Carrying around this kind of guilt can be a source of grief, anxiety, and feelings of unworthiness. So, how does one overcome these feelings to forgive themselves and move one with life? By first and foremost realizing that human beings have been created imperfect and fallible, and making mistakes is natural – as Allah states in the Qur’an 4:28, “Humans have been created in a state of weakness.”  So, why were created to make mistakes? So that we would turn back to Allah seeking forgiveness, counsel, and the resolve to improve our character.  The Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) taught us, “I swear by Him in whose hand is my soul, if you were a people who did not commit sin, Allah would take you away and replace you with a people who would sin and then seek Allah’s forgiveness so He could forgive them.” [Sahih Muslim]

When a person resides in feelings of guilt, then that person starts to feel unworthy of being Muslim, and may even think to him or herself that Allah is incapable of forgiving their sin! This thought only exacerbates feelings of guilt and anxiety. So, the second part of moving past guilt is remembering that Allah is infinitely merciful and infinitely forgiving. Indeed, Allah told us, through the Prophet (PBUH), “Allah, Blessed and Exalted is He, says, ‘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 as great as the earth, and then you were to meet Me after death, not worshipping anything besides Me, I would bring you forgiveness as great as the earth.’” [Tirmidhi, Hadith Qudsi] This means that there no matter what we have done, that Allah would forgive us, so long as we seek it.