Doubts in Faith

The issue of some Muslims having extreme doubts in faith is becoming more concerning as time goes by. Once at a student conference, 2/3 people out of a large group of students came up to me privately to me with the same points; ‘I am having doubts about belief in Allah and Islam’.

Now these are just the people who had the courage to speak about it to someone else. How many others in that group felt the same, but didn’t reach out? I just have two brief points to say on this inshaAllah around accessibility and collective responsibility;

  1. Scholars, du’āt, teachers etc. need to continue to be accessible within reason to hear and guide people struggling with these whispers of the Shayṭān. The Rasul (saws) was so accessible that a woman once came and said she needed to speak to him (saws). He (saws) responded;

اجْلِسِي فِي أَيِّ طَرِيقِ الْمَدِينَةِ شِئْتِ، أَجْلِسْ إِلَيْكِ

“Sit in any street of Madinah you wish and I will come to you’ (Tirmidhi, Abu Dawud)

The interesting point here is that this was Madinah and everyone would have wanted time from him (saws), but despite that he was accessible. There are many other narrations which indicate people could just approach him if they had concerns. 

This is in no way a rebuke on our respected teachers and students of knowledge (particularly now with the advent of social media!). However, if we look at the priorities from a shar’i perspective, tackling these doubts is from the obligations, particularly for those who a) have the ability/knowledge and b) those who may be approached directly hence making it part of their sphere of influence. 

  1. This second point which is probably more important is that it doesn’t always need a scholar to remove doubts. There can be supplementary issues which lead to doubtfulness – depression, family problems, anxiety etc which envelop an individual to a degree of helplessness affecting their belief. Just having a friend to listen to them and give them optimism of the mercy of Allah, the tests of the believers and the power of the Qur’ān can help someone’s conviction of faith to return. 

It’s therefore worth noting that people suffering from these doubts are *more* likely to approach their friends and people close to them on these sensitive topics rather than a random Imām. For that reason, we *all* need to be equipped with the basics of our religion in order to strengthen our own faith as well as supporting others in the community. 

May Allah keep us all steadfast in faith and obedience to him (swt).