Answered by Ustadha Zaynab Ansari, SunniPath Academy Teacher
In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful.
I pray that you are doing better these days.
Rejoice in the fact that you are Muslim. To be Muslim, a surrendered slave of Allah, is the most precious gift in the world. Only with true surrender can we find peace.
Remember that the more precious a gift is, the harder we must struggle for it. Some of us struggle all of our lives to surrender, to be constant in our prayers, to fast Ramadan, and to remember Allah Ta'ala in good times and bad. So, dear brother, you are not alone.
Remember also that Islam is not a way of life that can be lived in solitude. Our deen was transmitted to us through the Sunna of the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, which was lived by generations of scholarly and pious Muslim men and women.
Do not isolate yourself. Talk to someone who can help you, whether it is the imam of your masjid, or an esteemed Shaykh, or a community elder, or a family member.
There are two options that you might consider:
1. Find a Muslim counselor or psychiatrist who can diagnose depression. There may be factors in your life that are contributing to your distress.
2. Locate a master of Islamic spirituality who can help you deal with the inner diseases that are corroding your iman.
A possible starting place for this latter option, which is of the utmost importance, are the opportunities here at SunniPath to study with people like Shaykh Nuh Keller, Shaykh Faraz Rabbani, or Shaykh Abdul-Karim Yahya.
However, you also need to have access to a local community, so please investigate your options in your area.
When plagued by doubts, misgivings, and whisperings of disbelief, it is urgent that you seek refuge in Allah Ta'ala from shaytan the accursed. Then recite the very powerful Refuging Verses, starting with Surat al-Ikhlas and concluding with Surat an-Nas. Finally, seek Allah's forgiveness for these thoughts and remember that Allah's forgiveness knows no limits.
Please see Shaykh Muhammad ibn Adam al-Kawthari's advice about dealing with doubt, Having Doubts About Allah, where the Shaykh mentions a very important hadith:
Sayyiduna Abu Haraira (Allah be pleased with him) narrates that once a group of people came to the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) and asked: “We experience such evil thoughts that it is impossible to bring them on our lips”. The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said: “Do you really experience these thoughts? Yes, they replied. The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said: “They are clear signs of faith”. (Sahih Muslim).
Ultimately, we are not held to account for these thoughts. However, we will be held to account if we act on these thoughts.
So, restate your repentance, hold fast to your prayers, and try to filter out each negative thought with a positive one.
And Allah knows best.
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