Feeling Unwanted

Heart shaped leaf

“By the morning brightness…”

By Wael Abdelgawad | IslamicSunrays.com

I was asked to write a post on this subject. Sorry it took so long.

Have you ever felt unwanted by the world, or abandoned? Personally, there have been times in my life when I felt that there was no one who truly loved me for who I was. I was wrong, of course. I was seeing the world through the dark glasses of depression, which distort the true image of the world.

We all go through gloomy periods when we feel that no one sincerely cares for us; that even our friends and family are using us, or only tolerating us because they have to.

Muslims raised in the West (especially converts) sometimes have a different dilemma. We may feel that “born” Muslims don’t really want us because we don’t fit in; and the non-Muslims don’t appreciate us either, because we are believers. So we don’t fit in anywhere.

Guilt

Feelings of being unwanted are also common among those who have committed sins. They may be plagued by guilt and feelings of worthlessness. People go so far as to feel that God Himself has abandoned them. At IslamicAnswers.com we get questions from people who say things like, “I know that Allah hates me,” or, “I don’t deserve Allah’s love.”

Often the intensity of people’s guilt is out of proportion to the deeds they have committed. I wonder if the child’s fear of abandonment (a universal human experience) doesn’t linger in the human psyche, waiting to leap out when things go bad, and say, “See! I knew I’d be abandoned one day.”

The Prophet (sws)

Let’s look at the Prophet Muhammad (sws), our noble example. He never committed sins; nevertheless, he went through periods when he  felt worried and stressed. Early in his Prophethood there was a time when the revelation of the Quran was suspended. The Prophet wondered if he had made some mistake that had caused Allah to abandon him.

Until Allah revealed Surat ad-Duha (Quran, Surah 93):

By the morning brightness

And [by] the night when it covers with darkness,

Your Lord has not taken leave of you, [O Muhammad], nor has He detested [you].

And the Hereafter is better for you than the first [life].

And your Lord is going to give you, and you will be satisfied.

Did He not find you an orphan and give [you] refuge?

And He found you lost and guided [you],

And He found you poor and made [you] self-sufficient.

So as for the orphan, do not oppress [him]. And as for the petitioner, do not repel [him]. But as for the favor of your Lord, report [it].

Syed Abul-‘Aalaa Maudoodi commented on the first verses of this Surah, saying,

“He (the Prophet sws) was given the consolation that revelation had not been stopped because of some displeasure but this was necessitated by the same expediency as underlies the peace and stillness of the night after the bright day, as if to say: “If you had continuously been exposed to the intensely bright light of Revelation (Wahi) your nerves could not have endured it. Therefore, an interval was given in order to afford you peace and tranquility.” This state was experienced by the Holy Prophet in the initial stage of the Prophethood when he was not yet accustomed to hear the intensity of Revelation. On this basis, observance of a pause in between was necessary.”

SubhanAllah, what a brilliant insight. I never considered this before: that if I’m going through a period when there’s no one who appreciates me – when I’m all alone – maybe it’s because that’s where I need to be spiritually. Maybe there is an important life lesson that can only be learned in solitude.

So not only has Allah not abandoned me – and He never will! – but He is guiding me, watching me, and bringing me along the best path for me at this moment.

That changes things completely. It tells me that my narrow perspective – “Allah is not helping me” – is 100% wrong. The truth is the opposite – Allah is helping me in ways I do not yet perceive. He is with me at every moment. He has never abandoned me.

Allah does not turn away from us. The light of His guidance shines unceasingly. His Mercy and Compassion are available at all times, day or night.

Rather, we are the ones who turn away from Allah. We cover our eyes to block His light so that we can continue in sin; or we turn away to pursue paths of lust and desire.

What About Family?

If we can acknowledge that Allah has not abandoned us, then why do we sometimes feel that the people closest to us are the ones who respect us the least?

Love between family members is taken for granted. We are “supposed” to love our families, so we sometimes don’t feel the need to express our love. Also, family members often feel that they have a right to criticize each other, so it can feel like our families only see the bad in us. Furthermore, when we see someone every day and know them intimately, we can become hyper-aware of their faults and bad habits.

