Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Depression: A Lack of Faith in God?

Assalammu'alaikum brother Aiman.

First of, thank you for reading my email. I hope you can have this question of mine to be discussed thoroughly, or you can just give your own opinion on it.

I know someone with depression and she has been ridiculed for it.

One person said, that the girl has lack of faith and not strong enough. The person kept on saying that lack of faith in God is the cause for her depression. So the person said that her depression must have come from within herself. 

So here are my questions:

  1. Are we even allowed by the Islamic law to have depression? Or any mental illnesses for that matter?
  2. Should we blame the patient for not having faith in God, just because the patient said she want to kill herself?
  3. Giving in to haters is one thing, but do we even have the right to judge or ridicule those who did, and ended up being diagnosed as depressed?
  4. The user said depression relates with religion. You lack faith, you might get depressed. What's your opinion in this?

I really feel sorry for her too. And I do hope that people have more awareness about mental illness and it's not something to ridicule of.

I hope you can give your thoughts in this, because it has been bothering me for a very long time even before the situation happened.

Thank you.


Waalaikumussalam warahmatullah.

Thank you for your question.

Having a legitimate mental illness like clinical depression is like having a physical illness like diabetes. Mental illness has similar components to physical illness namely biological component and environmental component. It is human nature to fall sick every now and then, and to say that it is not allowed in Islam is downright ridiculous.

Just like you wouldn't say to a person with diabetes that he lacks faith in God, you shouldn't say the same thing to a person with depression. Clinical depression is real and we should treat it with the same level of care as we would with any physical illness.

We shouldn't put the blame on anyone. What we should do is stop engaging in pointless debates and start focusing on helping the person in his or her difficult times. We should start becoming a community that heals pain, not causes it.

If you have problems, then seek help accordingly. There is nothing in our religion that discourages us from seeking help from other when we need it. If you have diabetes, you go to a doctor. If you have depression, you go to a psychiatrist.

That is my thought on the matter.

Allah knows best.

May Allah give her strength. Ameen.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Public Speaking: A Valuable Skill

There are skills you just don’t learn from textbooks. In fact, you can’t.

When learned and possibly mastered, these skills can distinguish one from the crowd and in this day and age where the crowd is much bigger than before, being different from the crowd might be what one needs.

Most of what makes a skill is not theory, hence you can’t learn it in a class or two. Theory can only take you so far. A skill is honed beyond the four walls of a classroom, through real life experiences. In other words, you have to get out there and try it.

Learning through experience requires one to be brave enough to make mistakes (not deliberately, of course). Making mistakes is not something that you want to put in your CV under the “educational background” section.

However, making mistakes is by far one of the best ways to learn and to improve yourself. Even if you are not willing to share your mistakes with others, you should at least be willing to try your best, while knowing that mistakes can be just around the corner.

But you take the risk anyway, because what lies after that corner might be a treasure you didn’t imagine existed before – a treasure you didn’t know was meant for you.

Having said that though, if making mistakes alone is enough to make you great, then everyone would be great because no one is free of mistakes. So you can’t just stop there. Making mistakes is only one half of the equation. Making mistakes is the falling down after you trip.

The next logical step is to get back up, dust yourself off, and try again while avoiding the same mistake that made you trip before.

The things I mentioned above can be applied to pretty much any skill. If it is a type of skill, then it requires real life practice, courage to try, and learning from mistakes.

One such skill is public speaking skill.

They say people rather die than speaking in public, but that is an obvious overkill. If I put a gun to your head, I can safely assume that you would grab the mic than to be shot dead.

Having said that, one should not turn a blind eye on the fact that the fear of public speaking is real. Yes, people are generally scared of public speaking. They don’t want to be under the spotlight, in front of many judging eyes (at least that is what they think these eyes are doing).

Facing that fear requires strength. Many can fall, but few can rise again. Perhaps, you are among the few who rise again – if you want to be. I think that what makes it a very marketable skill, if not, the most marketable skill.

It is marketable not only in the sense that it can generate a lot of money and earn you a lot of recognition. If wealth and status are our ultimate aim, then those are a very cheap and spiritless aim. The skill is only as valuable as what you use it for.

What are you using your public speaking skill for?

Public speaking, or any other skill for that matter, can be used either for good or for bad. You can gain all the wealth and all the status you want, but if you use your skill for anything other than for good, then what value does your skill carry?


Public speaking is a skill of communication. The goal of communication is to send a message across in such a way that people on the receiving end can comprehend, understand, and internalize. It is not about wealth or status. It is about sending a message.

