is no wonder you feel remiss of the ability to carry out your acts of worship.

Look back on what holds you in the past and reason with it. Explore all dimensions of it because it could be that there is a piece of the puzzle you are choosing not to see. When you have put all the pieces together including all those concerned without prejudice, a state of realization will occur and then you will be ready to claim the present in which you physically liveو in sha’ Allah.

The Prophet (saw) said:

“Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, said: The son of Adam abuses Dahr (the time), whereas I am Dahr since in My hand are the day and the night.” (Bukhari)

Salam,

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About Hwaa Irfan
Late Hwaa Irfan, may her soul rest in peace, served as consultant, counselor and freelance writer. Her main focus was on traditional healing mechanisms as practiced in various communities, as opposed to Western healing mechanisms.