How Can I Forget the Past?
  • Mon, 05/11/2015
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When he married her, he felt that since she was now his wife, there was nothing wrong with him indulging his curiosity about her past. He knew that everyone has secrets and his imagination was running riot.

This is a bad path for newlyweds to tread. Your spouse is right there in front of you. You can see how that person behave and you can tell your life partner’s sincerity and devotion. Do not dwell in the corridors and obscure traces of the past. Do not turn the loving relationship you have into one of suspicion and doubt.

Newlyweds who are starting a new life and establishing a new home need to turn from the past to the future. They should not drag their old homes along with them. Take with you your prized possessions and precious antiques, but leave the old ragged furniture behind. Don’t let it spoil the decor.

Be optimistic and take the time to breathe in the fresh air. Enjoy the present moment and the beauty that it holds. Dispel the sorrow from your eyes with a positive outlook. Be hopeful and content.

Is it possible to forget the past? It seems like a difficult thing to do, but we must not dwell on the past, and we must never resign ourselves to the apparently inexorable march of history which can cloud our view of the present.

We speak about the great people of the past. Arab poets like to mourn their passing and lament over the ruin cities of old. However, those great people were great precisely because they lived fully in the present and forged a future for themselves. They were not preoccupied with the past.

The past is full of tribulations, pain, and disappointments. It is hard to forget the loss of a loved one, the betrayal of a spouse, the failure of a business, the estrangement of a friend and the mistreatment of a relative.

The past never dies. How can it, when we lived through it and experienced it first-hand. It remains in our conscious thoughts and our subconscious memory. It is important, therefore, that we learn how to deal with it.

Keeping up the remembrance of Allah strengthens and inspires us. Everything is from Him and everything belongs to Him. Our faith that everything is according to His will brings contentment to our hearts:
“No misfortune comes about except by Allah’s permission; and whoever believes in Allah, He guides his heart aright; and Allah is cognizant of all things.” [Sūrah al-Taghābun: 11]

“No misfortune strikes upon the earth or among yourselves except that it is recorded in a decree before We bring it into being. Indeed that, for Allah, is easy.” [Sūrah al-Hadīd: 22]
When we remind ourselves that what happened in the past was by Allah’s decree, it settles our hearts and helps us become reconciled to the past. We need to come to terms with our circumstances so we can work towards bettering them instead of letting the past overwhelm us to a point of resignation.

Our friends can help us get through tough times. Their time is the present. Laugh with them today. Enjoy their company. Don’t repress the urge to smile. Let yourself engage in lively conversation. Express yourself and allow your inner strength to emerge.

Do not suppress your feelings. Communicating how you feel helps to placate your sorrows. At the same time, be positive. Do not let bitter words bring you down. Your own ears hear what you say and your mind gets affected all over again. Those negative thoughts get even more deeply embedded in your subconscious. The subconscious in not some notion that psychologists made up. It is something real, something you experience when all of the sudden you recall something that you had forgotten. Where did that memory go? When it was forgotten, it was still there in your mind and it could still affect you.

We have made mistakes and committed sins in the past, things that we regret deeply. We should know that even our sins are part of Allah’s decree, and what we need to do is seek Allah’s forgiveness and repent sincerely. We have to regret our sins, but not let that regret consume us. Allah’s mercy is there for us, and his promise of forgiveness should calm our hearts.

We should only dwell on our past mistakes to the extent that it helps us to act more decisively and judiciously in the future.

Learn to give yourself some leeway, as long as no sin is involved. When you do fall into sin, be hard on yourself to the extent that it brings you to repent, seek Allah’s forgiveness and refrain from committing the sin again. Do not forget that Allah is forgiving, merciful, and generous.

Our regret is the greatest when we remember the bad things we did to other people. “O you who believe! If a wicked person comes to you with any news, ascertain the truth, lest you harm people unwittingly and afterwards become full of regret for what you have done.” [Sūrah al-Hujurāt: 6]

It is the God-conscious people who are most aggrieved by their harming others; that is why the verse begins with “O you who believe.”

Hasten to apologise to those you have wronged. Go to them directly. Ask them to forgive you. Remember them in your prayers. Resolve in your heart to never again behave in such a way.

Over the years, I have learned that apologising does not make you look weak. Indeed, the most eloquent apologies come from a position of strength. Like when we apologise to our children, our students, and our employees, or for those of us who are in positions of power, when we apologise to the nation. It takes courage for an athlete to apologise to another on the playing field.

Those in power sometimes feel it is beneath them to apologise. It is for the people to bear the consequences.

When you are haunted by the ghosts of the past, and they make it impossible for you to enjoy the present, try beseeching Allah for his forgiveness dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of times. Do not weary of doing so. Let your mistakes be the cause for you doing better deeds. Be like `Umar when he said: “And on account of that, I performed many good deeds.”

Some people feel that they should never make mistakes. When they do err, they never speak about it. They want to appear to other people like angels on the Earth.

Feeling a little bit of guilt and fear is a good thing. One of the pious predecessors fell into debt, and he said to himself: “I know why I am suffering from this debt now. Forty years ago I insulted someone by saying to him that he was bankrupt.”

Being nonchalant is a problem, but so is self-condemnation when it makes you stop in your tracks and do nothing. Your family needs your time and your good company. Be a good parent, a good spouse, and a good child.

Alfred Nobel invented dynamite and saw himself as the creator of death. His invention made him very rich. He decided to take part of that fortune and establish the Nobel Peace Prize and a number of scientific and cultural prizes to redress some of the harm that his invention had brought to the world. Nevertheless, dynamite is used for a wide range of peaceful purposes.

The past is full of conflicts, abuse, humiliations, and secrets. There are things that happen and then pass that are best forgotten. Sometimes things really did not happen the way we perceived them. Our perspective on the matter or our suspicions made them out to be something other than what they really were.

What matters is not what happened, but how we react to it and let it affect us. Consider that it did not happen or that it was inconsequential and people are not concerned about it and have other things on their mind. This is crucial when it comes to our children. Their families must protect them should from feeling guilt-ridden and uncertain about themselves or having their self-esteem eroded.