[This article was published in the 21st issue of Nida'ul Islam
magazine (), December-January 1997-1998]

Sisters' Counseling Section

The Sin I Regret

Dear Sister,

Assalaamu alaikum. First of all, before I jump into my problem, I want to give you a little background info.

I am 19 years old, and I come from a religious family. I attend college and live on campus. There are no other Muslim girls at my college that stay on campus so all of my friends are Christian. This is my second year at college. Last year was my first time away from home for such a long time. I took advantage of my parents trust. I went to a few parties, I never actually drank, but I did try alcohol. I never felt bad for what I did, I thought it was just a phase I was going through. This year things got out of hand. I met a guy at a dance club. We were kissing and I let him touch me in places he shouldn't have been. He called me and came over to my room (my roommate had gone home for the weekend) I ended up sleeping with him that night. I didn't really want to and I don't know why I did. I said no at first and he said that was fine but I felt pressured and I gave in. I worry about myself because I think I might do it again, and I know its wrong. I don't know why I feel like this. I feel so far from being Muslim now. Its strange because I eat only halal meat, and while I don't cover my head, I don't wear shorts or anything like that, and yet I committed a sin like this I asked for forgiveness from Allah, but it didn't feel like it was coming from my heart. I am so confused and I don't know who to talk to. I've told my friends and they don't know what to say. I could never talk to my parents about this and I am afraid to talk to someone from my area in case they recognize me.

Please help me to know what to do next, I feel so lost. Can I ask you also to please keep this or at least my name confidential.

Thank you.

This is a situation that requires honesty with yourself in order for you to be true to Allah. For when you are true to Allah, He will help you to overcome any obstacle, if He so wills it. Below are a series of steps to help you back onto the right path Insha' Allah.

Step 1: To believe that what you have done is wrong

Honesty is the firstep to everything. It is linked to sincerity of intentions. That is, you have to believe, without a doubt, that what you have done is wrong. Then when you have achieved this you will find that your intention to repent to Allah will be sincere. Ask yourself now if you think and believe that having sex with that guy was wrong and, therefore, a sin. Truthfully answer this question.

From what we understand of the situation, you do not seem to be able to achieve true repentance. So perhaps you do not truly believe that what you have done is wrong. You may think it but you do not believe it.

To help you to believe that it was wrong, say to yourself every morning, every hour and whenever you feel doubt about your action, "I have committed one of the biggest sins in Islam. I must repent sincerely to Allah for He is Most- Forgiving." When you have really believed this then the next step will come easy to you.

Step 2: To feel sincere regret & repentance over what you have done

As we have said, this step is linked to the first - without believing that you have done wrong, you cannot feel regret, and therefore, repentance. Allah only forgives and helps those who are sincerely regretting and repenting:

"O believers, turn to Allah in sincere repentance that perchance your Lord may grant you pardon for your sins and admit you into Gardens under which rivers flow." [66:8]

Let us now illustrate sincere regret and repentance, and Allah's forgiveness with a well-known true story. Our Prophet (s.a.w) said that from amongst the men of Bani Israel there was a man who had murdered 99 persons. Then he set out asking whether his repentance could be accepted or not. He came upon a monk and asked him if his repentance could be accepted. The monk replied in the negative and so the man killed him. He kept asking till a scholar said yes but advised him to go to another land where the people were devoted to prayer and worship. So he left for that land but death overtook him on the way. While dying he turned his chest towards that village and so the angels of mercy and the angels of punishment quarrelled amongst themselves regarding him. Allah ordered the village towards which he was going to come closer to him and ordered the village which he left to go far away, and then He ordered the angels to measure the distances between his body and the two villages. When he was found to be one span closer to the village he was going to, he was forgiven [Bukhari & Muslim]. Note that this story illustrates that:

a) Allah forgave the man, even though he had killed 100 people, because he had sincere repentance.

b) To change your ways you must remove yourself from the source of evil and surround yourself with good practising Muslims (more on this later).

Now, you must reach down to the depths of your soul and find that remorse over what you have done. With this remorse must also come shame. Remember Adam and his wife when they listened to Shaytan and ate from the forbidden tree? Immediately afterwards they felt remorse and shame for what they did. And they said: "Our Lord! We have wronged ourselves. If You forgive us not, and bestow not upon us Your Mercy, we shall certainly be of the losers." [7:23]. This is the same remorse and shame that you need to feel.

The Prophet (s.a.w) said, "Among the words people obtained from the First Prophecy (i.e. from those Prophets before Muhammad) are: if you feel no shame, then do as you wish." That is, if a person has no shame then she will do whatever she likes - she will commit zina (illegal sex) and have no shame over it. This is why it is important to feel shame, so that it will stop you from doing that wrongful act again.

Step 3: To ask Allah for forgiveness

When true repentance comes to you, you must ask Allah to forgive you. Below are some Dua (supplications) that come from the Quran and Sunnah:

a) "There is no god but You. Glory to You, I was indeed wrong!" [21:87]

b) "My Lord! I have indeed wronged my soul." [28:16]

c) Other Duas in the Quran are (3:16), (68:29), (2:285-286), (59:10), (23:118), (7:143).

d) Our Prophet (s.a.w) taught us numerous duas for forgiveness, such as: "I seek forgiveness from Allah, besides Whom there is no god, The Eternal, The Self-subsisting and I turn to Him in repentance."

There is no shortage of Duas for forgiveness. Choose from among them (and learn them in Arabic) and also say some of your own. You must say them during prayers, after prayers and whenever you feel true repentance.

Step 4: To remove yourself from the source of evil

Remember the man who killed 100 people? The second lesson from that story is to remove yourself from this evil. In your case, this applies in two ways:

a) Do not ever see this guy again. Tell him that unless he sincerely converts to Islam (if he is non-Muslim) or starts practising Islam (if he is a 'Muslim') and marries you, then the two of you have no business to be together, even for one second.

There are two reasons for this. Firstly, you want to be as far away from this person as possible. Because the next time he sees you, he will think that you are 'easy' and therefore will have his way with you again.

Secondly, never be alone with any guy because the third presence will be Shaytan. Amr ibn Rabiah (r.a.a) narrated that Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) said, "Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day must never be in private with a woman without there being a mahram of hers (a male relation to whom she cannot marry), otherwise Shaytan will be the third person with them." [Ahmad]. Thus Shaytan will whisper and tempt them with the forbidden. Hence, their sexual desires will be awakened and before they know it, both will be doing things that are not permissible between unmarried people. This has been clearly demonstrated in your case: first being alone together in your room, then the touching and the kissing and finally, the sexual act itself!

b) Remove yourself from your current living arrangements and surround yourself with practising Muslim friends. The danger with living with non-Muslims and having non-Muslims as everyday friends, no matter how well-intentioned they are, is that they either dray you down with them or they let you pave your own path to hell. However, if you have practising Muslim friends then when they do good, they pull you along with them to do good. Or, when you become confused and lost, they remind and guide you back onto the right path. Remember, Allah says, "Friends on that Day (of Judgement) will be enemies one to another, except those who have taqwah (fear and consciousness of Allah)". [43:67]

And our Prophet (s.a.w) said, "A person is likely to follow the path of his friend, so look at whom you befriend." [Related by Abu Daud and at-Tirmidhi]

Therefore, start searching around for practising Muslim females to share a flat with. A good place to look is at the University's Muslim Students Association. Or, what about overseas Muslim students? If your parents ask you why you want to move, tell them the truth - that you want to be around Muslims.

Step 5: To never, ever do it again

Finally, never, ever again have sex with anyone whom you are not married to!!! For this is sincere repentance - to regret your action, ask forgiveness and never do it again.

If you truly understand the reasons why zina is prohibited and the punishments for each, you will never ever again commit it.

As to the reasons why it is prohibited, it destroy families, there will be unmarried single mothers, illegitimate children, fatherless children, abandoned children, promiscuous children, promiscuous adults, broken homes, abortions, sexual diseases and many many more, leading to a degeneration of society.

As to the punishment, the Prophet (s.a.w) said, "...when the parties are unmarried they shall receive a hundred lashes and be banished for a year. When they commit fornication after marriage they shall receive a hundred lashes and be stones to death." [Muslim]. These are the punishments in this life but the punishment in the Hereafter is much more horrendous. It was narrated by Samura bin Jundab that Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) had a dream that two angels came to him and showed him some t. From among the things that he (s.a.w) saw was a baking oven and in it were naked men and women making horrible noises. He (s.a.w) was later told that the naked men and women in the oven are adulterers. [Related by Bukhari]

Remember, Zina (i.e. adultry) is one of the major sins. It is on the same level as murder. As such, the stigma to offenders and the act itself should both be regarded as repulsive. The companions of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) were one of the best believers but among them were some who fell into error. Here is a story of an adulteress, however, like the man who killed 100 people, she had sincere repentance. A woman of Juhaina came to the Prophet (s.a.w) when she was pregnant owing to fornication, and said, "O Allah's Prophet, I have committed something for which a prescribed punishment is due, so execute it on me." Allah's Messenger (s.a.w) called her guardian and said, "Treat her well and when she delivers bring her to me." and he did so. Then He gave the command regarding her and her clothes were tied around her body and then He gave command regarding her and she was stoned to death. He then prayed over her. Umar thereupon said, "Do you pray over her, O Allah's Prophet, yet she has committed fornication?" He replied, "She has repented to such an extent that if it were divided among seventy people of al-Madina, it would be enough for them all. Have you found any repentance better than she having sacrificed herself for the sake of Allah the Most High?" [Related by Muslim]. Of course, these days, we cannot hope to reach this level of repentance. But what we can do is try our best to reach our own repentance potential.

These, then, are the five steps that you need to follow to help you onto the right track. Please follow them and, for you will be Allah's Mercy now and in the Hereafter, Insha' Allah.

Please write to us with any query or problem you might have at:

Sisters' Counseling Committee
PO Box: 216, Lakemba
NSW 2195 Australia
Fax: (02) 9740 7921
E-mail: umm_pub@tig.com.au

This section is an exclusive service to Nida'ul Islam Magazine provided by UMM Publications, publishers of Hawwa Magazine for women.

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