Answered by Dr. Bano Murtuja
Question: After many years of unsuccessfully trying very hard to get married, I became frustrated and started having negative thoughts.
I went off to medical school where I have been struggling with being happy by reminding myself that I came here because this is what Allah has made available to me and trying to focus on the positive things.
I keep thinking to myself what is so wrong with me that I cannot get married when everyone else around me is getting married or having kids. It makes me feel like I am never going to get married or have kids and then I do not want to live life anymore because all my future entails is dealing with difficulty and the burden of being single and constantly being reminded of it. I see how Allah is so generous with others, but I feel like I am struggling to be good now when it was easy before. I repent from my bad thoughts, but then I relapse.
I feel that if I got married that would mean that Allah accepted my repentance, but the fact that I’m single and in this vicious cycle is a sign that Allah does not like me and maybe I am beyond hope. I feel like I am growing farther from Allah and no matter what I do I can never get back and that Allah maybe has given up on me and I have become one of those people who no matter what they do Allah will not guide them on the straight path.
Answer: Thank you for your email. May God make all of your trials easier to bear and grant you ease in all of your affairs inshaAllah.
I would like to begin by saying that often the trials we face can feel insurmountable, and can result in confusion and doubt. it is important that one does not let these very natural reactions define who one is.
The search for a marriage partner can often result in disappointment and the tendency to look at one’s life in terms of what is absent rather than what one has.
MashaAllah, from your email it is evident that you are trying not to get sucked in by the feelings of discontent that you have. The first step to dealing with a difficulty is acknowledging that it is there, and it is a blessing from Allah that you not only see your discontent for what it is, but are actively trying to combat it. I pray that you are granted success and ease in doing so.
There are a number of practical steps that you can take that may help you in a) becoming more content with the life that Allah has decreed for you and b) making you happier and more focused in what you are currently doing.
1] on a daily basis count the number of blessings Allah has bestowed upon you. This is a very positive exercise in making us realize that the blessings we do have are so many and yet we deserve so little. In doing this you will hopefully begin to combat the feelings of who deserves what, as it will help you realize we are all undeserving of even the smallest of blessings and yet in His infinite generosity Allah continues to bestow us with them. From the breathes that we take, to the ability to see, to the family that we have etc.
2] In blessings, know that they are not bestowed in accordance to one’s degree of worthiness, but in accordance to God’s wisdom. His infinite Knowledge encompasses what is best for us, regardless of what we may think we know.
3] Continue to make dua and make regular and consistent remembrance. God Most High says, “Truly it is in the remembrance of God that hearts find rest” (The Qur’an, 13:28). He also says, “And if My servants ask thee about Me – behold, I am near; I respond to the call of him who calls, whenever he calls unto Me: let them, then, respond unto Me, and believe in Me, so that they might follow the right way.”
4] Have a good opinion of God. Know that if He has inspired you to ask for forgiveness He will forgive. God loves those who ask for repentance, and tells us as much. To be loved by God is an incredible station. To be one who asks for repentance and joins that fold is a true blessing.
Some people are tested and bought closer to God through their marriage – they have difficult marriages, and horrible experiences but find that through them they are bought closer to the Divine. Others are tested and bought closer to God by staying single. In His infinite Knowledge God knows what is best for us.
5 times a day we ask God to guide us to the right path during the surah fatiha. That you are still turning to God, still seeking guidance, still striving to achieve contentment with Him shows you are on the path to Him, and so should not worry about guidance per se. God tells us to ask Him, and guarantees an answer to our prayers, but in the time and manner He knows is best for us and not the time and manner we choose. You can take comfort from all of this inshaAllah. There is always hope, because God is infinitely Merciful and has told us to never lose hope in him inshaAllah.
Although it is easier said than done, please try not to feel alone. God is always with you, and sends you love, friendship and strength in ways you never even realize.
May God grant you ease, success and facilitation in everything you do.
And Allah alone grants success.