Belief & Worship Overcoming Hardships Reflections Spiritual Purification

Going Back

Originally published in November 2011

It creeps up on you, sometimes—knowing that you’ve changed. You didn’t realize, you still don’t know, how it happened. And the scary thing is that this change was a fundamental part of you. It was all of who you thought you were. It was your destination and your journey. But you lost it. Now, you feel distant from God, Who was at one point your only purpose.

The loss of a connection to God is the scariest thing that can happen to a person. You can remember what it felt like to go to sleep remembering God and to wake up thinking of Him. He was your Best Friend. You remember how you molded your character to be something that He loves. You remember when every cell of your body was energized, ready to work hard for His sake. And most of all, you remember the tranquility. You didn’t worry. You knew al-Wakeel (the Trustee) would take care of you.

But right now, you’re in such a different place. You don’t even recognize yourself anymore. You want to be in that place you were before so much, and you want to know how you didn’t even notice the gradual fall. Can you even go back?

Ask the one who was trapped in the belly of a whale. Ask him how he felt about that fall from grace. The guilt, the humility, the longing that can all be summed up in the phrase he repeated over and over:

“[…] There is no deity except You; exalted are You. Indeed, I have been of the wrongdoers.” (Qur’an 21:87)

And what was the result? God tells us, “And had he not been of those who exalt Allah, he would have remained inside its belly until the Day they are resurrected.” (Qur’an 37:143-144)

So Prophet Yunus (Jonah) `alayhi as-salaam (peace be upon him), the companion of the whale, was saved. He was saved because he turned to Allah and never gave up. We can remain in darkness, if we choose to. It is those, and only those, who believe that there is no way back who never return.

To those that say, “I used to be religious,” or even, “I was never religious”, there is always a way back. When the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ (peace and blessings be upon him) tells us, “Allah is happier about the repentance of one His slaves, than one of you would be about finding your camel which had strayed away from you in the middle of the desert,” (agreed upon). He ﷺ is also talking to those of us who have strayed. Tawba is to return. It is not simply to repent after committing a hideous sin, although that is a big part of it. He is also talking to those of us who wonder if we can ever recover or achieve that zeal and energy and purpose. We need to return.

So don’t give up. Don’t give in to that feeling that tells you to do the bare minimum. Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala (exalted is He) would not create you to be a useless addition to this world. You can be something special—something special to Him—if you don’t give up. If you take that step. Why are we reminded by the Prophet ﷺ in so many sayings that Allah (swt) accepts the servant who returns? Why are we told when we come one step closer to Allah (swt), He comes to us at speed? It is to remind us that Allah (swt) wants us to reach our potential, to take that first step despite the fact that the first step might be the hardest.

If you haven’t woken up for fajr (the pre-dawn prayer) for years, set five alarms today. Make a sincere du`a’ (supplication) to Allah (swt) before you sleep. Do it over and over again. Seek forgiveness and plead with Him to let you pray. You will not be disappointed. If you once had a big dream for your community but were dejected by people telling you to “be real,” pick up where you left off. Even if they are right and you never make it, because your intention was for Him, you already made it. Any achievement in this dunya (worldly life) is temporary, but “[…] indeed, the home of the Hereafter – that is the [eternal] life, if only they knew.” (Qur’an 29:64)

Don’t give in. “[…] Despair not of relief from Allah. Indeed, no one despairs of relief from Allah except the disbelieving people.” (Qur’an 12:87)

About the author

Jinan Yousef

Jinan Yousef

Jinan's 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.


  • As Salaam Alaykum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu,

    Brilliant post and a great reminder. There is no time like the present to get yourself back on track.

    When Ramadan ended this year, I suffered what I can only describe as depression. Ramadan was so good, everything else seemed worthless.

  • Jazakallah khair for this very inspirational post! I completely agree that if you take the first step Allah (swt) will help you the rest of the way.

  • Very good article, i need this and i think everyone needs some reminder in their life. may Allah betteren our situations in dunya and akhira

  • JazakAllah khair :). Amazing article! A reminder we all need about the encompassing mercy and grace of Allah swt.

    Ya Allah, thabit qalbi ‘ala deenik. Oh Allah, keep my heart firm on your deen!

  • “Make a sincere du`a’ (supplication) to Allah (swt) before you sleep.”
    I tried this several times and it’s worked! it’s really like magic 😉 subhanallah.

    Brilliant post, jazakiallahu khair sis 🙂

  • Indeed, the home of the hereafter -that is the eternal life, if only they know…

    Indeed, true indeed…

    Jzk sis Jinan fr the reminder. To have complete surrender to Allah, its nt easy. One has to have a true state of eeman to feel the sweetness of hvg complete trust in Allah. One who attains that, will b the happiest person in the world, subhanallah. We do not need to rely to people fr our happiness.

    May we all attain stedfastness in seeking complete reliance to Allah only, ameen.

    I love ur writing sis, may the ink of ur pen keep on scribbling :). Jzk, fr the timely reminder once again.

  • Alhamdulillah, such an inspiring post :)!! I was feeling down and feelin the same… Jazakallahu Khairan for posting this up! It’s a lovely reminder :)!!

  • Assalamu3laikum wa rahmatulllah wa bara katuh!

    After reading this, well actually the first sentence, I said to myself “THATS me!”

    If we “review” our past actions, It’s CLEAR ALLAH (sbw) saved us from all kinds evils and mistakes.

    May Allah (sbw) keep protecting Us from the accursed devil. Ameen

  • Subhanaallah, this is so beautiful indeed!! 🙂

    My Allah bless you sister for ur hard work in reminding us things we over look many times.
    So many think that ones u have done a wrong thing there is no way back for u, bt u have indeed boosted our morals.


