Wa `alaykum as-Salamu wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.
In this fatwa:
1- It is good of you to have this feeling concerning your sins. But this feeling should motivate you to draw yourself closer to Allah Almighty not to feel disparate.
2- As for Hajj, it is known that expiates all the previous sins. It was narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Whoever performs Hajj (pilgrimage) and does not have sexual relations (with his wife), nor commits a sin, nor disputes unjustly (during Hajj), then he returns from Hajj as pure and free from sins as on the day he was born.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
In his response to your question, Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada states:
You are justified in feeling remorse and pain for the sins you have committed. There is nothing worse than feeling good about one’s sins because sins are responsible for our downfall; if we persist in them without repenting. We may end up losing our faith altogether and finally land in hell, the place of eternal damnation.
Allah and His Messenger, therefore, repeatedly warn us against persisting in sins. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “When a servant (male or female) first commits sins, it falls as a black dot in (the clean slate of) his heart; if he/she refrains, repents and seeks forgiveness, it is however erased; if, on the other hand, he/she were to persist in sin, the dot will gradually expand until it covers the entire heart.”
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) then explained, “This is the state of sealing the hearts that Allah warned (us) about in the Quran, “Nay the sins they have accumulated have covered their hearts like a seal” (Al-Mutaffifin 83:14)
The real dangers of persisting in sins are: a person eventually losing his/her moral conscience and as a result he /she would acquiesce in sins, after which he/she will face death in this deplorable state, forfeiting all chances of salvation.
If, on the other hand, a sinner were to repent sincerely and ask forgiveness of Allah and make amends for his/her sins, that would bring them salvation and felicity.
So do feel deep remorse and sorrow for the sins you have committed; and never think about them without feeling sorry for your state. But at the same time, you must not stop here, rather, you must take the next step of making sincere repentance by doing the following: refraining from sins altogether by staying away from all that leads to them and is associated with them. Continue to feel remorse and pain as you are feeling now, being resolved and determined never to repeat such sins, and finally engaging in good works as much as possible.
The Prophet (peace and blessings be on him) said, “Allah is Pure; He accepts only that which is pure; Allah does not wipe out bad with bad; He wipes out bad only with that which is good”. Allah says in the Quran, “Verily, good deeds wipe out bad deeds” (Hud 11:114)
Thus through repentance and good deeds we can blot out sins. Now coming to the question of good deeds that are beneficial in this regard they include: Prayers, giving charity, striving in the path of Allah, performing pilgrimage and asking forgiveness.
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) explained the great benefits of performing Hajj saying, “Whoever performs Hajj, while staying away from acts of lewdness, obscenities and wrangling, will come home like a new born!” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
He also said, “A virtuous Hajj brings no reward other than paradise!” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
So repent sincerely, and do good works, continually ask for forgiveness and think of performing Hajj. Allah will forgive your sins for He is All-Compassionate, All-Forgiving. He assures us, “Most certainly I am All-Forgiving to those who repent, cherish true faith and do good works and thus become rightly guided.” (Taha 20:82)
I pray to Allah to grant you repentance and keep us all safe from sins of all kinds: major and minor, and outward as well as inward, amen.
Allah Almighty knows best.
Editor’s note: This fatwa is from Ask the Scholar’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.