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Contemplating Suicide Because No One Will Marry Me

Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil answers a question on how to deal with suicidal thoughts and feeling despair about not being able to find a marriage partner.

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

I pray five times a day but feel like my life is coming to an end. Allah has not given me height, good looks, or wealth. I know that those who kill themselves are punished in Hellfire forever, but I am already going to hell because I am not a good Muslim anyway. Why am I suffering like this? I have been rejected so many times for marriage, and have given up on marriage because I am only 5 foot 4. I see only two options: kill myself or cut myself off from everyone I know like my family, and this world. Please help me.

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for reaching out to us during your time of crisis.

Dealing with Thoughts of Suicide

Dear questioner, I cannot imagine the amount of pain you must be in right now. The fact that you are contemplating suicide shows me how overwhelmed you feel. It sounds like you have tried everything to make things better, but nothing is working. and you feeling that ending your life is the only way to release you from pain.

Do you have a plan as to how you wish to end your life? If so, I urge you to seek professional help. Please look up a suicide hotline in your locality and call them immediately.

If you do not have a plan, then please, consider the possibility that there is a way for you to feel better. You have listed only two ways forward, but there is a third option. You can only access the problem-solving part of your brain when you move out of your current state of fight or flight.

Allah’s Love For You

It was narrated from Mus’ab ibn Sa’d that his father, Sa’d ibn Abu Waqqas, said: “I said: ‘O Messenger of Allah , peace and blessings be upon him, which people are most severely tested?’ He said: ‘The Prophets, then the next best, and then the next best. A person is tested according to his religious commitment. If he is steadfast in his religious commitment, he will be tested more severely, and if he is frail in his religious commitment, his test will be according to his commitment. Trials will continue to afflict a person until they leave him on the earth with no sin on him.’” (Sunan Ibn Majah)

Dear questioner, please know that Allah tests those whom He loves, and the depth of your trials indicate to me how much Allah loves you. You probably do not believe me, but please know this to be true.

Love, especially Divine Love, does not mean getting everything you want. Sometimes, it is often an act of love to withhold. It is easy to forget sometimes, but we were not created to marry. We were created to worship Allah, and submit to His Decree even if – especially if — what He wants for us does not align with what we want for us.

Know that Shaytan is the one who despaired, and he wants you to despair too. Do not fall for his lies. None of us know whether we are destined for Hellfire or Paradise. That is why we strive, and have a good opinion of Allah.

Source Of Your Pain

Please know that the true source of your pain is disconnection from yourself, and disconnection from Allah. When you remedy these disconnections, then only then can you find lasting relief.

Self-soothe First, Counsel Next

When you are physiologically flooded, nothing I say to you will calm you down. You need to work on soothing yourself first.

What helps you relax? Does listening to Qur’an help? Nature sounds? Going for a walk? I recommend guided meditations from apps such as Calm and Headspace. Find your breath, and be connected to it. Imagine breathing in relaxation, and breathing out your pain. Being in nature is also very calming, so I recommend that too.

The deepest healing lies with dhikr and dua. I recommend that you consult with Aafiyah Healing as soon as you can. In the meantime, pour your sorrow out in dua: Selected Prophetic Prayers for Spiritual, Physical and Emotional Wellbeing by Chaplain Ibrahim Long.

Perspective

Perfectionism is a lie the world teaches us. So many of us believe that if we were only more attractive, more successful, more charming – anything – then we would finally get what we long for.

It sounds like you believe that the reason you are not married is because you are not tall and handsome. I invite you to consider this possibility: perhaps you are not married yet because Allah, All-Knowing, knows that you are not ready.

Marriage, and then child-rearing, is both blissful and difficult. I encourage you to learn better self-soothing and emotional regulation skills before you become a husband and a father. Too many men around the world unleash their unhappiness and anger upon their wives and children, causing them great trauma.

The greatest gift you can present your future wife and children is this – good character. Work on acceptance, contentment, gratitude, forgiveness, and other Prophetic qualities.