  • Mashallah! Subhanallah! This is great. Thank you so much sis, we should never lose hope in Allah, because His love is so mighty it surpasses all that is in this world…

    Shukran jaziylan.

  • Dear Sr. Jinan! So nice to see a piece from you again! Ma’sha’allah, as always, very inspiring and a great reminder. I think we all need this at some point, as we can always or often return to a state at which we were at a place Closer to Allah (swt) than we may find ourselves at present.

    Jazak’Allahu Khairan for a concise and beautiful pep talk 🙂

  • Sister Jinan,
    I have been alive almost 54 years now, and I do not remember a clearer article on the issue of returning froma change. Jazak Allahu Khair for this uplifting post. May Allah bless you for the help you have undoubtably given others.

  • JAK Sister for this great article. Right now am going through the same stuff you mentioned. It all started when I left home to attend college. I live with Muslim roommates they pray all prayers and fast Ramadan …., but they also do bad stuff which I found myself doing after living with them for a while. All the sudden I found myself being far away from Allah and committing more sins. And my grades in school are falling. If anyone has an advise please share with your brother. Jazkem Allah Khier.

    • Salaam br. Mamoun

      I would suggest that the first thing to start with is an intention to become better and sincere dua to Allah. And then start with little steps- for example, more khushoo’ in salaah, preventing yourself from cussing etc. It requires discipline, and that is the same with your studies. If you find that being around your friends prevents you, it is important to try to find an avenue with a more positive environment, where you will find the support that you need.


    • As salamu alaykum, brother Mamoun,

      Insha´Allah, this booklet will help you.

      33 Ways of developing Khushoo’ in Salaah

      Book by Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid

      You can google it and find it in internet.

      I like this dua specially. ““O Allah, You are my Lord, there is no God but You, I put my trust in You, You are the Lord of the Mighty Throne. Whatever Allah wills will happen and what He does not will, cannot happen. There is no power or strength except with Allah, the Exalted, the Mighty. I know that Allah has power over all things, and Allah comprehends all things in knowledge. O Allah, I seek refuge with You from the evil of myself and from the evil of all creatures under Your control. Surely the straight way is my Sustainer’s way“


  • dear sister,

    thank you for this wonderful article.if i may ask for your opinion:

    i wear the hijab but sometimes i missed my prayers. there’s something i did which i am so ashamed of and i know is sinful,major sin actually,i guess. when i realise my mistake i always repented and ask for Allah’s forgiveness. but i always broke my promise to God, when i commit the sin again. i feel so ashamed to sujud and cry my heart out to Allah, i feel so ashamed. i feel like i don’t deserve his forgiveness anymore. i really don’t wanna take His forgiveness for granted but sometimes i strayed. :'(

    i’m such a hypocrite to God =(

    • Dear Rose,

      Please don’t ever believe that- don’t ever believe that you don’t deserve mercy from Allah. Tawba means to return to Allah. The Prophet (pbuh) was asked by someone what would happen if the person committed a sin. The Prophet (pbuh) said that it would be written for him as a sin. And the person asked “and if i repent?” the Prophet (pbuh) said the sin would be erased. And the person asked if he did it again- the Prophet (pbuh) said it would be written as a sin. And the person asked again “and if i repent?” the Prophet (pbuh) responded that it would be erased. And this cycle continues as long as we always return to Allah. No one is saying we should deliberately commit sins, but we have been told that the children of Adam constantly err, and the best of those who constantly err are those who constantly return to Allah. Please read this article:

      and this whole series if you can:

      Let me know if you have any further questions 🙂

      • thank you very much sisters ,

        i really appreciate the answers that you’ve given me.sometimes i just hate myself so much for the bad things that i’ve done but i am doing my best to be a better muslim. and i know Allah loves me very much :’). tq sisters for sharing me the strength.

        • Assalamu’alaikum dear sisters in Islam,

          Sr. Rose … I feel that I already connected with you because I share your pain. I am going through spiritual turmoil at the moment and every single word you said struck me as that’s me!

          Sr. Jinan and the others who commented as well, Jazakumallah Khair for all your supports and the assurance of “I’m not the only one” struggle and the strength you share.

          Inshaa Allah, there’s Ajr in all of our actions to be better and to do only for Allah azza wa Jalla, Aamiin.

    • No, you are not, and don’t have to be, I am only 14, and feel led astray. But, you must remember if you recall, that the real losers are the disbelievers, because they lose in this world and in the hereafter. Just keep trying, I know you can do it, yes you can. Also, tears can be used to wash away sins, so try again, and this time don’t give up. We just don’t want you to be of the TRUE hypocrite, then on them is a true curse so they shall abide the fire therein forever, and receive the worst punishment.

  • Assalam alaikum,
    I’m going through this phase of trying to go back.i ‘ve never really given up,but I have gone through so many lows it takes all ive got to keep on trying.I wonder,is it possible to be failing on so many fronts?but this reminder,this gives me hope..perhaps the hardened heart may yet soften
    Jazakillah khair

  • Salam sr,

    Very well written article indeed. Just what I was looking for. You have a beautiful way of truly expressing what is in the heart. Well done.


  • You have worded my thoughts. This is exactly how I have been feeling since some days. Whenever I lose my connection with the Almighty, I lose connection with everyone around me, and more importantly, my own core self.

  • The problem is with my attitude. I am so tiered of all the killing and slaughtering of animals world wide systematically. Also the killings of man upon man with these wars. When will Syria be liberated? The cruelty and greediness of man causing endless torture and suffering upon animals is disgusting and very, very sad to me. God has included animals to live out their lives here on earth, yet there is so much hardship everywhere. As if i do not even trust Allah anymore. How could he leave all of his creation so vulnerable to evil?

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