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What Every Muslim Ought to Know About Suicide

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By Saba Malik

About eight years ago, I attended a depression mastery seminar by a prominent Muslim shaykh. At the time, I was learning about Muslims who have suicide attempts. In the back of my mind, I vaguely understood that suicide wasn’t allowed in Islam. But wondered why did Muslims who practiced their faith regularly still tried to kill themselves.

At the end of the seminar, I went up to the teacher and asked, “If a Muslim commits suicide, what happens to them.” I also shared some stories of some people I knew who were facing severe thoughts of ending their lives. After hearing my spiel, he simply said, “If a person kills himself or herself, they’re going straight to hell.” I still remember those words and the way he said them and the way they made me feel. I shook right to my brain. Alhamdulillah, this one powerful statement has left a lasting mark on me for years and allows me to help Muslims going through severe depression. The problem isn’t that we are unaware of this ayah “Nor kill yourselves”[i] in the Quran. The bigger issue is who has “real” suicide issues and who is merely having thoughts like, “Oh my God, my kids are driving me nuts! I just want to kill myself.”

[i] Quran (4:29)

There’s a second part to the depression seminar story. The shaykh also shared that he knew someone who committed suicide. The deceased’s family comforted themselves thinking that he wasn’t going to hell because he was sick. Interestingly, the shaykh disagreed. Allah is the ultimate judge and when you have suicidal thoughts or even attempt it, what do you make of it? Are you a bad Muslim? What if you actually killed yourself, what would be your fate?

Are the Rules Different for the Mentally Ill

I recently had the privilege of being in the company of an intelligent psychiatrist, and an insightful imam. The best part was that they were in the same room. After talking to them, I learned (which makes total sense now) that when a Muslim commits suicide and they are insane and have lost touch with reality, different conditions apply to them. On the other hand, when a believer commits suicide while fully understanding their actions and the ensuing results, they are in a different category.

This nuance in what constitutes as suicide can be a breath of fresh air, especially for Muslims with mental illnesses. If you have clinical depression or bipolar or other diagnosed mental illnesses, it’s not easy. A friend of mine recently had a suicide attempt where she did lose touch with reality. She had hallucinations and heard voices that were cheering her on to kill herself. She later told me that it was the most frightening thing in her life because she was not in control. She also said her eyes could see. Her fingers could feel. Her ears could hear. Yet she was blind, deaf and mute because her brain could not process all the incoming stimuli. That is what constitutes as insanity. It is different from other suicide committed by fully sane people. This suicidal attempt also came on very suddenly. Her therapist reassured her later that yes this can happen. Out of no fault of her own, she can kill herself because she has a severe mental illness. We are not in a place to say so and so is going to hell because only Allah truly knows how sane or insane someone is at the time of the a suicide attempt.

“To all those suffering from sadness or depression, know that it isn’t your fault. It isn’t because you’re weak. It isn’t because you’re just not grateful enough. It isn’t because you’re just not religious enough. It isn’t because you don’t have enough faith. It isn’t because God is angry with you. To all the well-meaning people who tell you this, just smile. And know deep in your heart that the tests of God come in different forms to different people. And know that, by the help of God, every test can become a tool to get closer to Him. And that, verily, with hardship come ease–and like all things of this world–this too shall pass.”[ii]

A sick Muslim after a surgery or getting cancer is showered with flowers and well wishes. A person in the psych ward who was just pulled away from jumping off that bridge only gets called crazy, a bad Muslim, doomed to hell, weak and just plain stupid. They might even be shamed to death, literally. But again, there is a distinction to be made between the everyday depression and thoughts of dying versus diagnosed mental illnesses, such as depression. Clinical mental illnesses have symptoms of suicidal thoughts and attempts. Depression is much more than grief and sadness. “It’s officially diagnosed by the DSM- IV as depressed mood systems lasting most of the day for a period of at least two weeks”[iii].

Dr. Abdullah al-Khater (d. 1989), professor at the Faculty of Medicine at the University of King Faisal, says, “A depressed person becomes less productive, concentrates less and starts to develop signs of forgetfulness. He may consider this life worthless and may even regard himself insignificant and worthless. He may wish for death and contemplate suicide.”[iv]

Depression with an organic, hereditary cause or chemical imbalance needs to be treated with many tools. Here is a preliminary list:

  1. Regular salah
  2. Medication
  3. Therapy such as psychotherapy or cognitive behavioral therapy
  4. Regular exercise
  5. Healthy eating
  6. Good sleep hygiene
  7. Keeping up with physical hygiene
  8. Active and meaningful social relationships
  9. Support groups or blog
  10. Giving back to your community

For situational depression (caused by trauma, loss and death), Dr. Abdullah al-Khater
 gives eight remedies in his book
“Grief and Depression: From an 
Islamic Perspective.” The above remedies can also be used for the everyday woes alongside the medication. Dr. al-Khater gives the following eight solutions:

  1. Using the Islamic creed
  2. Doing righteous deeds
  3. Offering salah and reciting prayers
  4. Contemplating the worst cases
  5. Having good opinions
  6. Living with a realistic – not idealistic – point of view
  7. Behaving well towards other and yourself
  8. Having hope

Bipolar Disorder

When you are feeling depressed, are having suicidal thoughts and have gone through the above list, something else is going on. Get professional help. It is okay to see a psychiatrist. If you had a thyroid problem, you would go to an endocrinologist. So when your brain is not preforming the way it should, you simply see the brain specialist. You need to see a doctor when depression is getting to the point that it’s hindering your ability to work or take care of your family or complete your studies or to live a normal life. Moreover, you need to find your purpose in life. Yes, we live to worship Allah but what does that mean to you? How are you living for Allah with the talents you have? What gives your life, passion, purpose and pizzazz?

Lastly, many mental illness patients get told countless times to get off their meds. Would you ever say that to a person with a crutch? “Let that go. You don’t need it. Try walking on your own!” That’s absurd. Yet, many Muslims say things like that about psycho-pharmaceutical drugs left and right. Do your research, find out what you need and the pros and cons of medical treatments. Nod politely at that aunty or uncle who tells you that you’re fine and just need to pray more. If that were the only thing that worked, wouldn’t all the severe depression in the world be cured by now? That is the main reason I started blogging – to dispel the ignorance. I also write so I can connect with different Muslims who are going through the same thing.

We need to take a holistic approach to treating suicide. We cannot make blanket statements or become the judge. Prayer and placing your trust is part of the solutions but you also need to lock that car with your keys. When you or a friend realizes the depression in their life, comfort them or yourself. Reach out and get help. Come my blog for support. And when you are feeling super suicidal and are thinking of ways to kill yourself, call 911 or 1-800-273-8255. For help with situational depression, call the Muslim helpline at 1-866-NASEEHA.

Remember, suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

Saba Malik is a blogger at and founder of www.MuslimBipolar.com. She is a teacher, life coach and author of, “Blessed with Bipolar -The Muslim’s 3-Step Support Guide to Mastering Bipolar.” She lives on earth with her husband and their daughter. She loves running, reading, rain and can be reached at info@muslimbipolar.com.

References

[i] Quran (4:29)

[ii] Yasmin Mogahed

[iii] What is Bipolar Disorder?, Take Charge of Bipolar Disorder: A 4-Step Plan for you and Your Loved Ones to Manage the Illness and Create Lasting Stability (New York: Warner Wellness, 2006).

[iv] Depression: Dr. Abdullah al-Khater., Grief and Depression: from an Islamic Perspective (London: Deluxe Printers, 2001).

 

41 Comments

41 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Emily Moore

    March 9, 2016 at 1:05 PM

    Bipolar disorder symptoms may differ from person to person: they vary in their pattern, severity, and frequency. Some people are more inclined to the manic stage, others – to the depressive stage. And some may have these stages progress evenly. For more info please visit undepress.net/what-is-bipolar-depression-description-and-definition/

  2. Avatar

    Reader

    March 9, 2016 at 3:41 PM

    Salaam Saba,
    A great piece about an important topic we tend to ignore ☺. It’s good to see that you are breaking down this social stigma, Alhamdulliah, for the benefit of our ummah. We all need to be more open and aware, like you mentioned – living with family members who suffered from depression has also been a real eye opener for me to understand too.
    Keep it up!

