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Doubts, Difficulties, and Suicidal Thoughts

Answered as per Hanafi Fiqh by Seekersguidance.org

Answered by Sidi Wasim Shiliwala

Question: as salamu alaykum

Recently my iman has been very low. The only thing that prevents me from killing myself is the knowledge I have about suicide in the Islamic perspective. It seems unfair, I didn’t choose to exist.

I have made dua to Allah so many times to give me my iman back, but none of my prayers are answered. And, yes, I know that maybe they will be answered with something better in the akhira, but I can’t use that, because if I die as a non-believer I know where I’m going!

The reason why my Iman is so weak is also because I have read many things that is against religion and the existence of God. I would be very glad to hear someone destroy the theory of evolution for instance. I really need help. I don’t see any reasons to live if Islam isn’t the truth. It is so difficult. My mind is filled with so many doubts. Many questions pops up in my mind, such as:

– What have I done to deserve iman? What about all the other billions of people out there? Why are my prayers never answered?

It is not the existence of a God that is most difficult to believe in, but in my mind Islam has to be perfect if God really exists. And I don’t see Islam as perfect. Every time I read translations of the Quran my iman decreases because I don’t see anything special in what I’m reading. I love to recite it in Arabic though. And inside the folds of Islam I have not been able to determine which path is the right one. Sometimes salafis appear to be right, and sometimes non-Salafis appear be right.

I have read all your other answers on how to increase your iman, but it doesn’t help me at all. I have prayed 5 times a day and fasted during ramadan since I was a kid, I know a lot of Quran, and I am well educated in the religion.  I have always loved going to the masjid as well.

I think the fact that I’m pretty intelligent contributes to my doubts. I know I’m not using my intellect the right way. I really want to die as a Muslim.

Please help, I really need advice.

Answer: Walaikum As-salaam wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu,

Jazakum Allahu Khairan for all of your questions. I pray that Allah removes this trial for you, increases your faith, and enters you into His garden. Your question reflects a deep sincerity and longing for God, which is very important.

You have posed many questions, and I am sure that you have many more. I will try to answer what I can as best as I can, but I want to emphasize 3 points of advice at the beginning:

1. Seek the help of a counselor or mental health professional who can help you deal with depression.

2. Purify your intention and continue a deep pursuit of knowledge to decrease doubts and increase faith.

3. Focus on your relationship with Allah, and don’t get distracted by other thoughts.

I will now attempt to address your questions point by point insha’Allah:

Dealing with Depression

“In many weeks my faith in Allah has been very weak. And the last couple of days has been the most difficult days in my entire life… and when I’m alone I often cry.”

Depression is a very serious affliction that can’t be dealt with in isolation. While this answer will address some of your doubts, your suicidal thoughts indicate a deeper problem that cannot be solved over the internet. Therefore, I strongly encourage you to seek the help of a qualified counselor.

Seeking proper help is of utmost importance, and Allah commands us in the Qur’an to seek qualified advice if we are unsure about something (16:43). Similarly, a hadith relates that when two of the companions gave bad advice to an injured man that resulted in his death, the Prophet (peace be upon him) proclaimed, “Do you not ask if you do not know?” [Abu Dawud]

Alhamdulillah, contacting us at SeekersGuidance is an important first step in the process of seeking help. We can provide some general religious guidance, but I strongly recommend that you find a professional counselor – perhaps one at your school – who can help you deal with your depression.

You can find some general guidance about dealing with difficulties in the following answers:

Advice to a Young Man with OCD and Struggling with Pornography and Other Major Sins

Advice to a Young Cancer Patient

Family Problems: Maintaining Conviction in Allah During Difficulty & Tribulation

Fighting Depression Through The Remembrance Of Allah

Patience and Dua

“I have made dua to Allah so many times… but it doesn’t work.”

As created beings, our limited understanding of reality often prevents us from seeing how and when our duas are answered. Still, we must have certainty that Allah will answer our supplications, as the Prophet (peace be upon him) said “Make Dua and be assured of it being answered” (Sunan at-Tirmidhi). This is an essential part of the etiquette of dua, which is explained in the following answer:

Struggling to Have Children: Ten Key Etiquettes of Du’a

Another deficiency we have as human beings is that we do not always know what is best for us at any given time. Allah tells us in the Qur’an: “Perhaps you may hate a thing and it is good for you; and perhaps you may love a thing and it is bad for you. Allah knows, while you know not.” (2:216)

This applies to our supplications as well. We might ask for something and desire it to come immediately, but it is often better for us that it either not be fulfilled in the exact manner or time-frame we wish. In this case, it is from Allah’s mercy and wisdom that He provides us with what we need, not what we desire. Allah knows what is best for us more than we do, so part of our spiritual struggle (mujahada) is to be content and patient with His will.

So rest assured that your du’as are indeed working, but that they’re being answered in the way that’s most beneficial for you and your spiritual development. Perhaps – and Allah knows best – Allah is answering your dua by pushing you to seek help and knowledge, after which you will increase in health, faith, and certainty.

Above all, Allah has promised that He will answer those who call upon Him (2:186), so never think that your du’as are not being heard.

Sacred Knowledge is the Key to Certainty

“The reason why my Iman is so weak is also because… I don’t see Islam as perfect.”

