I committed an unjust act towards somebody years ago. Then I talked to him and he forgave me. However I cannot get rid of the pressure of my conscience. I repented and asked Allah for my forgiveness. How will I know if Allah has forgiven me?
A person may have committed an unjust act towards another person intentionally or unintentionally, consciously or unconsciously. He/she may even have wronged and aggrieved somebody.
What should we do then? Is it enough to contemplate it our inner world saying I have done it once, I wont do it again, I wish I hadnt done it? Or should we compensate it by correcting our mistakes and apologizing to the person and ask forgiveness for what we did?
Fundamentally, there are rights of Allah and rights of people in Islam. Rights of Allah are the duties of worshipping everybody is supposed to do for their Lord. He/she begs Allah for his/her sins or faults, repents and ask for forgiveness. As for rights of people, it is different. There is only one way of compensation, to go and find the person who was aggrieved and wronged, to apologize to him/her, beg forgiveness and to compensate any material harm if there is any.
Our Prophet (PBUH) said the following in a hadith:
Whoever has oppressed another person concerning his reputation or anything else, he should beg him to forgive him before the Day of Resurrection when there will be no money (to compensate for wrong deeds), but if he has good deeds, those good deeds will be taken from him according to his oppression which he has done, and if he has no good deeds, the sins of the oppressed person will be loaded on. (1)
As it is also recommended by our Prophet (PBUH) there is no other way than apologizing and asking forgiveness. Even when a person becomes a shaheed (martyr), Allah forgives all his/her sins other than rights of people if he/she has any.
You should go and find the person that you have wronged, confess that you have made a mistake, apologize to him/her and ask forgiveness. If he/she has suffered a material loss, you should compensate it as much as you can. That way you will do your best. If that person welcomes you and forgives you, you will get rid of your responsibility and you will be saved from the questioning and punishment in the hereafter by receiving forgiveness in the world as it is stated in the hadith. .
However, if you suffer from guilty conscience, you can repent and ask Allah for forgiveness, too. You will be at ease with Allah as it is stated in the hadiths Being sorry is actually repentance and He who repents his sins is as if he has not committed any sins. (2)
How can a person know or realize if his repentance has been accepted by Allah, if he is free of sins? Lets hear the answer from our Prophet (PBUH):
a man who commits a sin and then repents and performs a good deed is like a man who wears a tight armor. When he performs a good deed after a sin, one of the chains of the armor is released. When he performs another good deed, another chain is released. At the end of the good deeds the armor falls to the ground. (3)
If a person who commits a sin towards his Lord, or wrongs another person repents after the sin, performs good deeds, increases his efforts for the service of Quran and belief, the chains of the armor of the sin are released one by one and he gets rid of the sins soon. Then he does not need to suffer from guilty conscience and be uneasy and feel sorry; because he has done his best with a good intention and sincerity.
By the way we should not forget the following verse:
Say: "O my Servants who have transgressed against their souls! Despair not of the Mercy of Allah: for Allah forgives all sins: for He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. (4)
2.et-Tergib ve't-Terhib, 4:97.
4.Zumar Chapter, 53.
Reference: Mehmed Paksu Çağın Getirdiği Sorular
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