Answered by Ustadh Sharif Rosen
Question: Assalam alaykum
I’m in a terrible state. I no longer feel any peace in my heart when performing acts of worship. When I pray, my entire focus is on my pronunciation. I don’t even have time to memorize because all of my time is spent on repenting. I feel like I have no connection with Allah. How can I get back to normal again?
Answer: as-Salamu ‘alaykum.
Jazakum Allah khayran for your question. May Allah aid you with relief and freedom from the condition that has overcome you.
From the struggles you have outlined, it appears that some of your challenges — from lacking focus in worship to over-straining yourself in recitation — may stem from trying to study and apply the religion on your own, without teachers helping to guide your progress. Studying with qualified traditional scholars in the Islamic sciences should introduce you to the sound and balanced methods of applying sacred law. Moreover, they should inspire you to approach your worship anew with a heart imbued with life and vitality, rather than burden and fatigue.
As a starting point, I would recommend you prioritize finding such scholars in your region or local community as this knowledge is most powerfully conveyed in the direct presence of the living heirs to the Islamic tradition. If this is not possible, I strongly suggest you consider taking courses here on SeekersHub, particularly under the headings of Living Religion; Islamic Law; and Spirituality.
May Allah help you to reclaim the savor of faith, and nearness to Him in all of your moments.
[Ustadh] Sharif Rosen
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadh Sharif Rosen is the Muslim Chaplain at Williams College (in the Northeastern United States) where he works to enhance campus life through spiritual and pastoral care; advocacy and coalition building; and deepening mutual understanding within and between communities. His formative Islamic studies, past and ongoing, have been at the hands of scholars connected via unbroken transmission to the Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings. Most of Sharif’s training occurred in Amman, Jordan from 2008 – 2013, with a focus on creed, ritual law, spirituality, Quranic recitation and exegesis and through which he has received permission to transmit his Islamic learning. Sharif has a B.A. in History from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, and is now completing his graduate studies. He completed the Classical Arabic program at the Qasid Arabic Institute in Amman, where he was also the Director of Student Life. He currently serves as the Vice President for Educational Chaplaincy with the U.S.-based Association of Muslim Chaplains.