In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
Since it’s Ramadan, a vital month for spiritual improvement, I want to discuss a topic which I’m guessing many Muslims can relate to: how to deal with repeatedly falling back into the same sin/sins. In this article, I will provide five tips and points that I hope will benefit you, the reader, in navigating the recidivism phase in this cycle of sin and repentance.
1. Remember that unlike humans, the mercy of Allah SWT has no limits:
On the authority of Anas (may Allah be pleased with him), who said:
I heard the Messenger of Allah (SAW) say: Allah the Almighty said: O son of Adam, so long as you call upon Me and ask of Me, I shall forgive you for what you have done, and I shall not mind. O son of Adam, were your sins to reach the clouds of the sky and were you then to ask forgiveness of Me, I would forgive you. O son of Adam, were you to come to Me with sins nearly as great as the earth and were you then to face Me, ascribing no partner to Me, I would bring you forgiveness nearly as great as it.
(It was related by at-Tirmidhi (also by Ahmad ibn Hanbal))
2. No matter how much you have sinned, do not feel hopeless or doomed, because redemption is just a dua away in the form of sincere repentance:
"Except for those who repent, believe me and do righteous work. For them Allah will replace their evil deeds with good. And ever is Allah Forgiving and Mericiful. And he who repents and does righteousness does indeed turn to Allah with [accepted] repentance." [Al-Furqan 25:70-71]
3. No matter what sins you are involved in, make a commitment to at least stay on top of your mandatory prayers, as they act as form of protection for you.
"... and establish prayer. Indeed, prayer prohibits immorality and wrongdoing..." [Al-Ankabut 29:45]
4. Take out some time every day to reflect, in seclusion, on the sins that are prevalent in your life. Allah (SWT) calls upon the believers to self-reflection in the following ayah:
"Has the time not come for those who have believed that their hearts should become humbly submissive at the remembrance of Allah and what has come down of the truth?... [Al-Hadid 57:16]
5. Try to leave the sin for good. Remember that leaving a sin for the sake of Allah (SWT) will always result in good in your life. The following hadith reassures us of this:
Abu Qatadah reported: The Prophet (PBUH) said, “Verily, you will never leave anything for the sake of Allah Almighty but that Allah will replace it with something better.”
(Musnad Aḥmad 22565. Sahih (authentic) according to Al-Albani)
We hope that this advice will be of benefit on your journey of spiritual improvement inshAllah. May this Ramadan bring you all closer to your goals and Allah SWT, ameen.