08 Jul I’m in a very dark place, I think of suicide, but I don’t want to. I want to die, though. Any advice?
I’m in a very dark place, I think of suicide, but I don’t want to. I want to die, though. Any advice?
Salaam. I am not really sure how to word my question. I have been going through some very difficult times in the past few years of my life. The result has been an extreme depression and a lot of confusion. I am just constantly really confused because I feel like no matter how hard I try to be a good Muslim, things still go very wrong for me. The universe constantly seems to be working against me. I just feel like Allah is always punishing me (astg) even though I don’t do anything that would invite Allah’s wrath upon me. I am just an average person but huge misfortunes constantly befall me. When I see all the other people and other Muslims around me who have stable lives, it makes me feel bitter and resentful and I’m not sure what I am doing to make Allah be this upset with me. So basically I’m really confused and I don’t know what to do anymore. I have heard that praying for death is makruh but not haraam, so I have started to do that. I really want to commit suicide but I know that it is haraam in Islam. Is there no chance at all of me being admitted into Jannah if I commit suicide, even though I have been a generally good person during my life? I know you may assume that I am cowardly for wanting to end my life but if you knew me you would understand how desperate I am to be at peace. I know that Allah tests his servants and I have allowed that fact to comfort me for a while, but now my troubles are so excessive that it just seems that I am being punished. Is there any advice that you can offer me.
This question was sent to me in multiple asks, so I put it together.
Wa alykum as-salaam,
I have debated how to address your question for a while, I have just sat here, floored by the level of honesty that you have shared with me. I figure I owe it to you, to be as honest with you as you have been with me.
There are elements of your question in which I want to give you “tough love,” and say that “you have internet access, which means that your life is better than the overwhelming majority of people on this earth,” but then I realize that, I have no idea what you have been through, and how arrogant would it be for me attempt to simplify your problems, or anyone’s for that matter, to a snarky catch phrase.
However, now as I think about what you’ve told me, I feel that you are probably familiar with the famous ayah in The Qur’an:
“God does not burden any human being with more than he is well able to bear” [2:286] Muhammad Asad
This is generally referred to always reinforce to people who are wavering that, whatever they face, they are able to overcome the problems in front of them. I genuinely believe in this, and it is through the genuine belief that I have in The Qur’an, that allows me to tell you, to not worry, to truly put your trust in Almighty God, for in The Qur’an states:
“verily, God never fails to fulfil His promise.” [3:9] Muhammad Asad
It was this perspective that helped me, when I lost my grandmother recently, because it was through that grief that I suddenly stopped being sad, and I realized why. I no longer feared death, because I truly believed that there was something after this, I truly knew that my grandmother was with God, it was a fact not a feeling. Alhamdulilah, it seems you have that same certainty, but I’d like to direct your attention to looking at your life on this earth a little differently.
Muslims constantly talk about “Deen over Dunya!” and there is value to this idea. When someone stresses over whether they can buy a new car over whether they are being a good sister/brother/wife/husband/human being/etc that’s clearly a problem. However, I think this mantra of “Deen over Dunya!” has been perverted to create this sense of disconnect between what we do on this earth as it relates to the hereafter. People have not realized that the only way we are to understand our Deen is through this Dunya.
Why do I say this?
What determines whether you go to heaven or hell? Is it really about praying? Is it whether you shaped your eye brows? Is it whether your pants were short, or if you recited ayat al kursi enough, or if you prayed with the proper tajweed? No. The Qur’an is very explicit as to what rubric God judges us by:
“True piety does not consist in turning your faces towards the east or the west — but truly pious is he who believes in God, and the Last Day, and the angels, and revelations, and the prophets; and spends his substance — however much he himself may cherish it — upon his near of kin, and the orphans, and the needy, and the wayfarer, and the beggars, and for the freeing of human beings from bondage;and is constant in prayer, and renders the purifying dues; and [truly pious are] they who keep their promises whenever they promise, and are patient in misfortune and hardship and in time of peril: it is they that have proved themselves true, and it is they, they who are conscious of God.” [2:177] Muhammad Asad
This is one of the most important parts of The Qur’an, in my opinion, in determining the priorities of the believer. Reading that ayah, God explicitly says that praying (“turning your faces towards the east or the west”) is not the sign, but those who have belief and those who act upon that belief. God is literally exhorting the believer to exert whatever energy they have towards helping others, those who are less fortunate than you are, and there will always be someone less fortunate than you. Always.