    • Avatar

      Saba

      March 26, 2016 at 8:42 PM

      Wasalaam Reader,

      May Allah reward you for the comment for the supportive comment!

  3. Avatar

    Anon

    March 9, 2016 at 6:43 PM

    Thank you for the article. However i would like to add a few things:
    1) organic/hereditary depression cannot be treated nor managed with the things in your list as the nature of low depressive moods is that the person does not want to engage in anything at all. The depression wont allow them to.
    2) whoever the imam was who told you you would go to hell needs a good hard slap. Giving out disgusting and harmful advice where the one being spoken to is not considered is not helpful nor beneficial.

    Suicide is a sin. But it is not kufr, it does not take you out of the fold of Islam. Our sins can lead us to the hellfire & yes, we will he raised in the state in which we died, but to categorically state to someone with bipolar disorder that suicide WILL lead them to hell is despicable. Whatever happened to people not giving opionions on that which they know nothing about?

    I am so sick to death of the muslims soeaking about depression in a fashion that they know nothing about. And that is not directed at you sister, im talking about every other article or talk ive read/heard on this topic. I live with someone with clinical depression. The doctors dont even fully understand this stuff…but why is it that our community members feel they can answer everything away? Do u think that a person with depression doesnt want to get out of it? Do u think its not an everyday, everyminute drain on them that touches EVERY single aspect of their lives? Like, really!???
    And then you have the audacity to make them feel like even more of a piece of crap than they already feel??
    Audhubillah…may God spare us all from the hellfire we like to condemn others to but dont realise how close we are to it ourselves. Ameen

    • Avatar

      M.Mahmud

      March 21, 2016 at 2:24 PM

      One thing in fact I find that is helpful to mitigate or protect from depression and anxiety and feelings of sorrow is fear of Allah and the akhirah. It sounds strange but when one considers the absolute greatness of Allah aza wa jal, how much better and more lasting Jannah is and how much severer and more lasting Jahannam is, one sees the dunya for what is is. It is actually to me the most helpful out of all things, better than family or entertainment, or pleasure or friends.

      Ina lillahi wa ina ilayhi raji’oon doesn’t necessarily need to be limited to a statement of hope. It can, if Allah wills, also be used as a statement of humble fear. When one realizes the severity of what is ahead and the urgency to prepare, everything else goes out the window, all other feels are mitigated and feel sucked out.

      Knowing that you are in an emergency is probably the best therapy out there at least for me.

      I hope other Muslims (and myself) get a taste of this a lot. I feel like this kind of thing is what the Sahaba RA had a lot(they used to weep out of fear of Allah aza wa jal) and it made patience a lot easier for them.

      We always think of hope as the best means of remaining patient but I think people neglect the incredible power fear has as well. If we combine both, we may be so involved in the akhirah we actually have to be reminded to not forget this life.

      That’s my two cents, may Allah gift us with hope in His mercy and fear of His punishment until our last moments and make patience easy for us and relieve us of the heaviness of this life. May he inspire us with such a sense of dreadful urgency we are preoccupied with what we ought to be preoccupied with.

    • Avatar

      Saba

      March 26, 2016 at 8:41 PM

      You are welcome for the article Anon.

      I made that list according to my experience and those of others. Of course it doesn’t have to nor will it work for everyone.

      About the rest of your post, join the club!

      The only healthy way I could deal with my frustration of mental illness stigma in our community was to blog…

  4. Avatar

    Ismail

    March 9, 2016 at 11:22 PM

    Excellent piece! ‘Stick it’ to the Stigma!

    • Avatar

      Saba

      March 26, 2016 at 8:37 PM

      lol Thanks Ismail

  5. Avatar

    Amina

    March 9, 2016 at 11:39 PM

    THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS! SENDING MY LOVE TO YOU! XOXOXOX

    • Avatar

      Saba

      March 26, 2016 at 8:37 PM

      You are welcome Amina :)

  6. Avatar

    junaid

    March 10, 2016 at 5:05 AM

    eye opener for me to understand too.
    Keep it up! Bipolar disorder symptoms may differ from person to person: they vary in their pattern, severity, and frequency. Some people are more inclined to the manic stage, others – to the depressive stage. And some may have these stages progress evenly.

    • Avatar

      Saba

      March 26, 2016 at 8:36 PM

      You are right Junaid.

      Bipolar varies from person to person and so does the treatment. That can be very challenging to treat as well since every patient usually needs their own cocktail of meds…

      Some recover more easily than others as well…

  7. Avatar

    Jonaid

    March 10, 2016 at 9:30 PM

    Salam Alaykum.

    “Lastly, many mental illness patients get told countless times to get off their meds. Would you ever say that to a person with a crutch? “Let that go. You don’t need it. Try walking on your own!” That’s absurd. Yet, many Muslims say things like that about psycho-pharmaceutical drugs left and right. Do your research, find out what you need and the pros and cons of medical treatments. Nod politely at that aunty or uncle who tells you that you’re fine and just need to pray more. If that were the only thing that worked, wouldn’t all the severe depression in the world be cured by now? That is the main reason I started blogging – to dispel the ignorance. I also write so I can connect with different Muslims who are going through the same thing.”

    As someone who’s battled several psychiatric disorders over the course of the past decade and a half, I agree with you here. I was majorly depressed 7 years ago and even contemplated suicide. As it happens, I was an atheist at the time so I cannot relate to your experience of having depression while believing in God. Nonetheless, at the time I took anti-depressant and stimulant medication to make me functional again. I discontinued the anti-depressants after 8 months but continued the stimulants.

    Last year I went thru about 5 months of severe mood swings & depression resulting from trauma. This time no amount of anti-depressants or stimulants helped. I had my spiritual awakening (God literally saved me) and since then I’ve been better than I have been in years, without any drugs. I’ve been taking stimulants for inattention for about 6 years now. I realized since my “awakening” that my dependency on them has waned. Gradually I’ve brought myself down to less than a quarter of my regular dose and I’m near certain that in a few months at most – Insha’Allah – I will not need any stimulants whatsoever to be fully attentive at all times.

    What I learned from my own experience is that while praying and asking God directly for help is certainly beneficial, it does not mean that God will “cure” you overnight. It is gradual but it does occur. To me it’s a miracle that I don’t need nearly as much medication to be focused anymore. Inattention (when it’s called “ADHD”) in adults is – according to psychiatrists – chronic. In 6 years I did not lower my dose but now, thank God, I get by just fine without anywhere near as much I as I once needed.

    I wouldn’t have believed what I wrote here if I read it a year ago. Trust in God – ask Him to guide you and protect you always. Ask directly and sincerely and be patient.

    May God help you.

    • Avatar

      Saba

      March 26, 2016 at 8:33 PM

      Salaam Jonaid, I couldn’t have said it better. A lot of people tell me to blog using spirituality and keep it more open. Some people can do that but to me God is very important to mental illness recovery.

      Only God can truly get someone through the mental hell of bipolar and depression. Yes, it takes meds, therapy and doctors but those are gifts and lifelines that God sends. Some people recognize that and get closer to Him and others don’t.

      Alhumdulillah we are very blessed to still be guided by Allah…

  8. Avatar

    Abu Ibrahim

    March 12, 2016 at 12:35 AM

    May Allah swt reward you for sharing your experience Saba, and may he grant you Shifa. Kudos to Jonaid as well. Experiential learning from people living with mental illness who have the Islamic perspective is priceless. There is a drive internationally to improve peer support and dispel stigma (as this is what works). Your two lists are great!.

    Sh Yahya Ibrahim’s article last Ramadan highlighting the need to manage self-stigma is also dead-on. Understanding the Islamic narrative about ‘tests’ and praying to Allah not to place on us burdens we cannot bear (last 2 verses of Surah al Baqarah) gives the necessary hope, comfort and resilience to manage suicidal thoughts and impulses. It’s amazing Allah did not leave us without guidance, whatever the qadar (Q87:1-3), as seen in this prayer against suicidal wishes, taught by our beloved prophet (SAW), narrated by Anas Ibn Malik in Bukhari:

    The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “None of you should wish for death because of a calamity befalling him; but if he has to wish for death, he should say: “O Allah! Keep me alive as long as life is better for me, and let me die if death is better for me.’ ”

    This prayer validates distress and suicidal feelings in the sufferer but at the same time encourages reliance on Allah. The Islamic “awakening” (to quote Jonaid) or understanding is much needed to stem the tide of suicide in children and adolescents. Low frustration tolerance appears to be a key factor (as for divorce trends), when compared with our ancestors. May Allah give us the necessary sabr (patience) in difficult situations. Ameen

    • Avatar

      Saba

      March 26, 2016 at 8:28 PM

      Ameen to your du’a Abu Ibrahim and may Allah reward you for the comment.

      You shared some great insight and knowledge. Those last two verses in Surah Baqarah are like gold to me…sub han Allah.

  9. Avatar

    adheim

    March 13, 2016 at 4:10 PM

    plz edit your article and include the following hadith of the prophet peace be upon him

    The Pen has been lifted from three (types of people) [Hadith]
    The Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) Said: “The Pen has been lifted from three: from the sleeper until he awakens, from the child until he reaches puberty and from the insane person until he comes to his senses — or until he comes round.” Narrated by Abu Dawood (4403), al-Nasaa’i (3432) and Ibn Maajah (2041). Classed as saheeh by Shaykh al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood.

    There ids is no doubt that anyone with bipolar disorder or depression or the like has a mental disorder for them the pen is lifted and there is no sin on them

    And Allah Knows Best.

    • Avatar

      M.Mahmud

      March 21, 2016 at 2:14 PM

      You cannot assume all mental illnesses that are categorized as such fit the category of insanity mentioned in the ahadith. Allah is the judge, we look to fuqaha to interpret the ahadith properly. However we can seek forgiveness for all Muslim suicides, because they are our brethren in deen.

      It is known that whoever dies as a Muslim will sooner or later enter Jannah. What guarantees eternity in the fire is not believing in Allah and His Messenger and even the major sinners of the Ummah will be brought out of Jahannam.

      ومن لم يؤمن بالله ورسوله فإنا أعتدنا للكافرين سعيرا

  10. Avatar

    M

    March 14, 2016 at 8:42 AM

    As someone who gets suicidal thoughts quite often, and also knows someone who has attempted suicide this article means a lot! So Jazak Allah Khair for writing this article. I haven’t been depressed for a while Alhamdulilah but I do remember what’s it’s like to feel in that zone, it’s this lethal absence of emotion that only the person that is going through it can understand.

    There is a definite need for more resources for Muslims suffering from mental illnesses. Most Muslims don’t know where to look for help or that it is OK to feel not-sane sometimes; they are just suffering in silence. So Jazak Allah Khair for sharing the information with us.

    • Avatar

      Saba

      March 26, 2016 at 8:22 PM

      You are welcome M.

      I am very sorry to hear that you went through all that. Depression and suicide can define you or refine. It’s pretty much up to us.

      Yes, there does need to be more awareness so I hope my blog helps…

      • Avatar

        Naz

        December 14, 2016 at 8:45 PM

        I am someone who has battled severe clinical depression most of my adult life. I have attempted suicide 5 times and had a full nervous breakdown 7 years ago. Five years ago I was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder and finally somethings I was doing began to make sense. I have been in therapy for years now – first mentalisation behavioural therapy and now schema therapy. Still after all this time, everyday is a battle. People tell me I am weak. I lack faith. I shouldn’t listen to the doctors and that all I need to do is pray. I have been told that I am crazy. I have completely lost faith and feel resigned that I will go to hell. Some days I feel so angry at Allah. I want to die. I can not bear to look at myself and detest being in my own skin. I am withdrawn from people and have shrunk my social contact down as much as I can. I don’t trust anyone. I feel unable to love anyone. This includes my own family. Most days I don’t feel human. I just go through the motions. Pretend, smile, act at being alive so that the people who are foolish enough to love me are not alarmed. If I’m honest the only thing keeping me alive is my youngest child. She is 11. I have a 23 year old who doesn’t want to know me because she can’t forgive me for not being a normal mother. Yes she actually said that. She is more concerned that my problems are hereditary and she may get them. Don’t get me wrong. It was very tough on her growing up around my mental health issues.

        I am really really tired. I feel rejected by Allah. I want to die. One day I know I will take my own life. It is inevitable.

        Thank you for your article though. It felt good to have someone not blame but show a glimmer of understanding.

  11. Avatar

    ghulammustafa

    March 17, 2016 at 11:21 AM

    Excellent piece! May Allah swt reward you for sharing your experience

    • Avatar

      Saba

      March 26, 2016 at 8:20 PM

      Ameen to your du’a and may Allah reward you for the comment.

  12. Avatar

    Brenda

    March 18, 2016 at 3:53 PM

    Thank you for sharing this powerful honest article. I’m sure it took courage because sadly nobody seems to be safe from other people’s tongues

    • Avatar

      Saba

      March 26, 2016 at 8:20 PM

      May Allah reward you for the comment. Yeah it’s best to focus on our own tongues…that’s much, much easier!

  13. Avatar

    Sheeza

    March 23, 2016 at 4:40 PM

    Excellent piece! May Allah swt reward you for sharing your experience

    *Name has been changed to comply to our Comments Policy*
    [Please refrain from using a ‘Name’ that is considered advertising]

    • Avatar

      Saba

      March 26, 2016 at 8:18 PM

      Ameen to your du’a and may Allah reward you for the comment.

  14. Avatar

    Nida

    July 13, 2016 at 4:37 AM

    Assalam alaikum
    While I agree that changing idealism to realism is very much required, I was wondering about the medication aspect for those who are afflicted with jinn possession. The jinn hides under the tranquilizers and doping effects and the main cause is never cured. (Dr Bilal Philips in one of his lectures).
    So what is your take on someone who is not mentally ill perse but confirmed spiritually possessed?
    Even when it comes to suicidal tendencies for such a person, the person is at times conscious of what they are doing and at times they have no control. Allah knows best indeed. How will the patient themselves know if they are still with insight?
    JazakAllah khair.

  15. Avatar

    Zia-e-Taiba

    August 1, 2016 at 6:24 AM

    Nice to see a Blog Post related to Suicide in Islam.

  16. Avatar

    Nadia

    August 22, 2016 at 11:55 AM

    What if you self harm? I know it’s haram but, I’d just like to know ways you could cope with it.

  17. Avatar

    Ameer basha

    November 30, 2016 at 11:12 PM

    I love Allah very much I’m in depression pblm the scolding thoughts on Allah I love Allah very much but y it will happenig plz rply brothers

  18. Avatar

    Irfan

    December 10, 2016 at 12:09 PM

    Yesterday, we lost a member of our community in this way.. may Allah have mercy on his soul.. it pains me deeply that a lot of people today know how utterly depressed he was, and yet were unaware that something like this was a possibility.. it pains me that we are unable to recognise that it is our responsibility to help our family members and community members in their times of severe despair.. it pains me that we simply pass blanket judgement and yet are unable to appreciate that we too should not fail our circle of influence, and that that failure too is not without consequence.. i am hurting.. may Allah have mercy on his soul..

  19. Avatar

    Naz

    December 14, 2016 at 8:47 PM

    I am someone who has battled severe clinical depression most of my adult life. I have attempted suicide 5 times and had a full nervous breakdown 7 years ago. Five years ago I was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder and finally somethings I was doing began to make sense. I have been in therapy for years now – first mentalisation behavioural therapy and now schema therapy. Still after all this time, everyday is a battle. People tell me I am weak. I lack faith. I shouldn’t listen to the doctors and that all I need to do is pray. I have been told that I am crazy. I have completely lost faith and feel resigned that I will go to hell. Some days I feel so angry at Allah. I want to die. I can not bear to look at myself and detest being in my own skin. I am withdrawn from people and have shrunk my social contact down as much as I can. I don’t trust anyone. I feel unable to love anyone. This includes my own family. Most days I don’t feel human. I just go through the motions. Pretend, smile, act at being alive so that the people who are foolish enough to love me are not alarmed. If I’m honest the only thing keeping me alive is my youngest child. She is 11. I have a 23 year old who doesn’t want to know me because she can’t forgive me for not being a normal mother. Yes she actually said that. She is more concerned that my problems are hereditary and she may get them. Don’t get me wrong. It was very tough on her growing up around my mental health issues.

    I am really really tired. I feel rejected by Allah. I want to die. One day I know I will take my own life. It is inevitable.

    Thank you for your article though. It felt good to have someone not blame but show a glimmer of understanding.

  20. Avatar

    Mohamed

    July 16, 2017 at 5:38 PM

    I simply want to die because I don’t want life. I don’t like life. I don’t like how it works. I don’t like to wake up, to eat, to talk, to pray, to read Quran, to go college, or to bother with doing anything. I have HIV, I intentionally stopped medication because I don’t want to extend my life period. But I can’t wait until I die naturally. I have difficult life. But I don’t blame because I know the solutions. But I don’t want anything. No jannah, no jahannam. I wish to not exist at all. I feel like I’m stuck, Allah didn’t give a choice like that. Allah never asked us whether to stay created or not. Just straight away gave life and called it a gift. Never gave choice to not have it. Hell or heaven only. Just makes me angry on Allah. I feel like killing myself. But that would take me to hell. But I don’t mind not having jannah. So it’s okay for me to not exist. Why can’t Allah understand that and make me disappear. Is that because Allah is unable. Or stubborn on his decision. I just want to die. And not exist. Idk what to do anymore. I don’t even intend to live. Whether happy or unhappy. I never wanted any blessings. Now Allah is making me need blessings. I just hate everyone, everything, including Allah and it’s creations. Why.

    • Avatar

      Wen

      November 27, 2017 at 10:40 AM

      I hope since you posted this Mohamed you have found some one to help. I felt like you have described for a long time, wishing I didn’t exist, wishing I would not wake up to another day. Going through the motions every one else expects, smile, laugh, say what you know is the palatable response, because saying the truth about how you really feel, has people backing away from you. I felt like I was the walking dead, I breathed, I worked, I went through all the motions of a living human being but inside I was exhausted from keeping up the pretence. The world held no joy, everything I used to once find pleasure in, now seemed like dust in my mouth. I lost the will to live and lost the ability to see the beauty all around me. Depression can come about from many causes. Loss of a loved one, traumatic events, Chemical imbalance, exposure to toxic substances. A cumulation of events that have occurred in our life, which on the surface we think we have dealt with it or its not that bad, or others have suffered worse, but inside in our heart we still carry that pain buried so far down so I can convince myself it doesn’t bother me, or push it away if it does, minimise it by telling myself stop being soft, toughen up, others have suffered more than me, I should not be so weak. Over time all those unpleasant events in life add up, on there own they may seem insignificant, not as bad as other situations you have been through but depression can creep on on you slowly one situation at a time until one day even the tiniest silliest situation can have you over reacting because you just cant take anymore. it but it was the straw that broke the camels back. I withdrew from people more and more, isolated myself, it was easier to be on my own, the effort of pretending to live was too tiring. I wanted to be left alone, I wanted to die, I wanted my life over. I screamed foul abuse at a God I wasn’t sure I even believed existed, for this life he inflicted on me. I was deeply depressed, angry, hating everything around me, pushing everyone away or driving them away because I couldn’t pretend anymore, I couldn’t keep up the facade in front of others anymore, I felt a deep loneliness inside that nothing eased. Seeking help is not easy and often those offering help even with multiple degrees stuck all over their wall can be outstandingly useless and make things worse, but don’t give up, no matter how many doors you have to walk out of because that person wasn’t helpful, try the next one.
      And now Faith is restoring me to life. I screamed at this God, abused him and denied him, if he did exist I blamed him for destroying me again, had I not suffered enough, no this God everyone tried to console me with, stood by and did nothing and I was told it was his will. If this God existed then I hated him, so it was better to not believe in anything at all. I was blind and ignorant, I thought I was intelligent, I was a fool. I tried to end it, This God I hated or denied had other plans, I prayed for his wisdom to help me understand. Gods wisdom is infinite and true and brings peace, mine was limited and flawed keeping me in a dark place.

  21. Avatar

    Nadeem

    July 27, 2017 at 11:03 PM

    Who is the shaykh you keep referring to. Also people commit suicide after a long period of time. It needs to be dealt with by talking and trying to help the person whether it being advice on getting a job, education, family, and spending time with them make them happy by giving something, also suicidal people like to be alone the best thing is to make them happy about this life and the hereafter. You cannot simply just state you are going to hell because the Qur’an or hadith states it. You need to be practical god is all merciful only he knows what a person goes through and i hate scholars who judge someone by reading some text and label people whos going to hell or not.

  22. Avatar

    Vanitas

    January 28, 2018 at 10:14 PM

    I am 53 years old, educated muslim woman. Outwardly, it seems like I have a good life but I’ve been suffering from depression since I was a young girl. As I get older, I feel more and more depressed, anxious and suicidal. It seems like there is an invisible force that bringing me down, making my life miserable and unhappy. Sometimes i think I am perhaps cursed as my life is so dysfunctional, I am unable to have a proper relationship, always meeting the wrong type of men and we end up splitting up. My friendship with people never last very long, sadly leaving me to stay on my own, pretty much all the time.
    I am really suffering and although I have tried in vain to fight the depression, pushing away the thoughts of killing myself, but most of the time suicide seems to be the only way to stop the pain. At this time I don’t care if I am going to hell or not, life on earth is pretty much as painful as hell.

  23. Avatar

    Ahmed

    March 15, 2018 at 3:41 AM

    Islam and suicide are two totally different directions. Please don’t follow the direction of Shaitan (Satan). Thoughts of suicide directly come from Shaitan (Satan). Every single person Shaitan is able to convince of suicide is victory for him. Because suicide is direct one way trip to eternal hell. And according to Quran Shaitan promised to Allah that he will fill hell with humans, only those who are Allah’s men (momins).

    True Iman and connection to Allah exactly counter these suicide thoughts and depression. No sickness, any difficulty or whatever the condition is momin will always smile from heart and say “Alhumdulillah”.

    Please try to connect to Allah, ask from him wisdom through Quran and Messenger Mohammads (P.B.U.H) way of life to counter these evil thoughts of suicide.

  24. Avatar

    M

    April 19, 2018 at 5:28 PM

    Thank you, you helped save me

  25. Avatar

    yfroz

    December 29, 2018 at 4:31 AM

    Hey it said follow my blog. I can’t find it.

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#Culture

To Kill a Muslim – Part 1

Yahya noticed the obscene gesture that the man across the street gave him, but he ignored it, and chose not to tell his wife Samira. He knew how deep racism ran in these small towns. He would just have to be patient.

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1. Ragheads

Rotting wooden porch steps

Nursing a warm beer, Chad sat on the ramshackle front porch with the rotting steps and peeling paint. His hand clenched tightly the beer can as he watched the filthy camel hugging family move in across the street. Liquid sloshed over his fist.

It was unbelievable. This was Alhambra, a white town in America. Trump’s America. Making America great again, putting the freaks and coloreds back in their places. Sure, there were wetbacks in Alhambra – you couldn’t escape them in California – but there were hardly any blacks, and there were certainly no terrorist camel huggers.

Until now. There they were across the street and two houses down, unloading a trailer hooked to a silver Honda Accord. It was a whole family of ragheads – a woman with her stupid oppressed scarf on her head, a little boy and girl, and the father. Chad studied the man with contempt. The guy was tall, maybe 6’1 or 6’2, and black. Well, maybe he was African or some such, ‘cause he wore one of those long, colorful African shirts. His skin was mud colored, and his hair was short under that stupid beanie. He was skinny though. Chad was pretty sure he could kick the guy’s ass. The man noticed Chad looking and waved. Chad flipped him the bird. The man frowned and went on moving his crap.

Chad spent a lot of time sitting on the porch nowadays, ever since he’d been fired from his loss prevention job at Walmart. That still made his jaw clench and his vision go red every time he thought about it. Some black dude – a gangbanger no doubt – had tried to shoplift box of tampons, of all things, and Chad stopped him. A scuffle ensued. Chad recovered the tampons, but the banger got away. And Walmart fired him. Said he’d violated the terms of service of his employment, which required no physical engagement of any kind. You were supposed to ask the thief to return the goods, but if they refused you were not supposed to stop them, follow them, or “engage” in any way, due to the liability to other customers if the encounter turned violent.

