He is 22. He lives in another city and goes home once a month. He was in a sad mood due to some things in life and he was unaware of which room he went to sleep one time. He slept in his sisters’ room. One of his sisters was sleeping next to him. While he was sleeping, he felt sexual and put his hand on his sister’s legs. She did not wake up. In the morning he realized what just happened during the night and felt ashamed how he could do that.
He felt too embarrassed to talk to his sister about it. Years later, he asked her and she said she did not remember anything. He still feels guilty. He is having suicidal thoughts every time he remembers the incident. What shall he do?
In this counseling answer:
• Dwelling on the past and feeling guilty is not a compensation.
• Allah is All-Forgiving. Turn to Him and strengthen your relationship with Him.
• Committing suicide is not a solution. Seek help from a therapist or suicide hotline.
As-Salaamu Alaikum dear brother,
Thank you for placing your trust in our ability to propose a solution to your friend’s current situation.
The incident of your friend took place years ago. No one is ever perfect. What happened to your friend was by mistake, as there was no intention to let something as such happen. However, your friend at the age of 22 should not have slept in a room with other girls, even if they were his sisters.
The Messenger of Allah said: “Command your children to pray when they become seven years old, and beat them for it (prayer) when they become ten years old; and arrange their beds (to sleep) separately”. (Sunan Abu Dawud)
However, this only proves that humans are not perfect. We are bound to make mistakes. This is exactly why Allah addresses this concern in the Quran. He knows that we are limited, and our limitedness can only be overcome by believing in the omnipotence of Allah and continuously seeking his help, forgiveness, and guidance.
Importance of forgiveness
The Prophet said,
“Every son of Adam commits sin, and the best of those who commit sin are those who repent.’” (Sunan Ibn Majah)
No one can ever be perfect. Some people sin privately while others sin publicly. But, being hopeless and not seeing past the sin is a sign that your friend is not believing in the All-Merciful and the All-Forgiving Allah.
Allah says in the Quran,
”Ask forgiveness of your Lord and then repent to Him. He will send [rain from] the sky upon you in showers and increase you in strength [added] to your strength.” [Quran 11:52]
”Ask forgiveness of your Lord. Indeed, He is ever a Perpetual Forgiver.” [Quran 71:10]
The Prophet said,
“Whoever covers (the sin of) a Muslim, Allah will cover him (his sin) in this world and in the Hereafter.” (Sunan Ibn Majah)
The fact that Allah will cover the sin of a person simply if he covers other people’s sins is a sign that Allah is always there to help everyone. This makes them realize that when we hope good for others, Allah will do the same for us.
When you see other’s sin, many people are first to publicize the matter instead of personally approaching the individual who sins. This does not benefit the one who makes a mistake but is rather a sad act of many people around.
Check out this counseling video:
Hopelessness does not fit a believer
“…and despair not of Allah’s Mercy; surely none despairs of Allah’s Mercy except the unbelieving people.” [Quran 12:87]
Therefore, the fact that your friend is being depressed over the incident which occurred years ago is a sign that he is feeling hopeless in Allah’s ability to forgive him.
Here is something that I found which sheds light on the reality of life.
“Only the wise could estimate, the unlimited Grace of the Almighty Allah who releases us from calamities and removes grief from the defeated hearts. On numerous occasions, man is sorrowful in the morning. But by evening his disposition changes into happiness. So when you are surrounded by difficulties, repose absolute hope in the Unique God.”
Serenity through finding Allah
Your friend can only be calmed if he tries to erase his memories with a consistent remembrance of Allah. Rather than dwelling on the past and its problems and the sins, he should try to spend the time calling upon Allah using his names.
Allah says in the Quran,
“Verily, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest.” [Quran 13:28]
Therefore, call upon Allah using his names.
Allah says in the Quran, “Indeed, Allah is Hearing and Seeing.” [Quran 58:1]
Erasing bad with a good
Your friend should know that Allah is seeing his guilt, his remorse. However, dwelling on the past and feeling guilty is not a compensation. As we all know, water removes the fire. Therefore, if you truly want to feel inner peace, seek consistent forgiveness and occupy your mind, heart, and body in doing good deeds.
The Prophet said,
“No one prostrates to Allah but Allah will record one Hasanah (good reward) for him, and will erase thereby one bad deed and raise him in status one degree. So prostrate a great deal.” (Sunan Ibn Majah)
In addition, Prophet said,
“My nation was shown to me with their good deeds and bad deeds. Among their good deeds I saw a harmful thing being removed from the road. And among their bad deeds I saw sputum in the mosque that had not been removed.” (Sunan Ibn Majah)
Therefore, ask your friend to occupy himself in doing deeds which are equivalent to removing harm from the road. This does not have to be taken literally. It can be in the form of helping someone succeed, for in helping someone succeed you are removing from their unsuccessful future. He can help someone become a better person, help them improve their Quran skills, etc. He can volunteer his time for the benefit of others.
His life has a purpose
To your friend:
Ending your life is not a solution. Your life has a purpose. You’re born with a purpose. That purpose will not show itself unless you try to find out what it is you are meant to do in your life. You are given a life, and many others are struggling to live because they have been diagnosed with terminal illnesses. You must be grateful for your life.
The thoughts that you are having right now will not remain forever, and you will have to work on overcoming such thoughts. When hopelessness and despair are a form of disbelief, they are from the devil, and as believers, we must not succumb to the devil.
The Prophet said,
“None of you should wish for death because of a calamity befalling him; but if he has to wish for death, he should say: “O Allah! Keep me alive as long as life is better for me, and let me die if death is better for me.’ ” (Sahih Bukhari)
Seeking good company
Isolating himself from a good company will inherently have a negative impact on your friend. You need to help him surround himself with those who love Allah and fear Him. Because Allah is capable of removing us from the darkest of nights when He is pleased with us and can punish us unless we seek His forgiveness from the most bottom of our hearts.
I pray that your friend finds comfort and peace of mind soon. However, if his suicidal thoughts and depression are not improving, then it is essential that you visit a local therapist who can work with him.
Seek help from the suicidal hotline. They are confidential.
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.