I feel desperate and depressed. My life is about suffering, empty of success and I do not fulfill my religious duties, so I am not comfortable in life neither I feel the sweetness of Iman. How shall I continue my life?!.
From your words and your description of the problem that you are facing, some important points are clear to us, to which we should pay special attention. These include the following:
You have some good things that are priceless, chief among which is Islam. This is a great blessing that Allaah has bestowed upon every Muslim; no matter what calamities, worries, stress and depression befall him, he must remember that he is a Muslim and that Allaah loves for His slaves to be Muslim even though He has no need of them and it does not harm Him if they disbelieve. Even if a person does some bad deeds, his staying within the circle of Islam is one of the greatest blessings that Allaah bestows upon him.
Imagine that you had the best that this world has to offer: wealth, status, a husband, children, a peaceful and stable home, education, a life filled with happiness, and everything that you could wish for, but at the same time you followed Judaism or Christianity or Buddhism, or you regarded a cow as holy, as millions of people do, or you worshipped a mouse, or the sun, or some other created thing, or that you were confused? Would that be better, or having the problems and worries that you have, but you are still Muslim?
You follow the Sunnah. Imagine if you claimed to be a Muslim but you were following a wrong path. Imagine if you were a Raafidi Shi’ah, believing that the Qur’aan is distorted and lacking something, and venerating ‘Ali and reviling the Sahaabah (may Allaah be pleased with them all), regarding most of them as kaafirs and worshipping Allaah by cursing Abu Bakr and ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with them), and accusing the Mother of the Believers ‘Aa’ishah of zina – as millions of those who claim to follow Islam do, but Islam has nothing to do with them.
Or imagine that you were one of those who claim to follow Islam but they believe that the awliya’ (“saints”) in their graves can being benefit and cause harm, so they call upon them and seek their help, and offer sacrifices to them and make offerings to them. Undoubtedly this is blatant kufr.
This is a reference to just two of the seventy-two sects that claim to belong to Islam, but they will all be in Hell except for one, as was stated by the one who did not speak on the basis of whims and desires – the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him).
Which is dearer to you – having this world and all its delights beneath your feet whilst being so misguided and deviant, or being a Sunni Muslim, in accordance with sound human nature and affirming the Oneness of Allaah (Tawheed), even though you have many worries and problems?
Praise Allaah for having been guided to pray and enabled to do good deeds, for many people regard themselves as Sunni Muslims, but they do not pray. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The covenant that distinguishes between us and them is prayer; whoever does not pray is a kaafir.” Narrated by al-Tirmidhi (2621), al-Nasaa’i (463) and Ibn Majaah (1079); classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Tirmidhi.
Part of being enabled to do good deeds is loving Allaah and His Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and the Sahaabah, as you mention in your letter. It is proven that our Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “There are three characteristics, whoever attains them has found the sweetness of faith: when Allaah and His Messenger are dearer to him than all else, when he loves a man and does not love him except for the sake of Allaah, and when he would hate to return to kufr after Allaah has saved him from it as he would hate to be thrown into the fire.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari (16) and Muslim (43).
By the same token, love of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and his companions is one of the greatest means of drawing closer to Allaah, of which most of mankind is deprived. It is narrated in a saheeh report that he (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “A man will be with those whom he loves.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari (6169) and Muslim (2640) from ‘Abd-Allaah ibn Mas’ood; also narrated by Muslim (2639) from Anas ibn Maalik (may Allaah be pleased with him).
These are great blessings, just one of which cannot be traded for this world and its pleasures and delights, but in fact you are not aware of their true value, because you have not experienced being without them, even for a single day, and you did not see their fruits in the world except on a very small scale.
We do not underestimate the severity of the problem from which you are suffering, but exaggerating about things may make a single problem into several problems. In fact you have several problems, so how about if you were to exaggerate about each one of them until they became like many problems?
Looking at a problem from only one angle generates worry, distress and depression, and if it is minor it will increase in one’s eyes until one thinks that all the problems of the world are on one’s shoulders, and there is no problem that a Muslim could have that is one hundred percent pure evil? In most cases the good that exists in the calamity is many times greater than the bad.
