To conclude our month on ruqyah, we would like to share with you a real life story of one of our reader’s ruqyah experiences. The post has been edited for length and clarity.
In 2009 I graduated and got married, it was then that my mental health took a turn for the worse. After a year of trying to have a baby, you could guess what my main Dua was during my Hajj trip. Alhamdulillah Allah blessed us with a healthy baby girl a year later. As soon as my baby was born, by the Qadr of Allah a lump appeared inside my throat. After having my scan and other tests the doctors confirmed to me that it was not cancer however I was advised to have it removed.
During the first few months of being a mother I remember feeling different within myself. I was often in a confused state and I found myself feeling sad for long periods of time. Having said this I would always have a smile on my face in front of others. After all I didn’t want anyone to judge me on my parenting and see me as weak person. I would constantly feel tearful and hopeless but had this happy mask on for others to see.
I recall a day at my mother in law’s house when one of my aunties was talking about how some mothers experience the baby blues after having a baby. She was on the topic of depression and as she was talking about the symptoms I remember thinking that’s exactly how I was feeling. However, I convinced myself that I was not depressed as soon as my mother in law replied back to her saying “we are Muslims and we shouldn’t feel depressed, it is not in our culture or religion”. This was on my mind for a while and I remember crying to Allah to forgive me for the way I was feeling. There were some nights where I felt like I didn’t want to be a mother anymore. I disliked it whenever I got this type of feeling because I felt like I was an ungrateful servant to Allah.
As a family we decided to get Ruqyah done therefore we called a raqi to come and recite some Quran on me. I remember not being able to sleep properly the night before the raqi came to my house. I was wide-awake the whole night staring at my ceiling. I realised that I was not feeling like myself that morning for some reason. My heart was pacing and I felt like I wanted to throw up.
It got to the point where I wanted to run away from my house but I tried my best to keep calm as I didn’t understand what was going on. When the raqi came to my house I remember feeling some sort of guilt but yet again I didn’t understand why I would feel like this. I remember getting waswas (whisperings) saying “look at yourself, for bringing a raqi to the house you will never be amongst the 70 that will enter heaven without being judged”.
I remember being upstairs and refusing to come down, and the raqi having to come up to me. He started to read verses of the Quran I recall using my hands to block my ears and I was shaking my head saying “no stop”. Then again I was thinking to myself calm down it’s only Quran, I didn’t understand why I would want not want to listen to the Quran. I kept complaining about that I couldn’t breathe and for him to stop reciting. After a while the sheikh was speaking to my husband and then he left.
I was in a conflict with myself as I didn’t understand what was going on. The waswas that I would normally hear got worse and intense from that day. I ran away from my house feeling confused as to why I was running away but something was telling me to just get out of the house and run. I ran so fast and stood at a bus stop thinking of different ways to commit suicide. I felt scared and numb as to why I would want to end my life. I had intense waswas saying “you are a useless mother, wife and daughter, you might as well end your life to give everyone a better life, you are a burden”. These statements kept coming to me and I remember standing at the edge of the road ready to get hit. Until I heard my husband shouting my name and running towards me. He tried to take me back home and as we were going towards the house he kept asking me what was on my mind? I kept quiet.
I was sitting in the living room and then suddenly I felt like I wanted to run away again. Something kept telling me “he is coming for you to use electricity” Wallahi, I swear by Allah I felt confused as to why I kept getting this type of waswas. I remember feeling irritated, annoyed and I kept shouting “I need to get out of this house he is coming for me”. My husband kept asking who is coming and at the same time he would read some adhkars.
I recall saying to him that I didn’t want electricity on me. As I was screaming and trying to get of the house there was a knock at the door. My heart was pacing so fast that I almost felt sick. There he was a man standing at the door with a bag. I was already in an unstable state and the man came in towards the living room where I was sitting. He questioned me on how I was feeling, I remember giving him short answers and not giving him any eye contact. He was asking me about my experience so far and I remember I kept saying I am fine. I suddenly had the urge to block my ears as he started to recite some verses of the Quran. I kept screaming and shouting at him and I was saying that I didn’t need him and for him to stop reciting. After a while he stopped and turned to my husband saying, “she needs a lot of Quran read on her, she needs help”.
The next morning I wanted to leave the house, my excuse was that I wanted to go to the coffee shop. I had both my husband and cousin who were already on my case and they said that they wanted to go to Costa so let’s all go together. We went in the car and we suddenly drove past the coffee shop driving on the north circular. I recall screaming and shouting and making a big fuss saying all that I wanted was a coffee. We ended up going to my mother in law’s house. All I kept thinking about during the journey was how I can end my life. I really didn’t want to live anymore. Reflecting on all the times I wanted to end my life my main concern was to end the pain I was in. The raqi that came to my house the second time around was waiting for me at my mother in law’s house. I felt betrayed for some reason and I was kept in the room downstairs with my cousin. She went out of the room and immediately I thought this was my chance to get away. As I was in the process of trying to jump out of the window to run away to a bridge near my mother in law’s house my cousin walked back in. She immediately rushed to me and made me come down.
From the moment the raqi came into the room and started to recite some verses from the Quran I was in a state that I never felt before in my life. After a while of reciting some verses of the Quran, he began to electric shock me at the same time. Apparently his aim was to destroy the “Jinn” that was inside me.
Hallucinations to the hospital
Things took a turn for the worse: I was not able to eat and sleep for 2 weeks and I started feeling very tormented. During this period I experienced a number of hallucinations, including seeing images of weird looking people and hearing voices. It got worse at night, which made it impossible for me to sleep, and I also became extremely paranoid from everyone around me, including my own family.
Yet again my family decided to take me to another raqi in East London. This Sheikh however refused to read any Quran on me and made it clear that what I needed at that moment of time was to sleep. He said to my family to give me the strongest sleeping tablets to aid me to sleep as soon as possible. However even after having sleeping tablets I wasn’t able to sleep in fact my illness got worse. It was that evening that my family felt like they had done whatever they could do. It was at this moment that they decided to call an ambulance and I was taken to A&E where my paranoia, hallucinations symptoms got intense. I was immediately given a bed and I was hospitalised for around a week. I was given drugs to help me with my sleeping. During this period I was in a complete shock to the point I was muted for few days. My immediate family would visit me during the visiting hours, and even though my eyes were closed I was fully aware of what was happening around me. In fact at one point when I was sent to have my MRI scan I experienced one of my delusional psychotic episodes. At that moment I believed that I had died and I was being sent to my grave.
Alhamdulillah by the grace of Allah I slowly felt like myself around a week of being in hospital. I woke up one morning feeling like I needed to go home to my baby girl. I remember the moment the doctors surrounded my bed in complete shock. They couldn’t believe how I was communicating to them as if nothing happened. They kept saying to me that if I recalled what happened to me for the past few weeks. I remember explaining to them that I felt better and I was desperate to be with my baby girl.
I had a major mental breakdown again after the birth of my second daughter two years after my first ever psychosis episode. Again my family got worried when I started to get the same symptoms and decided to call a raqi. I got extremely ill again and my family took me to the A&E. It was during this time that the level of my paranoia was so high to the point I believed that the hospital staff had been setup to capture me. Therefore I started to become suspicious of their actions. At first I kept jumping and moving around whenever a doctor or a nurse approached me. I was also behaving strangely with my own immediate family. I believed that both my family and the hospital staff were plotting something against me and I had to defend myself. This led to me getting both physically and verbally violent, it was at this moment the hospital staff had no choice but to get me sectioned.
I was taken to a psychiatric hospital. The first few days I was completely not myself, I had intense hallucinations, delusions and paranoia. There were moments where I can recall around 5 staff members were trying to restrain me. I remember feeling extremely in fear and desperate to get away. I believed I was being sent to Guantanamo Bay. There are no words to describe or express what this experience was like, for some this matter may seem weird and unimaginable, but Wallahi only someone who has lived with mental health illnesses may be able to relate to this. I was eventually given an injection (to this day I have no idea what I was injected with) and it knocked me out. The morning after I woke up completely being my normal self and in fact couldn’t comprehend why I was in hospital with people that seemed very ill. The doctors at the psychiatric hospital were amazed at how quickly I recovered. Therefore I was discharged to reunite with my 3 month old baby in a mothers and baby unit.
By the Grace of Allah this admission marked the beginning of my recovery. I was slowly getting better and I was also discharged from the mothers and baby unit a week after. Alhamdulillah I was released from the hospital without being prescribed with medications except with Zopiclone to help me with my insomnia. Next I was set up with a mental health support worker that came to my house on a weekly basis to see how I was coping. I was enjoying these sessions and it eventually made me realise that I wanted a career change to help others who may have experienced what I experienced.
Allah is Indeed the Best of Planners – The world of Counselling
My lived experience of ruqyah and mental health illnesses has been extremely hard and bitter. However, as a Muslim I strongly believe that everything happens for a reason. It is Allah’s promise that “Indeed, with hardship (will be) ease” (Quran 94:6), and I could say that this was true for my case Alhamdulillah. I must say that throughout my recovery I still experienced unusual episodes whenever I came in contact with certain ayahs in the Quran either via listening to them through Ruqyah or listening to them at home. This experience made me want to investigate my illness further so I signed up for a Level 1 Introduction to Counselling course at my local Adult Learning Link. During these times I was also in the process of receiving counselling sessions from a qualified Islamic counsellor. Counselling provided me the safe environment to be able to talk about whatever I had in my mind at that time. Counselling has empowered me to help myself, by exploring and understanding my emotions and feelings.