Born without Arms or Legs

In the modern day context, I encourage you to reflect upon the life of Nick Vujicic, who was born with no arms and no legs. His story is a deeply moving one. After a failed suicide attempt at 10, he drew meaning from his great hardship, and now touches the lives of millions of people around the world. He is also married, and has four children.

If he had succeeded in ending his own life, he would have missed out on marrying his loving wife, and fathering his children. He is not Muslim, and Allah blesses Him with blessing upon blessing. What wonders lie in store for you?

Please, dear questioner, choose life. Choose to have a good opinion of Allah. Trust in His plan for you.

I pray that one day, you will be playing with your children, smiling at your wife, and that your terrible pain will be a long forgotten memory.

Please see A Reader on Patience and Reliance on Allah and Love, Marriage and Relationships in Islam: All Your Questions Answered.

Wassalam,

Raidah

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.


I Conducted a Sinful Event, Will Allah Ever Forgive Me? How Do I Assert Myself?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: I recently organised a sinful event for my course project. During the end of the semester, I realised that I did a grave mistake but it was too late. I had to conduct it unwillingly and I hated every bit of it. How should I repent? I feel really hopeless and guilty now. I fear people’s reactions a lot.

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well. May Allah ease your distress and fill your heart with tranquility.

Repentance

“Say: My servants who have wronged yourselves, never despair of God’s mercy. God forgives all sins: He is truly the Most Forgiving, the Most Merciful.” [Qur’an, 39.53]

Dear sister, only the Prophets were Divinely protected from sin. The rest of us will continue to make mistakes, sin and do things we regret. Knowing this, it’s important for you to focus on moving forward, instead of dwelling on what you cannot change. The conditions for a valid repentance are as follows:

1. Leaving the sin;
2. Remorse over having committed the sin;
3. Resolve never to return to the sin;
4. (If it relates to the rights of another person, then to) Return the rights or property one wrongly took. [al-Bariqa fi Sharh al-Tariqa; Riyad al-Salihin, excerpt from How Do You Know If Your Repentance Is Sincere?]

There is a place for feelings of guilt and remorse, but if you let it get out of hand, you can end up getting very depressed. Allah forbids despair for His servants. Try your best to focus on Allah’s Mercy instead of giving your sin so much power over you.

Assertiveness

Each of us have different temperaments. Some people are very bold and can dominate the room very easily. Others are mild-mannered and struggle with asserting themselves. Allah knows each of us better than we know ourselves. Rather than beat yourself up over being unable to assert yourself in your Islam, do something about it. Enrol in public speaking classes. Learn how to be assertive from a counsellor or psychologist.

Seeking knowledge

It sounds like you could benefit from active seeking of sacred knowledge. When you know more about Islam, you will naturally feel more confident. More importantly, you will be connected to teachers whom you can ask advice from. Please look at the list of SeekersHub global courses and start by completing one.

Patience

Give yourself time. Be patient with yourself. Learning and practising Islam is a process, and a journey which will span your entire life. Don’t expect to transform into a confident defender of the deen overnight. Set realistic goals, and learn from your mistakes.

Please refer to the following links:
A Reader on Tawba (Repentance)
What Are Some Prophetic Supplications That Can Help Me Deal With Trials in My Life?

Raidah Shah Idil

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Afraid to get groceries? Ustadha Anse Tamara Gray on being a Muslim woman in today’s turbulent climate

Each time a high profile act of violence is committed by a Muslim or in the name of Islam, the fear of reprisal attacks rises acutely in Muslim communities. It has become almost par for the course, and the statistics prove the threat is real. Often, women who are visibly Muslim find themselves the primary soft target. Ustadha Anse Tamara Gray has been inundated with concerned messages from many who are directly and indirectly affected. From being afraid to leave the home to do basic, every day errands to fearing for their lives – this has become the sad reality for many. Ustadha Anse has some much needed advice.

