Answered by Ustadha Zaynab Ansari, SunniPath Academy Teacher
I am very depressed and confused about my religion. Sometimes, I don’t want to pray and I feel anger toward Allah. My father has tried to give me advice, but when I followed his advice, it was to my loss. He has told me things about the religion, but later I found out he was wrong. My confidence in his advice has been shattered. I know he means well and just wants to help me. Right now, he tries to dictate every aspect of my life, from telling me how to cut my hair, or learning to drive, or starting to pray. His advice doesn’t deal with the bigger concerns I have, but rather seems geared at getting me out of my inactivity. I don’t want to follow his advice unless I can see the logic behind it. He wants me to follow him without question. When I question him, he calls me disobedient. I’m so confused about my religion that I would like to go stay with religious people so they can help me. But I don’t think he will let me leave. He will probably say that I can’t handle it. Perhaps he is correct.
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
Praise be to Allah. May the peace and blessings of Allah shower upon our Beloved Messenger, his family, companions, and those who follow them.
I’m glad that you are trying to put the best construction on the matter. Although your father’s advice may not have worked out in the past, it doesn’t mean that his advice is never valid. Our parents may not be right all the time, but they certainly deserve our love, respect, and obedience. It really does look like your father is trying to help you. But you must also help yourself. You mention that you are depressed. What are you doing to deal with this? I think it would be a good idea to seek help for your depression. I don’t know how long you’ve suffered from depression, or how chronic it is, but it may be a good idea to seek the help of a licensed therapist.
You also spoke of being confused about your religion. Now is as good a time as ever to try to mitigate some of that confusion. By all means, seek out of the company of righteous, knowledgeable Muslims who can help you. Even if you start off with something basic like learning your prayers or reading the Quran, Allah willing, this will be of benefit to you in the short and long term.
I think it would be a good idea to give your father’s advice a chance to see if it works. And you also need to take steps to pull yourself out of despair. Don’t turn your back on Allah, because He is there for you. Don’t be angry at Allah. He is giving you an opportunity to find Him.
Please seek the counsel of a scholar or imam with whom you can discuss your situation further.
Also, please see these additional links on SunniPath:
Depression: “Truly, it is by the Remembrance of Allah that hearts find rest.”
What is the famous dhikr against depression?
Tribulations, Hardships, and Difficulties: Supplications and Advice
And Allah alone gives success.
– Umm Salah (Zaynab Ansari)