Answered by Shaykh Rami Nsour
Question: Asalaamu Aluykum
After failing to excel at school growing up, after a 2 year delay, I managed to get into a top ten University. Recently I failed one unit due to not studying something that was forced on me. I have suffered a lot due to stress. The University acknowledged my situation and has allowed me to carry on and pick a suitable subject.
However i have doubts whether I should carry on. I am the only member of my family that has had problems with education. Ever since the age of 16 strangers, friends, and family have told me I am slow and stupid.
My self esteem is very low and I doubt I can do well at University after listening to what others say. I feel sad and lonely at times. I want to study and do well so I can work for the ummah. I regularly send blessings on the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) at night to help with feelings of sorrow and loneliness.
Answer: May Allah make things easy for you my dear brother. The situation that you are dealing with is not an easy one. When insults come from those who are closest to us they can hurt and damage us the most.
Rights of Parents
My advice to you first and foremost is to remain humbly respectful to your parents no matters what they say to you. Ibrahim alayhis salam had a father who told him that he would stone him. Yet in response, Ibrahim alayhis salam spoke very respectfully to him. You should consider taking our course on the Rights of Parents to help you guide your way through dealing with your parents.
Deen vs. Dunya
Another thing that you should be sure to train yourself to think about, is the difference between the knowledge and work of the deen (religion) and that of the dunya (worldy affairs). As long as you do not fall short in your religious affairs, then others do not have a right to blame you. The only exception is dunya that serves the deen, like working to support ones self and their family.
In terms of carrying on with your university education, why would you stop it? As long as it does not take you away from studying the knowledge of this deen, then you should keep going with it. It will give you a standing to support yourself throughout your life and make learning and practicing the deen easier.
In terms of people insulting you in various ways, you do not have to stand for it. You should politely tell your parents that those words harm you. For others who hurl the insults, you can be more assertive in letting them know they have hurt you. You should also remove yourself from the place where you are being insulted.
This is a type of hijrah (immigration), even if it means just going to to another room. Do not sit there and take it. The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings upon him, taught us to not allow ourselves to be belittled. So you must do whatever you can to protect your honor.
Dealing with the Pain
You have found a wonderful way of dealing with the pain that you are experiencing Sending prayers on the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam is a healing for the hearts. I would also encourage you to increase your reading of the Quran as well. Reading Sura Yusuf has been found to help heal sadness.
Abu Dom Dom
You should also implement the practice of Abu Dom Dom. He was a man in Jahiliyya (Days of Pre-Islamic Ignorance) who used to say every morning, “O Allah, I give my honor as a charity to the people.” He would intend that everything that he was owed, in terms of people slighting his honor, he would give away as charity. The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings upon him, said, “Are any of you incapable of being like Abu Dom Dom?” This practice of “giving up” things is a time-tested healing.
As long as we hang on to the hurt that others have caused us, it will continue to hurt us. Even physiologically every time we think about the hurt our body releases cortisol and other hormones that cause stress similar to when we first experienced the pain the first time. Thereby leading to a perpetual hurt. The practice of Abu Dom Dom, approved and encouraged by the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) can break this vicious cycle.
Please keep in contact with us here at Seekers and take our courses. There is healing and guidance in seeking knowledge.