Islamic marriage advice and family advice

Mercy and forgiveness: of cleaning a heart and soul that is lost and dirty

Salam Sister,

I have just come out of a long 4 year relationship with a man whom I thought would be my husband one day. There were signs all along that he was not the one for me yet I persisted in my stubborness to make things work. I had even done Salat-ul-Istikharah on 2 major turning points in this relationship, and both times I thought I felt or received clear signs that to stick with this relationship is the right thing to do.

I have done countless sins (zina and drinking) and now that it is over, I feel like I am waking up from a long bad dream. You see, all throughout being in this relationship, I felt like I was moving away and away from Allah. I felt like I had fallen off the bandwagon that is taking me on the right path and off the track. I constantly fluctuate between feeling guilty and doomed that I will go to Hell, and rationalizing my actions even though I know they are what we have been asked not to do.

There were many times I feel like my heart has been blackened. Dark and just not deserving of His love. Everytime I am determined to get back on the right path, my former partner will tempt me to go right back to the wrong things. He is a Muslim too. But he seems less bothered than I am about all these wrong things.

I have repented many times in these 4 years. Always with a desperation to be given the strength to not submit to these sins. But again and again and again I fall back into that 'hole'. I feel like the ending of this relationship (he ended it, he said he couldn't commit) is Allah's way of showing me a sign more clearer than anything else - that it is time for me to get back to Him and He is showing this as a sign that is so clear to me, without the other person around to tempt me back to these sins.

On the other hand though, I also feel like this is His 'punishment'. By taking away someone in my life because I have transgressed too far and too long. By making me feel immense sadness and emptiness that was once filled by the company of this person.

I have been doing the Solat Tawbah every single time after I finish each prayer. I don't know if it's because I am going through all these emotional turmoil and that I have been crying over what was lost, I feel thoroughly numb. I regret what I do yet I do not cry when I do the Solat Tawbah. Is crying a must when you repent? I regret what I did, yet a part of me is afraid that the same things will happen again (both drinking and other things) in the future and so I am kept at a place where I cannot accept fully that I feel guilty. Because if I really did feel guilty in all those many times that I have repented before, why wasn't I strong enough to stay away from it altogether?

I am afraid it is because I have gone on with the wrong things for too long that my psyche has accepted it as 'acceptable'. That the veil over my eyes is so thick or that my heart is so dark that there is no way to clean it back to what it was. More than anything I am afraid I cannot get back to the right path because I am not deserving of His love and mercy.

Tell me, Sister. What are the things I should be doing from now on so that I can work on 'cleaning' my heart and soul?  so that I can be deserving of His love, mercy and forgiveness. I move between feeling sad and empty from the breakup; guilt and stupidity over my actions; and peace and serenity everytime I read His words and pray to Him. I just don't want my future relationship to pan out the way this has, neither do I want this experience to affect my ability to become a proper Muslim wife to the man that He has created for me.

- keara

Steadfastness, truth, truthfulness, honesty

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24 Responses »

  1. Asalaamualaikum dear Sister,

    Your journey and pain is one that has been experienced by many. Allah our Creator knows us more than anyone does and this is why He(swt) gave us our manual to 'living a good/healthy/righteous life' through the Glorious Quran. It is when we move away from Allah's guidelines that we trip and fall so painfully. But Allah is so Great and Forgiving and Merciful that He promises to forgive us and to wipe our slate clean. All He(swt) asks for us to do is to regret and repent sincerely and to turn back to Him with full sincerity and humbleness. How Great is Allah indeed, SubhaanAllah!

    You must accept and it seems that you already have, that your pain and grief is a result of your own wrong doings. You know yourself that this person with whom you were in a relationship with was not right for you. He was an extremely negative character in your life and influenced you in moving away from Allah. You say you felt guilty for your sins but you were always overpowered by your emotions for this person. This was because the more ones sins, the guilt decreases and it become easier and easier to continue.

    However, despite all your sinning and disobedience to Him(swt), Allah Mercifully created a situation whereby you were forced to break away from this illicit relationship as you were too weak to do it yourself. He(swt) gave you a wake up call and another chance to turn back to him Sister, hence you are very fortunate. Some people never wake up from this deception.

    So although your pain and grief may very well be a small punishment from Allah, it is actually more of a major blessing in disguise for you. If you realise this blessing and thank Allah for this, your bitterness will eventually turn into sweetness.