Even more interesting is the part in which God describes the truly pious as those who “are patient in misfortune and hardship and in time of peril,” because that is your ultimate test, the question becomes, when you face the abyss, what do you do, it is those moments that define you, not just your character or to other people (they don’t matter), but towards Almighty God.
So, when we say “Deen over Dunya!” we must truly understand what we are saying, and realize something very important: regardless of how fleeting this world is, it is our actions in this fleeting world that determines our destiny in the afterlife.
You said that you are seeking this state, a state of peace, as you said. The only way towards that peace is through this world, and killing yourself will not do that, praying for your death is not going to help either, because you are paralyzing yourself. You are preventing yourself from facing that abyss with the strength that I know you have. To still believe in God despite what you have gone through is the hard part, and you’ve done it, the easy part is following through and standing firm, knowing that God will be behind you.
That is what I urge you to do, to please, stand firm, not for me, not for anyone, only for yourself as a sign of your devotion to God. Until you show that devotion towards what God commands, you will never be in a state of peace.
So, in order to get to that sense of peace that you desire, the only way is through this world. You will not have peace in the hereafter, without doing what is right, and The Qur’an is explicit in what that is: help those less fortunate than yourself as the ultimate sign of piety, help your family (if possible), help those who have no parents, help those who have no homes, no water, who do not have the gift of sight, or reading, or hearing. You can do that, and by serving others, you serve God.
If it is where you are, if where you are living is that toxic, then start fresh and leave. Move someplace new. Whether you look at the journey of Prophet Yunus or the Hijra of Prophet Muhammad to Yathrib (Medina) from Mecca, there is nothing wrong with moving to someplace new, if you must.
Comparing yourself is just never going to be a good thing to do, honestly, because you are not going to see peoples’ problems because of the mindset that you have. You are only going to see the gifts that people have, while not only ignoring your own, but disregarding their burdens because you think that the gifts (they have) that you put value on outweigh those burdens (which you disregard). This process is toxic, and it will never help you, and that’s a lesson I’ve had to learn the hard way.
My mother always used to tell me: “Osama, there’s always going to be someone better than you and always someone worse than you.” She has said this, literally, since I was an infant. Growing up, I was always mad, because I thought “well, there’s someone who is the best, why can’t I be that?” And then I thought, the only way we can determine what is “best” is through our human ways, competitions, and other arbitrary methods of measurement that probably are wrong, but we use them, because as human beings, we need to use something.
Look at Steve Jobs, did he really have that much impact on our lives, in comparison to some other guy working at Apple who made the hardware that allowed those ideas to even be possible? Or maybe it was some other guy, who we’ve never heard of, who thought of some technological innovation that actuallyimpacted us. We only understand “best” through what we are able to perceive, but not through what is unequivocally true, because as human beings, we can only know what is The Truth through Perfection, that Perfection being Almighty God and His Revelation.
Look, I’ve never been in your shoes, and I’ll never be able to understand your situation, but I’ve felt pain, and I’ve been in a place where you wonder why you are still here. I felt lost because I did not what I wanted to do, I could not find my purpose in life, and I felt so lost, that I could not even decide whether I wanted to eat, let alone what I wanted to do with my life. That changed once I found my purpose.
For me, that purpose was helping others. I found being in the service of others was the most fulfilling thing I could do, it helped remove my pain and made me feel closer to God. I know that sounds corny, and I don’t think that what I want is for everyone, the point is, without a purpose, anyone will be lost, and so until you find that purpose, until your find what pushes you forward, you will be lost, just like Prophet Yunus was.
I would suggest you determine your purpose first, before you pray for your death. You should be praying for your purpose in life, otherwise, there would be no meaning for your death.
Insha Allah, I pray that you strive forward in life, seeking out the goodness that this life has, and forsaking the bad, to seek out the Blessings of God, and I pray that you emerge from your hardships stronger than ever before and that you please do not harm yourself in any way, because that goes against God’s command. Ya Rabb, I pray for you, I swear I pray hoping that you will rise from the pain and suffering, so that you may enjoy the hereafter with our Lord, in peace. Ameen.
Insha Allah, if you’d like to contact me privately, please do not hesitate. If you have any other questions, please do not hesitate to ask me.
I am not a counselor, and I am not someone who is trained to help in these matters, but I can listen to you, and direct you to resources for help, there is a directory (I’m unsure where you live) at muslimmentalhealth.org and another resource, if you’re from the DC area is muslimcounselors.org