I am currently studying the aalima course and I began as a very dedicated and determined student. However, overtime my dedication and determination to acquire ilm has decreased quite dramatically. Now, naudhubillah I feel that studying is a burden rather than an enjoyable thing it once was. I am still studying the course but have virtually no interest anymore. It is painful to say but I no longer have the zeal for Islamic knowledge anymore. Sometimes, I thinks it’s because I suffer from depression (I don’t like to admit it but everyone in my family suffers from depression) as depression makes a person lose interest in activities they once found interesting and I have lost interest in many things since this.
Furthermore, I find it more and more difficult to practice on deen as the days go by. I am such a weak Muslim now and I waste so much time doing nothing. Sometimes, I entertain weird thoughts of speaking to someone who is not there; I think it’s a psychological problem but I find it hard to overcome. I think I do this because I am often lonely and spend a lot of time alone. I know I should keep myself busy to avoid this, but I just struggle to do so. I guess it’s because Shaytaan overpowers me easily and I just allow him to. I barely fight back now. And sometimes I just lose hope. My willpower is decreasing, my love for din is dying and my love for the dunya is increasing. I know I am falling into the traps of Shaytan and I can’t pull myself out. Actually, I always lose hope because as the days go by and as I get closer to my death, I am just becoming a worse Muslim.
So, what I want to ask is how do increase my zeal for knowledge and my ability to do good works. Also, how do I avoid bad thoughts?
In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.
Alhamdulillah we are very happy that you are becoming an Aalimah and are studying the Qurān, Ahādīth and Shariah. This is great blessing from Allah Ta῾ālā. He has chosen you to be the inheritor of the Ambiyā, to be a beacon of light for the Ummah and the rest of the world, to pass down this torch of knowledge to the next generation. Once you realise this, you will understand your importance and status in the sight of Allah Ta῾ālā. Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam is reported to have said:
مَنْ يُرِدِ اللَّهُ بِهِ خَيْرًا يُفَقِّهْهُ فِي الدِّينِ [i]
Translation: “When Allah wishes to do good to someone, He bestows that person with the understanding of Deen”.
As with every prestigious responsibility, there are some sacrifices a person needs to make to achieve a rank amongst the greats. In the matter of studies, one must abstain from sins and transgression as much as possible. The knowledge that you are receiving is a divine and pure light from Allah Ta῾ālā. It cannot be contaminated with sins and shortcomings otherwise the light will lose its’ lustre in the eyes of the beholder and the value of this sacred knowledge will decrease. “Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do.” You say that you know that you are falling into the traps of Shaytān, so DO something about it; don’t dwell over it.
Another sacrifice that must be made to attain this knowledge is that one must work hard for it. It is the pinnacle of stupidity and idiocy to think and assume that the greatest knowledge that can be bestowed upon a mortal can be attained without hard work and perseverance. When you don’t feel like studying, you have to remind yourself WHY you wanted to study in the first place; to please Allah Ta῾ālā and to become a good Muslim.
You have to keep in mind that a gem is not polished without rubbing, nor a man perfected without trials. All these hardships must be undertaken and borne for a person to achieve something in life and succeed. Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off the goal. Once you realise your goal and keep it in mind, it will motivate and spur you on to work harder. Remember, the only place success comes before work is in a dictionary. Remember you cannot plough a field by turning it over in your mind. You have to toil and exert all your forces to achieve something. Remember, the best way to make your dreams come true is to wake up.
You had this flame burning inside you once, the only thing stopping it from lighting up again is yourself. Numerous people say that they don’t want to do something because they are ‘depressed’. What they fail to realise is that majority of the times, this ‘depression’ is all in the mind. A person thinks that my parents are suffering from depression so I must also be suffering from it. We need to rid ourselves of these excuses and bring ourselves together. If a person thinks and believes he is depressed, it will have an effect on his outlook of life and the way he deals with things. The same applies to a person who thinks and sincerely believes he is happy. However, if you genuinely feel that you are suffering from depression, you should consult your doctor or a psychiatric and take the necessary medication. There is nothing wrong in doing so. Many professional and intelligent people also seek medical support for mental and emotional balance. Seeking help and assistance from a psychiatric does not mean one is insane. Rather it does the opposite; it means that one is brave enough to admit his deficiencies and is brave enough to do something about them. The most important thing is that you must keep yourself happy and pray to Allah that He always keeps you happy.
Finally, there are many times in everyone’s life when things don’t seem to be going their way. At these junctures in life, remember the following: “Destitutus ventis, remos adhibe” (If the wind will not serve, take to the oars.) Do what you set out to do regardless of the conditions you face and the adversity you confront.
And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best
[i] سنن ابن ماجه, ج.١, ص.٨٠, دار إحياء الكتب العربية