I’m Torn Between Islam, Family & Social Pressure

16 October, 2019
Q Wa salam.

I am extremely struggling hard with life. I am torn between Islam, family, society pressure, and then my own mind and head. So much expectations and things to do!

Also I have this guilt which is eating me up inside about not being a good Muslim. I can’t handle it anymore.

I want it to stop so badly that I have suicidal thoughts a lot more now. I mean more frequently. I see other Muslims who drink alcohol, go to clubs, and are so happy or at least they seem happy. All I have been trying to do for the past 5 years is to support family, and I only get failures.

One problem after another. It’s killing me! The imams here say things that make no sense. I was born in a Muslim country. I lived there all my life there. I have seen so many different versions of Islam that I don’t know what to believe, what to do. Even writing this email makes me cry. I have so many questions!

There is confusion in my head that I feel like I am going to implode. Please help me out!

Answer


In this counseling answer:

• Should you truly feel suicidal, please call the suicide hotline and tell a family member.

• People who are not good Muslims or who do not love Allah, or strive to please Allah, do not bother seeking answers or looking for help concerning Islam or personal problems.

• Self-care must come first because if we don’t take care of ourselves, we cannot take care of others.

•I encourage you to practice some stress management techniques.

• Write down a list of five positive things about yourself.

• Next, I would like you to make a list of the top five things of importance in your life right now.

Read the Quran with nothing in your head heart or mind except the will to please Allah.

• Seek help from a counselor or therapist in your area.


As salamu alaykum dear brother,

After reading through your question and your situation brother, my heart really goes out to you. I am so sorry that you are going through all of this confusion, uncertainty, and feelings of inadequacy.

A Good Heart and Intentions

First of all, I would like to say that based on what you have written in your cry for help, you are a very good Muslim. People who are not good Muslims or who do not love Allah, or strive to please Allah, do not bother seeking answers or looking for help concerning Islam or personal problems. They just go about their business with no regard to resolving their problems. You, however, have a conscience and you care. You are striving to be a good Muslim and Allah loves you for that.

I’m Torn Between Islam, Family & Social Pressure - About Islam

No One is Perfect

No one is perfect, brother. Not one perfect Muslim exists. We are all striving at different levels. As you know, Allah looks at our hearts. You have a very good heart. You work hard, you take care of your family, you support them financially, and you think of everyone else besides yourself.

Immense Stress & Pressure

From what I could tell, and based on what you have written, you are under an immense amount of stress and responsibility. For the past 5 years, you have been working very hard to support everybody in your family. I am sure that you work long hours and then come home and deal with problems that must be resolve as well. I honor and respect your dedication and love for your family.

However, you must also take care of yourself. Self-care must come first because if we don’t take care of ourselves, we cannot take care of others. This is not a selfish ideology. It is a real one. If you do not take care of yourself by eating good foods, quality sleep, and exercise, having an adequate social life with good friends, and attending to your spiritual needs Islamically, you are bound to feel mentally, physically and emotionally exhausted. You may even feel hopeless and depressed. This may even be indicative of adrenal fatigue and/or stress syndrome.

Confusion, Guilt, Feelings of Failure

You state that there is so much confusion in your head that you feel like you’re going to implode. That is a symptom of stress and possibly anxiety. According to you, you have a lot of guilt about not being a good Muslim and you can’t handle the thought anymore.

Brother, please rest assured that you are a good Muslim. You have a wonderful heart and you are sincere. Insha’Allah, if you can love and accept yourself where you are at right now and turn to Allah for help and guidance things will get easier. The emotions you are feeling right now about guilt, pressure, and feeling like a failure is due in part to everything you are trying to accomplish.

Many Responsibilities

You are trying to do the job and live up to the responsibilities of two or three people. You must remember you are just one person.

I kindly suggest if there are any other siblings, uncles or aunties in the family who can help out, please do enlist their assistance. You need to have some time for yourself.  Brother regarding your feeling torn, I asked you to please sit down, take a deep breath, and relax your mind in your body.

I encourage you to practice some stress management techniques. Why you are relaxing, and your mind is in a good place, write down a list of five positive things about yourself. I know there are many more, but let’s start with 5.

Next, I would like you to make a list of the top five things of importance in your life right now. It could be a job, going to the mosque, going for social activities, studying, or whatever that is important to you right now. I am sure there are a lot, but please limit your choices to the top five. I would like you to focus on these two lists.

One, which are your good points and your strength, the other is regarding things that you would need to do or would like to do in your life or are currently doing. Insha’Allah for the next few months try to focus on these five top important items and reflect back to your five strengths.

