In this counseling answer:
• Divine laws are not meant to harm us rather they are to protect us.
• Talk to scholars and ask hard questions. Either you will grow a deeper understanding on that ruling, which will make it easy for you to follow, or you may discover it is a cultural rule, not an Islamic rule.
• Instead of being on social media, think of a positive social activity you can do in person. Such as volunteering with the local mosque or going with friends to have lunch. Delete your social media apps from your phone, it takes away accessibility and convenience.
• You talked about math and science, if you want to be an engineer then put that down as a long-term goal and write down the short-term goals you need to become an engineer.
Assalamu alaikum wa Rahmatullah wa barakatu Brother,
Thank you for writing in with your concerns. It is my understanding you are struggling with feeling like your duaa is not being answered, addictions to technology and divine laws. Please take comfort in knowing it is not unusual for a young man like yourself to be questioning things and searching for your place as a Muslim in this world. The search for truth is not an easy one but keep making duaa and reading Quran while you are on this path.
You mention dissatisfaction with divine laws and wanting ones that are easier to follow. I want you to ask yourself something, what can YOU do to please Allah (most Revered, Most Exalted) instead of what can Allah (SWT) do for you. The whole purpose of life centers around us worshiping Allah (SWT).
“And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me”. [Quran 51:56]
Divine laws are not meant to harm us rather they are to protect us. Imagine if someone put up a fence protecting a beautiful garden, that garden is your heart and the fence is divine law. The things that will benefit the heart are allowed in, such as a gardener clearing away weeds (prayer cleansing the heart) but the dangerous things are kept out by the fence, such as animals eating all they can while stomping on every flower left (addiction).
If you find specific rulings are difficult for you then educate yourself on them. Don’t just listen to your culture or even family when it comes to this, read the fatwas related to them and read the evidence. Talk to scholars and ask the hard questions. Either you will grow a deeper understanding on that ruling, which will make it easy for you to follow, or you may discover it is a cultural rule, not an Islamic rule.
Worship is not supposed to be a burden upon us and should not cause us great difficulties.
“And We have not sent you, [O Muhammad], except as a mercy to the worlds”. [Quran 21:107]
Sometimes we see Muslims struggling to maintain their faith or even leaving Islam because they are making the religion difficult with excessive rules and restrictions, yet they forget heart and mercy. You must aim for moderation; an overly strict and harsh interpretation leads to conflict.
“Religion is very easy and whoever overburdens himself in his religion will not be able to continue in that way. So, you should not be extremists, but try to be near to perfection and receive the good tidings that you will be rewarded; and gain strength by worshipping in the mornings, the afternoons, and during the last hours of the nights.” [Bukhari]
Social Media and Gaming
Social media and video game addiction is related to a lack of impulse control/willpower and can also have an existential root of feeling unaccepted in this world and depression. Based upon your question, I believe you are struggling with feeling acceptance within the Muslim ummah while trying to reconcile internal conflicts. You are still young and finding your path.
Perform a quick assessment of yourself, how many hours per day are spent on video games/ social media and how many hours per day are spent on studying and working towards personal goals. As you can see, your technology habits are taking away vital time which could be used to expand your real social network and build your confidence.
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Instead of being on social media, think of a positive social activity you can do in person. Such as volunteering with the local mosque or going with friends to have lunch. Delete your social media apps from your phone, it takes away accessibility and convenience.
You have a choice to make with video games; place a limit on yourself such as 30 minutes per day or remove it entirely. If you opt for the first choice, you need self-discipline. Set an alarm that will go off after your time limit. Consider investing in educational games. If you know you will keep playing despite the alarm, disconnect your gaming systems and box them up.
I am going to say this respectfully but honestly. Your statements make it seem like you want your duaa answered now and exactly how you asked for it or else. It sounds like you are making demands and getting angry when you don’t get what you want.
To begin with, we do not reverse time. What has happened is done and we learn from the past not to make the same mistakes again. Your duaa is being answered but not in the way you might expect. You are not going to magically wake up 10 years in the past and have a complete redo, but you can start today and enroll in school. You are still young and can achieve anything inshallah, but if you keep delaying your ambitions then that is on you, not your religion.
Remember, we are not truly understanding if our duaa will bring us goodness and happiness or cause us pain and destruction. Allah (SWT) knows what is best for us and our duaas are answered in one of three ways; yes, yes but not yet, or no I have something better for you.
Get out paper and pen and write down 3 short-term goals and 3 long-term goals. You talked about math and science, if you want to be an engineer then put that down as a long-term goal and write down the short-term goals you need to become an engineer. After identifying your goals, start thinking about the path to achieving them and make duaa for help in this.
Every evening think about your accomplishments for the day. Each short-term goal you complete will be a boost to your self-confidence and proof that you do have good willpower and you are only lazy if you allow yourself to be.
To summarize Brother, take these next steps to work towards a happier more balanced quality of life.
- Educate yourself more on Islam
- Ensure you stick to a moderate path that does not overburden you
- Set short-term and long-term goals for success
- Delete social media/gaming apps
- Do more real-life social activities
- Keep making duaa and reading Quran
- Reinforce your self-confidence with the completion of goals
As you are entering this early adulthood stage of your life, please don’t feel alarmed when you have questions, rather see them as blessings expanding your understanding and awareness. Increased knowledge of Islam alongside goal setting behaviors and positive reinforcement will only serve to benefit you Brother, and inshallah create a greater sense of satisfaction with yourself and your religion.
May Allah (SWT) grant you knowledge, patience, and understanding,
Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees be held liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.