Resources for seekers:

“Come, come, whoever you are” – Imam Khalid Latif on feeling estranged from the Muslim community

Growing up, I didn’t really have a sense of ownership over my religion. To make matters worse, it seemed like I always was doing things that were wrong. There weren’t many that made me think I could be anything better and I felt quite low at times after interacting with some who made me feel I didn’t have a place to belong. The worst part about it all? I believed it. I believed every look of perceived condescension, I believed every murmur and whisper, I believed every glare and judgmental comment and never thought twice about it. It was easier not to. People who “looked” religious thought I was bad and I thought they must have known what they were talking about since they looked the part so well.

In retrospect, there were definitely people who treated me poorly. But I myself also played a role in how I felt by already presuming that I wouldn’t fit in and that people wouldn’t accept me.

It can be quite daunting to walk into a room where you either are different from everyone, or you believe you are different, you know no one, and you are also embarrassed that most of the people there have probably been there for years while you are still trying to figure out the basics. Where most people were in the wrong wasn’t because they were being jerks and making me feel like I shouldn’t have come. The only mistake that most made was not making a concerted effort to realize that there were people like me who were nervous being there and understanding that they could alleviate a lot of that fear just by smiling at me and saying welcome.

The Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Allah is kind and loves kindness and gives for gentleness what he does not give for harshness nor for anything else.”

The well-known Muslim poet Rumi wrote:

Come, come, whoever you are.
Wanderer, worshipper, lover of leaving — it doesn’t matter,
Ours is not a caravan of despair.
Come, even if you have broken your vow a hundred times,
Come, come again, come. ~ rumi

Not everyone knows everything about their faith, nor are they meant to. But everyone is entitled to being encouraged to do their very best. It’s simple things that keep us together. A kind word or smile can do a lot for someone who is just trying to figure out for themselves where they fit in and belong. It was the kindness of a couple of people that made me believe I could be more than what I thought of myself to be. Let’s start being the reason that someone feels like they can stick around, not the reason that they feel like they should never come back.

Imam Khalid LatifImam Khalid Latif is a University Chaplain for New York University, Executive Director of the Islamic Center at NYU, and a Chaplain for the NYPD. He is also the co-founder of Honest Chops, the first-ever all-natural/organic halal butcher in NYC, the Muslim Wedding Service, an agency specializing in providing charismatic and inspirational marriage officiants for wedding ceremonies.

 

Resources for Seekers:

Is There a Prophetic Supplication to Relieve My Hopelessness?
On Humility and being gentle with the believers
How Do You Know If Your Repentance is Sincere?
The Dowdy Muslim
The Door of Repentance and Return to Allah is Always Open
Having Hatred for a Sinful Person
Is Repentance Always Accepted?
My Husband Doesnt Pray: How Do I Advise Him?
Lesson on the Secrets of Seeking Repentance
Prayer of Repentance: Salat al-Tawba
Is Regret a Blessing from Allah?

Hopelessness, Despair & the Abundance of Good, by Ustadh Amjad Tarsin

“There is no room for the believer to harbor feelings of hopelessness and despair, and God the Exalted has given us abundant paths to be involved in goodness” – this and other pearls from Ustadh Amjad Tarsin’s Friday sermon at the University of Toronto.

Support the Muslim Chaplaincy at the University of Toronto by donating today and subscribe to Ustadh Amjad’s SoulFood podcast.

 

More from Ustadh Amjad Tarsin and other SeekersHub teachers

Bringing Certainty to the Heart: A Step-by-Step Guide
Why Do We Serve? What is Prophetic Concern?
“A night worth 80 years in worship and 80 years in sins forgiven”
Becoming A Man: A Comprehensive Guide to Coming of Age in Islam
Is There a Prophetic Supplication to Relieve My Hopelessness?
My Inability to Escape My Desires Fills Me With Despair

Is There a Prophetic Supplication to Relieve My Hopelessness?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: Can you suggest a prayer for hopelessness? Though I constantly pray, sometimes I feel I’m being more punished than tested. For the various instances I have witnessed in my life, where there is good there is suffering where there is evil there is ease. Is there no ease ever in our life if we were to live a life of a true believer? Is life going to be a constant struggle for a believer and they will never find happiness?

