Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
I have been dealing with a couple of mental symptoms for years, since I was 7 I think I am 20 now lol, including depression, self-victimisation, intrusive thoughts and suicidal thoughts. I have already seeked help from my mum and a GP, but did not get the response I wanted, which is mainly due to how I communicated my issue, so I have some BIG trust issues when it comes to human beings. Anyway this was prior to my spiritual awakening which led me to realise that Allah swt was leading me to him and ONLY talk to him about my problems which is even more reason for me to not seek out for help. During the past two years I have come to terms with my symptoms and I am content and know place and how to deal with my mental self.
During the past two years I have come to terms with my symptoms and I am content and know place and how to deal with my mental self. However there is one weird symptom that I cannot control and is getting in the way of my life. I CANNOT CONCENTRATE AT ALL. This has always been a problem throughout my life, I am a very active day-dreamer, but it has intensified and I am about to sit my third yr exams and have taken like 5 percent of the content. I don’t know what to do. Do you have tips for increase in concentration? If not prayers for my concentration would be suffice, I’m certain that there are people you reach would probably have way higher Iman than me so prayers for my concentration would do the world for me. Thank you!
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.
It is great to hear that your returning to Allah (SWT) has aided you in your journey, and helped you to accept His Decree.
Reliance on Allah (SWT) does not require or mean giving up efforts to help oneself or to seek a cure for one’s afflictions. The following Prophetic saying illustrates the beauty of the Islamic notion of Tawakkul (”trust in Allah (SWT)”) and belief in Qadr (”divine decree”), by referring to whether one should tie one’s camel to avoid losing it or merely trust in fate:
“O Messenger of Allah! Shall I tie it and rely (upon Allah), or leave it loose and rely (upon Allah)?” He said: “Tie it and rely (upon Allah).” [Tirmidhi]
Therefore, to have Taqwa (God-consciousness) and Tawakkul as you mentioned is acceptance, combined with sincere efforts, to the extent of one’s capacity, in order to better one’s situation. Since reality, including the worldly means by which we attain our goals and hopes, are all created and provided by Allah (SWT) and constantly subject to His Will to work, as Muslims, we approach all our efforts and endeavour in this world with the attitude that our actions themselves are a manifestation of His Will and subject to His Qadr. We should also look to accept whatever outcome He determines for us with patience and gratitude. Alongside this, we should look to strive for our personal and spiritual causes, for the community and Deen (religion) as done by the Prophet (ﷺ) and his companions. One example of this indicated in the Qur’an is for us to seek out shifa (cure/healing) for our health ailments. Allah (SWT) says:
“And your Lord inspired to the bee, ‘Take for yourself among the mountains, houses [i.e., hives], and among the trees and [in] that which they construct. Then eat from all the fruits and follow the ways of your Lord laid down [for you].’ There emerges from their bellies a drink, varying in colors, in which there is healing for people. Indeed in that is a sign for a people who give thought.” [Qur’an 16:68-69]
Thus, we appreciate your beautiful attitude of trust and acceptance in Allah (SWT), and would also encourage you to seek out the healing that He has created. We understand that your early experiences of seeking help were not beneficial, but perhaps you could try again by using credible and official means of help. Du’a (supplication) should also be at the cornerstone of our efforts; it is narrated:
“The Prophet said: One of you will be responded to, so long as he is not hasty, saying: ‘I supplicated, and I was not responded to.’” [Tirmidhi]
Make Du’a and seek out Allah (SWT’s) help with the Yaqeen (certainty) that He hears you and is Al-Qareeb (The Near) and Al-Mujeeb (The Responsive).
Specifically with regard to concentration in Salah (prayer), we would suggest exploring the counsel of Imam Al-Ghazzali in his book on the secrets of prayer. Often for our daily tasks such as studying or work, we may be advised by our counsellors and self-help tools to develop cognitive strategies to help our concentration; while these may help Salah.
The Imam takes a more spiritual approach of centring the heart. It can be argued that when the heart is centred and intent on the remembrance of Allah (SWT), thoughts follow more easily; perhaps, then, ways to purify the heart such as Dhikr (remembrance of Allah) and protecting the senses from sin and disobedience will help purify the heart so that it is more sincerely present in worship. Of course heart and mind are inseparably linked and perhaps things like doing Wudhu (”ablution”) more slowly and mindfully, giving a gap of a few minutes while you prepare for Salah and simultaneously focusing your thoughts away from other things you were doing, and making sure you make a clear intention may also help. It is our role as Muslims to constantly strive and try, with the optimism that Allah (SWT) will reward our sincere intentions and efforts, overlook our shortfalls and envelope us in His infinite Rahmah (Mercy).
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’as (supplication) always,
IM Support Team
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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