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How Can I Deal With Fears and Suicidal Thoughts?

Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad

Question: I had a baby five months ago. I had this outburst of fear because someone recently committed suicide and that had stayed with me. I am having thoughts of doing something similar. This overthinking leads me to doubt my faith and trust in Allah. I don’t understand my problem.

Answer: Assalamu alaykum sister,

I am sorry that you are going through so much pain. Knowing someone that has committed suicide is very difficult, especially when she has stayed with you and you knew her well. The short answer to your question is that you must ignore all doubts and whisperings concerning your religion and your Lord. Cut off the thought immediately as it comes to you, and recite a blessing on the Prophet, may Allah bless him and give him peace.

Links

I want to recommend that you read this link to give you a better idea of strengthening your faith and fighting these thoughts: Doubts, Difficulties, and Suicidal Thoughts. In addition, read this excellent article on baseless misgivings (waswasa): Satanic Whisperings (Waswasa) as a Trial from Allah: Punishment or Blessing?

Steps

I also recommend that you step back and re-establish your priorities. Here are some ideas.

1) Establish your daily prayers five times a day, and pray to Allah after each prayer to help you follow the path of Allah and His Messenger.

2) Learn your personally obligatory knowledge in all aspects of your life and apply it.

3) Ask Allah to send you a good company. Religious friends who are a good influence can console, comfort, and remind you when you are having these doubts.

4) Make a daily invocation of the Qur`an, dhikr, and du’a in the amount that you can handle. This collection of du’as is fantastic for your situation: Selected Prophetic Prayers for Spiritual, Physical and Emotional Wellbeing by Chaplain Ibrahim Long

5) Take care of your health. A woman who isn’t taking care of herself will eventually collapse when she tries to take care of others. Spend time in nature, even if it’s just a walk. Exercise, eat healthily, take enough vitamin D, etc.

6) Focus on your child’s religion. Read du`as to your child when he wakes, sleeps, before he eats, drinks when you change his diaper. Recite Qur`an to your child. As your child grows up, tell him the stories of the Prophets, the stories of excellence from his Companions. Teach him Qur`anic chapters (surahs) and their meanings. Teaching your son is a great act of worship that will renew your faith and strengthen you as well.

7) Devote at least on the religious family activity a week. Talk to your husband about going to the Friday prayer with him, or a weekly halaqa (lesson). You could also sign up for a class online, attend it together and discuss what you learned. Worshipping Allah together is more conducive to keeping your faith intact as a family.

8) Make du’a that Allah help you through this trial. Ask Him to remove your doubts. Be sure to see all the links above. They are key.

[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria for two years where she studied aqidah, fiqh, tajweed, tafseer, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Masters in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She recently moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.

Waswasa, Apostasy and Pure Faith

Ustadh Tabraze Azam explains that baseless misgivings about one’s Islam are part of pure faith and such thoughts do not put one outside of the fold.

 

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

I have bad thoughts keep coming over to me this last few days. It was really hard and I tried my best every time to not entertain these bad thoughts. I have bad thoughts about like “get out from Islam,” or something like “Apostate, I’m an apostate” and such.

For the last few days, I didn’t entertain this thought but today, when I was studying, thoughts like “Get out from Islam, you’re not a Muslim” come to my mind. I made a mistake, I deliberately utter this word “Get out from Islam” and then part of myself said “Who?” I’m not sure if I said, “I want to get out from Islam” or “Get out from Islam.” It’s like the word “I” is only in my mind and heart but utter the words “Get out from Islam.”

I have no intention to get out from Islam. Although I’m not a good Muslim I still want to die in Islam and I still want to be a Muslim. What should I do? Does doing this makes me a disbeliever? Should I just ignore these thoughts ? I have retaken my shahadah.

Please help.

 

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

You are still a Muslim, by the Grace of Allah.

Faith is something deeply rooted in the heart. It isn’t something that leaves by mistake because its entailment is clearly belying Allah and His Messenger, Allah bless him and give him peace, and that takes conviction. This is why Imam Tahawi stated in his Creed that a person leaves the faith only by rejecting “that which brought him into it.”

What you are experiencing is some form of unhealthy misgivings (waswasa). This is something that even the Companions (sahaba) dealt with, and the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, remarked to them that they were from “pure faith.” (Muslim) That is to say, deeming them to be odious and abominable statements is a mark of true faith.

Busy yourself with righteous actions and company, recite regular remembrances (adhkar), send many blessings upon the Blessed Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, and continue supplicating to Allah Most High to relieve you from this difficult situation. If you continue to struggle with these matters, I suggest that you get in touch with a mental health professional, ideally somebody from a Muslim background so they can assist you more ably.

Please also see A Reader on Waswasa (Baseless Misgivings).

And Allah Most High knows best.

Wassalam,

Tabraze Azam

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

 

Sura Nisaa Verse 137: Doubts, Hypocricy, and True Faith

Answered by Ustadha Shaista Maqbool

Question: There’s a part in Surah Nisa that was translated as “God will not forgive or guide to the right path those who first believe, then disbelieve, again believe and disbelieve, and then increase their disbelief.”

What does this mean and how does this relate to people with doubts? How do you know you’re if you’re a hypocrite?

Answer: Assalaamu alaikum,

The verse you are referring to is in Surah Nisaa:137:

“Indeed those who believe, then disbelieve, then believe, then disbelieve, then increase in their disbelief: Allah will never forgive nor guide them to the [right] path.”

Some commentators do say this refers to hypocrites; however, hypocrisy and having doubts is not the same thing.

Some of the Companions came to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah upon him) and said, “O Messenger of Allah! We find something in ourselves that is graver than us to speak of it; we don’t wish that we had the entire world and we were to speak of it.” So he (peace and blessings of Allah upon him) said, “Do you really find that? That is true faith.” [Abu Dawud]

What the Companions meant here was finding the waswaas, or whispering of the shaytan in themselves by casting doubts. The commentators say that is not the doubt that is true faith, as the doubt itself is from shaytan; rather it is their fierce adversity to these thoughts or doubts that is true faith. So doubts may occur to one’s heart, but if one seeks refuge in Allah from them and is repulsed by them, this is faith, not hypocrisy.

In Sahih Bukhari, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah upon him) said, “The shaytan comes to one of you and says, ‘Who created such and such? Who created such and such?’ Until he says, ‘Who created your Lord?’ So if one of you finds this, let him seek refuge in Allah and quit.”

Hence, from the advice of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah upon him), one should seek refuge in Allah and stop oneself from thinking about such matters. This is when the doubts are concerning the being of Allah. If the doubts are regarding the Sacred Law, one should seek refuge in Allah and seek the opinion of a scholar to help him dismiss his doubts.

And Allah knows best.

Wasalaam,

Shaista Maqbool

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani