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My Abusive Attitude

My Abusive Attitude
I’ve harmed a lot of people mentally. I’ve been extremely abusive in my attitude. Some of those I’ve hurt don’t want to have any connection with me. They don’t even want to see or hear from me. I never wished to bring even a single tear to anybody, but somehow I’ve ended up doing irreversible and irreparable harm to many. I don’t want to discuss the details. I just want to know what I can do for them and for myself.

I’m going through deep remorse and despair. I’ve failed in my duties towards God and also towards humans. I’m aware of God’s infinite mercy and various illustrations given in the Qur’an and Hadith for a repenting person. Please tell me about the wrongs done to others because of my limited knowledge, God may forgive the sins related towards Him, in sha’ Allah, but as for the wrongs done to others, we have to deal with them.

How can I get forgiveness, especially when it’s not something material which I can return and somewhat undo my bad actions. What should I do when I’ve broken trusts, broken promises, I have been two-faced. In short, what can I do when I’ve broken hearts and no matter what I do, I can never heal them and I can’t even communicate with them. I’m unable to forgive myself as I feel even if they forget or forgive me (which is not so), the scars will always remain in their souls.

I’m desperate. Please help me.
Answer by:
'Abdul-Lateef Abdullah
In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
Praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds. May the peace and blessings of Allah descend on the Prophet Muhammad, his family, his Companions, and those who follow them with sincerity.

As-salamu `alaykum.

    Life without repentance is spiritual agony;
    to be absent from God is immediate death.
    Life and death both are sweet with God’s presence:
    without God, even the Water of Life is fire -Rumi, Mathnawi (V, 770-771)

Brother, don’t ever despair of Allah’s mercy and forgiveness:

Allah says,
    “Ask your Lord for forgiveness and then turn in repentance to Him.” (Hud 11:3)
And He says,
    “O you who believe! Turn in sincere repentance to Allah.” (At-Tahrim 66:8)

The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said,
    “The one who repents from sin is like the one who never sinned.” (Ibn Maja, 3240) He also said: “Remorse is repentance.” (Ibn Maja, 4242 and Ahmad, 3387)

Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said,
    “Allah will turn towards anyone who turns in repentance before the sun rises from the place it set.” (Muslim)

Imam Barkawi, the great Ottoman Hanafi faqih (jurisprudent), grammarian, and Sufi, defined repentance, tawbah, in his Tariqat Al-Muhammadiyyah as, “Going back from desire to sin, with the determination of not returning to it, in exaltation of Allah and out of fear of His punishment” (Al-Bariqa fi Sharh Al-Tariqah, 3.139).

The conditions for repentance are well known as set out in Al-Bariqa fi Sharh Al-Tariqah; Riyad Al-Salihin:

  • Leaving the sin

  • Feeling remorse over having committed the sin

  • Resolving never to return to the sin

  • If it relates to the rights of another person, then returning the rights or property one wrongly took

    If these conditions are truly met, then one can expect one’s sins to be forgiven. However, one has to be very careful about how sincere one is in fulfilling one’s conditions. It is recommended to seek forgiveness a lot, and to repent every time the sin comes to one’s mind.

    If one keeps repeating the sin, then one should find the root cause of the sin and eliminate it. For example, if one falls into a certain sin because of the company one keeps, then it would be necessary to either stop keeping their company, or to change the nature of one’s relationship with them.

    So, what is true repentance? Ibn Hajar mentioned that Qurtubi quoted 23 different definitions of true repentance or al-tawbah al-nasuh in his tafseer (explanation). Ibn Hajar mentioned the most important of these:

  • `Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) said that it is, “To sin and then never to return to it.”

  • Hasan Al-Basri (may Allah be pleased with him) said, “To hate the sin and the seek forgiveness for it every time it occurs.”

  • Qatada (may Allah be pleased with him) said, “To be genuine and truthful in one’s repentance,” which is what Imam Bukhari chose as the definition of true repentance in his chapter heading.

  • To have sincerity in one’s repentance.

  • To be concerned about one’s repentance not being accepted.

  • To be such that it does not need another repentance after it.

  • To be made out of fear and hope and be accompanied by consistency in worship.

  • Like the previous one, but with the added condition that one deserts those who assisted one in sin.

  • Ibn Hajar in his Fath Al-Bari said that one’s sin be between one’s eyes. (one does not forget it.)

    From Sidi Faraz Rabbani

    As you can see, we can never doubt Allah’s mercy and forgiveness if we are truly sincere in our tawbah to Him. In terms of sins committed against others, yes, we must also ask for forgiveness from them, regardless as to whether we think they will forgive us or not. That is in the hands of Allah and we cannot worry about it. It is only for us to fulfill our responsibility of sincerely asking those whom we have wronged for forgiveness and hope and pray that our repentance is accepted by them.

    In your case, it is important that you do your best to make contact again with the people you have wronged and make a sincere effort to ask for forgiveness. The power of repentance and forgiveness is beyond words. Even if the others do not accept your repentance immediately, just knowing that you made an effort to sincerely repent will help them and you tremendously. It is truly a cure and a medicine for the heart and soul and we must always try to do it when we think we have wronged others. It sounds to me as if you need to “clean your slate” so to speak, and the only way is through repentance to both Allah and those whom you have wronged.

    If you are unable to find the people you have wronged, you can pray for them, seek forgiveness for them, and even give some charity on their behalf. The following prayer of forgiveness may be useful:

      “O Allah, I seek Your forgiveness for all my sins. I ask You to forgive me for all my wrongdoings against people that You have recorded, for there are many rights and dues owed to Your servants that I am burdened with and for which I am hostage. O Allah, even if these (wrongdoings) are many, they are insignificant in comparison with the magnitude of Your forgiveness. O Allah, any male or female servant of Yours who has rights upon me, in either that I have unjustly taken from him in regards to his land, possession, honor, body; whether he was absent or present; or he or his representatives demanded it from me and neither was I able to return it to him nor did I seek release of it from him. So I ask You through Your benevolence, generosity, and abundance of what You possess that You satisfy them on my behalf, and not give them a position over me that will decrease my good deeds; for You possess what You can satisfy them with on my behalf and I do not possess what to satisfy them with; and do not allow for their bad deeds to find a path over my good deeds on the Day of Judgment.” (From Prayers of Forgiveness that Save from the Hellfire by Hasan Basri).

    And Allah alone grants success.

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