I am thirty-five years old. I am a Christian but I have never felt spiritually moved in the church or when praying, and I do not know what is right and what is wrong, or what the true religion is. Is Christianity true or is Islam true or is Judaism true? Will we be brought to account for being misguided by others as there is no person who can perform miracles from God before our eyes? I feel overwhelmed and I want to commit suicide, and I am on the brink of deciding to commit suicide. I am very distressed and depressed. I do not know why I am writing these words on this website? I have written them on many Christian and Muslim and Jewish websites in the hope that I may find the right way.
We were very happy to receive this message of yours and we hope that Allah, may He be exalted, the Lord of the Worlds, has willed good for you by causing you to send your message to this website of ours. We think that you are sincere in your intention to look for the truth in order to dispel the worries you have and the distress you are feeling.
You are quite right not to be happy with this world, and in fact if one’s heart is filled with grief, depression, anxiety and confusion, life will have no meaning. Hence many people who feel that way hasten to commit suicide, so as to escape this life.
But when you look at the world around you, you will see that the Muslims are suffering from wars, poverty, misery and a lot of troubles in this world, so perhaps you might expect them to have the highest suicide rates of all people. But this is incorrect. Suicide is unknown among the Muslims who know their religion and adhere to it, no matter what befalls them of hardship, poverty and misery. In fact they hope that the Lord will compensate them for that in Paradise with abundance, joy and happiness. In contrast we find non-Muslims hastening to commit suicide even though they have a life of plenty and they are enjoying good food, drink and housing. You even find the highest rates of suicide in the countries with the highest individual income in the world. The reason for that is that they are living for this world, and when they have had their fill of it and reach saturation point, life no longer has any meaning for them.
Whatever befalls a person either leads to a life of ease or a life of hardship. Look at different people and how they respond to these two things. You will find insolence and ingratitude for blessings at times of ease, and you will find panic and depression at times of hardship. But as for the believer, he responds to times of ease with gratitude, and he responds to times of hardship with patience. This is the true state of the believer, because he knows that gratitude for blessings is obligatory, and that if he gives thanks the blessing will be prolonged; and he knows that panic will not have any good result for himself or for his mental or physical wellbeing or his religious commitment; and he knows that the one who bears it with patience will have a greater reward from God. Now think about what you see of suicide and attempts to escape this world on the part of one who is living a life of ease and on the part of one who is living a life of hardship, and see how a Muslim reacts to those situations, and you will see a great difference between Muslims and others.
The Muslims do not commit suicide no matter how difficult their worldly circumstances, for a number of reasons:
(a) because Allah, may He be exalted, has forbidden them to kill themselves
(b) because they will lose out in the Hereafter by committing suicide; the Lord has warned them of the punishment for doing that
(c) because they are compensated for their misery and hard life by what their Lord honours them with of consolation through Islam and obedience to Him. True life for us, in Islam, is the life of the heart; true insight for us, in Islam, is the insight of the heart. You will find in the Holy Qur’an that our Lord, may He be blessed and exalted, says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Is he who was dead (without Faith by ignorance and disbelief) and We gave him life (by knowledge and Faith) and set for him a light (of Belief) whereby he can walk amongst men, like him who is in the darkness (of disbelief, polytheism and hypocrisy) from which he can never come out? Thus it is made fairseeming to the disbelievers that which they used to do”
[al-An ‘am 6:122]
“Have they not travelled through the land, and have they hearts wherewith to understand and ears wherewith to hear? Verily, it is not the eyes that grow blind, but it is the hearts which are in the chests that grow blind.”
Therefore, although some Muslims may have a hard life, they still have comfort in their hearts and physical blindness is not so serious for one who has insight in his heart.
