Does repentance for past mistakes necessitate public disclosure and abandonment of related benefits?
What if someone got a position or a job or a degree which was not according to his /her abilities (not on merit) but by some foul means. After working on that position or with those credentials for a long time after several years, he/she realizes that how he/she acquired that position or job was not right. Now he/she is ashamed and is repenting. He/she seeks Allah’s forgiveness but doesn’t know whether only asking for forgiveness is enough.
Should he leave that job which is a source of income for his family? On his job he worked hard, with dedication and with honesty. He was a helpful and worked for the benefit of a lot of poor and deserving people. In some way or the other he is helping poor,sick people as well as a support and a pillar for the family who doesn’t know about his past. He is respected by many people and his family. He is restless, he prays and asks for Allah’s forgiveness and tries to be a true Muslim. Should he leave that auspicious post? Should he tell everyone he doesn’t deserve to be what he/she is? He doesn’t want to embarrass his children and doesn’t want to get embarrassed in front of his children whom he is always telling to be righteous and truthful. He doesn’t want his/her spouse to know who respects him/her as a very righteous person and believes in him/her.
Please guide according to shariah, should he/she expose him/herself. This exposing can ruin his family life. People say its between you and God, its up to Him to forgive you , you should continue doing good deeds n keep on asking for Allah’s forgiveness. If you have realized your mistakes and repent sincerely then God will forgive you. I know you cannot tell that weather God will forgive or not but what I want to know is do you have to ask for God’s forgiveness in public? Do you have to accept in public that you have done those sins or you can quietly ask for Allah’s forgiveness and continue to lead your normal life?
I am convinced that the person should continue to seek forgiveness and do good things he/she is doing. Exposing oneself in public is not necessary, especially when nothing can be done to correct the wrong. Verse 23 of Surah Nisa tells us that if there were some marriages that had already been formalized with ladies who were Mahrem in God’s shari’ah, like step mother, step sister, sister-in-law etc such marriages need not be undone. In other words, after realizing that what you had done was wrong, it is the future performance that needs to be corrected. In case if the wrongs of the past can be redressed, those too should be corrected. But if doing so would cause unnecessary complications, like in case of marriages with Mahrem ladies, the marriage should be allowed to continue. I believe the case you have mentioned is similar to the case of such marriages.