So the shade goes off scot-free, and Chad gets fired. A law abiding, hard working, white American gets fired for doing the right thing. It made him want to smash something. Actually it made him want to smash someone, ideally his Filipino woman boss at Walmart, but any foreigner would do.

So here he was, twenty two and unemployed, nothing but a high school diploma to his name, sitting on his mom’s porch. All his old high school friends had jobs and girlfriends. Some even had wives. A couple had gone to college.

It wasn’t right. His life wasn’t supposed to turn out like this. He’d been a track star in high school – hundred meters and hurdles – and was supposed to have gone to college on a scholarship, but he’d blown out his knee, and they’d all abandoned him. It was like, if you weren’t of use to people, they didn’t give a crap about you. You were disposable. Blood sucking leeches. They’d given his spot on the track team to a black kid, a sophomore. Kid probably couldn’t even read. Was that piece of crap out there now, living the life that should have been Chad’s? How could this happen in Trump’s America? That was the problem, that it hadn’t been Trump’s America back then. It had been Barack Hussein’s America, the Commie Muslim traitor, damn his terrorist soul.

He seethed with the unfairness of it. He was no genius, he knew that. But he’d been a good runner, talented. He’d had the opportunity to make something of himself, to be the first in his family to go to college. He could have been more than his parents. A teacher maybe, or even a lawyer. His mother survived on welfare and what she could beg, borrow or steal from her string of boyfriends.

As for his dad, sure, Chad admired him in some ways – the man had been a shot caller in the Aryan Nation prison gang, able to point a finger and have another man killed. He’d been looked up to and respected. And he’d taught Chad what it meant to be a proud white man, standing up for your race and not taking any crap from coloreds. But let’s face it, Dad had spent 90% of his adult life in prison, and in the end had died the way he lived, with a knife in his gut. That wasn’t what Chad wanted for himself.

Plus, if Chad was being honest, he’d evolved beyond this father’s way of thinking. His father always used to say that the coloreds – no matter the shade – were filthy and inferior and should all be eliminated, even if that meant a race war across the face of America. It was a certainty, according to him, that the race war was coming. RaHoWa, he used to call it – Racial Holy War. The coloreds were secretly plotting to wipe out white America. It was an assault on the white, Christian values that had built everything worldwide in the modern world.

But when Chad had worked at Walmart he’d been forced to work with people of all colors and even folks from other countries like Filipinos and Chinks. He´d asked a few of them about RaHoWa, trying to find out about their plans to destroy the white race, but they seemed genuinely clueless. Chad slowly realized that RaHoWa was a myth, and that the coloreds were ordinary people like himself. They liked the same sports teams he did, played the same video games, watched the same shows. Yeah, they ate some weird crap and some of them smelled different, and their music was garbage. And they weren’t as smart of course. That was a fact. White people were the smartest, they had invented everything. That was why they ran the world. But the point was that the coloreds weren’t evil.

He had come to the conclusion that what was needed was not a race war, but separation. Let the coloreds live in their own neighborhoods and go to their own schools. Let them marry their own women and breed their own brats. And Chad and the white people would do the same. Live and let live. Not the Filipino bitch who fired him of course, he still wanted to bust her head open. But the others, yeah.

But the Muzzies – the Islamics – that was a different story. They were terrorist, cult following traitors. Not normal people. Muzzies were evil and sick in the head. Everybody said so. Plus, they lied as part of their sicko religion. It was called takaya or some crap. What kind of twisted bullcrap was that? They beheaded people, for Christ’s sake. If you were Christian in their country they would cut off your head with a hunting knife. They were devil worshipers. They should all either be kicked out of the country or killed. Period. And then Mecca should be nuked, and that would be the end of it.

But instead of taking care of business, the government was letting them go around like normal people. Even Trump had wimped out. The evidence was right in front of Chad’s eyes. Ragheads in his neighborhood, on his street. It was insane. How could terrorists go around openly showing off their rags? Where was Homeland Security? That was a good idea, actually. See something, say something, right? He took his phone out of his pocket and called 911.

2. Moving Day

Yahya Mtondo noticed the young man across the street staring. He waved, and when the fellow gave him an obscene gesture in return he frowned. In the old days – that is to say, in his angry and lost years of his youth – he would have marched straight over there and punched the man in the face, and damn the consequences. But he wasn’t that man anymore. So here merely shook his head and turned back to the job of moving.

His wife Samira must have noticed his expression. “What’s wrong habibi?”

He forced a smile. “Nothing’s at all, mchumba wangu.” Usually he called her mpenzi wangu – my love. But when he wanted to tease her he called her mchumba wangu, my homemaker. It was actually a term of endearment in his native Kenya, or at least it was what his dad always used to call his mom, may Allah have mercy on them. But he knew it annoyed Samira. In any case, he wasn’t going to tell her about the young man across the street. Samira tended to worry – she even had anxiety attacks sometimes – and he didn’t want to give her anything more to stress over.

“Just tired from the fast,” he added. “But I love it. I feel so light and free. I’m a bird doing loop de loops. Oooh!” He spread his arms. “My feathers are as cool as ice.”

Samira rolled her eyes. “You’re such a nut.”

He had not been crazy about the idea of moving to this poor, mostly white enclave in Central California, about twenty miles northeast of Fresno. He knew from experience how deep racism often ran in such towns. And he had two strikes against him in these people’s eyes, since he was both African and Muslim. Not that he was ashamed. He was proud of his Kenyan heritage, and was grateful that Allah had guided him to Islam.

They were here because his wife had just completed her medical residency in Fort Worth, Texas, where they’d moved from, and Alhambra Community Hospital had unexpectedly offered her a fellowship in her specialty of oncology. The salary was not spectacular, but it was better than she’d earned as a resident. Between that and his income as a rideshare driver, plus the low property values here in Alhambra, they’d been able to buy a house for the first time, alhamdulillah – thanks to God for all His blessings.

Craftsman bungalow cottage

The best part of all was that there was no ribaa involved. No interest. They’d gone through a group called Central Valley Islamic Finance, which helped qualified Muslims to buy cars and homes without interest. Yahya was deeply relieved about that. He ́d made plenty of mistakes in life, but so far he’d managed to avoid the sin of ribaa, sometimes making great sacrifices in the process.

It felt like an achievement. He could see himself on Yawm Al-Qiyamah – the Day of Resurrection – standing before some great angel who held in his hand a parchment listing Yahya´s sins, each with a small checked box: anger, resentment, cursing, jealousy, ingratitude, and more. But then Yahya ́s eyes would settle on the one little unchecked box – Ribaa. He would point to it excitedly, saying, ̈Look, look!̈ And he ́d hope that it might perhaps, offer him a chance for safety on that Day.

It was pretty sad, he knew, when avoiding a major sin was your last chance for salvation. Welcome to the 21st century. Or maybe that was a cop-out. He sighed.

̈Come on babe, tell me. What is it?̈ His sweaty-faced wife touched his cheek. She was always so alert to any sign of inner turbulence on his part.

He smiled. ¨Nothing.¨

She slid her arm through his. ̈Look at our house. Our house. SubhanAllah.¨

He set down the box he had tucked under one arm and studied the house. 701 Minarets Avenue. They had taken the street name as a sign. Their own little homestead, their own piece of earth – of course it all belonged to Allah, but it was theirs to care for. He would import a few elephants and a lion and call it Little House on the Serengeti. He chuckled at his own joke.

The house was small for a family of four – only 1,100 square feet. But it was cute – a little Craftsman bungalow built in 1901, painted teal with white trim, and featuring a small covered veranda to relax on when the weather go too hot, as it often did here in Central California. The yard was planted with wildflowers and native shrubs, while an immense magnolia tree grew in the front yard, casting shade over most of the house, its thick, waxy leaves glowing deep emerald in the morning sun. Some sort of songbird trilled from deep in the tree, praising God in its own language. Yahya loved it.

As an added bonus, Samira’s family lived in Los Angeles, only a four hour drive from here.

Allah the Most High had opened a door for them, and they’d walked through, taking the path that the Most Wise chose for them. Yahya knew in his heart that there would be good in this path, or Allah would not have set them upon it. That was trust, tawakkul. Doing your best, then putting your life in Allah’s hands and trusting Him to bring you through whatever obstacles you faced. Tawakkul was not, as some thought, naivete. Yahya had not lived an easy life. He ́d experienced terrible tragedies, and had walked through trench and terror, metaphorically speaking, just to stay alive. No, tawakkul was a choice and a mindset. It was faith.

As for the young man across the street, Yahya would make an effort to reach out to the neighbors, get to know them. Weren’t Muslims commanded to be kind to their neighbors? Only through kindness could an enemy become a friend.

He kissed his wife on the temple and bent down wearily to pick up the box.This was Ramadan, and Yahya’s energy level was at rock bottom. He hadn’t taken any food or water in many hours. Fortunately, all the family’s possessions fit into a small U-Haul trailer, and the moving was nearly done. That was one advantage of being poor, he thought wryly. It made moving easier.

Ten minutes later, hefting a 6-foot bookshelf and turning, he almost tripped over Sulayman, his four-year-old son, who had picked up a table fan by the cord. Yahya resisted the temptation to chide the boy. The irritability he felt was a byproduct of his hunger and weariness from the fast. Part of the challenge of Ramadan was to overcome that irritability and replace it with compassion. Instead of anger, to give love. Instead of resentment, to exercise generosity. Instead of self-absorption, to expand your sphere of concern to include your family, neighbors, the community, the Muslim ummah, and finally the world. That was Ramadan, and that was Islam.

Sulayman and his three-year-old sister Amirah were only trying to help in their little way. But yeah, they were getting underfoot. He was about to suggest they go play inside the house when he heard sirens approaching. It sounded like there were a lot of them, and they were close. Curious, he set the bookshelf down in the driveway. The sirens kept getting louder, and a moment later a black-and-white Alhambra police cruiser careened around the corner, then another right behind it, tires squealing. Yahya didn’t know what was going on – a burglary in the neighborhood, or a domestic dispute maybe? – but he wanted his family out of harm’s way.

“Samira,” he said urgently. “Take the kids into the house, please. Right away.” His wife had also paused to see the source of the commotion. She stood near the front door of the house, her hands gripping tightly on the box of dinnerware she was carrying. Like him, she was tall – about 5’10” to his 6’1” – and though she was Palestinian, her skin was a beautiful shade of brown that fell somewhere between copper and mahogany. Her purple hijab concealed long black hair that she typically wore loose beneath her scarf.

While Yahya was quiet and contemplative, Samira could be loud. She had a laugh that rang out, and a smile that stretched a mile wide. People were drawn to her brash and bubbly personality. Only those who knew her best understood the insecurities and worries that she hid beneath that bright and happy laugh.

As the wailing sirens mounted Samira dropped the box. Whatever was inside shattered when it hit the ground. She scooped up the kids, lifting them bodily off the ground, and disappeared inside the house.

Cop with gun drawn

What on earth? What had gotten into her? Yahya was about to go after her when the police cars skidded to a halt in the street in front of his own home. Doors were thrown open, and officers kneeled behind them, pointing their guns at his house. Yahya looked around in confusion. Was a fugitive hiding in his yard?

“Put your hands on your head,” someone bellowed through a loudspeaker, “and get down on your knees!”

Again Yahya looked around. Surely they did not mean him?

“You with the hat and the beard! Put your hands on your head and get down on your knees! This is your last warning!”

SubhanAllah, they did mean him! He considered protesting or at least asking for clarification. Then he looked at the barrels of the firearms pointing at him, one of which was bright yellow for some reason – some kind of phaser pistol? he thought crazily – and realized this was not the time for anything less than obedience. Moving slowly so as not to alarm the cops, he put his hands on his head and went down to his knees. Two offers charged forward, their weapons trained on Yahya’s chest. One pulled his hands behind his back and handcuffed him, then shoved him forward. He fell, turning his face to the side at the last second and striking his cheek on the driveway. The impact made him grunt in pain. He thought he heard the muffled cries of his wife or children from inside the house. They were probably watching through the window.

This was not something he would have ever wanted them to see. He struggled to rise up, to say to the officers, “Come on now, what’s this all about?” He was not personally afraid. It was never his way to be afraid of people or the things people did. He was good with God and trusted in the path. He just didn’t want his children to see their father being treated this way.

The cops tased him. He didn’t understand at that moment what was happening. Every muscle in his body seized in a terrible cramp. His limbs thrashed uncontrollably and his torso flopped like a dying fish on the floor of a boat. His vision went red as agonizing pain blasted his consciousness. He still heard his family screaming, and in the distance he heard laughter as well – triumphant, mocking laughter. The agony seemed to go on forever, then vanished without a trace, leaving no remainder of pain.

He regained control of himself and turned his head to look at the officers. The one who’d tased him stood rigid, his arms in a classic firing pose, his muscles quivering. He was young and slender, pasty white with red hair and a prematurely receding hairline. What Yahya noticed most of all, however, was that the man was petrified. His eyes were wide with fear. SubhanAllah, what was he so afraid of? He was staring as if Yahya were some mythical monster laying in the driveway, like an abominable snowman. Except he wasn’t an abominable snowman. He was an abominable Muslim, apparently.

“Hey,” Yahya said in what he hoped was a soothing tone. “It’s alright. I’m not-”

“Shut up, faggot!” one of the officers bellowed, and once again the electricity coursed through him. He spasmed and fell hard, striking his mouth this time. Then he felt hard objects hitting him, striking his legs and back. A hammering blow clapped the side of his head, and darkness descended upon his mind.

* * *

Next: Part 2 – The Black Jesus

Reader comments and constructive criticism are important to me, so please comment!

See the Story Index for Wael Abdelgawad’s other stories on this website.

Wael Abdelgawad’s novel, Pieces of a Dream, is available on Amazon.com.

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#Life

How To Be Positive In Hard Times

Amina Malik, Guest Contributor

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How to be Positive

We all know that we should be grateful. And we definitely know that we should be certain that whatever happens is good for us as believers. However, when we are tested -as we inevitably are-, many of us crumble. Why is that? Why are we not able to ‘pass’ these tests, so to speak? Many of us after a tragedy become hapless, sad, depressed, angry, or bitter.

The essence lies in knowledge that is beneficial, and the best form of knowledge is that which an individual can apply to their day-to-day life on their own. Here are a few tips to increase your patience in hard times. Like building muscle at the gym, it takes time to exercise this habit, but becomes easier over time:

Manage Stress:

Unfortunately, stressful events are abundant in our lives. People under stress can find themselves falling into thinking errors. These thinking errors include -but are not limited to-: black and white thinking, mind-reading, self-criticism, negative filtering and catastrophizing. Together this can affect how we perceive reality. Next time you are tempted to make a catastrophe out of a situation, stop and ask your self two questions:

  • Is this really a big deal in the larger scheme of things?
  • Are there any positives in this situation?

Have a Realistic Perspective of Qadr:

Although it is part of our creed to believe in divine destiny, personal responsibility is still of importance and we cannot simply resign ourselves to fate; especially if we have some sort of influence over a situation.

Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) says in the Quran:

لَهُ مُعَقِّبَاتٌ مِّن بَيْنِ يَدَيْهِ وَمِنْ خَلْفِهِ يَحْفَظُونَهُ مِنْ أَمْرِ اللَّهِ ۗ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يُغَيِّرُ مَا بِقَوْمٍ حَتَّىٰ يُغَيِّرُوا مَا بِأَنفُسِهِمْ ۗ وَإِذَا أَرَادَ اللَّهُ بِقَوْمٍ سُوءًا فَلَا مَرَدَّ لَهُ ۚ وَمَا لَهُم مِّن دُونِهِ مِن وَالٍ 

For each one are successive [angels] before and behind him who protect him by the decree of Allah. Indeed, Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves. And when Allah intends for a people ill, there is no repelling it. And there is not for them besides Him any patron. [Surah Ar-Ra’d;11]

This puts the responsibility on us to change ourselves. Notice the word, themselves. We are not responsible for events beyond our control. These events include the behavior of our spouses, the affinity of our children to the religion, the love in the hearts of people, the weather, the gender of our child (or how many we have), or even the amount of money we will earn in a lifetime -to name a few. Often we become stuck and focus on our conditions, rather than focusing on our own behavior.

Nourish Positive Thinking:

How to Be PositiveIn order to be able to have a wise and calculated response to life’s events, we must learn to interpret these events in a way that assign positive meaning to all. Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) is after all, how we perceive Him to be. Shaytan interferes with this process through waswaas (interjecting thoughts that are based on negativity and falsehood). His goal is for the Muslim to despair in Allah’s subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) mercy. The goal is not to be happy all the time; this is unrealistic. The goal is to think well of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) as consistently as possible.

  • Create a list of what you are grateful to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) for daily.
  • Remind yourself everyday of the positive aspects of situations when your mind falls to default negative thinking. Self-criticism will will only encourage you to take full responsibility for negative life events and become depressed, or at the opposite end take no responsibility whatsoever; either mind-set does not help us improve our self.

Remind yourself as well as others of the benefits of Positivity:

  •  On an individual level, once we begin to think positive about ourselves and our life, we become optimistic. This positivity will then also effect our perception of others. We become more forgiving, over-looking, and patient with others when we can see the positives in any situation.
  • Increased rizk and feelings of well-being
  • Reduced likelihood of reacting in a negative way to life’s events; increased patience.
  • Increased likelihood of finding good opportunities in work, relationships and lifestyle.
  • Higher energy levels and motivation to take on acts of khayr and benefit.

10 Steps to Happiness!

Practice self-care as a daily routine:

Our bodies have rights on us. Our souls have rights on us. Our family has rights on us. Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) has rights on us. Often, when there is an imbalance in one area, our whole being can sense it. This creates anger and resentment towards those around us and life in general.

  • Take care of your body, feed it well and in moderation and exercise in a way that makes you feel relaxed.
  • Pray your prayers, read the Quran, maintain the rights Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) and your own soul have on you.
  • Take care of your tongue by avoiding back-biting and complaining.
  • Take regular showers, comb your hair, brush your teeth, and wear clean clothes; even if you are at home.
  • Take care of your mind by doing dhikr as much as possible and letting go consciously of ruminating on situations.

A Powerful Dua for Happiness

Do not over-rely on your emotions:

Our emotions are a product of our thoughts. Our thoughts can be affected by slight changes in the environment such as the weather, or even whether or not we have eaten or slept well.

 

كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الْقِتَالُ وَهُوَ كُرْهٌ لَّكُمْ ۖ وَعَسَىٰ أَن تَكْرَهُوا شَيْئًا وَهُوَ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ ۖ وَعَسَىٰ أَن تُحِبُّوا شَيْئًا وَهُوَ شَرٌّ لَّكُمْ ۗ وَاللَّهُ يَعْلَمُ وَأَنتُمْ لَا تَعْلَمُونَ 

“And it may be that you dislike a thing which is good for you and that you like a thing which is bad for you. Allah knows but you do not know.” [Surah Al-Baqarah;216]

How To be PositiveUltimately, our perception can be manipulated by our thoughts, shaytan, and other factors. Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) is not limited in His perceptions due to stress, emotions, or circumstances and moods. Therefore, we should be humble to defer our judgements to Allah’s subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) ever-lasting judgement. Far from naval gazing, the more we are aware of our internal perceptions, emotions, and motives, the more able we are to practice Islam in its full essence. Our forefathers understood this deeply, and would regularly engage in self-assessment which gives you a sense of understanding and control of your own thoughts, emotions and actions.

The Art of Overcoming Negativity

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Lessons From Surah Maryam: 1

Shaykh Furhan Zubairi

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Alhamdulillah, it’s a great blessing of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) that He has given us both the opportunity and ability to come here tonight to study and explore the meanings of His words in Surah Maryam. I’m truly grateful for this opportunity. May Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) accept this effort from all of us and place it on our scale of good deeds.

Alhamdulillah, in our last series we were able to complete the tafsir of Surah Al-Kahf. InshAllah, in this next series, we’ll be exploring the meanings, lessons, and reminders of Surah Maryam. Tafsīr is an extremely noble and virtuous discipline. The reason why it’s so noble and virtuous is that it’s the study of the divine speech of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He). As mentioned in a hadith the superiority of the speech of Allah over all other speech is like the superiority of Allah over all of His creation. There’s nothing more beneficial and virtuous than studying the Quran. And by doing so we’ll be counted amongst the best of people. As the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said, “the best amongst you are those who learn the Quran and teach it.”

All of us need to build a stronger relationship with the Quran. The Quran is full of wisdom and guidance in every single verse and word. It’s our responsibility to seek that guidance, understand it, contextualize it and more importantly act upon it. Tafsīr is such a unique science that it brings together all of the other Islamic sciences. While exploring a Surah a person comes across discussions regarding Arabic grammar and morphology, rhetoric, Ahādīth, fiqh, sīrah and all those studies that are known as the Islamic Sciences. One scholar described the Quran as an ocean that has no shore, بحر لا ساحل له. The more we study the Qur’ān the stronger our relationship with it will become. We’ll become more and more attached to it and will be drawn into its beauty and wonder. The deeper a person gets into tafsir and studying the more engaged and interested they become. They also recognize how little they truly know. It develops humility. That’s the nature of true knowledge. The more we learn the more we recognize we don’t know. May Allah ﷻ allow us all to be sincere and committed students of the Qur’ān.

Surah Maryam

Surah Maryam is the 19th surah in the Quran. It is a relatively long Makki surah made up of 98 verses. Some commentators mention that it’s the 44th Surah to be revealed, after Surah Al-Fatir and before Surah Taha. It has been given the name Maryam because Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) mentions the story of Maryam (as) and her family and how she gave birth to Isa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) miraculously at the beginning of the Surah. Just like other Makkan surahs, it deals with the most fundamental aspects of our faith. It talks about the existence and oneness of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), prophethood, and resurrection and recompense.

The Surah is made up of a series of unique stories filled with guidance and lessons that are meant as reminders. One of the main themes of this Surah is mercy… It has been mentioned over 16 times in this Surah. We’ll find the words of grace, compassion and their synonyms frequently mentioned throughout the sūrah, together with Allah’s attributes of beneficence and mercy. We can say that one of the objectives of the Surah is to establish and affirm the attribute of mercy for Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He). That’s why all of the stories mentioned also have to do with Allah’s mercy.

Another objective of the Surah is to remind us of our relationship with Allah ﷻ; the concept of Al-‘Ubūdiyyah. These are the two major themes or ideas of this Surah; the concept of Rahmah and the concept of ‘Ubūdiyyah (Mercy and Servitude).

The Surah can be divided into 8 sections:

1) Verses 1-15: The surah starts with the story of Zakariyya (as) and how he was given the gift of a child at a very old age, which was something strange and out of the ordinary.

2) Verses 16-40: mention the story of Maryam and the miraculous birth of Isa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) without a father and how her community responded to her.

3) Verses 41-50: The surah then briefly mentions one part of the story of Ibrahim 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him), specifically the conversation he had with his father regarding the worship of idols. The surah then briefly mentions a series of other Prophets.

4) Verses 51-58: Mention Musa and Haroon 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him), Ismail 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) and Idrees 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) to show that the essence of the message of all Prophets was the same

5) Verses 59-65: compare and contrast the previous generations with the current ones in terms of belief and actions.

6) Verses 66-72: Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) addresses the Mushrikoon rejecting their false claims regarding life after death and judgment.

7) Verses 73-87: continue to address the Mushrikoon and warn them regarding their attitude towards belief in Allah and His messengers. They also mention the great difference between the resurrection of the believer and the resurrection of the non-believer.

8) Verses 88-98: contain a severe warning to those who claim that Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) has taken a child. They also express that Allah is pleased with the believers and mentions that one of the objectives of the Quran is to give glad tidings to the believers and to warn the non-believers.

Story

From various narrations, we learn that this surah was revealed near the end of the fourth year of Prophethood. This was an extremely difficult time for Muslims. The Quraysh were frustrated with their inability to stop the message of Islam from spreading so they became ruthless. They resorted to any method of torture that they could think of; beating, starving and harassing. When the persecution became so severe that it was difficult for the Muslims to bear it, the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) gave permission to migrate to Abyssinia. “For in it dwells a king in whose presence no one is harmed.” 10 men and 4 women migrated in the 5th year of Prophethood secretly. After a few months, a larger group of 83 men and 18 women migrated as well. This migration added more fuel to the fire. It enraged the people of Quraysh.

Umm Salamah [rahna]narrated, “When we stopped to reside in the land of Abyssinia we lived alongside the best of neighbors An-Najashi. We practiced our religion safely, worshipped Allah without harm and didn’t hear anything we disliked. When news of our situation reached the Quraysh they started to plot against us…” They decided to send two delegates to persuade An-Najashi to send the Companions back by offering him and his ministers’ gifts. The plan was to go to each minister with gifts and turn them against the Muslims. So they went to each minister with gifts and said, “Verily, foolish youth from amongst us have come to the country of your king; they have abandoned the religion of their people and have not embraced your religion. Rather they have come with a new religion that neither of us knows. The noblemen of their people, from their fathers and uncles, have sent us to the king asking that he send them back. So when we speak to the king regarding their situation advise him to surrender them to us and to not speak to them…” The minister agreed.

Then they went to the king, offered him gifts and said the same thing… The ministers tried to convince him as well. An-Najashi became angry with them and said, “No, by Allah, I will not surrender them to these two and I don’t fear the plotting of a people who have become my neighbors, have settled down in my country, and have chosen me (to grant them refuge) over every other person. I will not do so until I summon them and speak to them. If they are as these two say I will give them up, but if they aren’t then I will protect them from these two and continue to be a good neighbor to them as long as they are good neighbors to me.”

al-Najāshī then summoned the Prophet’s ﷺ Companions. When his messenger informed the Prophet’s Companions that they were to appear before the king, they gathered together to discuss what they should do. One of them asked, “What will you say to the name (al-Najāshī) when you go to him?” They all agreed on what they would say to him, “By Allah, we will say what our Prophet ﷺ taught us and commanded us with, regardless of the consequences.” Meanwhile, al-Najāshī called for his priests, who gathered around him with their scrolls spread out before them. When the Muslims arrived al-Najāshī began by asking them, “What is this religion for which you have parted from your people? You have not entered into the fold of my religion, nor the religion of any person from these nations.”

Umm Salamah [rahna] narrated, “The Person among us who would speak to him was Jaʿfar ibn abī Ṭālib [rahnu] who then said, “O king, we were an ignorant people: we worshipped idols, we would eat from the flesh of dead animals, we would perform lewd acts, we would cut off family ties, and we would be bad neighbors; the strong among us would eat from the weak. We remained upon that state until Allah sent us a Messenger, whose lineage, truthfulness, trustworthiness, and chastity we already knew. He invited us to Allah – to believe in His oneness and to worship Him; to abandon all that we and our fathers worshipped besides Allah, in terms of stones and idols. He ﷺ commanded us to speak truthfully, to fulfill the trust, to join ties of family relations, to be good to our neighbors, and to refrain from forbidden deeds and from shedding blood. And he ﷺ forbade us from lewd acts, from uttering falsehood, from wrongfully eating the wealth of an orphan, from falsely accusing chaste women of wrongdoing. And he ﷺ ordered us to worship Allah alone and to not associate any partners with him in worship; and he ﷺ commanded us to pray, to give zakāh, and to fast.” He enumerated for al-Najāshī the teachings of Islam. He said, “And we believe him and have faith in him. We follow him in what he came with. And so we worship Allah alone, without associating any partners with Him in worship. We deem forbidden that which he has made forbidden for us, and we deem lawful that which he made permissible for us. Our people then transgressed against us and tortured us. The tried to force us to abandon our religion and to return from the worship of Allah to the worship of idols; they tried to make us deem lawful those abominable acts that we used to deem lawful. Then, when they subjugated us, wronged us, and treated us in an oppressive manner, standing between us and our religion, we came to your country, and we chose you over all other people. We desired to live alongside you, and we hoped that, with you, we would not be wronged, O king.” al-Najāshī said to Jaʿfar [rahnu], “Do you have any of that which he came with from Allah?” Jaʿfar [rahnu] said, “Yes”. “Then recite to me,” said al-Najāshī. Jaʿfar [rahnu] recited for him the beginning of Surah Maryam. By Allah, al-Najāshī began to cry, until his beard became wet with tears. And when his priests heard what Jaʿfar [rahnu] was reciting to them, they cried until their scrolls became wet. al-Najāshī then said, “By Allah, this and what Mūsa (as) came with come out of the same lantern. Then by Allah, I will never surrender them to you, and henceforward they will not be plotted against and tortured.”

Describing what happened after the aforementioned discussion between al-Najāshī and Jaʿfar [rahnu], Umm Salamah raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) said, “When both ʿAmr ibn al-ʿĀṣ and ʿAbdullah ibn abī Rabīʿah left the presence of al-Najāshī, ʿAmr [rahnu] said, “By Allah tomorrow I will present to him information about them with which I will pull up by the roots their very lives.” Abdullah ibn Rabīʿah who was more sympathetic of the two towards us said, “Don’t do so, for they have certain rights of family relations, even if they have opposed us.” ʿAmr said, “By Allah, I will inform him that they claim that ʿĪsā ibn Maryam is a slave.”

He went to the king on the following day and said, “O king, verily, they have strong words to say about ʿĪsa (as). Call them here and ask them what they say about him.” al-Najāshī sent for them in order to ask them about ʿĪsa. Nothing similar to this befell us before. The group of Muslims gathered together and said to one another, “What will you say about ʿĪsa when he asks you about him?” They said, “By Allah, we will say about him that which Allah says and that which our Prophet ﷺ came with, regardless of the outcome.” When they entered into his presence, he said to them, “What do you say about ʿĪsa ibn Maryam?” Jaʿfar raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) said, “We say about him that which our Prophet ﷺ came with – that he is the slave of Allah, His messenger, a spirit created by Him, and His word, which he bestowed on Maryam, the virgin, the baṭūl.”

al-Najāshī struck his hand on the ground and took from it a stick. He then said, “ʿĪsa ibn Maryam did not go beyond what you said even the distance of the stick.” When he said this, his ministers spoke out in anger, to which he responded, “What I said is true even if you speak out in anger, by Allah. (Turning to the Muslims, he said) Go, for you are safe in my land. Whoever curses you will be held responsible. And I would not love to have a reward of gold in return for me hurting a single man among you. (Speaking to his ministers he said) Return to these two (men) their gifts, since we have no need for them. For by Allah, Allah did not take from me bribe money when He returned to me my kingdom, so why should I take bribe money. The two left, defeated and humiliated; and returned to them were the things they came with. We then resided alongside al-Najāshī in a very good abode, with a very good neighbor.”

The response was simply amazing in its eloquence. A believer puts the needs of his soul before the needs of his body. Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) starts the Surah by saying,

Verse 1: Kaf, Ha, Ya, ‘Ayn, Sad.

Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) starts Surah Maryam with a series of five letters. There are many different saying or explanations regarding these five letters. The most correct opinion is that these are from the broken letters. There are 29 different Surahs in the Quran that start with the broken letters. Only Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) alone knows the meanings of these letters. They are a secret from amongst the secrets of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), meaning that no one knows what they truly mean. Only Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) knows their meanings so they are from amongst the Mutashaabihat, those verses whose meanings are hidden.

However, we do find that some great Companions, as well as their students, sometimes gave meanings to these words. For example, it’s said that it is in acronym and each letter represents one of the names of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He). Kaf is for Al-Kafi or Al-Kareem, “haa” is for Al-Hadi, “yaa” is from Hakeem or Raheem, “’ayn” is from Al-‘Aleem or Al-‘Adheem, and “saad” is from Al-Saadiq. Others said that it is one of the names of Allah and it’s actually Al-Ism Al-‘Atham or that it’s a name of the Quran. However, these narrations can’t be used as proof or to assign definitive meanings. They offer possibilities, but no one truly knows what they mean.

Now the question should come to our mind that why would Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) start of a Surah with words that no one understands?

1) To grab the attention of the listeners.

2) To remind us that no matter how much we know there’s always something that we don’t know.

3) These letters are the letters of the Arabic language and the Quran was revealed at a time that was the peak of eloquence of the language and it was their identity. The Quran was revealed challenging them spiritually and intellectually. The Arabs never heard these letters being used in such a majestic way.

4) To prove the inimitable nature of the Quran.

Allah then starts the story of Zakariyya 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him). Zakariyya 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) was one of the Prophets sent to Bani Israel. He was the husband of Maryam’s paternal aunt. He was also one of the caretakers or custodians of Baitul Maqdis.

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