Fasting & Ramadan Overcoming Hardships

Ramadan Letters: To the Soul that has Transgressed

Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV

Ramadan Letters: To the soul that has transgressed

To the soul that has transgressed,

You had high hopes this Ramadan. You wanted Ramadan to be different. You wanted to get out of this rut. You had goals.

But barely a week has gone by, and you are back to the bad habits. You are so angry at yourself. You promised you would wake up for the dawn prayer. You vowed to be patient with people. You pledged to God that you would stop that inappropriate relationship.Loudenvielle Lake

Yet, here you are – awake at 10am instead of 4am; shouting at your mom; after a night of binge-texting that guy or girl from work until 2am. Maybe Ramadan is not for people like you, because you always mess up.

Every.
Single.
Time.

The fact that the devils are chained during this month has no impact on you. Maybe you are a lost cause. You probably do not deserve the blessings and mercy of Ramadan. Maybe Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala (exalted is He) Himself is rejecting you.

If this describes you and your feelings, you have misunderstood. Ramadan was made for you. Allah (swt) Himself calls you:

“Say, “O My servants who have transgressed against themselves [by sinning], do not despair of the mercy of Allah. Indeed, Allah forgives all sins. Indeed, it is He who is the Forgiving, the Merciful.” (Qur’an, 39:53)

Sometimes we are harsher on ourselves than Allah (swt) wants us to be. We punish ourselves by telling ourselves that we do not deserve Allah’s (swt) mercy. And that makes us give up both on ourselves and on God and His Mercy. But you know what?

Allah’s (swt) mercy is not deserved. It is given to all, and especially to those of us who are struggling – who are trying in spite of everything. Allah (swt) says “My mercy encompasses all things.” (Qur’an, 7:156)

So just let go. Let go of the anger you feel towards yourself. Let go of those feelings of unworthiness. It is a psychological trick of the nafs – the lower self. The more you antagonize yourself, the less you will do. The more you hate yourself, the more you will give in to your base desires.

But God created you, and that makes you worthy. Allah (swt) says “And We have certainly honored the children of Adam…” (Qur’an, 17:70)

So what’s the solution? The Prophet ﷺ said about people like me and you:

“A person committed a sin and said: ‘My Lord, I have sinned; forgive me.’
His Lord said: ‘Is My slave acknowledging that he has a Lord Who forgives sins and punishes for them? I have forgiven My slave.’
Then as much time passed as Allah willed, then he committed a sin and said, ‘My Lord, I have sinned; forgive me.’
His Lord said: ‘Is My slave acknowledging that he has a Lord Who forgives sins and punishes for them?  I have forgiven My slave.’
Then as much time passed as Allah willed, then he committed a sin and said, ‘My Lord, I have sinned; forgive me.’
His Lord said: ‘Is My slave acknowledging that he has a Lord Who forgives sins and punishes for them? I have forgiven My slave,’ – three times…” (Bukhari, Muslim)

In the Qur’an, God tells us what He wants from us. He says,

“Allah wants to accept your repentance, but those who follow [their] passions want you to digress [into] a great deviation. And Allah wants to lighten for you [your difficulties]; and mankind was created weak.” (Qur’an, 4:27-28)

Do you know why God talks about His mercy and forgiveness so much in the Qur’an?

He is telling you that your renewal is in your hands. He has already told you that He will forgive you if you turn back. But you need to take that step and turn back to Him; keep trying to stop the bad habits, and persist in doing the good ones. That renewal is available to you at every moment of every day. The Prophet ﷺ tells us:

“Allah, the Exalted, will continue to stretch out His Hand in the night so that the sinners of the day may repent, and continue to stretch His Hand in the daytime so that the sinners of the night may repent, until the sun rises from the west.”  (Muslim)

The past does not matter as long as you are making a choice in the present to go back to Him. No matter how many times you do it – returning over and over – it is all counted in your favor. You might say, “But I am so tired of myself.” And this is Allah’s (swt) response to you:

 

“O son of Adam, as long as you call on Me, I shall forgive you of what you have done, and think nothing of it. O son of Adam, even if your sins were to reach up to the clouds in the sky, and then you were to ask for My forgiveness, I would forgive you and think nothing of it. O son of Adam, even if you were to come to Me with sins nearly as great as the earth, and then you were to meet Me after death, not worshipping anything besides Me, I would bring you forgiveness nearly as great as the earth.’” [Tirmidhi]

 

Ramadan is for you, and tomorrow is a new day. This life is a struggle, and no one gets to the top of the mountain without scratches and scars; without wanting to turn back; without thinking that they will not make it.

But when you get up there – wow, when you get up there – it will be worth it; because up there is not the top of the mountain, but something even better; what the Prophet ﷺ could not describe: “what no eye has ever seen, and no ear has ever heard, and no human heart has ever perceived.” (Muslim)

It is Paradise, where there will be no worry or grief.

And I hope we all meet there.

 

Sincerely,

A soul that has transgressed against itself

(and turned back)

(and keeps turning back)

About the author

Jinan Yousef

Jinan Yousef

Jinan is a graduate of law from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and UC Berkeley, with a special emphasis on international law. During her university years, she was heavily involved with the Students’ Union Islamic Society. Her main interests within the field of Islamic Studies are the Names of Allah, the life and character of the Prophet ﷺ, tazkiya and Muslim personalities. She is currently pursuing a Ph.D.

12 Comments

  • Wow, I felt struck by this article. Could describe myself. Perhaps Allah guided me here to acknowledge that there is hope for me after all. If that’s the case then sisters Janan you will be rewarded greatly inshallah.

  • Assalamu alaikum sister, I love you for the sake of Allah . May Allah bless you. I think of you as my bosom friend. I earnestly hope to meet you in Jannah.

  • Jinan….I was just sitting here feeling very numb on the night of the 28th of Ramadan, when I decided I needed to read about Allah’s name العفو…and remembering that I love your writing, I searched for your article about it….then I found these letters…

    Thank you….Thank you so very very much. May Allah bless you in this world and in the next and make use of you always ya Rab

  • Very enlightening, knowing that to err is human,but to forgive is divine.
    Truly only Allah is the Most Forgiver

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