Question from a reader:
Assalam u Alaikum,
I have been reading things on your website for about a year and it has helped me tremendously in a very dark time in my life.
Recently, after making mistakes over and over again, I have this question: do you think Allah ever gives up on us?
I know the answer is “No He does not”, but what about when we made a mistake and repented but then did it again, repented and did it again, but then stopped and asked for forgiveness? Do you think at this point He has given up on us and punishes for the rest of our lives?
I know we must learn our lesson, and I know my sadness now is to reaffirm my faith and to learn my lesson, and is hopefully temporary. I just don’t want Him to give up on me. Do you think its possible that He will be happy with me if I keep praying and making my faith stronger and stronger? I know you have another website for people to post questions but for some reason I feel more comfortable asking you here.
– Sister F.
Dear Sister F., wa alaykum as-salamu wa rahmatullah,
I’m happy to hear that my articles have helped you, Alhamdulillah. My first response to your question of whether Allah gives up on us: “I sure hope not.”
Seriously though, the real answer is that Allah does not give up on us, nor does He get tired of forgiving us as long as we keep turning to Him sincerely. We must not despair of Allah’s pardon. Allah says in the Quran,
“O those of My servants who have transgressed against your own selves, despair not of Allah’s mercy. Allah does forgive all sins, for surely He is the Most Forgiving, Most Merciful One.” (Quran 39:53)
The key is sincerity. Allah says,
“O you who believe! Turn to Allah with sincere repentance!” (Quran, al-Tahreem 66:8)
Allah – Glorifed and Exalted – loves to forgive our sins. In fact, the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said,
“If you did not commit sins, Allah would dispose of you and replace you with people who commit sins and then ask for forgiveness so that He forgives them.” [Muslim]
That is a shocking statement on its face. However, it’s not that Allah loves for us to commit sins; rather, he knows that a tendency to commit sins is part of our human nature. What Allah loves therefore is when we realize our mistakes and return to Him in repentance.
Also on this theme, the Messenger of Allah (sws) said: “Allah rejoices more over the repentance of His servant than any one of you who finds his camel after having lost it in a desolate land.” (Agreed upon). This is quite touching if you think about it. Imagine a man is making a journey through the desert on his camel. All his food and water are packed into bags carried by the camel. He sleeps one night, and wakes to find the camel gone. He is hundreds of miles from the nearest oasis, in a trackless wasteland. He knows that without the camel’s transportation and the supplies it carries, he will die in this barren land. He is crushed. He will never see his wife again, never hug his child, never even taste food again. Everything he has worked for has come to an end, and he will die of thirst in the blazing heat – a terrible way to die.
Suddenly the camel comes trotting back over the horizon, and returns to him! The man will live! Imagine the joy he feels.
Allah’s joy at our return to Him is greater than that. Glory to Him.
We humans hold grudges. If a friend or spouse betrays us we might be able to forgive him once or even twice, but if it happens repeatedly we will eventually stop trusting him and refuse to forgive him again. I’ve certainly wrestled with this. There are people from my past who I haven’t spoken to in years. Even if I’ve forgiven them with my tongue, it’s such a struggle to cleanse my heart of all resentment.
But SubhanAllah, Allah is not like that. He is Al-Ghafir (The Forgiver of Sins), Al-Ghaffaar (The Oft-Forgiving) and Al-Ghafoor
His forgiveness and mercy are farther beyond ours than the stars are beyond the earth. Abu Bakr (ra) heard Allah’s Messenger (sws) say: “No man will commit a sin, then get up and purify himself, then pray, then ask Allah’s forgiveness, without Allah forgiving him.”
There’s a very good article about tawbah in Islam on one of my other websites, IslamicAnswers.com. Here’s the link:
So dear sister, keep on praying and working on your faith, as you said. It’s the only way. We are not angels. We are human beings who make mistakes and stumble. As long as we keep getting up and turning to Allah, we are on the right path, Insha’Allah.