My personal thanks to you and your team for such a beautiful endeavour on the net. Here’s my case:
Not long ago, I was a promiscuous person with a deadly and sinful life. Not only I had an illicit affair, I also indulged in commercial sex. As I realized the sin, started praying to Allah for forgiveness, promised never to go back to that path and till date never went a step towards that. I’m confident that if Allah wishes, I won’t be on that route ever till death. But I still look back and fantasize the memories of those sinful days. I can’t stop thinking about those bad things. I still enjoy the thoughts of those days and these thoughts still excite me. Could you please explain my current status & ‘to dos’ and ‘not to dos’ in the light of Islam?
This thing also has another bearing. If I’m not mistaken, Allah, the merciful, has promised to forgive us when a person ‘sincerely’ repents. I have said ‘Taubah’ and promised that I won’t go the path of fornication again and if Allah wishes, I WILL NOT commit to it again. BUT does looking back to those days is a ‘hindrance’ to my true repentance and make my ‘taubah’ weak, i.e. weakens my chances of forgiveness? I’m baffled. Could you please clarify me? I have read that there are two conditions for a ‘Taubah’ to be acceptable, one is strong commitment that one won’t do the mistake again and the other is ‘repentance’. I’m confident and strong that inshallah I will never commit it again. BUT I still think of those days and enjoy those thoughts.
One information might help you. That is, I honestly believe that HAD I NOT committed those sins, I would have been a far better person and I sincerely expect Allah’s mercy for what I have done. Quoting from your site, “It is indeed a great mercy of the Almighty that He does not hold us accountable or punish us for our evil thoughts or desires till it is translated into action”. BUT does these bad thoughts signify that I haven’t repented significantly or repented at all?
Your response shall be highly appreciated.
Allah knows the best.
What gives meaning to repentance (Tawbah) is regret. When one regrets something, one will not do it again and will not even get close to it: this is the essence of repentance. As I understand it, one either regrets something or does not regret it. There is no in-between. Accordingly, as I understand it, there is no meaning for significant or non-significant repentance. One either repents or does not repent.
I am in no position to say whether your repentance was a real one or not. I can only say that when a person becomes sorry for something then that person would not even be ready to go back and think about it, let alone still getting benefit from things that he was sorry about.
Let me illustrate this with an example:
You are the head of an office. You realise that one of your staff is misusing his position and enters an area of the office that he is not supposed to enter. When he understands that you know about his illegal action, he comes to you and apologises and promises that he will never go into that restricted area any more. You accept his apology. However, later on you realise that while he has kept his promise and has not entered the restricted area, he is still somehow enjoying the benefits from the days he used to go there. In such a situation, as the head of the office, what would you think about such an employee?
I had a look at the Qur’an to see what were the conditions of acceptable repentance. I found an interesting point: In 13 places in the Qur’an, one of the conditions of accepting repentance is mentioned to be correcting the behaviour and making up the sins – Islah (Al Baqarah 2:160; Ala Imran 3:89; Al Nisa’ 4:16 and 4:146; Al Ma’idah 5:39; Al An’aam 6:54; Al Nahl 16:119; Maryam 19:60; Ta Ha 20:82; Al Noor 24:5; Al Furqan 25:70, 71; Al Qasas 28:67). I do not want to say what it is that one can do to make up the sins related to sexual pleasure but I can for sure say that thinking about a sin and getting pleasure from this is definitely not in the path of making up for the sin.
From another point of view:
One of the major requirements for salvation in the hereafter as well as one of the main reasons that God sent prophets is to attain purity of heart – Tazkyah (Al Shams 91:9; Ala Imran 3:164). Inline with this, God has ordered us not to get even close to any kind of lewdness, being an apparent one or concealed one, let alone doing it (Al An’aam 6:151). I think getting pleasure from the thought of sins that one has done and has already repented from definitely comes to the category of “getting close to concealed lewdness”.
My dear brother, we should note that God, the Most Merciful, may accept our repentance in less than a moment. It, however, takes time and often a long time to clean our heart and thoughts from lewdness and to make it pure and clean and polished enough to reflect the light of God, as it is expected from a good servant of our Lord. We should look around and see or read about true servants of God who had devoted their entire lives in the cause of their Lord; to worship Him, and yet worried and were concerned that they had not done enough. It is not all about being forgiven by the Lord, it is also about trying to be a servant that deserves such a Lord, as this was what our Prophet (PBUH) was struggling to achieve and verily he is a good example for us (Al Ahzab 33:21) .
As I said, I do not think there are any real meanings for the terms like “significant repentance”, but maybe it is better to say some people are “in the process of repentance”. For instance, they are not repeating the sin physically but they do repeat it mentally. So they need to overcome the last stage in their repentance and refrain from doing the sin mentally. The very fact that you are concerned about your thoughts and asking questions about them shows that you are making good progress in the path of repentance. You only need to complete it.
As for to do’s and not to do’s, as you asked, the following might be helpful:
March 18, 2006