Firstly: Do you know that Allaah tests the believing woman because He loves her and wants what is good for her? In al-Saheeh it is narrated that our Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “When Allaah wills good for a person, He tests him.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari (5321).
What great grace it is that Allaah cleanses His slave whom He loves of sin straight away, with trials and calamities, so that he will meet Him on the (Day of Resurrection) with no sin on him, and his joy on that Day will be great, and he will realize then that the calamities that befell him were among the greatest blessings that Allaah bestowed on him.
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “On the Day of Resurrection, when people who had suffered affliction are given their reward, those who were healthy will wish their skins had been cut to pieces with scissors when they were in the world.” Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 2402. Classed as hasan by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Tirmidhi.
Look again at the life that you are living, and at the calamities that you are suffering, and think positively of your Lord, for He is the wisest of the wise, may He be glorified.
Try as much as you can to look at the positive side of every problem that you are suffering, whether it is psychological or material. For example:
Delay in marriage:
How many girls find that marriage for them is delayed, then it turns out to be good for them.
There was a woman who reached the age of forty; her sisters and brothers all got married, and her parents died, and she stayed in the house alone. She was religiously committed and righteous. A woman said to her: May Allaah help you to cope with this loneliness; you have stayed alone after all your family has gone. And she started to encourage her to be patient. But she gave an amazing response that not even great and prominent people could come up with, and those who heard this answer were stunned by it. She said: Who told you that I am living alone? Not at all. I have not lived a single day without the one I love. He is with me night and day, and He does not leave me for a moment, and I talk to Him at moments when He is closest to me. He is my Lord.
Another example is the problem of not having children.
One of our sisters got married but did not have children for many years, then she found out from medical tests that she was the one who could not have children. She gave her husband the choice of divorcing her or taking a second wife to live with her like two sisters in one house. He loved her for her religious commitment and righteousness, so he chose to take another wife and to keep her with him as a co-wife with all the rights of marriage. That was done, and she now had some free time. She joined a group of women to memorize Qur’aan, until she had memorized it all, and she earned a certificate in learning and memorizing Qur’aan. Then she began to study and she took a course in fiqh and another in ‘aqeedah. Now she is a teacher of women in a women’s centre, and she has had the honour of introducing the Sunnah to many areas that were dominated by innovations and myths. She has played a major role in eradicating ignorance for many women who used to worship Allaah in ignorance. She bore her inability to have children with patience, and her Lord honoured her, and her use of her free time had a great impact on her and others with regard to knowledge and education.
A third example:
This has to do with one of the greatest problems from which you are suffering, which is sihr (magic or witchcraft), and the influence of the jinn and practitioners of witchcraft among mankind. This example will give answers to most of the questions that have to do with this topic.
There was a girl from a good and religiously committed family. The family was faced the problem that the wife of one of their sons practised witchcraft. She had an argument with her husband’s sister and put a spell on her so that suitors would be put off and to make her appear ugly when first seen, so that the suitor would not return. That happened many times despite the fact that she was notably beautiful, and that went on for a long time. Then she was treated with shar’i ruqyah to combat witchcraft and the effects of witchcraft became apparent on her. She was treated for a while, to no avail. Every time she thought that the problem had been solved, she would suddenly find that she was suffering from the same spell, and she suffered the same as you are suffering now, worry, stress and depression.
She started to wonder, could people hate another for no reason to such an extent that they would cause harm to one another, and the witchcraft and the jinn started causing her to panic by night and day.
