I have a son whose is 20 years old. He has been diagnosed as having Shizophrenia and OCD. He used to do his prayers regularly around seven years ago. But he gradually left them after suffering from depression. Although he is on medication to treat his mental disorder, he has given up hope and faith in Allah, ever since he suffered a series of setbacks in life.
Almost on a daily basis I do my best to revive in him the need to turn to our Creator as He alone can guide us through the many tests in this world.
However, despite my relentless efforts, he keeps asking me why Allah does not show him directly the benefits we gain whenever we go through some loss or suffering.
Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatulahi wa barakatuh sister,
Mental and physical health problems are a test from Allah for both the person afflicted with them as well as the one who cares for them, usually the parents in cases like this. The child will suffer from the physical and/or mental health problems directly and the parent will suffer indirectly as a result of the psychological consequences of seeing someone they love dearly suffering in one way or another as well as having to care for the extra needs that someone with a physical or mental health difficulty has.
It is very common when first afflicted with conditions like your son to question Allah and have a response like he has. It is even common amongst the parents or carers, but alhamdulilah, you have taken a very strong approach towards the situation. May Allah reward you and continue to be a source of strength to you during this time of difficulty.
In time it becomes easier to reason with those experiencing health problems and they come to accept their condition and put things in perspective where they can see the benefit and blessing in their situation as a consequence of Allah’s will. In your sons case the conditions that he has been afflicted with are makes this more challenging and therefore he is having a much harder time accepting his situation.
In sha Allah in time he will come to understand, but it will require a little more time and patience to help him understand and appreciate Allah’s wisdom.
Much of the wisdom regarding tests will only become evident in the Hereafter such as the rewards for having endured such tests. However, your son is having a hard time comprehending wisdom that he cannot actually see right now. Therefore with him it will be necessary to present more concrete evidence that he can relate to now. There are a few ways that you can present information regarding the tests he is facing.
You could also look to examples that exist in the present relating to evidence of Allah’s existence as a means to strengthen his faith that he may be eventually become more receptive to what you tell him about tests that he may not be able to see directly right now.
Encourage him to read the stories of the Prophet (SAW) and the prophets before us who faced greater tests that any of us could expect to experience today, yet look how Allah honoured them and their messages were preserved. The fact that he is able to read these stories or even relate them with out having to conduct further reading on the topic is evidence of this.
Even beyond taking a religious approach you can talk with him about any benefits that he might have experienced as a result of his condition. Perhaps it has been something that has improved his relationship with others? Perhaps it is something that has given him an appreciation for moments when he has good health as well as an empathy towards others who may be experiencing ill health. Qualities that he may not have otherwise developed has he not been afflicted with these conditions.
Then, looking beyond his health conditions at creation in general as evidence for Allah’s existence. Look at things together; the night sky, nature, life coming and going in plants and trees as the seasons pass. How do all these happen? By Allah, of course. The Qur’an that has maintained its original state since 1400 years ago. Despite all corruption in the world, it remains unchanged.
There is much evidence that can be drawn upon in our daily life that provides clear evidence of Allah’s existence and can renew one’s faith if one just pays attention to the things that they usually overlook on a daily basis. Once he comes to pay attention to these things it will be easier for him to then accept his test and look at the deeper meanings that come with facing a test; those things that we may not be able to see right now. The things that we simply have to have faith in Allah to accept.
When you think he is ready then you bring in concepts that are not directly observable right now such as the rewards that will come in the hereafter for having endured a trial and the the greater the test, the greater the reward. Additionally, that for every trial he is enduring Allah will forgive his sins. This may be particularly since once he comes to have a renewed sense of faith he may be left with some residual feelings of guilt for having questioned Allah so the thought that He is expiating his sins for enduring his difficulties can provide some comfort.
As well as trying to work with him and help him to strengthen him in faith it is important that you do not become disheartened with your seemingly fruitless efforts so far. Allah is watching all you do and will reward your efforts for His sake. Remember that all these blessings apply to you also.
Stay strong in faith and never give up your quest to assist your son and take your own advice in not giving up. This will also be a good example to your son as he looks to you as a positive role model. Do also keep in mind that having conditions such as your sons may also class him amoungst those for which the pen is lifted and in sha Allah Allah will forgive his difficulties in accepting his condition at present.
May Allah reward all your efforts and guide your son aright. May He make things easier for you and bring you comfort in His remembrance.
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