How to Overcome Feelings of Guilt?

24 December, 2017
Q I am a non-virgin Muslim girl with a few boyfriends in her past. For two years, I had given up on my faith due to reasons at home, and I think I took it as a reason to go to do whatever I wanted without feeling guilty. But the guilt came back when I met a Muslim boy who rejected me and still continues to tell me that no one will ever accept me. He threatens to expose me and I feel I have nowhere to go. I have started praying because I truly believe there is no one but Allah who can help me. I remember feeling peace before I turned my back on faith but I want to feel the same peace and the same confidence I had once upon a time for my future. My age is such that my parents have started asking me about marriage. They hope that I find someone for myself as I am probably the only girl who has done well in her studies and career-wise and have settled in Australia. I know that a man from my family's background will never be able to accept me. What can I do? How do get over this guilt? I find myself breaking down at random points during the day. Sometimes I think I need psychological help. I have been going through the threads and similar threads for a while now. In fact, it's been two years and I still can't get over the things I have done. I had given up on Islam for 2 years and had a few sexual encounters and never reflected on it at that point but now I feel increasingly guilty often questioning myself how I could behave in such a shameful manner. While I was home (Oman) I was a practicing Muslim and when I left for studies I just turned in to this disgusting person. And it also doesn’t help to have a non-practicing Muslim boyfriend who would regularly shame me for my past. I think it's also important to note that I lied and hid my past and that made it worse. I am home for a while now and away from him but I'm afraid of what it'll be like when I go back ( to Australia) My major concern is that I am getting increasingly depressed because I can't get over how disgusting I have been and don't think I deserve anything better ahead. It would be great if there was a counselor to talk to. Please help.

Answer

In this counseling answer:

“I kindly advise you sister to rest assured Allah loves and forgives you. Please do move forward in your Islam, getting involved in increasing your Islamic knowledge as well as seeking out Islamic sisters to do things with.  Cut off this boy-he is lost and he is toxic.”


 

As salamu alaykum sister,

Thank you for writing to us.

Sister, we all fall short and we all sin.  It’s a part of growing in Islam and striving towards what is good.

No one is perfect and most people have things in their past they would rather keep in the past and rightly so-that is why is it called a “past”.

Your remorse and feelings of guilt are a good thing-it illustrates how sorry you are about what happened as well as shows how much you love Allah and do seek to please Him.

Sister, Allah swt is most forgiving and loves to forgive.  In the Qur’an   it states

“ 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.” (Quran Surah Az-Zumor 39:53)

With this in mind sister, please know that when you repent and ask for forgiveness of your sins, that Allah in His infinite mercy forgives “do not despair the mercy of Allah…”.

A hadith discusses forgiveness in terms of people with sky-high sins “I heard the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) saying, “Allah, the Exalted, has said: ‘O son of Adam! I shall go on forgiving you so long as you pray to Me and aspire for My forgiveness whatever may be your sins. O son of Adam! I do not care even if your sins should pile up to the sky and should you beg pardon of Me, I would forgive you. O son of Adam! If you come to Me with an earthful of sins and meet Me, not associating anything with Me in worship, I will certainly grant you as much pardon as will fill the earth.”

Often times even though we have repented the quilt and remorse keep building up. This can get in the way of our relationship with Allah as well as lead us to possible future temptations to sin in the same way as we feel we are so horrid that we are not forgiven and we may give up.

If you keep hanging on to your past sins after giving them to Allah for forgiveness, isn’t that kind of like doubting Allah’s mercy?  Sister, once you have repented, let it go. Move forward and ahead in your life and in Islam.  Trust in Allah that these matters are over (just be aware not to repeat them) and make duaa to Allah to guide you down the right path.

Once you realize that your sins are in your past, that by repenting and seeking forgiveness you are renewed.  Also when you repented sister, Allah covers your sins and you should not bring them up again to anyone.  This means that any future husband is not entitled to know of your past sins.

“Messenger of Allah (Pbuh) said, “Every one of my followers will be forgiven except those who expose (openly) their wrongdoings. An example of this is that of a man who commits a sin at night which Allah has covered for him, and in the morning, he would say (to people): “I committed such and such sin last night,’ while Allah had kept it a secret. During the night Allah has covered it up but in the morning he tears up the cover provided by Allah Himself.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

Insha’Allah, sister you will find comfort in these hadiths as well as in Qur’an.  Insha’Allah you can trust in Allah that this part of your life is over and you are ready to start anew. Draw closer to Allah, get involved in positive and educational groups for sisters at your Masjid and local Islamic community Centre now, and and when you go back to Australia.

Be happy, rejoice and be grateful for such a loving Lord.  As far as that Muslim boyfriend, friend or whatever-whoever he is, he is lost.  Please cut off all contact with him.

You stated that “the guilt came back when I met a Muslim boy who rejected me and still continues to tell me that no one will ever accept me.  He threatens to expose me and I feel I have nowhere to go”.

First of all, he has no right to tell you that. He must not know of Islam and of Allah’s forgiveness. If you cut him off sister he can no longer threaten you. As he may feel he can bully you as you feel you are “unforgivable” know right now that Allah loves you and Allah always forgives.

With this knowledge, trust, and faith in Allah, you are taking away this boy’s power over you. When this boy has no power over you he cannot continue to harm you. If he does decide to gossip and spread your past, he will only harm himself, not you.  Allah is always watching and Allah is Muntaqim.

I kindly advise you sister to rest assured Allah loves and forgives you. Please do move forward in your Islam, getting involved in increasing your Islamic knowledge as well as seeking out Islamic sisters to do things with.  Cut off this boy-he is lost and he is toxic.

Don’t worry about what he says or does sister.  Most likely he will not do or say anything as his power over you will be taken away and if by chance he does, Allah will deal with him.

Please do embrace that peace that you had when you were practicing Islam sister, it is a gift worth pursing and insha’Allah you will get it back very soon.  Trust in Allah.

***

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.

Read more:

https://aboutislam.net/counseling/ask-the-counselor/want-to-get-married/seeking-forgiveness-allah-beloved-committing-zina/

https://aboutislam.net/counseling/ask-the-counselor/pre-marital-relationships/deeply-love-man-dumped/

https://aboutislam.net/counseling/ask-the-counselor/pre-marital-relationships/cant-stop-haram-relationship/

About Aisha Mohammad
Aisha received her PhD in psychology in 2000 and an MS in public health in 2009. Aisha worked as a Counselor/Psychologist for 12 years for Geneva B. Scruggs Community Health Care Center in New York. Aisha specializes in trauma, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, marriage/relationships issues, as well as community-cultural dynamics. She is certified in Restorative Justice/ Healing Circles, Conflict Resolution, Mediation, and is also a certified Life Coach. Aisha works at a Family Resource Center, and has a part-time practice in which she integrates healing and spirituality using a holistic approach. Aisha plans to open a holistic care counseling center for Muslims and others in the New York area in the future, in sha' Allah. Aisha is also a part of several organizations that advocate for social & food justice. In her spare time she enjoys her family, martial arts classes, Islamic studies as well as working on her book and spoken word projects.