Shaykh Abdul Rahim Reasat gives advice on how to overcome doubts about one’s faith, and to seek help against self-sabotage.
Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.
I have a question about consistency in my ibada. Honestly, sometimes I feel like not being honest in them because I’m not consistent like in my prayers. I’ll pray for example my five daily prayers for six months and then suddenly stop even though a week ago I just felt like I “refreshed” my iman. I feel like a munafiq and I want to solve this problem by the root.
When I started to pray at the age of eleven, I did it consistently for one year then stopped then started again and so on. There must be something wrong. Now I’m trying again but still having difficulties. I don’t have this desire. I feel like I have to do this and don’t want it – thinking in my soul of being somewhere else when I pray. I’m at the end of choosing what to study in university and finishing school and therefore have a desire to return to Allah because I feel like I’m unsafe without Allah guiding me in making these decisions.
I’m praying istikhara and there is no feeling or any kind of thing I might interpret as a sign to choose option A or B. Therefore I am really feeling like a hypocrite Allah doesn’t care about. There are times I cry out of sadness about my situation but there is always a voice in my head telling me: “Stop crying! You’re just acting. Tomorrow you’ll do it again. Who do you think are you fooling?” And I sincerely believe this voice. Because I am weak.
I think this might be Shaytan or my self-doubt but still, I feel like a munafiq even though I make “tawba.” Something in my iman must be wrong something in the root of my din and I don’t know what it us or how to deal with it. I watched a lecture by Mufti Menk where a man had the same situation and said you are not making your tawba correctly, so what might I do wrong? Please help me I am hoping for an answer that could show me the real problem.
I reflected upon my sins and if I started a new sin that I didn”t do when I prayed but there wasn’t anything “new” or a change in number either. I don’t feel like a real Muslim because of my lack in my prayers. Somehow I can’t establish the importance of my prayers in my heart or mentally meaning there must be something wrong with my heart. What can I do? I visited lectures. I went and still go to the mosque. I have more friends practicing Islam than ever.
Did I maybe just pray when I was eleven because as a child my heart was cleaner? How can I clean my heart? How can I make sincere tawba? Did Allah already seal my heart? Am I already lost? May Allah protect scholars and Islamic websites like these they helped me a lot insha Allah. Allah will reward you for this crucial work.
May Allah protect you from all evil.
Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.
I pray you are well.
It seems to me that you have unresolved emotional problems from your past which are affecting your understanding and practice of the din. Usually, a telltale sign on this is a repeated pattern of behavior which tends to resurface from time to time with no apparent reason. There are reasons, however; it's just that they are not connected to the symptoms on a conscious level.
From your question it is very clear that you suffer from dysfunctional guilt. This sort of guilt leaves people unable to do anything positive. Usually guilt can lead one to repent and change, but in your situation it is overwhelming such that your repentance isn't 'good enough'.
Very often, people with issues of this nature do certain things which eventually cause them further problems later. This is known as self-sabotage. It seems like your missing your prayers is of this nature. You pray, and when something triggers problematic emotions or memories, you miss your prayers. This then leads you to beating yourself up for missing the prayers and the guilt.
Voices in Your Head
If you are hearing voices in your head you need to seek professional help immediately. These matters are serious, and if left unchecked, can develop into worse conditions later on. Seek help, and tell your loved one and friends so they can support you through this trial. Don't try to do it alone.
Ask Allah for Help
Allah sees your situation, and He knows what you are going through. Have a good opinion of Him; believe that Allah will bring the best results for you through this trial, and know that every difficulty the believer faces is a means for drawing closer to Allah, and for sins to be forgiven.
Ask Allah to strengthen you to deal with this trial – no matter how long it lasts. The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, told us, “Whoever tries to be patient, Allah makes him patient. And no one has been given a gift better or wider [in its scope] than patience.” (Bukhari).
May Allah grant you the best of both worlds.
Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.