I Struggle with Thoughts of Disbelief and Suicide

Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil is asked about despair and contemplating suicide from being a lone Muslim.

I struggle with thoughts of disbelief and suicide. I have non-Muslim family members and feel so guilty when I spend time with them during Christmas and so on. I feel ashamed about telling them I am Muslim, because of ISIS.

I have so much uncontrolled anger because I am overwhelmed by my problems. Sometimes I wish I was not brought into existence. I wish for new type of prayer because I’ve been humiliated badly in grade 7, and whenever I want to pray, my mind starts to flashback and then I start to feel shy, embarrassed and then I stop praying,

Can I meet the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, and ask him to reverse time? I have so many regrets. My grandfather died a Christian and I am so sad.

I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for reaching out to us. Please forgive me for the delay.

Suicidal Thoughts

Dear questioner, you sound like you are in a tremendous amount of pain.

Do you have a plan to end your life? If so, I urge you to please seek professional help. At a very minimum, please contact a suicide or mental health hotline in your locality. You need to speak to someone compassionate, to help you break the cycle of despair in your mind.

Thoughts of Disbelief

It may be useful for you to seek out culturally-sensitive counseling to help you manage and eventually overcome these thoughts which plague you.

Please continue a daily litany of repentance and other duas to help protect you from these thoughts: Selected Prophetic Prayers for Spiritual, Physical and Emotional Wellbeing by Chaplain Ibrahim Long.

Please refer to these links to help start your journey towards healing:

Getting Therapy for Irreligious Thoughts
Having Seriously Evil Thoughts
Types of Thought, Blasphemy, and Sin

Uncontrolled Anger

Please read this resource about the Anger Iceberg. You are lugging around so much unresolved pain, which contributes to you feeling so triggered, so often. When you start to release that pain, then will slowly feel less angry.

I encourage you to try some calming meditations, specifically, Islamic Meditations by Shaykh Muhammad Mendes.

Prayer

I am so sorry that you were so shamed for praying in public while you were in Grade 7. May Allah help you heal from this, and increase you in reward for your struggles.

There is no way for prayer to be changed, but perhaps there are ways you can find a private, secure place to pray. Could you speak to your school counsellor about what happened, and ask him/her to facilitate a safe place for you to pray?

Past Trauma

I urge you to contact Sidi Zuhair Girash of Aafiyah Healing. He is a compassionate and wise Muslim holistic healer who can help you, insha Allah. He can help you loosen the grip of your past trauma, and help you live more easily in the present moment.

It sounds like beneath your anger lies deep feelings of shame, powerlessness and sadness. There are ways to overcome this, with the right help.

Reversal of Time

Except those who repent and believe (in Islamic Monotheism), and do righteous deeds, for those, Allah will change their sins into good deeds, and Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. (Sura al-Furqan, 25:70)

A wise high school teacher told me once that instead of a “rewind” button for life, Allah gave us something better – He gives us the gift of repentance. Please know that Allah can transform all of your bad deeds into good deeds.

No matter what happened in your past, know that Allah’s Mercy is greater than that. He loves you, even with all of your imperfections.

Non-Muslim Family Members in Hellfire

Only Allah knows where any of us end up in the Afterlife. Because you are already in a troubled mental state, I urge you not to dwell on the fate of your grandfather.

Trust in the Mercy of your Creator. It is not difficult for Allah to have created belief in your grandfather’s heart, before he passed away, for example.

Please seek comfort from this: How to Deal With a Non-Muslim Relative’s Death.

Christmas and Other Festivals

Please know that because you have non-Muslim family members, then it is very important for you to be part of their lives, and attend their festivals. Please attend the social aspects of these gatherings and avoid the religious components, as best as you can.

Please seek comfort from these answers Is Christmas Haram? Being Muslim in a Non-Muslim Family and Partaking in a Thanksgiving Dinner: Permitted or Not?

Meeting The Prophet, Peace and Blessings be upon Him

Narrated Anas, may Allah be pleased with him: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Whoever has seen me in a dream, then no doubt, he has seen me, for Satan cannot imitate my shape.’ (Bukhari)

One interpretation of this is that one will see him in this life in one’s waking state. (Fath al-Bari)

I pray that you do see the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, in a dream. Know that his heart is connected to yours, he feels your deepest acutely, and he is making dua for you. I encourage you to be open to the winds of mercy from God, even if they do not fit your current rigid concept. Rigidity comes from fear and pain – you have endured a huge amount of suffering. Flexibility and openness comes from surrender.

I pray that Allah eases your terrible burden of pain. Please know that you will will feel better, some day soon. It will not always hurt this much. Please choose to keep alive, so that one day, you will look back at your younger self with compassion and love.