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray that you are well, insha’Allah.

No, a true believer does find happiness. However, everlasting joy will be in the next life. As for this life, there will be times of happiness and joy, and times of sadness and difficulty.

Though, times of difficulty and hardship are in reality blessings, and a time of returning back to Allah. When one returns to Allah, seeking Him, and trusting in Him, He gives one openings.

Allah Most High says, “And whoever is mindful of Allah, He will grant them a way out, and will provide for them in ways unimagined. And whoever places their trust in Allah, then Allah is their sufficiency. Allah’s affair will surely come to pass–and Allah has made a clear decree for everything.” [Qur’an, 65: 2-3]

Moreover, the sunna as the descriptions of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) tell us is to be constantly cheerful, smiling, and easy-going, even in the face of setbacks and adversity. `Abdullah bin Harith bin Juz’ said, “I never saw anyone who smiled as often as the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace).” [Tirmidhi]

So, during these blessed days and nights, re-affirm your resolve to seek the good, make lots of supplication, and be of those who are increased, and relieved of their distress by gratitude and love. Realize the words of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace), “How amazing is the matter of the believer! All of his matter is good, and this is not for anyone except the believer. If ease comes his way, he is thankful, so it is good for him. And if hard times hit him, he is patient, so it is good for him.” [Muslim]

Please also see: Prophetic Supplications for Trials in My Life

And Allah alone gives success.

Wassalam,

Tabraze Azam

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

How Do I Balance Having Spiritual Ambition With Being Humble and Not Burning Myself Out?

Answered by Shaykh Faraz A. Khan

Question: What is the difference between humility in one’s works (given that it is not you that is producing them), and hopelessness with one’s ability to improve? I feel that I am constantly ‘waiting’ for Allah to inspire me with himmah and thus inadvertantly blaming Him for my pathetic spiritual state…
 
Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

I pray this finds you in the best of health and states.

Striving and Lowliness

The sunna is to strive and exert oneself, in a balanced manner, to perform spiritual works, and then after their performance, to:

(a)  attribute them to Allah and His infinite largess, for He alone is the Granter of tawfiq (ability and wherewithal to do the good); and

(b)  forget about them, so that one sees himself as having fallen short and not done enough.

This attitude of lowliness and deeming oneself to be full of shortcomings does not negate effort and due diligence in performing the good. Both are essential traits of the sincere believer, but each has its appropriate ‘time’ vis-à-vis the good deed.

That is to say, spiritual effort and exertion precede the action, while gratitude, lowliness and spiritual humility come after the action.

Waiting for himma and blaming Allah for low himma is to be avoided. The treatment for spiritual laziness deals primarily with company: keep the company of people of exertion, and avoid the company of the idle and aloof. (Company, of course, includes digital and social media, including T.V., internet, blogs, facebook, youtube and the like…)

Allah Most High states, “And those who strive for Our sake, We will surely guide them to Our paths” (29:69).

Prophetic Balance

Having said the above, it is important to keep in mind that the sunna is also to not take on more than one’s ability, lest one ‘burn out’. Unfortunately, this is far too common today, especially among younger Muslims who suddenly have ‘religious awakenings’ and get very excited about the deen, and frequently among those who follow modern revisionist Islam rather than traditional Sunni orthodoxy.

Our Beloved Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace) warned us:”O people, take on of righteous actions only that which you can bear, for verily Allah does not tire until you tire. Indeed, the most beloved acts to Allah are those that last, even if little.” [Bukhari, Muslim]

It is based on this and similar hadiths that Imam Ghazali said, “If one’s spiritual drive diminishes and one’s ambition becomes weakened, and one knows that relaxation for some time by sleep, conversation, or joking would revive his drive, then that [relaxation] is better for him than praying while feeling bored. In reality, it entails following the Sacred Law, not following one’s caprice.”

[Nahlawi, Durar Mubaha]

And Allah knows best.
wassalam
Faraz

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani