This is Part 2 of a 3 part series. See Part 1 here.
By Mohammad Zafar
Part 2: Should I Kill Myself?
Truly, Allâh is with As-Sâbirin (the patient ones) (2:153)
But the notion of suicide didn’t stay long with me. How could I do it I thought? It’s haram. Then the whispers of Satan would start: ‘But lying, backbiting and cheating are all Haram and yet many people still do it. Even the ones who would discourage you from suicide do it’. So then I thought maybe I should do it. To say that I was going back-and-forth with myself those days would be an understatement.
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It made sense to me at the time to go through with it. I had just about convinced myself, and not even the thought of my mother and sisters missing me had any effect. But the sole reason I didn’t go through with it at the time was because I just could not convince myself that Allah would be happy to see me come to Him like this. If I truly loved someone I would want to make the best first impression I could to them. And I felt that in the loneliest of times there was always Allah watching over me. When I had my back turned against the wall, the One and only One that could help me was Him. And I thought, what if I was about to be thrown in Hellfire, how could I have the audacity to call unto Allah to help me if I came to Him like this (i.e. suicide)? That concern, and nothing else, is why I’m still alive today.
So I didn’t go through with it; sadly things pretty much stayed the same. Out of dire distress I would begin to sob and cry (for reasons I didn’t know) over many more sleepless nights. And out of dire distress I would sometimes go walking outside for hours, heading nowhere.
Time passed as it is wont to do.
I kept my issues private. Barring a few breakdowns I seemed to be handling it. High school was finally over, but my mother wanted me to go to university now. I was, however, fed up of school as I had nothing but bad memories from it. I couldn’t endure more. Although I got through high school barely showing up for classes, I couldn’t keep this up at a university. I tried, and then left. I went back and then left again – a cycle which I became very tired of. So I started working any job I could find to stay busy. Work felt a bit easier. I didn’t have to think, just do.
School was a unique ordeal. As soon as I went and sat in my chair the memories would start. As soon as I tried to study, the memories would start. I couldn’t study at all with these issues bothering me. However my mom wouldn’t stand the thought of seeing her only son do this. She and my sisters would all gather up and repeat the same things to me: ‘you’re doomed for failure, you’re going to regret this’; ‘do you want to work as a loser your whole life?’, ‘what will people say?’, ‘you obviously don’t care about your future’, etc. I know they said it with the best intentions but it got to a point where I didn’t feel like coming home anymore.
I would roam around the streets late into the night just so I didn’t have to go back home and hear another lecture. I couldn’t help but fantasize about a destination I could walk to right there and then, but I just didn’t know where to go, where to look or where to even start. I was lost, as lost as one could be. Even though I knew my family wanted what was best for me, I found the most practical solution in simply distancing myself from them.
They wanted me to do things my friends were doing, and I had become fed up of them comparing me to others. I just wanted peace of mind and no one to bother me, but that clearly wasn’t happening. And worse, I still didn’t know why I couldn’t do the same things my friends could. What’s wrong with me, I used to think day and night?
Praying for Death
At that point I felt like I didn’t belong in this world (again). There was something wrong with me. I wasn’t capable of doing anything while others around me, I felt, did it with ease. I prayed and prayed for death. I would cry, making dua to Allah so that He could take me off this earth. I slept at times hoping my life would end as I would die in my sleep and wake up to meet Allah. Instead I would wake up in my same bed disappointed and knowing that I had to go through another day.
My patience ran out. I was tired of receiving countless amount of discouraging advice. I started to have mental breakdowns again because of the stress. But I did a very good job of hiding these feelings from others, only my mom would see me in distress. Her motherly love led her to become more patient with me. “It’ll get better, don’t worry. You don’t have to do anything. Just be happy,” she would say. Although deep down I knew how much she wanted me to study, and that led me to feel even more ashamed. My mom just wanted her only son to study and I couldn’t even do that.
My mental health started to affect my physical health. I felt fatigued the entire day and had no energy to do anything. In a period of a few months, without any change in diet or exercise, I lost more than 20 pounds. My blood pressure was pushing towards the 170/110 numbers. I knew that my body couldn’t handle the stress anymore.
Back came the thoughts of suicide, but this time they were very strong. I just couldn’t take it now. Allah will forgive me I kept repeating trying to convince myself.
So one day I wrote a text message to a friend and indirectly wrote how I was about to go through with suicide. I lost the energy to cry and just did it unemotionally. The police would find the text message in my phone and perhaps that would explain to my family why I did it. I just wanted to quietly leave this world and not bother anyone in the process. And as weird as it sounds, I really wanted to meet Allah.
I prayed to Allah to take my life Himself as I really didn’t want to go through with it. I took off to the Masjid hoping Allah would take my life while I prayed Isha salah or else I would have to kill myself. I came in a little late for salah as everyone was praying and before I joined, I took a deep breath telling myself that this was my last salah. The prayer ended and there I was still alive. I walked home frustrated, kicking the ground and upset why my dua wasn’t answered.
While outside I wanted to jump onto the street with fast moving cars going by. But just before I could take any further step, those same thoughts that stopped me from committing suicide back in high school would resurface. I just couldn’t go to Allah and meet Him like this. I only had one chance to make a first impression and this just wasn’t it.
Yet things still weren’t improving. I didn’t see any dream. No magic light ran past my home. Nothing drastic happened – everything was just like it was. Although I couldn’t convince myself to commit suicide, I would try to tempt fate. So, in moments when I don’t feel I was in total control of myself, I started riding my bike late at night as fast as I could, with my head down, hoping a car would come and hit me…somehow I survived through it all.
It was an unbearable ordeal, subhanAllah what an ordeal it was. As I heard in a speech once, “Had Allah not created patience, I felt like that would have been the end of me”.
Mohammad Zafar is a guest contributor who made it out of depression after his childhood, teenage and early adult years were taken away by it. Mohammad likes to share his experiences in hope it may be of help to others. He is also the founder of a well-known Islamic Nasheed channels on YouTube. He spends his spare time reading, designing videos, and arguing with his 5 older sisters. He currently resides in Toronto, Canada where he is passionately pursuing a degree in History.