Burying the past and moving ahead

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Recently Shaykh Mawlana Mohammad Taqi Usmani (may Allah preserve him) advised a murid to bury the past and make a fresh start.

Burying the past may sound a simple thing but in reality it is a big spiritual struggle (mujahidah) with many benefits.

For all of us it is a common event to slip and commit mistakes. These mistakes may be in exoteric (dhahiri) or esoteric (batini) works. Sometimes we are cognizant of our mistakes and at others oblivious. However, a true seeker is very much disturbed by these mistakes. He is ashamed infront of Allah, disheartened on his ability to control his desires, disillusioned by the effectiveness of the path in preventing this disaster and anxious about the future similar mishaps.

These are the moments when the need of a perfect spiritual mentor – the Shaykh-e-kamil, is essential to save the seeker from falling further in to the trap of Satan and lower self (nafs).  It is he who guides the murid out of this depressive and self-destructive attitude and puts him back on the path towards Allah.

He does so by,

a.  Giving the seeker hope. That is, it is human to err and Allah is Most Merciful to those who acknowledge their short comings.

b. Instruction to forget the past. Bury it. If this is not done, its dead body will rot and the stench emanating from it will spoil the best aroma of sincere good acts done in future. Also, remembering the sins after sincere repentance is wrong and leads to decreasing relationship with Allah.

c. To be concerned with improving the present condition right now. For this today will tomorrow become yesterday. A thing of past.

If handled in this way each and every mistake and fall of the sincere seeker results in increasing relationship with Allah, enhanced humility and complete dependence on His kindness and mercy. 

A seeker should remember that these falling episodes are not uncommon and continue until a permanent spiritual serenity (tamkeen) is achieved (which usually happens after years of sincere effort by method described above). Until then he/she has to bury the past with sincere repentance and move forwards on the path with renewed vigor.

And its facilitation is surely from Allah, Most High.

2 thoughts on “Burying the past and moving ahead

  1. iqadeer

    Assalamu Allaikum,

    In the spiritual path, what is the most effective means of getting rid of a spiritual malady that one has developed through constant repetition over the years? I can relate to your above post as the feelings of remorse after a sin, that one has gotten accustomed to, gets committed can lead to such despair that one even begins to question one’s own sincerety and motivation to traverse the path. Furthermore, if you can’t stay constant in ridding yourself of a bad habit and feel as if all your spiritual efforts are in vain due to this habit, what can you do, in the absence of the Shaykh, to alleviate the low state that usually follows a disobedience? Jazak Allah in advance.

    Wa alaykum as salam

    JazakAllah for the question, which is evident of sincere desire to traverse the path.
    What has been said in this post is quite enough for this scenario also.
    InshaAllah, one day you will look back and admit yourself the efficacy of this method.
    A sincere salik has to remember always that some sins lead to a remorse, humility, yearning and total dependence on Allah’s grace that can not be achieved via the best of good acts. May be this is the reason.

    However, Shaykh has to be kept updated regarding one’s condition.
    May Allah help us all.

  2. Aamir

    Assalaamu Alaikum,

    JazakAllah for this topic.

    Is killing khudpasandi/ujub, by thinking of past sins (committed against the person who praised us), OK ??

    Consider a person X was told by Y, that Z praised X a lot. Then X really got happy, and to kill khudpasandi started thinking of some sin that X had committed in past ‘against Z’ without Z knowing it, with the thought in mind that IF ALLAH HAD SHOWN Z THAT SIDE OF HIS X’s PAST, he would have surely hated him !!

    Can one take up past sins to kill such a thought?

    (I hope i have not made my question too confusing!)

    wa alaykum as salam

    It is spiritually unhealthy to remember past sins for which one has sincerely repented.

    Sayyidi wa sanadi db recommends that one should remind oneself of the sattari of Allah thanking Him and bring to mind his actual deficient state in general (which is a reality).
    Moreover, when one progresses spiritually the praise and condemnation of the makhluq becomes totally insignificant.

    was salam

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