    Now, that Allah(swt) has awakened you and the veil has been removed from your eyes - surely part of you must feel as though you have been given freedom deep down and you must feel some relief. It is time for you to re-navigate your journey and start moving towards Allah. You said you find peace when you read Allah's words, well sister, this is 'key'. Do not despair in thinking that your sins are too great to be forgiven. Allah's Mercy is greater than anything and as Muslims we cannot doubt that. There is no limit to Allah's Mercy.

    Shaytaan will try to reinforce in your mind the thought that 'you are not deserving of Allah's love and mercy'. But you must remind yourself each time you find yourself thinking in this negative way that Shaytaan is just trying to stop you from turning to Allah. This journey to Allah is your internal jihaad called 'The Battle of the Nafs' and you need to equip yourself for it by becoming steadfast in Allah's way.

    You must remind yourself regularly that Allah(swt) tells us in the Glorious Quran: "Say: O My servants who have transgressed against their own souls, despair not of the mercy of Allah. Indeed, Allah forgives all sins. Truly, He is Most Forgiving, Most Merciful". (Surah az-Zumar 39:53) So each time you feel despair remind yourself of this promise from Allah - for it is true!

    Allah(swt) further says in a Hadith Qudsi: "O son of Adam, as long as you call upon Me and put your hope in Me, I have forgiven you for what you have done and I do not mind. O son of Adam, if your sins were to reach the clouds of the sky and then you would seek My forgiveness, I would forgive you. O son of Adam, if you were to come to Me with sins that are close to filling the earth and then you would meet Me without ascribing any partners with Me, I would certainly bring to you forgiveness close to filling it."

    Sister, you will feel pain for some time, but if you turn to Allah through this,
    then your experience will not have gone to waste. You will have learnt from it. And remember that the sin that brings you closer to Allah(swt) is more beloved than the blessing that takes you away from Him (swt).

    Truely repenting will be your journey towards cleansing your heart and soul.
    1) In order to repent, there are some conditions; you must adhere to:
    – Give up the sin immediately.
    - Regret what has happened in the past.
    – Resolve not to go back to it.
    – Making amends to those whom you have wronged, or asking for their forgiveness.

    You may feel in your heart that the only reason why you are no longer sinning is because it is beyond your control, i.e. this person left you hence you had no choice to refrain from sin, you were forced to stop; so your repentance in this case may not constitute true repentance. In such a case, the Prophet(saw) said: “Regret is repentance.” (narrated by Ahmad and Ibn Maajah; Saheeh al-Jaami’, 6802)

    Remember also that true repentance is not measured by the number of times you have sought repentance but through its quality.

    2) Perform all your obligatory duties with concentration, i.e. your five daily Salaah, Fasting, paying Zakah, perform Hajj when you can. Observing these tenants of Islam are the physical manifestation of your belief in the Oneness of Allah(swt).

    3) Perform voluntary worship, i.e. take care to learn about the Sunnah of our beloved Prophet(saw) and love to implement it in your life (smile at people, greet them with Asalaamualaikum, be pleasant in attitude, use miswak, bathe on Friday before Jummah Salaah, walk to masjid, be good to your neighbours etc), ask for forgiveness in the third part of the night, lengthen your sujood to do tawbah, recite Quran and implement Allah's laws into your life, strengthen your ties of kinship, feed the hungry, sponsor an orphan. The list is endless.

    You are obviously going through a state of shock at the moment and hence feeling numb. This coupled together with the fact that your heart has heardened alot over time is making it difficult for you to feel sincere regret. Instead of forcing yourself to cry - sit quietly in contemplation and try to find your connection with Allah. The closer you come to Allah, the more your heart will soften and the more regret you will feel.

    Although this pain is a result of your own wrong doings, you are grieving and in much pain. So this is a very special time for you to turn to Allah. Do as Yunus(as) did, he prayed when he found himself stuck in the belly of the whale. He acknowledged that he was in this life threatening situation due to his turning away from the commands of Allah, so he repented sincerely knowing that only Allah could save him: "None has the right to be worshipped save You, glory be to You, far removed are You from any imperfection; I have been amongst the wrong-doers," none who is experiencing difficulty employs it except that Allah SWT would relieve him of his difficulty.