Often times when we prioritize the things in our lives in order of importance, other things can fall to the wayside for a while and we realize that it really didn’t make that much of a difference in our lives.

Versions of Islam

You spoke about the many different versions of Islam that you have seen, and now you don’t know what to believe. I understand this can be very emotionally draining and depressing. However, there is only one Islam.

To find it brother, please read the Qur’an. I’m sure you are already reading the Qur’an or have read it many times before.  However, I’m asking that you read it in a different light. Read it with nothing in your head heart or mind except the will to please Allah. By approaching the Qur’an with this in your heart, Allah will surely open the doors of knowledge for you. I will make duaa for you that Allah swt clarify your path.

End of the Rope, Hold on to Allah

What I hear from you, and I may be wrong, is someone who is at the end of his rope. Someone who has taken care of everybody else except themselves. Someone who has strived, someone who has sought knowledge and found confusion. Someone who cried out to Allah, but yet feels alone.


Check out this counseling video:

 

 


Brother, you are someone that Allah loves very much. Regardless of how many sins you have committed or what you have done, Allah is merciful, and Allah loves you. There is no perfect Muslim; seeking Allah is striving.

When we do sin, it is during these times of suffering from these sins that we seek forgiveness and learn what true freedom is. We see that freedom lies in pleasing Allah as best as we can. It often takes hardships, stress, falling down and getting back up again to realize this. It is said that Allah tests those that he loves the most. You are being tested brother and you are loved very much. Insha’Allah you will pass these tests. The shaitan doesn’t want you to, of course, and fill try to fill your mind with all sort of defeating thoughts. You have the rope of Allah, the blessings of Allah to get you through. Should you truly feel suicidal, please call the suicide hotline and tell a family member.

This darkness and hard times in your life will pass. Don’t give up as the light of Allah is with you. Prophets before us walked this earth in great tests and trials. Our beloved prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is a beautiful example of surviving tests, trials, confusions and losses. Yet he trusted in Allah’s mercy, love and protection.

Getting Therapy

You stated that you have been going to therapy for a while now and they recently told you to talk to a father in the church. I do not understand that. It sounds unethical. Perhaps they are related to a church organization and that is part of their treatment. Please do seek out a new therapist, one who can be impartial, correctly diagnose you and lead you on a path of healing and wellness.

Insha’Allah, please do seek referrals for qualified counselors in your area. Regaining composure after years of prolonged stress, confusion and possible depression is not easy, but it is so worth it. You just need to take the steps forward into a new life.

Delegating & Self Care

Brother, please do find a way to delegate some of the household responsibilities among family members. If you are like every other Muslim, you feel like you are a great sinner. Make repentance to Allah and ask for forgiveness.

Read the Qur’an and ask Allah for guidance while reading it. Seek a balance in your life that includes loving yourself enough so that you can be healthy both mentally and physically, as well as spiritually and emotionally. You have great and wonderful things coming to you in this life insha’Allah.

What you’re going through now is like a testing ground. You are not weak, you are strong. In trials and tribulations, strength grows. One day soon insha’Allah, you will look back and be amazed at how much you went through and how victorious you rose from these things that hurt you now.

Conclusion

Brother, I want you to know that you can talk to us anytime. In fact, please do write to us and let us know how you’re doing or feel free to submit another question that you may be concerned about.

With that said, insha’Allah please do try to follow up on the tips in this response. Insha’Allah they will bring some sense of peace and resolve.

Let us know how you’re doing,

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Read more:

How to Calm Anxiety? Leave the Future Alone Until it Comes

Dealing with Anxiety: 3 Step Process to Success

6 Ways to Reduce Anxiety & Stress Right Now

 

About Aisha Mohammad
Aisha received her PhD in psychology in 2000 and an MS in public health in 2009. Aisha worked as a Counselor/Psychologist for 12 years for Geneva B. Scruggs Community Health Care Center in New York. Aisha specializes in trauma, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, marriage/relationships issues, as well as community-cultural dynamics. She is certified in Restorative Justice/ Healing Circles, Conflict Resolution, Mediation, and is also a certified Life Coach.
Aisha works at a Family Resource Center, and has a part-time practice in which she integrates healing and spirituality using a holistic approach. Aisha plans to open a holistic care counseling center for Muslims and others in the New York area in the future, in sha' Allah. Aisha is also a part of several organizations that advocate for social & food justice. In her spare time she enjoys her family, martial arts classes, Islamic studies as well as working on her book and spoken word projects.