Tired of Being Away From My God, Please Help!

Question and answer details
As-salamu `alaykum. Dear brother can you tell me about the most effective way to ask for forgiveness from Allah Almighty. I have committed so many major sins in my past. A few months back I fell in love with a girl and wanted to marry her but she left me. I was on the right path, I used to pray as a reasonable youth, but after losing her I tried so many things to forget her. I made lots of du`aa’ (supplication) and I did find peace. However, after a while I felt a lot of emptiness and loneliness. I started to fall into sin after sin. I did feel regret after committing the sin and I repented, but after a few days I would commit the same sin again. I still felt regret and repented. Does my repentance count even though I committed the sin again and again? In a hadith I heard that someone went to the Prophet (peace be upon him) and asked a similar question. The Prophet (peace be upon him) answered that Allah, The Oft-Forgiving, never gets tired of forgiving. The sinner would get tired of repenting but Allah does not tire of being merciful. Is this true and is it relevant to my situation? I also felt when I sinned, in a way, it increased my faith after repentance. It might have helped me get over the girl I used to love. I think I'm over her. Well, I don’t feel so much pain now but I do still think of her. I feel so much anxiety and fear regarding my future. I'm worried that I will not find a wife of my choice. I think my parents are expecting me to get married back home like my brothers. But I want to marry someone from Britain. I'm scared that I will not find anyone. I hear a lot of bad stories also about girls here and that really upsets me. I have prayed to Allah to help me meet someone, but I don’t know what will come of that because I'm such a sinner. Is there a du`aa’ that I may read for help regarding my worries? You may say that marriage is the key. I would, but only that I am still a student and I am still living with my parents. Thus, I will not be able to support her. Please help me! Please give me some advice as to what I should do to remain on the straight path and not fall into sin again. Please tell me any du`aa’s that I may read regarding my worries. Wa-salam.
AAI Editorial Staff
Salam Dear Brother Imran,

Thank you for writing to us and I hope we can be of help to you, Allah willing.

I will try to cover your questions by spotting some light on the (a) reason behind committing sins, (b) how we can avoid them, (c) tawbah (repentance) and its principles, (d) relation between a Muslim male and a Muslim female who are not closely related, and (e) the importance of marriage in Islam and what to do if we cannot afford it.

It is important to highlight that your being youthful, in Europe, and unmarried are all entrances for the devil to entice you and trap you by your desires. You have taken the first step towards fighting the devil and regaining the right path, which is recognizing your faults. The worst thing is when one is indulged in haram (forbidden) actions and is happy doing them, but it is a good sign that you always feel ashamed after committing the sin. This should not induce you to continue sinning, but at least there is a glimpse of light that we can make use of.

Generally speaking, people’s actions induced by their own selves—their instincts, desires, and hopes, etc.—or they are affected by their surroundings—friends, families, or spouses.

We find that Islam works on those two areas in one’s life. As for the self, we are told that those who resist their bad desires and abide by God’s rules and directions are rewarded by inhabiting Jannah (Paradise). The Quran says what means:

{And for such as had entertained the fear of standing before their Lord's [tribunal] and had restrained [their] self from lower desires. Their abode will be the Garden.} (An-Naziat 79:40-41)

As for those who do not resist their evil desires, the Quran says what means:

{Then, for such as had transgressed all bounds. And had preferred the life of this world. The Abode will be Hell-Fire.} (An-Naziat 79:37-39)

So we have to always watch our desires and not strive to fulfill them, as many of the self’s orders are not good. The Quran says what means:

{Nor do I absolve my own self [of blame]: the [human] self is certainly prone to evil, unless my Lord do bestow His mercy: but surely my Lord is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.} (Yusuf 12:53)

So to protect your self from inducing you to commit bad actions, you have to feed it with all good nutrition. The nutrition of the human self is prayers—especially optional night prayer (Tahajjud), supplication, maintaining the ties of kinship, voluntary charity, voluntary fasting, etc.

And as human beings are social by nature, they affect and are affected by their surroundings. I mean, for instance, that a person is very similar to his or her close friends. That is why Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) taught us to choose good company to be surrounded with. Otherwise, we will be an easy target for Satan, as we will not find true friends who support us with their true and honest advice. He (peace be upon him) said:

“The wolf doesn't eat except the lonely sheep, but it never eats the one in the herd” (Abu Dawud).

So keep yourself in the company of good Muslim brothers. For sure you have Muslims where you live and others in your school or college. Choose the good ones and be their friend. Immerse yourself in good deeds with them like going to the Islamic center, teaching youngsters (math, language, anything), memorizing Quran. I mean widen your Islamic acquaintance; by this you will not feel lonely or have an empty life.

Allah Almighty says what means:

{Say: O My servants! who have acted extravagantly against their own souls, do not despair of the mercy of Allah; surely Allah forgives the faults altogether; surely He is the Forgiving, the Merciful} (Az-Zumar 39:53).

So, it's very important to know that Allah Almighty is the Most Merciful and His mercy is even greater than the mercy of a mother toward her own child. Allah Almighty doesn't want to punish us for no reason. He called Himself At-Tawwab (the Most Forgiving). So when you repent you need to be absolutely certain that you have been forgiven of your sins.

However, repentance has its own conditions that you need to fulfill in order to be forgiven. First, you need to admit your guilt and this is obvious in your words. Second, you must intend not to do the same sin ever again. Third, you need to keep repenting to Allah for sins in general—for all humans commit sins always—and be certain that He hears you. Allah Almighty says what means:

{And your Lord says: “Call upon Me, I will answer you”...} (Ghafir 40:60).

We are all humans and we all sin. That’s why we need help to prevent ourselves from sinning in the future.

Concerning forgiveness, Allah emphasizes His generosity and kindness in that He forgives whoever repents to Him from whatever evil he or she commits. The Quran says what means:

{If anyone does evil or wrongs his own soul, but afterwards seeks God's forgiveness, he will find God Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful} (An-Nisaa 4:110).

Ibn `Abbas commented on this verse saying that Allah informs His servants of His forgiveness, forbearing generosity, and expansive mercy. So, whoever commits a sin, whether major or minor, “but afterwards seeks Allah’s forgiveness, he will find Allah Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful,” even if his sins were greater than the heavens, the earth, and the mountains.

It is also narrated by Ahmad that Abu Bakr said that Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “No Muslim commits a sin and then performs ablution, prays two rak`ahs and begs Allah for forgiveness for that sin, but He forgives him.”

Whatever you do and then honestly and truly repent for, be sure that Allah will accept your repentance and forgive you. But, as mentioned previously, it has to be a true repentance that observes the three golden rules. Do not try to forget this girl by committing sins, as you will be the only one who gets harmed. Also, do not be good in order to meet someone, but be good for yourself, as you will be the first one who benefits.

A hadith of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) highlights that Allah accepts true repentance from any sinner. Abu Sa`id (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) told about a man who had killed ninety-nine persons. Later on, the man regretted it and asked a worshiper among the Children of Israel whether he could repent. This worshiper told him no, so he killed him, thus completing one hundred murders. Then he asked one of their scholars whether he could repent. He said, “What is stopping you from repenting?”

Then he told him to go to a town where Allah was worshiped. He set out for that town, but death came to him while he was on the road. The angels of mercy and the angels of punishment disputed over him. So Allah commanded them to measure the distance between the two towns and the place where he died. Whichever [town] he was closer to when he died was the one to which he belonged. They found he was closer to the town he was heading for. Thus, the angels of mercy took him. It was said that when he was dying, he moved himself toward that town while Allah commanded the good town to move closer to him and the other town to move away. (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Dear Imran, your know that our great religion always directs us to what is good for us and forbids us from what is harmful and bad. There is a consensus among Islamic scholars that male Muslims should not have open relations with women who are marriageable to them, as this will be tempting. We are guided by Almighty Allah not to look at other women whom we are not permitted to look at and not to have illegitimate affairs with them. The Quran says what means:

{Say to the believing men that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty: that will make for greater purity for them: and Allah is well acquainted with all that they do} (An-Nur 24:30).

Finally, the Prophet (peace be upon him) indicated the importance of marriage in Islam, as it will be our resort to prevent us from committing unlawful actions. He (peace be upon him) said:

“O young men, those among you who can support a wife should marry, for it restrains eyes [from casting evil glances] and preserves one from immorality; but he who cannot afford it should fast, for it is a means of controlling the sexual desire” (narrated by `Abdullah bin Mas`ud).
So if you cannot marry at this time, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) advises you to fast and take the intention of fighting one’s vain desires (jihad an-nafs) and this will be an act of patience, and patient pious people receive rewards from Allah without measure. The Quran says what means:

{O ye My servants who believe! Fear your Lord. Good is [the reward] for those who do good in this world. Spacious is Allah's earth! Those who patiently persevere will truly receive a reward without measure!} (Az-Zumar 39:10).

Bad deeds are erased by good ones, so do as many good things—without going back to the old sins—and be sure that Allah will accept you, as He is The Most Merciful. The Quran says what means:

{And establish regular prayers at the two ends of the day and at the approaches of the night: for those things that are good remove those that are evil: be that the word of remembrance to those who remember [their Lord]} (Hud 11:114).

May Allah bestow in us fear of His punishment and hope in His mercy. Ameen.

Thank you and please keep in touch.


Useful Links:

The Door of Repentance Is Wide Open

I Have Repented But Still Fear Allah’s Punishment

Will I Ever Be Forgiven?

Repenting Homosexual Acts

I Rolled Down the Slope of Morality

Tears of Repentance…

Repenting Grave Sins