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Social Anxiety Inhibits my Faith

Questioner

Hafiza

Reply Date

Dec 10, 2016

Question

Salam dear consultant. I have been Muslim for almost 5 years now, so I don't know if I still count as a "new" Muslim or not. I guess it's all relative. In any event, I still feel like a new Muslim. No, it's worse than that: I feel like I haven't made any progress, and actually I've regressed. I don't do all my prayers on time, and I've missed far too many. I've done many bad things since becoming Muslim that I just can't forgive myself for, even though I try hard not to despair of Allah's mercy. In the past, I have made so many of the same mistakes over and over again. I am at the point where I think I'm past that, but honestly I'm afraid I'm not. I want to repent, but how can I trust that I'm sincere in my repentance when I've tried to change but failed so many times before? I’ve met other women who have converted to Islam, and to be quite honest, I'm jealous of them. They make it seem so easy. If they're struggling, they don't show it. They put on hijab right away and don't have any problems, whereas I am still not even convinced it's the right thing to do. I think about it sometimes, but I'm afraid if I wear hijab it will be just because I want to convince myself I'm a better Muslim than I am and not because I believe in it. I feel like a hypocrite. I think some of my problem comes from the fact that I've found it so hard to try to integrate myself into the Muslim community. I live in a big metropolitan area, and there's no shortage of other Muslims around. But I feel so out of place and… inadequate. Not to mention that I suffer from what has been in the past crippling social anxiety (at one point several years ago I remember I went days without eating because I was literally too afraid to leave my home), though alhamdulillah I have done a lot of work on that and it's a lot better now. You might find it hard to believe after all that, but my faith in Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala and the Qur'an and everything is strong, and it doesn't waver. When I am praying and I say the shahada, I feel so strong in my faith. But there is just such a gap between my faith, which I think is strong, and my expression of it, which is severely lacking. I want to change, I am desperate to change, I don't want to be like this. I just feel lonely. Thanks in advance for any advice you may give.

Consultant

Answer


About Sahar El-Nadi

Sahar El-Nadi is an Egyptian freelance journalist who traveled to 25 countries around the world and currently based in Cairo. Sahar also worked in many people-related careers in parallel, including presenting public events and TV programs; instructing training courses in communication skills; cross cultural issues; image consulting for public speakers; orientation for first-time visitors to the Middle East; and localization consulting for international educational projects.


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