Question

Salaam. During this isolation, I have had a lot of time to think, over the last few days my mind is getting the best of me. I have constantly been my own enemy, constantly having conversations with myself about whether I’m a good Muslim or if Allah loves me. I try and keep myself productive and try to give my self advice, but it’s all I’m starting to think about. I sometimes imagine scenarios in my head and feel like I have no control. I’ve started to exercise to regain control and speak to God about this. I used to feel like this a few years back when I was going through a very low stage in my life. I pray and read the Quran, but the more I pray, the more I question why I feel like this. I’m disengaged from the outside world and wonder if anyone else feels like this. I’ve not really spoken to my family about this, as mental health is not really spoken about in our culture. I just want peace in my life and I try my hardest to stay as positive as I can. I like to keep busy and being at home is getting harder day by day. I feel weak because I know this is a test from Allah. I was wondering if I could get some advice.

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Response

Assalaamu alaikum – peace be with you,

First of all, we understand what you are going through, especially as this is such a big change to what we are usually used to, so Jazakallahu Khairan for contacting Inspirited Minds; we hope that we can be of some help to you and others going through the same experience.

Isolation can sometimes be a blessing, and sometimes a burden. If we look to the stories of the Prophets (AS), some of the greatest things occurred when they were in isolation. Yunus (AS) was forgiven by Allah in the isolation of the belly of a whale; the Prophet (ﷺ) received the first revelation whilst in isolation in a cave. But for us, we are so used to keeping busy in our day-to-day lives, that now we have been forced into a situation where we are left alone with our thoughts, it is easy for us to become our own enemies. So know that you are not alone in this constant battle with the self, as those of us who are also in isolation are going through the same process.

Also, note that there is always a foe who is constantly in our midst: “Surely, Shaytaan is an enemy to you, so take him as an enemy” (Surah Al-Fatir, 35:6). Isolation is the prime time to become your own enemy, but also for Shaytaan to make you question whether you are a good Muslim, whether Allah loves you, whether you are doing enough. This is his biggest weapon because when a believer falls into doubt, it can have a domino effect on every other aspect of their life and worship. But we are not going to let that happen, and you have already started to take the correct steps in moving away from these thoughts:

  • You are trying to regain control; reaching out to Inspirited Minds for advice is a prime example of this.
  • You are speaking to Allah about these doubts and difficulties. Allah says “Call upon Me; I will respond to you” (Surah Al-Ghafir, 40:60). So carry on doing this and remain patient, for Allah will be sure to answer your prayers InshaAllah.
  • You are doing the best and most advised actions for when in isolation – praying and reading Quran. We are always busy with daily life that we forget the importance of doing the basics.
  • You are trying your best to stay positive. Staying positive does not mean that things will turn out okay; rather, it is knowing that you will be okay regardless of what is to come, especially within the uncertainty of this current climate.
  • You are recognising that this is a test from Allah; “Do the people think that they will be left to say, “We believe” and they will not be tried?” (Surah Al-Ankabut, 29:2). But Allah also provides us with reassurance: “Fear not. Indeed, I am with you… I hear and I see.” (Surah Taha, 20:46).

You say that you like to keep busy and you are right, keeping a balanced routine is the best remedy for negative thoughts. Staying at home does not mean that everything else must be placed on hold. You should continue to stay active and busy within your home. Maybe try learning a new skill, like cooking, baking or knitting (there are lots of videos on YouTube to help you get started on this!). Enrol into some online classes, courses, webinars, or do your own research, whether Islamic or educational, so you can make the most out of your time before we are sprung back to our daily routines. Do not become completely disengaged with the world; continue to stay in touch with friends and family, as this is the closest form of normality that we can achieve with technology. You are in isolation from the world, but you do not have to be in isolation from those within your own homes; we always say how we never have time for our families, so make the most out of this time that you have together.

Keeping the mind focused on other things means that there is less space and time for negative thoughts to pop in. If you ever feel that it is all getting a bit too much, try listening to the Quran as it helps ease the mind and heart in a way that nothing can else can. And if you ever feel that your home is getting too congested at times, then leave the house for a short while for some fresh air (whilst maintaining your distance from others).

Since we have the time, you may wish to read through our other articles on the IM website for advice on similar issues you may be going through. There is also lots of advice provided our Coronavirus Page and also on other websites like MCBs. Scroll down to “5. Coping with stress during COVID-19 pandemic & avoiding fake news”; they have a helpful poster of suggested things to do whilst in isolation and links to other helplines for further advice.

If you feel that these negative thoughts are overwhelming, as well as significantly impacting your daily function. Perhaps consider helplines and our Conselling Services that are adapting to the current situation by using technology to support people.

Allah has blessed us with this time to do all the things we said we would do but never had the time for. This is the perfect opportunity for you to start on these! Do not turn your house into a prison, make it into a home, where you feel safe and enjoy being in. And finally, do not fear solitude; it is through solitude that Allah is found.

Stay busy and stay safe!

Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you need any further support.
Allah knows best and Insha‘Allah we hope this helps,
Duas always,
IM Support Team

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Ask Inspirited Minds is a safe, anonymous and confidential space for you to ask specific questions or seek advice around your mental health and wellbeing. We will publish your question and our response on our website but will make sure to make it anonymous and change any identifiable details. If you are going through these problems, then it’s highly likely someone else is going through something similar and we hope our advice can also be of help to others in a similar situation.

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