    La ila ha illa anta subhanaka inni kuntu minazzalimeen (Al- Quran Surah Al-Anbiya (21): vs. 87)

    The key for you is to find a balance between hope in Allah's forgiveness and fear of Allah's punishment. Say Alhumdulillah because Allah saved you from damaging your soul further, say SubhaanAllah because Allah's Mercy is greater than His Anger and say AllahuAkbar because this painful experience has brought you back to your Great Creator. Hold your head up because you still have your deen and your health and strive in Allah's way. Allah loves those who repent and this is your chance to be one of those He(swt) loves.

    If you are careful about treading only within Allah's guidelines - that includes observing the obligatory pillars and doing your best to observe voluntary acts of worship and keeping away from the things that enticed you to sin in the first place, you will begin to dislike that which Allah dislikes and love that which Allah loves. Step by step He(swt) will replace your pain with peace and your hearded heart will be softened by the sweetness of Eemaan.

    When you find this peace, you will feel emotionally and mentally stronger and there is no reason why you cannot be a good and happy wife to a good Muslim man.

    I shall leave you with this beautiful reminder from Allah(swt) the most Merciful:

    "Verily! Only in the Zikr of Allah will your heart find peace."
    Quran (Surah 13: Verse 29)

    May Allah be with you,


    • salam alikom keara,

      just remember you not the only one. i had the same problem but with girl who i waste years with thinking she will marry me but i was stupid enough to put up with that. now i regret everything i did.

  2. Waalaikumsalam Sister,

    Your answer has brought tears to my eyes, but these are tears that come from feeling the greatness of humanity and the love that Allah gives to those He wishes. Your advice and the softness present in your writing touched me more than anything could have in this trying time. I am only a stranger to you, yet you write as if my life depended on it. And it makes all the difference knowing that someone truly does care. So, thank you, from the very bottom of my heart, may Allah bless you with His love and kindness. Truly, I do believe He has lead me to find this site, and moved me to write to you. I think I may have to print a copy and hold these words close to my heart.

    With much love and grattitude, and may Allah bless you always,

  3. Dear Keara,

    Aameen, JazakhAllah for your duas :O). Alhumdulillah - I am glad that my words have comforted you a little.

    I may not know you, but I do sincerely care. So try to be strong and remember that there may be many more tests along the way. The guy may even try to get back with you which may seem attractive if you are feeling vulnerable and lonely. Do your best to protect yourself through seeking refuge with Allah and mix with the people that are pleasing to Him(swt).

    May Allah make this path easy and envelope you with His Mercy :O).

    Take Care Sis,


    • Salam Sister Z,

      Masha'allah you were right. Less than 2 weeks after you replied, he called saying he wasn't sure if he did the right thing. There were a lot of apologies. And tears from both sides. I have asked him, if he is really serious about me then talk to my parents and tell them his intention/plans of marrying me. He replied saying that he doesn't understand why I need an 'insurance' before trying again and that is not fair on his side.

      Sister, I am thoroughly confused as to what I should do at the moment. I have asked him to give me space and time apart for me to try to move beyond the hurt he has caused. And he's agreed. But each time, he will send a text message or call me in the middle of the night because he wanted 'to hear my voice'.

      I do not know what to do, as of course I still do care but I don't know if it is the same as before, and I do not want to hurt or be rude by not answering his text or calls. Once again, I am down on my knees and I have no answers as to what I should do right now...

      • Dear Keara,

        I apologise for not responding to your post of 12th June, as somehow I have only just noticed it. I hope all is well & that you are in good spirits.

        If you do need further advice, please feel comfortable to write again inshaAllah.


  4. Keara,

    Watch this video if possible, its a very interesting lecture by Abu Mussab. I think you will find it very useful inshaAllah:


  5. Thank you Sister Z.

    I have watched the lecture last night, and thought it gave a thorough explanation of the concept of Tawbah. I now understand better and much more hopeful than a week ago. Once again, thank you 🙂

    With love,

    • Dear Keara,

      Sister Z has kindly brought me to this post as what you are facing right now, is really similar to what I am going through. Feel free to read my post here:- =)

      Just like you, I am on the road to self-recovery as well and I pray that Allah (swt) will guide us to the right path with strength and patience. I know it's not easy, but it will definitely heal with time.

