Guilty is the fruit of Godly sorrow

The Concept of Guilty in Islam

Guilty feeling for some people could be the worst thing. The feeling becomes stronger when they try to ignore it. No matter how much they try to repent, the guilty feeling still holds beneath their skin.  This serious matter happens all the time among Muslims. When we try to accept the guilty feeling, we are trying closer to the peace of our soul. As our soul tries to heal, the wound will ease piece by piece. Allah says:

فَمَن تَابَ مِن بَعْدِ ظُلْمِهِ وَأَصْلَحَ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ يَتُوبُ عَلَيْهِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ 

“Whoever repents after his transgression and corrects himself, then Allah shall relent towards him. Surely, Allah is Most-Forgiving, Very-Merciful.” (Surah Al-Maidah 5:39)

The guilty feeling can cause any of the diseases so that the feeling claims as to the resourceful of diseases. Islam taught us that repenting any sin and doing it truthfully towards Allah every day may ease our guilt feeling. That is why, when it comes to repent we should do it with all of our hearts that we regret that. Moreover, we keep the commitment that we will never repeat that mistake. Allah says:

إِنَّمَا التَّوْبَةُ عَلَى اللَّهِ لِلَّذِينَ يَعْمَلُونَ السُّوءَ بِجَهَالَةٍ ثُمَّ يَتُوبُونَ مِن قَرِيبٍ فَأُولَٰئِكَ يَتُوبُ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِمْ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ عَلِيمًا حَكِيمًا 

“Repentance with Allah is only for those who do evil in ignorance, then turn (to Allah) soon, so these it is to whom Allah turns (mercifully), and Allah is ever Knowing, Wise.” (Sura An-Nisa 4:17)

Feeling guilty is hard to ease. But the feeling can destroy us so we should overcome the feeling. Rely on Allah and depend on this positive hope to reach the actual repentance and the true return. Then they must make peace with the Beloved. Finally, they must repair the damage that resulted from all previous sins and removes obstacles that stand in the way of repentance. Allah says:

وَسَارِعُوا إِلَىٰ مَغْفِرَةٍ مِّن رَّبِّكُمْ وَجَنَّةٍ عَرْضُهَا السَّمَاوَاتُ وَالْأَرْضُ أُعِدَّتْ لِلْمُتَّقِينَ

“And hasten to forgiveness from your Lord and a Garden – its width (is like that of) the heavens and the earth prepared for the pious.” (Surah Al-Imran 3:133)

Knowing that Allah forgives should give us much hope. But we should balance fear and hope so that we do not purposefully disobey Him and say that we will repent later. We need to stop doing wrong deliberately and rush to repent from the greatest sins which are disbelief, polytheism and hypocrisy, as well as sins like neglecting religious duties like prayer, charity, obedience to parents.

Here are some ways how to overcome a guilty feeling in Islam:

  1. Guilty is a believer, humility requires living a balance
  2. Guilty provides an overview of the changes of mind
  3. Guilty is at the heart and core of God’s message
  4. Guilty means turning from the way to God’s law
  5. Guilty is an action requiring deliberate choices
  6. Guilty begins with regret over one’s behaviour
  7. Guilty always willing to put aside grievances
  8. Guilty is inseparable from saving Faith
  9. Guilty is linked to the message of God
  10. Guilty is the fruit of  God’s goodness
  11. Guilty is a high-value truthfulness
  12. Guilty is initiated within the heart
  13. Guilty  brings about humbleness
  14. Guilty acceptance the feeling
  15. Guilty means turning from sin
  16. Guilty is the fruit of Godly sorrow
  17. Guilty cause despair, leave it back
  18. Guilty will be accepted by Allah SWT
  19. Guilty eventually takes root and leads 
  20. Guilty encourages the mental disposition
  21. Guilty is a result of a change in behaviour
  22. Guilty is the means of reviving one’s heart
  23. Guilt is a source of diseases, throw it away
  24. Guilty entails putting away the sinful activities
  25. Guilty  means to worship God in spirit and truth
  26. Guilty teaches us the importance of a healthy balance 

Once you get the guilt, you will feel miserable. Allah has mercy on whoever feels shy of Him with real shyness. Spreading the message of Islam and also for sins like backbiting, slander, envy, suspicion, cheating and wasting time on useless things. The treasures of Islam is that Allah doesn’t leave His servants to rot in their remorse and guilt, once they realize their sin. Allah says:

ثُمَّ أَفِيضُوا مِنْ حَيْثُ أَفَاضَ النَّاسُ وَاسْتَغْفِرُوا اللَّهَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ

“Then depart from wherever depart the people and ask forgiveness (of) Allah. Indeed, Allah (is) Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (Surah Al-Baqarah 2:199)

When a person sins and realizes that he has done something wrong he is overcome by remorse and an overwhelming feeling of guilt. If not dealt with correctly, these feelings of guilt can greatly affect one’s self-esteem, may weigh him down and make him lose interest in doing good deeds.