You may not believe me right now, but because you have endured so much, you will be able to offer so much comfort to other broken-hearted souls.

Please write back if you need any more help.

Please also see A Reader on the Problem of Evil, Suffering, Destiny, and Allah’s Mercy and A Reader on Patience and Reliance on Allah.

Raidah

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Are There Prohibited Duas?

Ustadh Farid Dingle is asked if there are prohibited duas, or a limit to what Allah gives.

There are a lot of sites saying that Allah answers all your duas. But are there not certain duas that are prohibited e.g. a dua asking Allah to beautify oneself. Can you please enlist all the duas Allah prohibited?

And is there a limit to which Allah grants one’s duas? I mean you cannot really ask for a unicorn and expect Allah to give it to you, right?

It is not permissible to supplicate Allah (dua) for:

  1. harm to someone else,
  2. something truly miraculous (a unicorn),
  3. something logically impossible (making two be three),
  4. or something religiously impossible (being reincarnated).

Besides that, we should ask for whatever we wish for of this life or the next, even if it seems far-fetched.

As for any limitations to what Allah gives, it is without limits: “Indeed Allah provides whosoever He wills without stint.” (Sura Aal Imran 3:37)

I pray this helps.

Farid

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Does Profanity Entail Shirk?

Ustadh Farid Dingle clears up a misunderstanding about profanity, swearing, oaths, and shirk.

I’d like to ask about swearing (as in taking an oath). I used to have a habit of using English profanity a lot of times. I’m currently working on it, and Alhamdulillah, I’ve made progress. Instead of using vulgar words, I usually use the more toned-down version of them, like “oh man,” “oh boy,” “darn,” etc.

I’ve read from various sources that swearing in the name of someone or something other than Allah is considered shirk. What does it mean by taking an oath not in the name of Allah? Is saying “minced oaths” included? Does saying, for example, “Oh boy, I’m so mad at this” count as one?

I’m having a hard time understanding the link between the connotation of these phrases and how the law should be applied, since English is not my first language. Thank you for your help.

Such words do not constitute oaths. An oath is when you swear by Allah.

Please see What is the Difference Between a Promise, an Oath, and a Vow?

Training yourself to be grateful

It is worth trying to force yourself to say things like “alhamdulillah” instead because the tongue teaches the heart, and one should thank Allah for everything, and not object to His decree. Please also see Divine Decree, Contentment, and Lessons From the Prophet’s Life.

Over time, if you strive to force yourself to thank Allah for the calamities that befall one, it because easier and easier as if it were are part of the way you are.

Watching One’s Tongue

The Prophet, Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “When the Son of Adam awakes, all of his limbs denigrate his tongue. They say, ‘Fear Allah concerning us (limbs of the body), for we are only with you (after all). If you go straight, we go straight, and if you go crooked, we go crooked.’” (Tirmidhi)

May Allah make our hearts, minds, bodies and tongues pure and true. Amin.

Farid

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Making up Prayers and Fasts

Ustadh Farid Dingle clears up some confusion regarding making up missed fasts and prayers.

I’ve been reading your answers about making up broken fasts. In the Ramadan Reader it says we must fast sixty consecutive days for any deliberately broken fasts. But in the answers section it says no expiation is stipulated, however all broken fasts should be made up? Which is the correct one?

I don’t remember clearly if I have broken fasts. I know I used to have the bad habit and think that due to this I may have invalidated my fasts in the past. What’s the ruling here on figuring out how much were missed and making them up?

Also, I have neglected prayers in the past. I have never properly learned to read namaz and I am now working towards rectifying this, Insha Allah. What’s the ruling in making up the prayers, as I’m starting to learn to pray so I’m not sure if I will immediately be able to read all five prayers. Do I have to calculate how many were missed and whilst learning, if any are missed, add these to the overall number that need to be made up, too?

I feel embarrassed asking these questions, but I would like to know what I need to do to make up in these areas.

Jazak Allah khayr.

Expiation for missed or broken fasts

In the Hanafi school, no expiation needs to be paid if you simply don’t fast. The expiation is due for breaking the fast in Ramadan that you did actually start. See When Is Expiation Required For A Fast?

Breaking the fast by intentional ejaculation would break the fast and call for an expiation. You would have to make-up each fast you know for sure that you broke, and expiate for those days.

Praying five times a day

Praying five times a day is an absolute must, even at work or around others who do not pray. Try your utmost to perform all on time from this day forth.

Regarding missed prayers, once you get well established in performing the five daily prayers, start making up the ones that you have missed in the past at a consistent and moderate rate.

The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and grant him peace, said in his farewell sermon: “Fear Allah, your Lord, pray your five prayers, fast your month [of Ramadan], give charity from your wealth, and be obedient to those in authority over you, and you will enter the Paradise of your Lord.” (Ahmad, Tirmidhi and others)

I pray this helps.

Farid

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Ishraq, Chasht, and Awwabin Prayers

Shaykh Jamir Meah explains the prayers of ishraq, duha, and awwabin, their virtues and rewards.

  1. What is the difference between the ishraq, chasht, and awwabin prayers. Why are these separately described in hadiths?
  2. When should we pray the ishraq, chasht, and awwabin prayers.
  3. What are the virtues mentioned in sahih hadith of praying the ishraq, chasht, and awwabin prayers?

I pray you are well insha Allah.  

There is a difference of opinion on whether the Ishraq prayer and the Duha prayer, termed “Chasht” in the sub-continent, are two distinct prayers or one and the same prayer.  

This difference of opinion is based on the varying hadiths which indicate the two possibilities, such as “In the morning when the sun rises to the same height as it is at the time of Asr, the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, used to perform two cycles of prayer. When the sun rose in the east to the height where it is in the west at the time of Dhuhr, he performed four cycles of prayer.” (Tirmidhi)

Both prayers are prayed after sunrise. However, the majority of jurists held that they are one and the same prayer. They explain the apparent discrepancies in hadiths as referring to an “optimal” time to pray it, i.e. straight after sunrise, and a “permissible” time to pray it, i.e. any time before noon. However, if one prays them separately as two distinct prayers this would be valid. And Allah knows best.  

The minimum cycles of the prayer are 2, and the maximum cycles are 8 . Some hold the maximum to be 12, though 8 is preferable to all. Ideally, it is prayed in cycles of two or four. 

Benefits of the Ishraq–Duha Prayer

Among the benefits of the ishraq or duha prayer, the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, mentioned that

  1. It helps you accomplish all responsibilities for that day.
  2. A castle of gold is built in Paradise for the person.
  3. One’s sins are forgiven even though they are as much as the foam of the sea.
  4. One obtains the reward of one Hajj and one Umra – if one prays Fajr in congregation, then remains seated in the same place while engaging in remembrance until after sunrise, and then performs two cycles of prayer. (Mishkat; Tirmidhi)

Salat al-Awwabin (The Prayer of the Righteous)

Salat al-Awwabin is a sunna prayer that is prayed between Maghrib and ‘Isha. This position is held by many scholars and is based on various chains of narrations, which though individually weak, when combined, lend weight, especially in regards to virtuous actions. One example of the weak ahadith is, “Whoever prays six cycles of prayer after Maghrib and does not say anything bad in between them, will have a reward equal to the worship of twelve years.” (Tirmidhi)

Furthermore, it has been established in sound narrations that the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, did pray voluntary pray in between Maghrib and Isha; “Hudhayfa said, ‘I came to the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, and prayed Maghrib with him. When he had finished the prayer, he stood and prayed, and he kept praying until he prayed Isha.’” (Ahmad) And it has been narrated in various reports that the Companions would pray between Maghrib and Isha.  

However, other scholars hold that Salat al-Awwabin is the same as the Duha prayer, based on the wording found in the hadith, “The Prayer of the Penitent (Salat al-Awwabin) is when the feet of young camels are scalded [by the heat of sand].” (Muslim)

Salat al-Awwabin is prayed in cycles of two or four. The minimum is two cycles of prayer and its maximum is twenty cycles.  

The benefits of praying Salat al-Awwabin include, all of one’s sins being forgiven even if they are as much as the foam of the sea, and if one prays six cycles, it would be equal to the reward of twelve years of worship. (Tabarani; Tirmidhi)

(Tarshi al-Mustarshidin; Bushra al-Karim; Ahkam al-Qur’an)

Warmest salam,

Jamir

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Donating the Reward of Khatm al-Qur’an

Ustadh Tabraze Azam is asked about donating the rewards for Qur’an recitation to the deceased.

I pray this note finds you in the best of spirits, insha Allah

My beloved mother passed away this year in March. May Allah grant her the highest station of Jannah, amin. As a tradition, all my siblings started a monthly Qur’an khatm to dedicate to her. One of my cousins is requesting that we donate this Qur’an khatm to her mother as well, i.e., adding two beneficiaries to one Qur’an khatm. I am totally willing to do this as long as this does not diminish my mom’s reward.

Question:

  1. Does adding another person’s name to the Qur’an khatm dedication list diminish the reward of my mother?
  2. What is the Hanafi ruling on donating one Qur’an khatm to multiple deceased members ?

Appreciate your guidance in this regard.

Jazak Allah khayr.

May Allah Most High grant your mother a tremendous forgiveness, and enter her into the gardens of the righteous forever.

It is permitted and praiseworthy to donate the reward of your recitation to your mother, to your cousin’s mother, and to any other Muslim likewise. Doing so will not diminish your reward, nor the reward of any of them.

Ibn Hajar al-Haytami was asked whether the reward of a recitation of the Fatiha at a graveyard would be shared between its inhabitants, or if each person would get the full benefit. He responded that a great number of scholars held the latter.

This entire matter is quite expansive by the Grace of Allah Most High.

(Ibn ‘Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar ‘ala al-Durr al-Mukhtar)

Please also see Donating Reward to the Dead: A Detailed Answer.

And Allah Most High knows best.

Wassalam,

Tabraze Azam

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Telling Future Wife about Pornography Addiction

Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil advises on pornography addiction and honesty towards one’s spouse.

I have been struggling with a pornography addiction for a few years now and it’s something that has taken a toll on me, I would be able to go for periods of five weeks without problems and then I’ll return to this horrendous habit.

The problems return during times of stress. Every time it spiritually drags me down. I have a good idea of the root problems of this addiction and how I can control it, it is just easier said than done. I am currently looking for a spouse, would this be something I would have to mention to my future wife?

Jazakum Allah khayr.

I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for reaching out to us.

Honesty about pornography

Dear questioner, my sincere advice is for you to be honest about your pornography addiction to your future wife. The right wife for you would welcome your honesty, and be your supporter in your journey towards healing. We all all wounded in some way, and our spouses help us along our healing journeys.

It is normal to feel ashamed. It is courageous to admit that you need support.

Please let me share something from someone who was honest with his future wife about his own pornography addiction:

Allah is teaching him how to surrender herself completely to Him. As an addict, his addiction is often overpowering, and it can only be overcome by surrendering to Allah completely. For example, when thoughts to act out come to him, he should realize that he has not control over these thoughts and must surrender to Allah at that moment. He must have the determination and patience to transform his life into one of complete surrender to Him. This requires guidance which she can find via addiction programs like Purify Your Gaze. He will relapse many times but he shouldn’t focus on it. He should focus on discovering himself and the underlying causes that drive his addiction. It is a difficult road but his addiction would be a blessing in disguise if it is a means for him to know himself and thus know his Lord.

Marriage is a blessing, but life in this dunya is stressful. There is no escape from stress, and relapses are part and parcel of your healing. Imagine how even more stressed and ashamed you would feel, if you hid this from your wife.

I encourage you to prepare for marriage through this course Marriage in Islam: Practical Guidance for Successful Marriages.

Commit to healing

Please commit to a path of healing, and start with Purify Your Gaze. This is an excellent resource for you.

Allah’s Forgiveness

Anas, Allah be pleased with him, reported that the Messenger of Allah, upon him be blessings and peace, said, “Allah, the Exalted, has said: ‘O son of Adam, I forgive you as long as you pray to Me and hope for My forgiveness, whatever sins you have committed. O son of ‘Adam, I do not care if your sins reach the height of the heaven, then you ask for my forgiveness, I would forgive you. O son of ‘Adam, if you come to Me with an earth load of sins, and meet Me associating nothing to Me, I would match it with an earthload of forgiveness.’” (Tirmidhi)

Never, ever, ever lose hope in the mercy of Allah. Perhaps Allah is testing you with this because through overcoming your addiction, you can attain closeness to Allah. And nothing in this dunya can compete with that sweetness.

I pray this has been helpful. May Allah grant you healing and the gift of a loving wife who can be your helpmate to Jannah.

Please see A Reader on Pornography and Masturbation and A Reader on Patience and Reliance on Allah.

Raidah

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Baby Stopped Drinking Milk

Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil eases concerns regarding a baby who won’t eat or drink.

My eight-month-old daughter has been ill for the past three months and has not been drinking milk. She refuses food and milk and has been in hospital three times to be fed via an NG tube.

The doctors don’t know what’s wrong with her and keep saying it might be viral. She gets well in the hospital then starts getting ill when she comes home. She used to be such a happy baby who slept and ate well. My mother thinks there may be a jinn with her or me or in the house. I really do not know what to do.

I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for reaching out to us.

Ruqya

O you who believe, seek help through patience and prayer. Surely, Allah is with those who are patient. (Sura al-Baqara 2:153)

I am so sorry to hear about your baby, and cannot imagine the heartbreak you are enduring. Please continue to make dua for your baby’s shifa. Dunya is a place of tribulation, and our children bring about our greatest tests.

