A Seeker asked Hazratwala (rahimahullah):
“Assalamu Alaykum. I wanted to know that if a person commits a certain sin and repents, and then prays salat-ut-tawba, but then still constantly remembers that particular sin while making dua for something else, will that mean his sin has not been forgiven yet and he should still seek more repentance?”
Hazratwala (rahimahullah) replied:
Once a person has made sincere tawba from the bottom of his heart, to then think about his sin over and over again and harbor doubts about its forgiveness is wrong. Once a person has sincerely repented, now he must keep on going, having complete hope in Allah’s infinite mercy.
Hazratwala (rahimahullah) used to say, “Allah Ta’ala has not created our hearts to continuously remember our sins, thereby making ourselves hopeless of His mercy. Rather the heart has been made for His remembrance and love. NOT FOR THE REMEMBRANCE OF SINS!”
If the sin comes to mind by itself without deliberately bringing the thought into the mind, then there is no harm in this “remembrance”, for he did not intentionally bring it to mind. As for intentionally remembering sins and or reminiscing over them and taking enjoyment from them, this is not correct.
The spontaneous thought that comes about in the mind without any effort on your side is not evil and will not harm you. Actually the Masha’ikh have written that if a person committed a sin once in his life, the waswasa (whispering) of that sin will continue to come into his mind and heart till the day he dies. This is from the ill-effects of sins. Illaa mashā’ Allah.
This is not something he should be concerned about however. It is not against the status of wilāyat and friendship of Allah to get wasāwis (whispering) of sins. Practically implementing those wasāwis is what is negative to wilāyat, not the mere presence of wasāwis. In fact, one may even look at those wasāwis as blessings whenever one ignores them – for now one has the reward of ignoring a whispering, and this draws one close to Allah. This is a manifestation of taqwa itself.
In conclusion: to think, “if the thought of a previously committed and reptented sin comes to mind, this means that the sin has not been forgiven yet”, is NOT correct. Once you have repented, let bygones be bygones and continue on with the obedience of Allah and do not intentionally think about the sin unless it is for making shukr (showing gratitude) that Allah saved you from such a thing. The unintentional thought is nothing to worry about.