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In the Name of God بسم الله

heartoflight

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    United States
  • Religion
    Shi'a
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    Philosophy, spirituality, science, politics, poetry, nature, art

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  1. Would a trial separation be a feasible option for you and your wife? Maybe if you took a month or two apart to get clarity on your needs, it could help you refocus and consider how to proceed. If there's any part of you that still loves her, perhaps you could communicate to her what you're missing or what specifically you need out of the marriage that isn't there. When it comes to something as critical as the future of your family, you shouldn't walk away without exploring every possible solution. Maybe you could try a vacation with just the two of you to see if you can rekindle your connection and be vulnerable and honest with each other again. If you've been privately battling your loss of faith without cluing her in, chances are you both have a lot of walls up that are inhibiting the possibility of emotional intimacy. If you end up deciding that divorce is the healthiest option, you need to have a very open, honest conversation with your wife about everything you've been thinking and feeling, with regard to religion, marriage, the future of your family, etc. It will be painful, but she deserves to know the truth, and you deserve to have your feelings heard by your life partner. This may sound unorthodox, but before you proceed with any life-altering decisions, would you consider going to therapy for your own personal growth and mental peace? Not to save your marriage or even your faith, but to better understand what this shift will entail for your mental well-being, and perhaps to assess past experiences you may need to heal from? I have a friend whose parents experienced a very acrimonious divorce because her father decided he no longer wanted to be with her mom. Within that time frame, he fell in love with another woman, married her, and started a new family. Though I'm sure the initial high of 'falling in love' again was thrilling, her father is still a deeply unhappy, lost man who hasn't been able to fill the void within him, because the external details of his life were never the core issue. The core problem is that he had past trauma and emotional baggage he had never dealt with or healed from, including the toxic dynamic of his own parents' marriage. If you do end up separating from your wife and want to retain a positive relationship with your children, your best hope of doing so lies in healthy self-development and personal healing.
  2. Salaams, Don't pressure yourself so hard to feel that elusive inner peace, and don't tell yourself that its absence means you aren't deeply beloved by Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) or that your worship isn't being accepted. Remind yourself that Allah is so Merciful and Benevolent, every action you're doing for His pleasure is worthwhile and important for its own sake, even if you don't see or feel immediate results. Sometimes, if we worship with an underlying motive of becoming happier or gaining inner peace, it backfires because we aren't worshiping Him with true clarity- our desire becomes a barrier between us and Him as we start to seek it more than we seek Him- and we can't connect as deeply as we should, or our connection becomes weakened by self-doubt and guilt. An exercise that genuinely helps is spending a few moments each day reflecting on things you're grateful to Him for. This can be a silent, internal reflection, or you can make it a point to create a list in a gratitude journal each day- doing the latter is especially effective. In the Qur'an, Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) promises us: "If you are grateful, I will surely give you more and more" (14:7) and "So remember Me; I will remember you." (2:152) Perhaps as a living manifestation of such verses, mindfully expressing gratitude can cut through the worst of spiritual lows. Maybe because it serves as a reminder that even when we doubt our own worthiness, Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) is always covering us with His blessings and mercy, we're just often too distracted to notice.
  3. The consolidation of media ownership over the past few decades has resulted in a narrow standardization of perspectives, norms, aspirations, and habits that has essentially robbed people of the impulse to seek truth and meaning for themselves. Capitalist culture has standardized amorality and hedonism, consumerism has replaced spirituality, celebrity worship has replaced religious reverence, and superstition has replaced scientific inquiry. The escalation of surface-level social media has only worsened the severity of these issues, and there's seemingly no escape now because our most critical human need- socialization- has become inextricably linked to the perpetuation of these messages. Naturally, mental health problems are on the rise, suicide rates have reached new peaks, drug abuse is rampant, families and communities are dissolving, and a gnawing sense of unhappiness is so prevalent, it almost hangs in the air like a bleak fog. People's souls and their innate fitrah are telling them that something is terribly, painfully wrong, but many aren't able to articulate it, and a majority are so beholden to the never-ending cycle of work and consumption that they simply don't have the leisure to figure it out. This is why I'm convinced that capitalism is the true Dajjal/Antichrist. This system is so deeply entrenched in every aspect of modern life, nothing short of an army of God could dismantle it. And justice, equality, peace, harmony, etc all remain impossible ideals in a world where such a system prevails.
  4. Don't fear the questions or allow them to make you feel ashamed or insecure; lean into them and face them with courage. Challenge yourself to pursue the answers, no matter how much time and mental energy it takes, because the pursuit of knowledge is one of the highest forms of worship. It seems like the issue isn't simply that you're doubting the existence of God, the more immediate issue might be that you're doubting the existence of valid answers to your questions. So start with the basics: can something arise from nothing? If the known universe began with the big bang, where did the energy come from that caused the big bang? Any physicist will tell you that this is a question science isn't able to answer. We know that the big bang led to the rapid expansion of the universe and the formation of atoms, matter, space, time, etc., but this theory only tells us about how the universe expanded and evolved, not how it originated. Even if science could come up with a rational answer, ie. the energy of the big bang came from x and the particles came from y, the question would still remain: where did x and y come from? And the cycle would continue in an eternal loop, because everything would need a creator, and each creator would need a creator, ad infinitum. The only way out of this eternal loop is to arrive at one of two conclusions: either A) the universe has no origin because it is infinite and has always existed (which is essentially what we say about God, and requires the same suspension of conventional logic that believing in God requires) or B) there is an Origin of all things, but the Origin of all things must be something that has no origin; in order to break the loop that requires every creator to have a creator, it must be an entity that has always existed and is not bound by the laws and logics that govern every other system in the universe. (In other words, the only way out of the paradox is to defy it.) This is why some scientists are agnostics rather than atheists; to argue that a Creator of all things absolutely, definitely does not exist is an extremely audacious (and dare I say it, irrational) statement. This is a good article discussing that perspective further: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/atheism-is-inconsistent-with-the-scientific-method-prizewinning-physicist-says/ Once you accept this baseline conclusion- that something can't come from nothing, therefore Something causing all other things must exist, then you can dive into the arguments pertaining to specific religions, philosophies, and belief systems. A few key questions to start with: why even believe in a religion in the first place? What is the function of religion, and why is it essential or nonessential? You can pose this question to yourself on a personal level, then you can contemplate it on a societal level. If you have trouble coming up with satisfying answers, The Autobiography of Malcolm X is an easily accessible, life-changing source of inspiration and insight. It'll give you an excellent lens on what life is like without religion and how valuable the meaning and structure offered by religion can be. Getting to the end of this journey, there are plenty of rational reasons to suppose that Islam is logically and functionally superior to all other religions, but that's a discussion for another time. For what it's worth, you seem like a really humble person mash'Allah. Humility is one of the rarest of all virtues, so I hope you continue your journey in pursuing the truth, because the world needs more believers who are humble and teachable. Please remember that having these doubts and questions doesn't make you a bad person or a bad Muslim, it simply means that you're utilizing the 'aql (intellect) that Allah gave you in an effort to seek Him on a deeper level. That's a wonderful thing, and your curiosity and willingness to learn suggest that Allah wants you to seek Him just as much as you do.
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