Sadly, this is a reality for many Muslims today. The only way for them to remove such doubts is to actually study their religion in a proper manner, which is why the Prophet said that “seeking knowledge is an obligation upon every Muslim.” [Sunan ibn Majah]

Generally speaking, I advise that you invest a lot of your time in studying this beautiful and deep tradition. Take courses here at SeekersGuidance: listen to the lectures, take copious amounts of notes, and ask a lot of questions. Since you know some Qur’an and fiqh, focus on classes related to belief and spirituality, and start learning Arabic (I’ll explain why soon).

Also, I recommend that you stop reading anti-Islamic materials because they can have a poisonous effect on one’s psyche. The authors of such materials know little about Islam, or religion for that matter. They bury their ignorance in spurious arguments, baseless generalizations, and outright attacks. Ignore these materials and focus on learning more about the deep and complex world of traditional Islamic thought.

As for your specific questions, they can only be answered by taking courses and reading books. I will try to offer some recommendations here:

1. Islam and Science – In reality, science and religion are not at odds with each other: science explains the “how” of the world while religion explains the “why.” Even if all of the current scientific theories about the universe are true, they will only help us understand those laws that Allah set in place to govern His universe.

That said, some works provide noteworthy objections to the theory of evolution, such as Darwin’s Black Box. The following article also provides an intelligent critique of the theory from an Islamic perspective:

Islam and Evolution

I want to stress that Islam is not opposed to scientific progress; to the contrary, Muslims have been at the forefront of scientific research for many centuries. Rather, Muslims object to the manner in which some scientists try to use their data to make absurdly grand claims about the existence of God, the nature of reality, and the value of religion.

If you are interested in these discussions, I recommend you read the works of Seyyed Hossein Nasr related to Islam, science, and modernity, as well as Professor William Chittick’s Science of the Cosmos, Cosmos of the Soul.

2. Islam and the Salvation of Others – While we do not know the final outcome of ourselves or of those around us, we should trust Allah when He says that He is al-Rahman (the all-merciful), al-Raheem (the oft-merciful), al-Ghafur (the oft-forgiving), and many other names that emphasize His mercy over His creation.

In our times, most people are not Muslim, but that does not mean that they are all destined for the fire. Allah says in the Qur’an, “And We do not punish [a people] until We have sent [them] a messenger” (17:15). Based on this and other evidences, most Sunni theologians maintain that people who do not receive the message of Islam will not be held accountable for their disbelief. [Bajuri, Tuhfat al-Murid]

Furthermore, the great Muslim scholar Imam al-Ghazali argues that even those who receive a distorted message of Islam will not be held accountable, since they were not presented with a true and accurate depiction of the religion. [al-Ghazali, Faysal al-Tafriqa] In the end, our concern is not to judge the fate of others, but only to practice the faith and present it to others in the most merciful and beautiful manner possible.

3. The miracle of the Qur’an – There are numerous reasons as to why the Qur’an is miraculous (see below), and translations of the Qur’an rarely capture the true beauty of this noble and generous text. I therefore urge you to study tafsir (commentary) and learn Arabic.

The best English commentary you can find is Mufti Taqi Usmani’s translation of Ma’ariful Qur’an. Of course, English commentaries only offer a glimpse at the Qur’an’s depth and beauty. To truly appreciate the extraordinary nature of the Qur’an, you must learn the Arabic language.

In addition to the Qur’an, the Prophet (peace be upon him) is himself a tremendous proof of this religion, so I urge you to read works that detail his biography and character. The following answers outline some proofs regarding the veracity of the Qur’an and the Prophet (peace be upon him):

The Truth of Islam, the Qur’an, & the Prophet Muhammad (Peace and Blessings Be Upon Him)

How Do We Know That the Qur’an Is Inimitable and Thus From Allah?

4. Navigating scholars and sects – Islam is a diverse tradition with many differences of opinion, but there is much agreement on its core teachings: the five pillars of Islam, the six articles of faith, the necessity of following the Qur’an, sunnah, and qualified scholars, the importance of avoiding the haram and sticking to with the halal, and the goal of achieving Allah’s pleasure, which results in greater spirituality in this world and entrance into Paradise in the next. While important and controversial differences of opinion do exist, we must recognize that the scholars involved are sincere in their efforts and diligent in their studies.

Most importantly, remember that above all else, we are all Muslims. Despite all of our differences, we are a community united around the testimony that there is no god except Allah and that Muhammad is His messenger. You should not feel pressured to choose sides, as we are all striving for the same goals. That said, I highly encourage you to continue benefiting from SeekersGuidance, which has teachers from a variety of schools of thought, all of whom are qualified, accessible, and willing to answer your questions.

5. Study with teachers – regardless of how you continue your pursuit of knowledge, make sure you do so with qualified teachers who can answer your questions and guide you along your path. You, like many Muslims, have thousands of questions, and, insha’Allah, you will find answers to all of them throughout the course of your studies. However, the path of seeking knowledge and purifying one’s heart is not easy; it requires much patience, diligence, and deep reflection.

Insha’Allah, I pray that these few words have helped settle your heart and increase your resolve to reconnect with Allah. But I want to reiterate the importance of seeking help for your difficulties regarding depression and suicidal thoughts. This is a very serious matter, and I pray that Allah makes it easy for you and makes it a means by which you enter into His eternal mercy.

Baarak Allahu Fikum,

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

This answer was collected from Seekersguidance.org. It’s an online learning platform overseen by Sheikh Faraz Rabbani. All courses are free. They also have in-person classes in Canada.

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