Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil
Question: Assalam aleykum,
I abused someone to the point where he became depressed and suicidal. How do I forgive myself and move on?
Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for reaching out to us. Please forgive me for the delay.
It was narrated from Abu Hurairah that the Prophet (upon him be blessings and peace) said: “If you were to commit sin until your sins reach the heaven, then you were to repent, your repentance would be accepted.” [Sunan Ibn Majah]
Dear sister, for as long as you draw breath, then you can always ask Allah for forgiveness. I encourage you to wake up in the last third of the night as regularly as you can, and perform the Prayer of Need. Beg Allah for forgiveness, for healing, and for Him to heal the young man you abused.
Feeling guilt is a good sign. The key is to not let your remorse overwhelm you, and send you into despair.
You did wrong this young man terribly. Ask yourself what you can realistically do to make this situation better. Will contacting him make him feel better, or worse? Instead of contacting him directly or enquiring about him, I encourage you to give charity in his name. Make dua for him. You may not see the fruits of your dua in this life, but trust that Allah can make anything happen, when He wills.
I encourage you to make space for your feelings of remorse. Accept your deep feelings of guilt. Feel them in your body, then let them go.
Phone apps like Calm are very helpful for a guided meditation practice. Rather than focus on ‘fixing’ this perceived problem, make space for it, and do what you can do live with it. There is no quick fix here. This will be a great exercise of patience for you. I pray that over time, Allah will place tranquility and self-forgiveness in your heart.
When you are ready, I encourage you to uncover the reasons that led you to abuse this young man to begin with. Were you abused in your past?
Please consider speaking to a culturally-sensitive therapist, counsellor and/or holistic healer. It may take you some time before you find a therapist you connect with, so keep an open mind, and keep trying. Different modes of therapy work for different types of people, so do your research and see what is best for you.
“Then Adam learned certain words (to pray with) from his Lord; so, Allah accepted his repentance. No doubt, He is the Most-Relenting, the Very-Merciful.” [Qur’an, 2:37]
There is no changing the past. Trust that Allah knows the depth of your remorse. People have committed far greater sins than yours, and Allah has forgiven them, and continues to forgive far, far worse. You have a choice about how you can use your pain. You can learn from it, or you can replay it and retraumatise yourself.
Make good on your Islam. Reflect on the character traits that you need to improve, in order for you to never, ever hurt another person the same way again.
Reflect on the story of the great Companions, who committed terrible sins before their Islam, and who become guiding lights for us, after their Islam. There is still time and ample opportunity for you to make that transformation.
I pray that Allah transforms your trauma, heals the young man you have hurt, and helps you learn how to forgive yourself. Please keep in touch.
Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil has spent almost two years in Amman, Jordan, where she learned Shafi’i’ fiqh, Arabic, Seerah, Aqeedah, Tasawwuf, Tafsir and Tajweed. She continues to study with her Teachers in Malaysia and online through SeekersHub Global. She graduated with a Psychology and English degree from University of New South Wales, was a volunteer hospital chaplain for 5 years and has completed a Diploma of Counselling from the Australian Institute of Professional Counsellors. She lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with her husband, daughter, and mother-in-law.