It should be noted that what you are suffering from of anxiety and depression is something from which many of your co-religionists suffer. The reason for that is that they have not found any joy in their beliefs or happiness in their hearts, and they have not found answers to many of the questions they have about their religion even with the most senior scholars of their faith. Hence it is natural that they will suffer from what you mention of psychological illness. But it is not natural to seek to remedy that by committing suicide. Rather we advise you to do what thousands and millions of others have done, which is to seek the truth and seek happiness. We could tell you now a long list of artists, sports players, politicians, writers, literati and highly educated people who found happiness and relief from worry by entering Islam. When you watch video clips in which some of these people pronounce the twin declaration of faith (shahaadatayn) and enter Islam, you will see that the path to happiness has begun when they uttered the word of Tawheed (affirmation of the Oneness of God). Hence you will see many of them weeping with joy after uttering these words. One of the greatest proofs of the truth of what we are saying is what you can see with your own eyes and hear with your own ears of those who have entered Islam. And in the book of Allah, may He be glorified and exalted, you will find that He says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Whoever works righteousness, whether male or female, while he (or she) is a true believer (of Islamic Monotheism) verily, to him We will give a good life (in this world with respect, contentment and lawful provision), and We shall pay them certainly a reward in proportion to the best of what they used to do (i.e. Paradise in the Hereafter)”
[an-Nahl 16:97] .
A good life is not connected to materialcircumstances; rather it is the life of the heart, and its joy and happiness stem from obeying Allah, and from strong faith in Allah and belief in His will and decree, and from certainty that Allah is wise in all that He does.
On the other hand, you will find that the one who turns away from believing in Allah lives a hard life in this world, not in the sense of material hardship but in the sense of spiritual hardship. You will find that in the Book of Allah, may He be exalted (interpretation of the meaning):
“But whosoever turns away from My Reminder (i.e. neither believes in this Quran nor acts on its orders, etc.) verily, for him is a life of hardship, and We shall raise him up blind on the Day of Resurrection”
Please note that Islam, which are all calling you to enter and we think that in certainty of faith you will find solutions to the depression you are suffering, is the last of the religions in chronological terms. Allah, may He be exalted, sent His Prophet Muhammad (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) to all people. This religion is in harmony with sound human nature and there is nothing in its rulings that is contrary to reason. It is the religion of Moses, Jesus, Abraham and all the Prophets (peace be upon them). We are not calling you to enter the religion brought by the Prophet Muhammad (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) separate from what came before it; rather it is the religion of all the Prophets and Messengers (peace be upon them all). Hence the one who believes in this religion and this Prophet (peace be upon him) is following the path that was followed by all the Prophets and Messengers (peace be upon them). And that will lead you to Paradise as wide as the heavens and the earth, with which Allah will honour those Prophets and Messengers. But if you believe that Jesus (peace be upon him) is the son of God or is God – exalted be Allah far above that – then you will not find any of those Prophets or Messengers following the same path, and amazingly you will never find Jesus (peace be upon him) with you, because he is the slave of Allah, who affirmed the Oneness of his Lord and declared Him to be above having a partner or son. Rather you will find yourself in the company of those who worshipped the stars, heavenly bodies and idols and those who worshipped things other than Allah, may He be exalted.
By Allah, we do not wish you anything but good, and we advise you to flee to Allah alone, with no partner or associate, and to turn to Him alone and no one else. So affirm His Oneness and believe in His religion with which He ended the series of messages and enjoined all people to enter it. By Allah, we assure you with all certainty that entering Islam is what will relieve you of your worries and distress, and you will never find happiness in any other religion. So save yourself from the hell of this world that is burning your heart and from the fire of Hell in the Hereafter which will be your fate – Allah forbid – if you refuse to enter this religion.
Understand that simply by testifying that Allah, may He be exalted, is One and that Muhammad (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) is His Messenger, you will thus become a Muslim who affirms the Oneness of Allah and worships Allah, the Lord of the heavens and the earth, the Lord of all things. If a person turns sincerely Allah, his Lord will never let him down and he will find the happiness he is seeking. You will never find any closed doors in Islam or any questions that may cross your mind that we cannot answer. In fact the specious arguments that are spread by the enemies of Islam only increase us in certainty that this religion is from Allah, because of what we see in them of bias, fabrication and naivety. So you may be certain that you will be following the right path and that it will lead you to Allah, may He be exalted, and no one else. You will never find anything in it but that which is good for you in this world and in the Hereafter.
We await good news from you that you have decided to follow the right path and that you have joined the blessed community of the Prophets and Messengers. We are also waiting for any enquiries or questions about your new religion that you may need to ask, in sha Allah (if Allah wills).
We pray to Allah to guide you and help you to do that, and to honour you with that with which He has honoured others who came to Islam before you. We ask Him, may He be glorified and exalted, to bless you and those whom you love with guidance, for He is the best to turn to and the best in responding.
And Allah is the source of strength.