Guilt and the ways of curing it:

  • Imitating the conducts and manners of the Prophet (S)
  • Giving up sins and returning to Allah
  • Saying the true and right things
  • Being pious and avoiding sins 
  • Giving up false beliefs
  • Believing in Allah
  • Obeying Allah
  • Paying zakat
  • Offering prayers
  • Lending to the poor and needy
  • Confessing their sins before Allah
  • Obeying the Messenger of Allah (S)
  • Believing in the Messenger of Allah (S)
  • Talking except in suitable time and occasion

Sinners have to notice that when committing any sin their dignity and personality become degraded before Allah and their honour and values are lowered to the level of the animals and beasts. Repentance is one of the fundamental moral obligations. Therefore, they close the door of mercy, forgiveness, repentance and turn to Allah. Allah says:

ثُمَّ كَانَ عَاقِبَةَ الَّذِينَ أَسَاءُوا السُّوأَىٰ أَن كَذَّبُوا بِآيَاتِ اللَّهِ وَكَانُوا بِهَا يَسْتَهْزِئُونَ

“Then was (the) end (of) those who did evil – the evil, because they denied (the) Signs (of) Allah and were of them making a mockery.” (Surah Ar-Rum 30:10)

For the one who believes in the mercy of the Almighty, guilt is a powerful means to direct his heart back to the one whose doors of tawbah (repentance) are always open.

Allah Almighty says in the Holy Quran:

  • “And He wishes to forgive you.” (Quran 4:146)
  • “Allah wishes to accept your repentance…” (Nisa, 4:27)
  • “My Lord, indeed I have wronged myself, so forgive me.” (Quran, 28:16)
  • “And whoever does not repent, they are the wrongdoers.” (Quran 49:11)
  • “Do not despair of God’s mercy; He will forgive you of all your sins.” (Quran:39:53)
  • “And (as to) those who do evil deeds, then repent after that and believe, your Lord after that is most surely Forgiving, Merciful.” (Quran 7:153)
  • “If you lend unto Allah a goodly loan, He will double it for you and will forgive you, for Allah is Responsive, Clement.” (Quran 64:17)
  • “Say: If you love Allah, then follow me. Allah will love you and forgive you your faults, and Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.” (Quran 3:31)
  • “Except those who repent after that and amend, then surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.” (Quran, 3:89)

Indeed, Allah is the Most Merciful and Most Kind. He gives respite even to the worst of sinners so that they realize their mistakes and turn back to Him. His rights are too great for His servants to be able to fulfil them. Allah loves them who make them repent as soon as possible they can. Allah says:

وَأَنِيبُوا إِلَىٰ رَبِّكُمْ وَأَسْلِمُوا لَهُ مِن قَبْلِ أَن يَأْتِيَكُمُ الْعَذَابُ ثُمَّ لَا تُنصَرُونَ

“And turn in repentance and obedience with true Faith to your Lord and submit to Him, before the torment comes upon you, then you will not be helped.” (Surah Az-Zumar 39:54)

Man, to receive the wide mercy of Allah, must get power from His special care, and gain divine blessing, must follow the way of repentance and return to Allah. And indeed, His favours and blessings are too many for them to be able to enumerate. The only way to safety and relief then is for us to wake up from our sinful slumber, and let our guilty hearts lead us to repent to Al-Ghafoor every morning and every night. Allah says:

إِلَّا مَن تَابَ وَآمَنَ وَعَمِلَ عَمَلًا صَالِحًا فَأُولَٰئِكَ يُبَدِّلُ اللَّهُ سَيِّئَاتِهِمْ حَسَنَاتٍ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ غَفُورًا رَّحِيمًا 

“Except those who repent, have faith and good deeds, those Allah will charge their sins for good deeds. Certainly, Allah is most forgiving and merciful.” (Surah Al-Furqan 25:70)

We must follow the right path, humble ourselves before Allah and keep on worshipping Him and helping His people. We must follow the teachings of Allah and the instructions of the Prophets (as) and the Imams (as), especially concerning the great mercy of Allah, His call to sinners to repent and His promise to forgive them. Hence, there is no way for a sinner except to repent and turn to Allah. Allah says:

خُذِ الْعَفْوَ وَأْمُرْ بِالْعُرْفِ وَأَعْرِضْ عَنِ الْجَاهِلِينَ

“Hold (to) forgiveness and enjoin the good, and turn away from the ignorant.” (Surah Al-A`raf 7:199

God has made it easy for us to seek and obtain His forgiveness however it does not come automatically; one must seek God’s forgiveness sincerely. That is why we need to overcome this guilty feeling on our chest immediately. Try to repent it as much as you can. May Allah bless you with His forgiveness. May Allah accept our prayers and forgive us.