Disclaimer: This article is in no way meant to substitute for medical or mental health advice from a trained and educated mental health professional. Muslim Girl encourages those who need help to seek it, and encourages the use of resources such as therapists, social workers, psychologists, psychiatrists, and trained mental health professionals. You should never try to manage your mental health alone. You are not alone, and there is no shame in seeking professional help. Muslim Girl also does not recommend self-diagnosis; again, please seek the help of a professional. The following are the views and experiences of the author only. If you have feelings of self-harm or suicidal ideation, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.
Content warning: This article discusses chronic illness, death of a parent, and death.
As Muslims, we greet each other with greetings of peace. But how many of us can say that we are actually at peace? We are all caught up with our daily lives and problems and we often look for solutions in people. For example, if someone has a problem, we may look to talk to someone close to us for answers. Whilst nothing is wrong with that, we often get disappointed when we don’t get the results that we are looking for.
Going back to a personal event, when I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I was sure that I was going to die. I eventually stopped talking to my close friends in fear that when I am no longer here, they would miss me dearly — I thought I was making things easier for them by withdrawing. I was afraid to leave my family behind, but I soon realized that death is inevitable.
It is how we learn to deal with our losses in life that make us who we are today. I have seen people get so emotional after a death that they soon fall into a depressive state. I truly understand and sympathize with everyone, as losing my mother at a young age was very hard for me, so I know what it’s like to lose someone you love dearly.
I wished things were different, but I learnt to accept things as they come and learn to move forward just to stay afloat. Easier said than done, right? So many nights I cried myself to sleep wishing my both parents were here to tell me that everything will be alright. You sometimes find yourself imaging a different reality — fantasy — where everything is perfect. But is this reality? No.
I have learned to confront my fears in order to go on living. I honestly gave up in this life after my cancer diagnosis. Having no spouse nor children, I didn’t see the need to exist anymore. I was preparing for death. But little did I know that this was not my faith, nor my future.
I soon converted to Islam during my healing phase. Converting to Islam was an amazing feeling to experience. I learned to perform the five mandatory prayers, plus the voluntary prayers as well. It quickly became a part of my life, and is so ingrained in me now that I simply can’t go without stopping and praying to Allah (SWT).
I honestly gave up in this life after my cancer diagnosis. Having no spouse nor children, I didn’t see the need to exist anymore. I was preparing for death. But little did I know that this was not my faith nor my future.
It’s quite amazing to find relief and joy in just a short space of time; this is something I searched my whole life for — happiness. I soon laid all my problems to the Almighty whilst still having friends and family support. I learned to trust Allah (SWT) and his plan for us. While it may be different from what we have in mind for ourselves, it is still the best plan for our life. Allah knows best. We may have a dream or a specific idea as to how our lives should go for us: what our job should be, if we have kids and grandkids, the house we want to live in, the car we want to drive — but do these things define who you are as a person? And is what we want always what’s best for us?
The challenges we all face in this life force us to adapt to these changes, hence bringing out the best version of ourselves. How we learn to overcome grief, jump through hurdles in the professional work field, becoming contented with our own share of wealth, whether small or big, truly reflects on your character as a person. This is how to find happiness within ourselves.
Through trial and error — and Islam — I slowly experienced happiness through my religion, and I am thankful to Allah (SWT) for showing me the way. However tough the journey may be in this life, I am grateful, and I know that truly Allah knows best. And I know why we say “alhamdulillah for everything.”