Then she referred her problem to a specialist who told her: There are ten things that you must adhere to, and by Allaah’s leave this problem will not last for long if you are patient and put up with it for a little while. You do not need to go to a man to treat you with ruqyah, rather you can treat yourself by yourself. She said: I will be patient and I will do my best, if Allaah wills. So he wrote down the ten points for her and she adhered to them and stuck firmly to them. Here are the ten points; we will write them for you and we ask Allaah to enable you to adhere to them as part of the remedy for several problems that you have, of which sihr is one. These are the ten points:
1. Read whatever you can of Qur’aan every day.Make du’aa’ during the last third of the night, beseeching Allaah to grant you relief. Seek out the times when du’aa’s are answered, and say du’aa’ at those times, such as when prostrating, between the adhaan and iqaamah, and before saying the tasleem at the end of the prayer. Always recite the adhkaar for morning and evening, even during your menses. Pay attention to specific du’aa’s, such as dhikr when entering the house, when entering the toilet, when exiting, when going to sleep, when waking up, and on various occasions. These are explained in a small book that is of great benefit, namely Husn al-Muslim by Shaykh Sa’eed ibn Wahb al-Qahtaani. (Available in English as Fortress of the Muslim). Keep away from sin, avoid negligence and shun the situations which may cause you to forget remembrance of Allaah, because they are places where the devils gather and take advantage of the heedless and overwhelm them with desires. Try to help those who are in distress and relieve their distress, in the hope that Allaah may relieve your distress thereby. If a person helps his brother, Allaah will help him, and if he relieves his brother’s distress, Allaah will relieve his distress. Pray for those who are in distress, asking Allaah to relieve them, because that will lead to the angels praying for you as you prayed for others. Ask a great deal for forgiveness. Recite the du’aa’ of distress at various times: “La ilaaha ill-Allaah al-‘Azeem ul-Haleem, Laa ilaaha ill-Allaah Rabb il-‘arsh il-‘azeem, Laa ilaaha ill-Allaah Rabb is-samawaati wa Rabb il-ard wa Rabb il-‘arsh il-kareem (there is no god except Allaah, the All-Mighty, the Forbearing; there is no god except Allaah, the Lord of the Mighty Throne; there is no god except Allaah, Lord of the heavens, Lord of the earth and Lord of the noble Throne).”
After nearly a month of adhering to these things, Allaah took away her distress and decreed that she should be healed and made well. It was only a few days later that a suitor came to her and she got married. And now she has three sons and lives a calm and stable life filled with spiritual and worldly delights.
The last example, which I pray Allaah will cause to be a lesson and example for you:
There was a girl from a family that was not religiously committed. She married an uneducated young man who was somewhat religiously committed but was a little careless with regard to some matters of sharee’ah. She got pregnant a few months after marriage and the pregnancy lasted for a while, then she had a miscarriage. She and her husband grieved deeply, but a few months later she got pregnant again. The pregnancy lasted for a few months, but ended in miscarriage like the first one. The grief the second time was greater. They started going to doctors to find out the causes, and the problem was diagnosed. In the third pregnancy she took the medicines that were needed to make the pregnancy stable, but one month later she had a miscarriage despite taking all the necessary precautions. The grief this time was far greater than the first two times. They lost trust in that doctor and looked for another who was more skilled, but it happened again and she had another miscarriage. Each of them started looking for a remedy and asking, and they were sent to a Shaykh who treated people by means of ruqyah. He told her: You are under a powerful spell, and this is what is causing the miscarriages, and needs several sessions. That was done but to no avail. Then she went to a second Shaykh, and a third and a fourth. Every time she was partially cured, then the effects of the spell came back again.
The couple began to despair and they almost gave up. There was no joy in their lives, and they asked many of the same questions that you mention in your letter. Why did Allaah create the jinn? Why are they able to harm us without us being able to do anything? Why? Why? She became depressed and that almost destroyed their marriage.
Then Allaah caused her husband to meet a seeker of knowledge and he said: Shall I not tell you that which is best for your religious and worldly interests? The husband said: That is what I have been looking for. He wrote down for him something similar to the ten points that we have mentioned, and he and his wife followed that, and Allaah made things easier for them, and relieved their distress, and blessed them with a beautiful baby girl.
This woman went through a great test, and her children died because of the effects of witchcraft and she spent a lot of money on medical treatment. In the end the calamity turned into a blessing, or many blessings. She used to delay prayer until the time for it was over, but then she started to pray regularly on time. She used to listen to music and watch soap operas and movies, and attend mixed wedding parties with the evils involved in them, but now she and her husband refuse to do that until now. She used not to pray qiyaam or read Qur’aan or memorize it, or see knowledge or observe naafil fasts, but now she does all of those things. Although the problem that she was suffering ended a year ago, she began to taste the sweetness of obedience, worship and conversing with her Lord, so she decided to follow that for the rest of her life. Yes, she suffered a problem and a calamity, but her problem became the cause of her rising in worldly and religious terms. We ask Allaah to make us, her and you steadfast in adhering to Islam.
And Allaah is the Source of strength.