I genuinely don’t find peace in the religion Islam. I find the religion oppressive. There are so many rules and you have to pray 5x a day. Any little thing that you don’t do you’re going straight to hell. When I first read the Quran in English I was only 9 years old and the Quran terrified me… I cried that day. I consistently feel anxiety and guilt for feeling like this. Furthermore, it’s quite difficult to be transparent in my thoughts by the fear of getting judged and offending people. I am Muslim and strongly identify with the religion as this faith has been embedded in me through my upbringing so I can not seem to let go. I’ve reached out because my mum forced me to pray. shes quite manipulative too when she forces me to pray. When she does this it completely throws me off and I feel oppressed. I feel super guilty for not praying then feel awful because I think I’m going to die and go hell. I want my god to be fair and just. Deep down I have congruence, kind characteristics. i have basic humanity which religion has not taught me as this has come from within.
When I read Quran and the word Allah is mentioned I’m just like Allah? Like I don’t feel anything other than worry and pain and like this worry and anxiety that I’m going to jahanam . Could you please give me advice, I need help.
As-Salaamun ‘Alaikum – peace be with you,
Thank you for reaching out to us, we know that it isn’t easy and we appreciate the confidence you have placed in us. May you be rewarded, Ameen.
Firstly, childhood trauma is very real and can take numerous shapes and forms. Unfortunately, it seems that in your experience religion was misused as a tool of control and, as you said, an agent of instilling fear. While this has understandably left you with a negative perception of Islam, we suggest to take a step back and try to distinguish what Islam is in its essence from what was shown to you as a child. Though the Qur’an has depicted the punishment of Hellfire, Allah (SWT) has also portrayed images of heaven, reward and eternal bliss in equal part, so there are two balanced sides to the coin.
It is key to remember that every human being will be judged individually based on their intentions, sincerity, and deeds over a lifetime; as Muslims we are repeatedly encouraged to develop Taqwa (God consciousness) which, in itself, is a measured and healthy balance between hope and fear. Allah (SWT) demonstrates this by saying:
“We have not sent down to you the Qur’an that you be distressed But only as a reminder for those who fear [Allah]” [Qur’an 20:2-3].
“So by mercy from Allah, [O Muḥammad], you were lenient with them. And if you had been rude [in speech] and harsh in heart, they would have disbanded from about you. So pardon them and ask forgiveness for them and consult them in the matter. And when you have decided, then rely upon Allah. Indeed, Allah loves those who rely [upon Him].” [Qur’an 3:159].
This life is a test and the Qur’an, through addressing the unparalleled experiences of the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ), very much recognises the trials & trauma that can burden the hearts of believers. One example of this is demonstrated through the revelation of Surah Ad-Dhuha (the Morning Brightness), which is a source of solace and hope in times of difficulty when even the Prophet (ﷺ) felt weakness and despair. However, Allah (SWT) directly acknowledges these feelings whilst offering comfort and reassurance by saying:
“Your Lord has not taken leave of you, [O Muḥammad], nor has He detested [you]. And the Hereafter is better for you than the first [life].” [Qur’an 93:3-4]
This verse also reminds the believer on how to approach life, i.e. keeping the eternal Akhirah (Hereafter) in mind at all times. Perspective-shifting and re-thinking our experiences are essential tools to dealing with trauma and past experiences, and the Qur’an offers relief by describing the mercy of time. Similar to the cyclical nature of the day, night and the phases of the moon, we endure the ups and downs of our life, however the believer who strives against his Nafs (soul) to attain the pleasure of Allah (SWT) is repeatedly promised His everlasting Love and reward as mentioned in the Qur’an.
Therefore, we suggest that you try to set aside your previous perception of the Qur’an and approach it again with a fresh perspective. Make a sincere Dua (”prayer”) to Allah (SWT), and remind yourself of His majestic and beautiful qualities whilst conversing with Him. For example, He is Al-Lateef, Al-Khabir (The Subtle, The Aware). Ask Him to open your heart to His Word and then make your intention to understand every time you open the Qur’an, also seeking refuge from Satan.
We also recommend to tackle intrusive thoughts as they arise. It is important to remember that we all experience these at some point in our lives, (some of the other answers on our website address these). If you handle these in a healthy manner and continue to strive in worship regardless of how intrusive these could be, Allah (SWT) will reward you abundantly In Shaa Allah.
Finally, this answer may perhaps also speak to some of your childhood experience concerns.
These are just some humble suggestions. We sincerely hope and pray that one or more of them will be suitable to your circumstances and help create ease for you, In Shaa Allah (if Allah wills). If you would like to discuss anything else on your mind, we also offer more personalised counselling here at Inspirited Minds.
Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you need any further support.
Allah knows best and we hope this helps In Shaa Allah (if Allah wills).
Du’aa (supplication) always,
IM Support Team
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