In this counseling answer:
“Self-evaluation can help any individual overcome depression and become successful in what they hope to pursue and accomplish. Self-evaluation also enforces routine–a technique found by medical researchers to help avoid feeling depressed.”
As-Salamu ‘Alaikum dear sister,
Thank you for placing your trust in our ability to propose a solution to your current situation.
The answer to your question lies in self-evaluation. Self-evaluation is important at every stage in our lives. Self-evaluation is an important part of being committed to lifelong learning – the understanding that you will never complete your learning journey and grab every opportunity to learn new skills. in addition, self-evaluation can help any individual overcome depression and become successful in what they hope to pursue and accomplish.
Self-evaluation also enforces routine–a technique found by medical researchers to help avoid feeling depressed. Because how can we improve if we are not dedicated, disciplined, and organized? Did you know, for example, that fighter pilots, politicians, doctors and even top athletes perform self-evaluation? They do this by reviewing video footage of their performance and finding the place for improvement.
The ones who self-evaluate and work hard to overcome their weaknesses are actually the ones who go far and finish strong. What is the most important quality of those who are successful in the field they wish to pursue? They realize their own mistakes. They acknowledge their own mistakes, and they work hard to avoid them in the future.
In my opinion, this can be analogous to a believer who sincerely hopes to please Allah (swt). The ultimate goal of a true believer? To please Allah (swt), to attain His pleasure, and to be under His shade on the Day. When you realize that your prayers lack emotion, a connection with Allah (swt), it is your realization of the lack of quality of your prayers.
Prayer, dear sister, is a physical, spiritual and an emotional connection between Allah (swt) and His slave. It is a form of communication between Allah (swt) and us. When we pray, we call upon Allah (swt). We acknowledge His omnipotence. We confess our weaknesses and inabilities and we ask Allah (swt) for divine guidance.
For instance, when we talk about the five pillars of Islam, prayer, although very important, is the second pillar, not the first. The first pillar is “La ila ha illallah”. This is because before we do any action, we must have a sincere intention. When we pray without a clear intention and clear understanding, we are not feeling the prayer. Hence, it feels empty and hollow.
To ensure that you feel submerged in the prayer while you pray, you need to understand it. There is a huge difference between knowing something and understanding something. Knowing is simply being aware of its physical presence or its surface meaning. However, understanding it means to go beyond its surface meaning. Understanding means to internalize it and make sense of the knowledge and be able to apply it.
So, how do you understand the Quran? How do you understand the prayer? Before you understand the fundamentals of Islam, you need to understand the Creator. You need to understand Allah (swt). You need to know what it means to be a Muslim, and you need to know WHY you are a Muslim.
Are you a Muslim simply because your parents are Muslims and you were taught how to pray? Or are you a Muslim because Allah (swt) has filled your heart with the light of truth? Are you a Muslim simply because you are not sure what another religion is there? Or are you a Muslim because you love your Creator and you want to attain His pleasure? Are you a Muslim because you “think” that you are on the right path? Or are you a Muslim because you know the right path is that of Allah (swt) and His Messengers, and that the entire world cannot simply be an “accident”?
In my opinion, when we do not question our own actions, we lose their purpose. Eventually, the actions come to a halt themselves. In order to overcome your feeling of hollowness when praying, I would like you to devote at least 30 minutes every single day focusing on the following points:
- What is the message of Islam?
- Who is Prophet Muhammed (saw)?
- Why am I a Muslim?
- How do I strengthen my connection with Allah (saw)?
- What have I done today to improve myself from who I was yesterday?
These 5 questions can be used as guidelines to evaluate your life’s purpose. When we question our goals, our actions, and ensure that intentions are pure and not questionable, we will feel motivated to improve ourselves.
I pray that you find my answer helpful and that you significantly improve your relationship with Allah (swt). I pray that you overcome any obstacle currently in your way. Please, sister, stay strong. Allah (swt) loves you and will in sha‘ Allah help you to win your battle with depression. Trust Him and turn to Him, sister.
May Allah (swt) bless you,
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.