      I have to constantly remind myself that Allah (swt) knows what's best for us and to have faith in Him.

      love & salam,

      • Kayla,

        Thank you. May we both receive the strength and patience that only He can provide to us.


        • No worries. By the way, I read your latest post above, about him contacting you again. Just to share with you, my ex-boyfriend did something like that to me too, which left me hanging and hoping for him.

          I did Istikhara prayers, asking Him (swt) if I should continue hoping for him or let him go. Alhamdullilah, He (swt) guided me, showed me the truth, which obviously told me not to have hopes for him anymore...

          I am not sure if you have tried the Istikhara prayers, but if you haven't, maybe this prayers may guide you to the right path, insya-allah =)

          • Hi Kayla,

            I feel like what we're going through is somewhat similar (maybe slightly different but on the larger part, quite similar).

            Just needing someone I can relate and talk to. Do you have an email?

          • Sisters keara and kayla, I have emailed you privately to put you in touch with each other. - Wael, Editor

          • Dear Wael and Sister Z,

            Salam and thank you for the email I have received this morning.

            I will be in touch with you soon. Perhaps from another email address but will most definitely write to you first when I find the time to actually sit and compose these thoughts.


          • Sure Keara, look forward to your email 🙂

          • Hi Wael,

            Thank you =) Not sure if you have emailed me too though, as I did not receive any this morning. (have checked in spam too). Could I trouble you to resend?

            Thank you!

          • Kayla: you did Istikhara to decide if you should hope for him to come back?
            In what form did your answer arrive?

        • Sure, I understand what you're going through right now...Just letting it out helps a lot in the healing process.

          Yeah I do, do you know how I can private message you my email? Or if you don't mind giving me your email add, and I'll email you from there? 🙂

          Meanwhile, hang in there alright, and remember that He (swt) is always there for you..

          • Kayla/Keara,

            You do not need to post your email addresses on the site.

            If you wish to exchange addresses, one of the editors will arrange that for you so your addresses
            remain private.


          • I wonder if it would be possible for brother wael to pass on my email address to kayla or keara. I am goin thru a similar situation, my question hasnt been posted yet. I no this site is very busy tho so i thouwt id just ask bout exchangin email addresses

      • Hi Wael,

        I am ok if you'd like to send me Aliya25's email address. Just as how you guys have helped me through, I'd like to help out others too, especially those who've been through a similar situation.


  6. Salamu Aleikum ,

    When I read your post, I could feel your desperation in my heart. Sometimes in life we know that

    we make mistakes, but the Shaitaan is very strong in his wispering and wants to put obstacles

    in our way.

    There is a dua that touches my heart, that brings tears to my eyes and makes me shiver, whenever

    I get blinded by the dunya, whenever I'm in this conflict- attachement to the dunya versus detache-

    ment - I read this dua and it makes me cry bitterly- and helps me to find inner peace of mind.

    It is called Dshaushan al Kabir- the heavy armor in English. Although I'm not sure what the English

    translation is- but I know for sure it's available in English. I have the German version, so I doubt

    my translation is correct. It is so beautiful; it is considered to be one of the most beautiful supplications

    in the collection of Mafatih ul Jinaan. It contains 1000 different eulogies of God, his invocation with

    his different names, divided into 100 blocks. After every block, the praying person begs in his

    helplessness to be freed from the hellfire. ( Al Quaus, al quaus, khalesna mena nar ya rab)

    It was passed on by the prophet's grandson that the prophet used to carry a very heavy armor in

    one of his defensive wars. The prophet Jibrael came down and told him that there is an armor for

    him and his ummah which is stronger than this armor. The dua's name originates from this

    heavy armor. Although it is recommended to read it in Lailatul Qadr, i read it very often after my


    Oh, forgiver of mistakes, oh remover of faults, oh healer of the hearts, oh illuminator of hearts, oh

    companion of hearts, oh savior of sorrows, oh liberator of grief...........Ahhhhhhh it's soo beautiful

    Just read it and you'll see that the God of mercy and love, not necessarily of punishment( in

    exceptional cases) belongs to us Muslims. It is the best proof that Allah is the most compassionate,

    the most merciful. And a good weapon we can use in discussions with non- Muslims.

    I wish you all the best, I could write you 100s of blocks, but this dua will give you all anwers and lift

    your spririts.

    wasalam my sister in faith, my Allah bless you forever

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