Shaykh Muhammad Ibn Hizaam was asked:
A student of knowledge used to commit sins (before seeking knowledge), he disobeyed Allah with All of his limbs, then Allah guided him to seeking knowledge and All praise is for Allah. But the effects of those actions haven’t gone away, it hasn’t seized to have an affect on his life, in regards to his memory, and the hardness of his heart, how does he cure that?
It is correct that sins have an affect upon a person, it has an affect in regards to his life and knowledge, and it affects his memorization, thus sins have a great affect.
If the sins pile up on a person, it blackens his heart, and the sinner finds in his heart a black spot. If he repents and seeks forgiveness, his heart is polished clean. But if he returns, it increases until it covers his entire heart. And that is the ‘Ran’, as the prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم said.
Also as a group from the scholars said that you will find that sins brings about hardship in one’s life, darkness in the face, and uneasiness in the chest. Whilst you will find obedience brings about brightness in the face, in the heart, and tranquility and comfort in one’s soul.
And this is correct. Allah says:
مَنْ عَمِلَ صَالِحًا مِّن ذَكَرٍ أَوْ أُنثَىٰ وَهُوَ مُؤْمِنٌ فَلَنُحْيِيَنَّهُ حَيَاةً طَيِّبَةً ۖ وَلَنَجْزِيَنَّهُمْ أَجْرَهُم بِأَحْسَنِ مَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ “
Whoever works righteousness, whether male or female, while he (or she) is a true believer (of Islamic Monotheism) verily, to him We will give a good life (in this world with respect, contentment and lawful provision), and We shall pay them certainly a reward in proportion to the best of what they used to do (i.e. Paradise in the Hereafter).
فَمَنِ اتَّبَعَ هُدَايَ فَلَا يَضِلُّ وَلَا يَشْقَىٰ (١٢٣) وَمَنْ أَعْرَضَ عَن ذِكْرِي فَإِنَّ لَهُ مَعِيشَةً ضَنكًا وَنَحْشُرُهُ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ أَعْمَىٰ (١٢٤) ،
then whoever follows My Guidance shall neither go astray, nor fall into distress and misery.
124. “But whosoever turns away from My Reminder (i.e. neither believes in this Qur’an nor acts on its orders, etc.) verily, for him is a life of hardship, and We shall raise him up blind on the Day of Resurrection.”
[20:123 – 124]
It remains what does he do in regards to that if he were to repent a sincere repentance? Allah will remit from him his sins.
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا تُوبُوا إِلَى اللَّهِ تَوْبَةً نَّصُوحًا عَسَىٰ رَبُّكُمْ أَن يُكَفِّرَ عَنكُمْ سَيِّئَاتِكُمْ
O you who believe! Turn to Allah with sincere repentance! It may be that your Lord will remit from you your sins
And Allah says
إِلَّا مَن تَابَ وَآمَنَ وَعَمِلَ عَمَلًا صَالِحًا فَأُولَٰئِكَ يُبَدِّلُ اللَّهُ سَيِّئَاتِهِمْ حَسَنَاتٍ ۗ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ غَفُورًا رَّحِيمًا (٧٠)
70. Except those who repent and believe (in Islamic Monotheism), and do righteous deeds, for those, Allah will change their sins into good deeds, and Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.
He who is truthful in his repentance and remorse refrains from the sin after remorse, and he seeks the forgiveness of his lord, (then) Allah will replace his bad deeds into good deeds out of His great bounty and mercy.
﴿وَتُوبُوا إِلَى اللَّهِ جَمِيعاً أَيُّهَا الْمُؤْمِنُونَ﴾
And all of you beg Allah to forgive you all, O believers, that you may be successful.
And Allah says:
قُلْ يَا عِبَادِيَ الَّذِينَ أَسْرَفُوا عَلَىٰ أَنفُسِهِمْ لَا تَقْنَطُوا مِن رَّحْمَةِ اللَّهِ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَغْفِرُ الذُّنُوبَ جَمِيعًا ۚ إِنَّهُ هُوَ الْغَفُورُ الرَّحِيمُ (٥٣)
53. Say: “O ‘Ibadi (My slaves) who have transgressed against themselves (by committing evil deeds and sins)! Despair not of the Mercy of Allah, verily Allah forgives all sins. Truly, He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.
Thus he should increase in repentance, returning to Allah and seeking forgiveness, and Allah Aza Wa Jal will forgive him.
Majid Jawed Al Afghanee