Question is, what message are you sending across?

Are you sending across good, positive messages that will enrich the lives of your listeners? Or, are we just filling up their minds and their hearts with rubbish?

We should use this God-given opportunity to bring out the best in people through the message that we are trying to carry across with our public speaking skill. We should stimulate minds and move hearts with our speech, which in turn will nudge the listeners to take the first step to self-actualization - the realization of our true potential as human beings.

It is the first step of infinite steps, because the journey to self-actualization is a never-ending journey.


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Saturday, August 16, 2014

Family: I Don't Come From A Religious Background

Assalamualaikum brother Aiman.

I hope you can spend a lil bit of your time to read this. I don't know where and who I want to express this.

Well this is about my family. I'm not from a religious background. Two years ago Allah chose me to enter a university with a good environment. I can feel a lot of changes in myself. I started to complete my Solah and so on. I can see things which is wrong and which is good.

But the problem is, I don't have enough courage to do Ibadah when I'm at home. My father doesn't perform Solah and so do some of my siblings. I feel so depressed and I don't know how to deal with this.

I read about Islam and mostly asked me to do good to parents but I don't know, dude. Sometimes I wonder why Allah put me in this situation. I'm so jealous to see my friends' family mostly came from religious background. Their parents gave them knowledge about Islam and advice them in many ways. Their parents are so close with them. But my parents? I'm the one who have to struggle, to comfort myself and make myself strong to face all of this. I used to make decisions by myself. I have no idea if my parents remember what course I take in university.

I don't have best friends, not even one. My friends come and go just like that. I don't have anyone to talk to about everything I went through.

Since I was small until now, I solve problems by myself. I never talk to my parents about my school problems or other things. I always pray to Allah that He could give Hidayah to my family, but still, I'm so afraid that He doesn't want us to go to Jannah. I'm so afraid of the hellfire.

I come from a big family, so maybe that's why my parents neglect me. At home, I don't talk much. I don't have enough courage to talk to my parents about this. I really want my family to be in the right path. I really, really want that. That is my one and only thing that I want. It's okay if we are not rich. It's okay. As long as my family perform Solah, my sisters cover their aurah and do good deeds so that Allah will bless us.

What can I do, brother? I only have Allah. I don't want my family and I to be in the hellfire. I'm scared if Allah doesn't want to accept my du'a because I did many sins in my past. I'm so scared to talk to my family about this.

Wallahi, I'm scared.


Waalaikumussalam warahmatullah.

Thank you for your email.

With regards to family, it is always a tricky subject. Ironically, it is easier to give advice to a stranger than to your own family. But, hope is not lost. If they are not willing to listen to what you say, then they will be willing to "listen" to what you do - your actions can speak louder. In fact, they have to "listen" to your actions. It is hard for them not to.

So the best Dakwah you can do to your family is to show them with love and compassion the good values that you want them to emulate, despite how they treat you. We are not only kind to the people who are kind to us. We should be kind to all. Good Akhlaq is your most eloquent speech. It can penetrate even the hardest of hearts.

The Prophet didn't discriminate in kindness. He was kind to all, even to those who wanted nothing to do with him. I think you can relate to the Prophet in this. His close family member wasn't only a non-Muslim, but he was anti-Islam. But the Prophet never find a reason to complain about why Allah gave him such a family member. But he always try to find a reason to bring his family member back to Islam. It is a way of keeping yourself positive in hard times.

You can't help people if you are being negative. Negativity doesn't bring out the much needed solution. It does the opposite.

So show them kindness. Show them compassion. Show them your concern for them. When was the last time you asked your mother about her day? When was the last time you helped your father? When was the last time you laughed with your siblings?

These are the small essentials that can help you deliver your ultimate message. You have to build a strong connection before you deliver a message. You can't send an email without internet connection, right? Similarly, you can't send your message across to your family without first building a strong family connection, and it must start with you and it should start with you.

You can start with small things. Ask about simple things. Make them feel your presence and make yourself feel their presence.

Bottom line, you can't help your family without establishing the very foundation of family - love and trust. This process takes time, so consequently, it requires patience from your part and a lot of du'a. The Prophet spent his lifetime trying to send the message across. So we can't expect to only spend a few hours, thinking that the message will be delivered properly and the job is done.

This job is not easy, but it is only given to those who are strong enough to carry it. Allah does not burden someone with more than he or she can bear. So the fact that Allah gave this job to you means that He knows that you have what it takes.

You can ask for help if you need to. Know that you are not alone, and you are never alone. There are people out there who can be your friends, your true friends. Find good friends and be a good friend. There are people out there who have similar problems to you. They can be your support group. There are people out there who can stay with you through thick and thin. They can uplift you. They are out there. But like gold, they are not found lying around on the surface. You have to out and find them. Ask Allah to help you, and He will help you. He is not unaware of your state.

But when all is said and done, you do have what it takes. You just need to realize that and believe it to be true.

You have the right intention and you have the right vision. You asked for forgiveness and indeed, His forgiveness is vast. His forgiveness is bigger than our sins, and we must believe that. To think that Allah can't forgive us is to think that Allah does not have the ability to forgive us. We should not think that way. If Allah can forgive a man who killed 100 lives (as stated in a Hadeeth), then surely, He can forgive all of us.

Surely, He can forgive you.

Say, "O My servants who have transgressed against themselves [by sinning], do not despair of the mercy of Allah . Indeed, Allah forgives all sins. Indeed, it is He who is the Forgiving, the Merciful."

(Surah az-Zumar: 53)

Allah knows best.

May Allah give you strength. Ameen.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Relationship: The Break Up

Hi Abang Aiman. My name is ######. I'm 16 and currently studying in ######.

Right now, I have a problem. I really hope that you can lend me your ears and guide me through it. The thing is, I have a girlfriend. I really love and have feeling for her. After reviewing perspectives on love in Islam, I realize that I can't have this relationship with her. I realize that it is wrong. So at one point, I asked for a break up. I felt so bad for everything. If I could, I would marry her. But I can't. We're still in school and I'm not ready for it.

Now, she couldn't control her feelings and feels extremely emotional in class. Yes, we are in the same class. She is always upset. I want both of us to focus on our studies. But I always get jealous when she hangs out with other guys. Should I get jealous?

I really have sincere feelings for her. Since the breakup, she cries so often. I felt so bad as I broke her heart. I don't know what to do now. I'm lost. My heart is craving for Allah. Your video about a love story (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GlBbjLPt7mc) gave me the inspiration to stay strong but I'm afraid that now I made her hate me.

At the same time, her whole gang of friends hate me as well. Why? How can i cheer her up? I don't want to lose her. I really love her. Now, I'm seeking the answers through the Quran (Tafsir) and a book called Tautan Hati.

What do you think about this Abang Aiman? Can you help me or give me advice?



Thank you for emailing me.

Indeed, Allah can guide people in so many ways. I pray that He guide you in the best way possible. Ameen.

When the heart is craving for Allah, then His pleasure becomes top priority. You realized early on that the relationship you had with the Muslim girl wasn't going to bring much pleasure from Him, and out of love for your Creator, you decided to end it.

I understand that in doing so, both of you are hurt. My response is in no way trying to undermine your pain and her pain.

Personally, I think she knew what you knew; that the relationship doesn't feel right. But perhaps due to strong emotions she harbours for you, it is hard to let go. That is understandable and I think you can relate to what she is currently feeling.

However, we do not worship our emotions. We don't follow anything and everything that our emotions tell us to do. We worship God.

Having said that, emotions can take the best of us and cloud our better judgement. Hence, we should always try to remain aware of our internal state and constantly adjust it to be in line with God's pleasure.

In the end, that is all that matters.

If you truly love someone, then you will do anything to please that someone. If we truly love God, then we will do anything that pleases Him.

You have ended your relationship because you knew that it wasn't pleasing to Him and you know that the best option (marriage) wasn't an option you can take at the time. So, in my estimation, I believe you have done the right thing.

Lets just pray that in time, she will realize it as well.

Sometimes in doing the right thing, you will be hated for it. You can think of many individuals in history who have lived through that fact. Remain steadfast in truth, and the right group of people will learn to love you and you will love them. These are the people who will keep you balanced and upright, in searching for His ultimate pleasure. These are the people who can help you get closer to God and help you become a better person, a person whom the world needs to make it a better place.

Remain steadfast.

As for the girl, there isn't much that you can do other than apologizing for hurting her feelings. Whether she forgives you or not is beyond your control. But do pray for her and pray that she sees and understands the reason behind the breakup and how it is for the good of both of you.

Remain kind with her and with her friends, despite how they treat you. Indeed, the people who treat you badly are in need of kindness the most. Be the bigger person.

Lastly, ask God for guidance and ask Him to give you what and who is best for you. If the girl is indeed best for you, then He will deliver. But if she's not, then know that He will give you something or someone better.

Allah knows best.

I hope that helps.

May Allah guide you. Ameen.