A few years ago, I was a very religious person; I used to pray regularly, I lowered my gaze as I passed by females, and before taking any action, I would consider the wrongs and rights in Islam. I managed to stay religious while living in a corrupt, but after a while, I felt that I was missing out on the enjoyments other teenagers at my age in college were having. My state of mind at the time was different to theirs, so I couldn’t fit in even though I had plenty of friends. Inside me, there was an urge that was growing.
I’m ashamed to say, but my worldly desires got the better of me. I gave up praying and being a good Muslim and started living a life of sin. A year later, my life went from bad to worse. I have become depressed; I have lost my confidence and self-esteem. I feel I’m cursed because I’m always analyzing how I appear to the opposite sex. I can’t even carry a thought longer than a few seconds. I have been feeling depressed for 3 years now. I started praying again a year ago and took an interest in Islam again, but this time my iman (faith) is weak. I am constantly fighting with trying to be a good Muslim and living the Western life. Sometimes, I look at the society and think how corrupt it has become. I want to change it, but I also feel hopeless due to my depression. It burns me inside and I feel useless when I see all the sins being committed by Muslims; the sinful get the best in life and the good Muslim suffers. What can I possibly do to sort my problems out?
We all have the potential for good and the potential for bad within us. Some days, it is easier to be good than others. Sometimes, we learn what we are here to learn, and sometimes we forget. You wanted to be with the non-Muslims, but you judged them and distanced yourself. You look at “bad” Muslims and judge them too and also separated yourself. You have judged yourself and have separated your inner-self from your outer-self. Did you think that you would not be tested?”
In sheikh Muhammad Tabataba`i’s tafsir (explanation) of Surat ul Maryam, he said the following:
“At the beginning, it starts with pointing to the adventures of Ibraham, Ishaq, Yakoob (Abraham, Isaac and Jacob) and the incident of Haroon and Musa (Aaron and Moses) and the story of Isma’il (Ishmael) and Idris (Elijah) and their share of blessed al-wilayat (ordained leadership) that has been given to them, that is, either by being a Nabi (prophet) or having al-ikhlas ( sincerity, loyalty) and as-sadiq (truthfulness, veracity). Then it states the reasons for these favors that these honorable ones had in outstanding quality, such as being humble to their provider, but their followers were turning their faces away from their provider and they were completely ignorant of being attentive to their provider. Instead, they chose to follow the shahwat (desires). For this reason, soon they face the state of ghay ( delusion) and deviate from rushd (progress, maturity), unless they ask for forgiveness and return to their God, and finally join the blessed ones”.
All of these blessed people had one thing in common other than the obvious, they interacted with the people around them. If they did not, Allah’s message would have remained with Him alone, then where would the mercy of Islam to mankind be? Even today, if you take a look at converts to Islam, you will find that their conversion was facilitated by observing the examples of Muslims who came into their lives albeit for a short time. In other words, Islam is not separate from the world in which we live. Islam is not a stern religion; it is our interpretation of it that makes Islam seem stern. Islam is full of compassion, love, joy, and blessings.
We all have the potential for good and the potential for bad within us. Some days, it is easier to be good than others. Sometimes, we learn what we are here to learn, and sometimes we forget. You wanted to be with the non-Muslims, but you judged them and distanced yourself. You look at “bad” Muslims and judge them too and also separated yourself. You have judged yourself and have separated your inner-self from your outer-self. Did you think that you would not be tested?
“We will soon show them Our signs in the Universe and in their souls, until it will become quite clear to them that it is the truth. Is it not suffiicent as regards your Lord that He is witness over all things.” (61: 53)
Now, it is time for you to stop spending so much time on your own and turning over in your mind the same negative thoughts. In this way, you make yourself a slave to those negative thoughts.
- Instead of praying at home, when you can, pray at your local mosque.
- Join an Islamic group for young men from whom you can learn and benefit.
- Volunteer your spare time at a voluntary organization/charity/center.
- Get closer to your father and see in which way you can help him in his interests/work.
- If you have a particular field of study that really interests you, find a suitable course.
- Find a suitable sport that is quite physical so that you can learn to release all the inner tensions that you have accumulated.
- Take pleasure in the little things because it is in the little things that much can be learned and gained.
- Fast occasionally so that you can learn to appreciate what you have and strengthen your relationship with Allah.
- Focus on what you can do and not what you can not do.
- Spend time with those from whom you can learn from.
- “Life is too short for you to learn all the knowledge that you find attractive, so learn what inspires you, only what inspires you.” – `Ali ibn Abu Talib.
- It is what inspires you that you self-understanding increases and the purpose of your life in relation to your Creator.
Each person has their own burden to carry, and each person has a purpose. Someone who seems to have everything in this life only gets what they have asked for. If you were in their position, you might feel as empty inside as they do for they only fool themselves by chasing after the elusive cloth of happiness when happiness is but a state of mind, not an acquisition. Give thanks to Allah for what you have, pray to Him, cry to Him, seek forgiveness from Him, make du`aa’ to Him, and know that He is closer to you than you are to yourself.