A lot of people are stuck in shame, despair and disgust over their sexual sins that they have been engaging in for years. They also feel unworthy in the sight of Allah and feel hung up on the ayahs that speak about purity, such as “Impure women are for impure men, and impure men are for impure women.” As a result, they cannot forgive themselves and they feel hopeless about their future because of these sins holding them back. In light of the despair you may be feeling, I want you to know that you can reclaim your sexual purity with the help of Allah. Self-hatred and beating yourself up for the past is not the long term solution, because it puts you in a deeper hole where you are consistently shaming yourself, and seeing yourself unworthy of any help. To demonstrate the process of reclaiming your sexual purity, I want to share a story of a coaching client of mine. Sister Heba was involved in a toxic relationship with an authority figure. She ended the relationship before it became too serious, when she realized it was toxic and abusive. Years later however, she still could not forgive herself for her level of involvement in the relationship, even though it did not lead to zina. In our coaching calls together, we created an action plan that allowed sister Heba to come out of the self-hatred into self-acceptance, where she is able to finally forgive herself for the years she was involved in the relationship and move on to a new chapter in her life. Here are three steps that contributed to her reclaiming her sexual purity, and in sha Allah these steps can guide you as well:
1. The Past: Understand your past, and where you are coming from.To go to point B, which is sexual purity, we have to define what point A is. There were things in the past that you did that you considered shameful. These things are interfering with your present as they continue to haunt you. You are often in dismay as to what compelled you to get into these behaviors. On the surface they look like very distasteful behaviors, but it is always deeper than you may realize. Even before her toxic relationship, sister Heba did not feel good about herself. She felt valueless since the age of 10. She was often teased and bullied at school and by her older brother. In addition to that, she was born with a medical condition that affected her and her family dynamics. These were the factors that contributed to sister Heba feeling valueless in terms of her appearance, and such beliefs that she developed at a young age were carried onto her toxic relationship with the authority figure. Through our coaching calls, sister Heba realized that she was filling some sort of emotional need through the toxic relationship she was in. She identified that she went to the authority figure to feel loved, accepted, and wanted: “I thought, wow someone actually likes me, someone’s paying attention to me, someone’s actually pursuing me and thinks I’m pretty. I become dependent on him in an unhealthy way. I didn’t realize how much emotional sustenance I got from him.” Likewise, there may have been beliefs you developed about yourself at a young age, which primed you to turn to your unwanted sexual behaviors and sexual sins as a means of fulfilling certain needs. This process of self-discovery is revealing and will help you understand where you are coming from. It will also allow you to develop self-compassion, which is one of the key ingredients in reclaiming your sexual purity. Self-compassion gives you hope about your situation and allows you to feel worthy of forgiveness, both from yourself and from Allah SWT.
2. The Present. Understand what you are doing right now to deal with the sexual sins.The second step is to understand how you are coping with this part of your life right now. Through our work together, I asked sister Heba to list out the options she had in dealing with this very difficult part of her life. She identified the following:
- Run away from her past sins by:
- Engaging in her unwanted sexual behaviors to numb out the pain
- Going back to the authority figure, to feel needed, wanted, loved
- Keeping it a complete secret from everyone.
- Experience the pain of the situation, and learn from it.