Please note: The answers on Hawramani.com constitute friendly advice rather than fatwas. Where relevant, we translate the opinions and fatwas of respected scholars and present them in our answers.

What is there to do if you suffer because someone you love is far away from God?

Assalamualaikum... what should I do if I care so much about someone’s relationship with Allah ‪ﷻ‬ that it brings me depression because that someone is too far away from Him? I’m trying to help but I can’t, and I can’t bear this sadness either. Should I keep trying or should I take a step back? I can try again because that someone means a lot to me, but it affects my whole mood... i don’t know what to do. Jazakum Allah khairan

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

That is a difficult situation to be in and sadly there is no solution besides being patient. The Prophet sometimes strongly desired for someone to become a believer, but the Quran always reminded him that guidance was up to God:

You cannot guide whom you love, but God guides whom He wills, and He knows best those who are guided. (The Quran, verse 28:56)

Perhaps you may destroy yourself with grief, chasing after them, if they do not believe in this information. (The Quran, verse 18:6)

3. Perhaps you will destroy yourself with grief, because they do not become believers.4. If We will it, We can send down upon them a sign from heaven, at which their necks will stay bent in humility. (The Quran, verse 26:4)

Being attached to the idea of a person becoming a better believer is like any other worldly attachment. It is only through remembering God and attaching ourselves to Him that our attachment to the worldly life is weakened. So when it comes to anything that gives you suffering in this life, even if it is the desire for someone to become a better Muslim, the way to reduce this suffering is to get closer to God. The closer you feel to Him, the easier it is to deal with life’s difficulties because they lose their power over us. I recommend spend an extra hour every night in tahajjud to everyone who wishes to feel constantly close to God. Check out my essay Mysticism without Sufism: A Guide to Tahajjud, Islam’s Meditation Practice.

Doing things with the specific purpose of causing someone to become a better Muslim can actually backfire. It will likely be considered insulting by the person, because they want freely choose their own course in life. They do not want someone else to force them to have a specific course. For this reason I recommend that you focus on your own faith and do not pressure them at all to change. The best way to influence others to become better is to be an extraordinary example yourself. If people see in you extraordinary kindness, generosity, selflessness and acceptance toward others, and if they also see that you are dedicated to your faith and perform much extra worship, then these can strongly encourage them to emulate you.

Ideally, it is best not to attach our hearts to anyone becoming better, because there is no guarantee that it will ever happen. It is much better to attach our hearts to God and leave it to God to guide people if and when He wants.

And God knows best.

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