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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.

My Son Is Suicidal. What Can I Do?

Answered by Ustadh Amjad Tarsin

Question: Assalam alaykum

My son is suicidal and I have already reached out to the medical and mental health community; but it does not help. Things became worse after some events took place that made him lose faith in humanity. It was after these things he said he no longer believed in God. How do I help him and how do I not get pulled down by his negativity?

Answer: Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

Firstly thank you for reaching out and I empathize with the challenges you and your son have faced. May Allah grant you both ease, gentleness, and encompassing well-being.

How were mental health professionals not helping? Are there other resources you can access? If you ever need someone to talk to, I would recommend calling the Naseeha toll free Helpline at 1866 627 3342. They have counselors and volunteers who can listen to you or your son if you’re ever in need.

Although your love for your son will always keep you concerned over his well-being and faith, once a child becomes an adult, they are accountable for their own decisions. Allah the Exalted informs us in the Quran of Prophets and Messengers whose own family members were disbelievers. They tried their best, but then they were free to make their own choices. So you can continue to show your son love and support and use whatever resources are available to help him move past this difficult stage he’s going through.

One of the greatest resources available to you is dua. Allah the Exalted says, “Who [other than Allah] answers the distressed when they call upon Him? Who [other than Him] removes their suffering?” (Quran 27.62) and, “Your Lord says, ‘Call on Me and I will answer you.’” (Quran 40.60). I would especially recommend praying Salat ul-Haja which can be found here.

It is at times when everything else does not seem to work that our hearts are humbled before Allah and we recognize our utter need of Him. Pray for your son and ask Allah to give him good health emotionally and spiritually.

It is very saddening to hear of the negative the treatment you and your son experienced. Unfortunately, this is what happens when people of little knowledge try to assert religion and often veer towards extremes at either end. Allah informs us in the Quran that He sent the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) as, “A mercy to the worlds.” (Quran 21.107). May Allah reward you for your sincere intention and returning to Islam and seeking its true manifestation.

If you testify that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah then you are a Muslim. It’s that simple. And always remember that the door of repentance and return to Allah is always open as long as we have life.

May Allah grant you ease in all your affairs and heal the pain in your son’s heart and bring him back to Him with gentleness, ease, and mercy.

[Ustadh] Amjad Tarsin

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Amjad Tarsin was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan and spent his early childhood there. He has also lived in Malaysia and Saudi Arabia, growing up within diverse cultures. He obtained his Bachelors of Arts at the University of Michigan in English Literature and Islamic Studies.
After spending a transformative year studying Islam abroad at Dar al-Mustafa, Yemen, Ustadh Amjad returned to America to start his studies at University of Michigan Law School. Yearning to fulfill his calling to community building, spiritual development, and service, Ustadh Amjad changed career paths and enrolled in Hartford Seminary’s Islamic Chaplaincy program. In 2012 he was selected as University of Toronto’s first full-time Muslim Chaplain.