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IslamQA: Your low iman may actually be depression

assalamualaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh brother I hope you are well in sha Allah. I have recently been experiencing very low imaan, to the point where I no longer feel like praying. I don't know why but my salah feels empty, there's been a couple of times where I've purposely missed my prayers. I don't even make dua anymore either and this worries me. What can I do to fix this? I'm scared of displeasing Allah but at the same time I don't want to pray I just have to force myself.

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh,

In my experience when Muslims speak of “low iman” it is not actually a problem with their faith, it is just that they are depressed and their depression makes them feel abandoned and unspiritual.

If you think you are depressed, then remind yourself that it is your psychology that has changed, not your relationship with God. Even if you get no satisfaction out of the acts of worship, continue to perform them as a proof of your faith in God. It is good to worship God when it makes you feel good. But it is even better to worship Him when you have to force yourself to do it, because remaining steadfast despite difficulties and turmoil is what distinguishes the best believers from the average ones.

If you feel as if God dislikes you and has turned away from you then realize that this is just your depression making you think these thoughts. Always think of God the way He describes Himself (the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful), regardless of how you feel. A saint is just someone who has reached a state where nothing that God does to them will reduce their love for Him. Even though they know that God is fully in charge of the universe, when they suffer they do not blame God for it and they never think negative thoughts about Him. They keep facing Him and striving toward Him regardless of what storms He sends their way, knowing that He is only giving them opportunities to prove their love for Him.

For more on getting back on the right track when you feel that your faith is low please see my essay: God has not abandoned you

You may also be interested in my essay:  Islam and Depression: A Survival Guide

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