Trying to Practice but Feel Like a Failure: What Should I Do?

Answered by Sidi Abdullah Anik Misra

Question: I am a 15 year old Aspergers Child and am a sophmore at a Catholic high school. I was never given a proper chance to learn about Islam formally. I used to learn Quran with my dad but I later stopped. I was never accustomed to fasting or praying and I still am unable to pray all 5 daily prayers. On top of this, I am having issues with my studies, trying to stay away from dating, dances, and so forth. My dad tells me that unless I shape up and get good grades and becoming practicing, I’m not going to be an A grade in life. I”ve tried performing all my rpayerbut after a while I stop. My mom and my sister try to stop me from fasting during school days and discourage me from doing so. I feel depressed about my life and I feel like I am a big failure. What do I do?

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

Thanks for writing to us. I think that as a 15 year old, in an environment where there aren’t many Muslims and Islam isn’t taught, without much support from family and while struggling against high school temptations, just the fact that you have so much concern about your Islamic practice is a huge blessing!

Just think about it: there are many other youth who are totally lost, not knowing the slightest thing about their faith, let alone worrying and stressing about how to please Allah. When I read your account, I didn’t see you as a failure at all- rather, I think you are strong and insha Allah, your attitude is one of success.

Success with Allah Most High is often attained through struggling against one’s own self, one’s desires, and in striving to resist the demands to do wrong that society invites you to.  This was how the prophets (peace be upon them), the best of mankind, lived their entire lives- through challenges and difficulty. By trying to maintain your Deen (your faith) in your situation, you are following in their footsteps.

My advice would be to try to try putting what you read into practice bit by bit. Start by making dua’ to Allah Most High regularly when alone; ask Him to make your journey easy for you. Begin integrating your 5 daily prayers into your schedule without delay – the prayers are a must and they will keep you away from bad things and uplift your spirit. Most importantly, get yourself into Islamic company: visit the masjid more often, make Muslim friends, and even spend time reading Qu’ran or attending talks with your Dad.

If anyone should discourage you from practicing, be polite and patient with them, but do not give up what Allah Most High has made a duty upon us. Distract yourself from the temptations of dating and bad company by focusing on school work, and perhaps in your spare time, take a basic course on an Islamic subject online (see Seekers Guidance from more details).

Don’t let yourself get down about the challenges. You’re doing very well, and once you integrate prayers and good company into your life, you will see how much easier and fulfilling it gets, insha Allah.  May Allah Ta’ala reward you.

Abdullah Misra

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani