Depressed and Confused: What Is Islam?

04 February, 2019
Q I'm 24 year old from Egypt. I've been Muslim my whole life. I moved to an Islamic school since I was 9 hoping for respect but I couldn't find it. I was hit by a metal stend because my font wasn't good enough, humiliated in front of the whole class due to a bad exam mark. When I was only 10, the religion teacher talked to us about death and Yawm al-Qiyāmah, it was so very terrifying. ...... I have many problems and did so many mistakes, and tried to get help by knowing more about religion. I hear about death and how everything in this life doesn't matter, I lost hope and passion to do anything... I feel that I can't function anymore, can't study and can't work. I so very depressed and can't get out of this dark hole that I'm in because of so many mistakes of me and the wrong bad image that I had about Islam that I thought it will be my rescue. Please help me what is Islam for real?


Short Answer: Always remember the mercy of your Lord, the Most Merciful, and put your mind and heart to ease. Don’t forget that all the mercy that the earth has ever witnessed from the beginning of time is just one portion of the mercy of Allah. 99 times that amount is still reserved with Him (SWT) for the Day of Judgment.


May the Peace and Mercy and Blessings of Allah be upon you, Dear Sister,

Thank you so much for reaching out to us and sharing your concerns and question.

May Allah bless you and reward you for seeking help and open your heart to His Light and shower you with His Mercy.

I am very sorry to hear about what happened in your school.

That was certainly not from the etiquette, beauty and mercy of Islam.

I’m reminded of what Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her) reported that The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) never hit anything with his hand neither a servant nor a woman” [Muslim], let alone innocent children!

I’m also reminded of what Anas ibn Malik reported:

“I served the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) for 10 years, and, by Allah, he never said to me any harsh word, and he never said to me about a thing why I had done that or why I had not done that.” [Sahih Muslim]

Respect, dignity, mercy and compassion are the core of the Islamic path and Islamic way of teaching.

May Allah guide those who don’t follow this or bring corrupt/repulsive behavior into this beautiful path.

Remember the Mercy of Allah

You mentioned that you are terrified and depressed about death and the Day of Judgment.

I want to ask you: don’t you know how Merciful Allah is?

Who do we go to after death? Isn’t it to Allah?

Is there anyone more merciful than Allah Almighty, The Especially Merciful The Continuously Merciful?

Allah (SWT) has 100 portions of mercy, because of just one, there is/has been mercy on earth from the beginning of time until the end of time.

Imagine all the mercy that the earth has ever witnessed from the beginning of time and until the end of time is just one portion of the mercy of Allah, and 99 double that amount is still reserved with Him (SWT) for the Day of Judgment. [Muslim]

Can you imagine how much mercy that is!

Allah is The Most Kind

Remember the hadith when the companions were with the Messenger (peace and blessings upon him), then they saw a woman compassionately nursing a child, so the Messenger said:

“Do you think this woman would ever afford to throw her child in the Fire?

We said: By Allah, so far as it lies in her power, she would never throw the child in Fire.

Thereupon Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said:

Allah is more kind to His servants than this woman is to her child.” [Sahih Al Bukhari]

So from who are you terrified? From the Most Merciful?

Allah says in the Quran:

“What would Allah do with your punishment if you are grateful and believe? And ever is Allah Appreciative and Knowing.” (Quran 4: 147)

And the Prophet (peace be upon him) said three days before his death:

“Let none of you die unless he has good expectations from Allah.” [Muslim]

So you must remember the incomparable mercy of your Lord the Most Merciful and put your mind and heart to ease.

The Perfect Balance in Islam: Love, Hope & Fear

We need to discuss something important here.

Islam is a perfect path that is based on balance.

Ibn Al-Qayyim (may Allah have mercy upon him) said something beautiful that articulates this issue.

He said: “The heart, in its journey towards Allah, is like a bird.

The love of Allah is its head while fear and hope are its two wings.

If both the head and wings are sound, the bird will be able to fly properly.

However, if the head is cut off, the bird dies; and when the bird loses its wings then it is susceptible to every hunter or predator.”

This means that in this path, first and foremost, you must love Allah Glorified and Exalted, The Source of Beauty, Power, Might, Generosity…  Learn about His Names and Attributes, and you will experience that.

You must also have hope in Him because losing Hope is like disbelief in Him, “and despair not of relief from Allah. Indeed, no one despairs of relief from Allah except the disbelieving people.” (Quran 12: 87)

Think about it: if there is love and hope only, then people will take everything for granted, misbehave and go corrupt because there are no limitations whatsoever.

Imagine a mother who gives her children everything they want without discipline at all, wouldn’t the children be spoilt, harm themselves and others?

The presence of punishment or retribution for mischief must be there to foster disciplined human beings.

Fear of Allah and potential punishment must be there to prevent anyone from committing injustice against themselves or others.

So, love, hope, and fear together create balance and moderation for human beings to grow and act adequately. This is Islam.

Encouragement & Rewards of Good Deeds

Your fear should never be so overwhelming as to prevent you for living and working and growing. There is no point in that, and this is not what Allah and His Messenger want from us.

Anas ibn Malik reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings upon him), said:

“If the Final Hour comes while you have a palm-cutting in your hands and it is possible to plant it before the Hour comes, you should plant it.” [Al Adab Al Mufrad]

There is a beautiful hadith were the Prophet (peace and blessings upon him) said that he saw a person enjoying himself in Paradise because of the tree that he cut from the path which was a source of inconvenience to the people. [Sahih Muslim].

Have Hope

So, do good deeds and have hope in Allah, Sister.

Allah did not create us to be action-less or paralyzed by fear.

Rather, we should learn about Him, attempt to do good deeds and stay out of evil as much as possible, and if we do wrong we ask for forgiveness and repent.

Islam is easy and simple and beautiful; we have a Lord who rewards in at least 10 folds for every good deed and forgives countlessly for even the greatest sins.

You should only fear to be with bad company and to indulge in sins because this corrupts the soul and makes us forget Allah and then forget ourselves and eventually lose our purity and iman (faith).

Allah wants us to attempt to purify ourselves in this life journey, but He doesn’t expect us to be sinless.

If you are worried about the mistakes you have done and don’t know what to do, then I kindly ask you to read my two previous articles here for detailed answer and an action plan, insha’Allah:

How to Start Over After a Life of Sin

Your Tawbah To-Do List

What is Islam?

Finally, to answer your question, “What is Islam” I tell you what Prophet Muhammad has told Angel Jibreel,

“Islam is to testify that none has the right to be worshiped but Allah, and that Muhammad (peace be upon him) is the Messenger of Allah; that you observe Salat (prayers), pay Zakat, observe Saum (fasting) of Ramadan and perform Hajj (pilgrimage) of the House, provided you have resources of making journey to it.”

You should do this sincerely out of love of Allah and hope in Him.

Fear making this Most Gracious Lord displeased with you or seeing you doing inappropriate acts, fear losing faith in Him…

But know that whenever you seek Him, even if you are carrying an earth load of sins or sins that reach up to the skies, He will always forgive you.

I hope that this answers your question.

Salam. Please stay in touch.

(From Ask About Islam archives)

Please continue feeding your curiosity, and find more info in the following links:

A Basic Introduction to Islam (Special Folder)

Happiness Is… (Folder)

The Quran in Focus (Special Folder)

About Dina Mohamed Basiony
Dina Mohamed Basiony is a writer based in Cairo, Egypt. She specializes in Islam and spirituality. Dina holds an MA and BA in Journalism and Mass Communication from the American University in Cairo.