Please ask your mother to ask around for a reputable shaykh or shaykha who can perform ruqya on your baby. Be careful not to let just anyone read over baby – please trust your intuition and Perform the Prayer of Guidance to help you ascertain if he/she is trustworthy.

Some signs of a charlatan would be someone asking you to do strange things like working with blood, odd sacrifices, or burial.

Prayer of Need

Please perform the Prayer of Need in the last third of the night, as often as you need to.

Other acts you can do: Give in charity, ask for pious people to make dua for you, make copious istighfar.

Using a Ta‘wiz

Please consider using a ta‘wiz on your baby for protection. Please write or print out the Ayat al-Kursi and three Quls. Put it in a locket or a soft cover of some sort, and pin it on your baby’s clothes. Do not hang it around your baby’s neck as it isn’t safe.

Possibility of Allergens

Is there something else in your home that could be harming your baby? Any mold? Pet fur? Any kind of allergen? Could you get an allergy test done on your baby?

Emotional Stress

What is the emotional climate at home? Babies are deeply sensitive and are very connected to their mothers. I do not know the circumstances of your home, but if there is trouble in your marriage, perhaps that may be upsetting your baby. I do not say this to cast any blame on you. Allah knows how hard you are trying.

May Allah heal your baby, and make her the coolness of your eyes.

Please see: Selected Prophetic Prayers for Spiritual, Physical and Emotional Wellbeing by Chaplain Ibrahim Long and A Reader on Patience and Reliance on Allah.

Raidah

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

In Vitro Fertilization

Shaykh Jamir Meah answers questions about In Vitro Fertilization.

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa baraktuh.

I had a miscarriage in December 2017 and was advised that I have to follow up for six months. Once the six months ended I found out that my husband and I both have beta thalassemia. So our children have the chance of having major thalassemia which means they could need blood transfusions every 2-3 months and life expectancy is shorter up to the age of 30.

Doctors have advised us to go down the route of IVF. They said they will check the fetus (PGD) for thalassemia major and if it is normal they will implant it.

My question: Is this permissible in Islam?

Jazak Allah khayr.

Thank you for writing in.

I’m sorry to hear about your miscarriage and your and your husband’s conditions. May Allah transform your difficulties into sources of relief and reward.

Scholars have stated that IVF treatment is permissible given the two following conditions:

  1. The sperm and the egg is from the husband and wife.
  2. There is no third party involved in any part of the reproduction process, such as a third party donating sperm, eggs, or acting as a surrogate mother.

It is also important to note that the husband’s seminal fluid should only be emitted via lawful means, i.e. through the wife’s hand causing him to ejaculate or similar, not self-masturbation, as this is unlawful.

Please also refer to the following answers for more details on the permissibility of IVF treatment: Kids in Test Tubes: Is In Vitro Fertilization Allowed? and Is It Permissible to Have a Child Through In Vitro Fertilization?

Complementary Treatments

For future consideration, the symptoms of beta thalassemia may be greatly helped by natural medicines such as homeopathy, which can reduce the need for frequent blood transfusions as well as improve the immune system, which also controls frequent attacks of respiratory infections. Such treatment is often used as a complementary therapy alongside conventional treatment.

I wish you the both the best of health, and may Allah grant you a loving and pious family.

Warmest salams,

Jamir

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Pronunciation Errors in Prayer

Ustadh Farid Dingle clarifies questions about pronunciation in prayer.

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa baraktuh.

For almost a year now I have had a problem regarding the validity of prayers due to errors in pronounciation. I will therefore describe the situation in extensive detail so as to exclude any misunderstanding and to ensure an accurate ruling.

My mother tongue is a dialect of Arabic, my problem is not at all specific to the Arabic language. I am fully capable of soundly pronouncing all the letters of the Arabic alphabet. Rather, my problem is related to speech in general and occurs in other languages as well.

In the flow of speech, even at a very slow pace, I cannot maintain tight control over my tongue and thus there occur mistakes. There are four aspects of this problem: 1. parts of the prayer which require correct pronunciation, 2. types of errors, 3. methods of correction and 4. options for dealing with this difficulty.

Please, bear with me even if this seems somewhat banal, this has had a grave effect on me and I am unable to function properly without finding a decisive and precise solution.

Dear questioner,

Our religion isn’t like this. You are going too overboard.

Just focus on the meanings of the words you say in the prayer, and don’t worry about the rest.

When these thoughts get too much just say: audhu billahi min al-shaytan al-rajim, and just do what other everyday religious Muslims do.

You can study this topic in more detail in formal classes on fiqh, but don’t worry about your prayer for now.

I pray this helps.

Farid

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.