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How many times have you looked into the mirror and hated what you saw? Hated what is inside you and not necessarily what is outside you? How many times has the past haunted you? Regrets? Wrong choice of words? Recklessness? Sin? Arrogance? Wrong decisions? Hurt the people who loved you the most?
Here’s the bad news; what is gone can never be recovered, but the good news is, if you are feeling that pinch, that pain struggling out of the shadows of the past, it means you have a healthy conscious. It means your heart is not completely dead yet. It means you haven’t turned ice cold yet. It means you still have a chance to make up for the past; to move on and to start over once again.
Nonetheless, Allah mercy has never known limits. Anyone seeking His forgiveness, His Mercy was going to get it however bad and cold you think you are.
The past is full of secrets, regrets, abuse, conflict and tag of wars. We all have chapters we don’t read loud. We all have mistakes we are not proud of. If this will make you feel any better, remember that the prophets too did mistakes (not major sinning, just humanly mistakes).
One of the pious predecessors observed: “Had repentance not been the most beloved of acts to Allah, He would not have tested with sin the most beloved creatures to Him.”
Here are some examples of these mistakes:
Allah says: “Thus did Adam disobey His Lord, and fell into error, but his Lord chose him (for His grace): He turned to him, and gave him guidance.” [Sûrah TâHâ: 122]
The mistake of Adam (peace be upon him) was his partaking of the forbidden tree.
Allah says, relating the words of Noah (peace be upon him): “O my Lord, I do seek refuge with You from asking ask You for that of which I have no knowledge, and unless You forgive me and have mercy upon me, I should indeed be among the losers.” [Sûrah Hûd: 47]
The mistake of Noah (peace be upon him) was his seeking to intercede on behalf of his unbelieving son.
The Qur’ân relates to us mistakes of a similar, minor nature for David and Solomon (peace be upon them both).
About Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), Allah says: “That Allah may forgive you your faults of the past and those to follow.” [Sûrah al-Fath: 2]
We should also be aware of the fact that the Qur’ân never mentions a wrongdoing being committed by any Prophet without mentioning his repentance thereof. The Prophets were divinely protected from ever insisting upon their mistakes or persisting in them. They would immediately repent to Allah for any mistake, act of forgetfulness, or any other shortcoming. Then Allah accepted their repentance.
So if the prophets fell into minor sinning, what about us? What about the weak creatures we are before Allah? We are not infallible. Hence the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “By the One in Whose hand is my soul, if you did not commit sin Allaah would do away with you and bring people who would commit sin then pray for forgiveness.” Narrated by Muslim, 2749.
Above all that, Allah has showed us in several ayahs how He is ready to receive our repentance:
Say: “My servants, you who have transgressed against yourselves, do not despair of the mercy of Allah. Truly Allah forgives all wrong actions. He is the Ever-Forgiving, the Most Merciful.”
The Holy Quran 39:53
Verily, God’s acceptance of repentance relates only to those who do evil out of ignorance and then repent before their time runs out and it is they unto whom God will turn again in His mercy – for God is all-knowing, wise; – 4:17 (Asad)
“And verily, I am indeed forgiving to him who repents, believes (in My Oneness, and associates none in worship with Me) and does righteous good deeds, and then remains constant in doing them (till his death)”
“And those who, when they have committed Faahishah (illegal sexual intercourse) or wronged themselves with evil, remember Allaah and ask forgiveness for their sins; — and none can forgive sins but Allaah — and do not persist in what (wrong) they have done, while they know”
[Aal ‘Imraan 3:135]
“And whoever does evil or wrongs himself but afterwards seeks Allaah’s forgiveness, he will find Allaah Oft‑Forgiving, Most Merciful”
If Allah has opened the doors of forgiveness to us, then why not use them? Now close your eyes, take a deep breath and let it out. It is not easy to forget the past, it in fact takes a little piece of us each time with it but don’t just allow it to consume you wholly. No human being was going to live in this world for 40, 50, 70 years or even just 20 without making some mistakes and sins along the way. Learn from the past mistakes, live in the present, remain positive, ask for forgiveness to those you hurt, pray to Allah for guidance and keep hoping. Let bygones be bygones!
I will end this by a hadith by the prophet peace be upon him: “Every son of Adam sins, and the best of those who sin are those who repent.” Narrated by al-Tirmidhi.