What’s needed is compassion. We must forgive our family members, and focus on their good qualities. Everyone is imperfect. You may not see it so much with your friends because you don’t live with them, but everyone has bad habits. We need to spend time with our families outside of the obligated family functions. Go to the park with them, go on a road trip, etc.

Lastly, if you have a family member who is truly abusive, then avoid that person, and recognize that it’s not your fault. Not everyone can be what we would like them to be. Not everyone will approve of us and be proud of us as we would like, and that’s true even for family members sometimes.

What About Friends?

I don’t have all the answers on this one, as I have not been totally successful in forming close, lifelong friendships. I had three solid, long-term friendships that lasted for 12 years, 25 years, and 27 years, respectively, but they came to an end. I have other casual friendships:  people whose histories I somewhat know, and are good to chat with, but not people I could call in an emergency.

I think part of the problem is that I am a generous and giving friend; and this attracts “takers” – people who are needy, manipulative or selfish.

I suspect that many of those who feel unwanted and unloved by their friends are making the same mistake. They are choosing friends who are takers, not givers. This gives you a temporary feeling of usefulness, because it appears that the other person needs you. But when you are feeling down, when you’re having a problem, when you need someone to hold you up – your “friend” is nowhere to be found.

But what happens if a person who is a “giver” – someone who is kind and compassionate – befriends another giver? You get a deep relationship in which the two of you support each other through good times and bad, Insha’Allah.

Wanted

You are wanted. Allah created you for a reason, and put you on this earth at exactly the time that you are needed.

If it seems that certain individuals do not appreciate you, consider the example of the Prophets, most of whom were rejected by their own people. Some, like the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), went from being respected and admired by his people, to being reviled. The point is that there will always be those who don’t appreciate you. Accept that, and work on becoming sincere with Allah. Trust in His plan for you. Trust that He is guiding you, and that if you go through hardships it’s because there are important lessons for you to learn.

Allah created you deliberately. You have a special and unique purpose on this earth. If you don’t see it yet, give it time. But trust that you are indeed wanted and necessary, as much as the mountains or the moon, and as much as any human being who ever lived. Be peaceful in your heart. Forgive others, and forgive yourself. Stay close to Allah, praise Him, ask His forgiveness, and thank Him for every  blessing in your life.

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Article by Wael

Wael Abdelgawad is an Egyptian-American living in Fresno, California. He is the founder of several Islamic websites, including Zawaj.com and IslamicAnswers.com, and also of various technology and travel websites. He is a writer and poet, and has been a web developer since 1997. This project, IslamicSunrays.com, is very dear to his heart, as it has allowed him to express ideas that have growing inside him for many years. Wael is divorced and has one lovely young daughter. He practices and teaches martial arts (somewhat obsessively), and loves Islamic books, science fiction, and vanilla fudge ice cream. Wael is an advocate for human rights and blogs about these issues at AbolishTorture.com. He is also a volunteer with the MyDeen Muslim youth organization in Fresno. Wael tagged this post with: , , , , Read 259 articles by
13 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Hina says:

    Assalam o Alaikum.
    Feeling UnWanted is a natural feeling when we are unhappy or in some trouble BUT its a reality that behind every difficulty, there is a reason, a lesson for us to learn n understand the life’s aspects. I experienced too. My parents had some problems in thier relationship for years, when I got engaged in july 2011, my father and mother sorted thier dispute and satarted living happily as were before. Later we found that the family where I got engaged were not suitable for me for many reasons, so wefinished that engagement in Dec 2011. We were not feeling bad that this happened to me etc etc, because we already knew that this relation was for my parents to come closer. we are all soooo happy, no sadness.

    But to learn what Allah want us to learn, needs some attention towards Allah will and the reason behind what happened in our life. Everyone has too many examples that bad things happened in thier lives BUT ended for a good reason.

    Try to find Good in your bad times, this will incraese the Love between you and Allah. Insha’Allah.

    Stay happy. 🙂

  2. Murat says:

    needed it ,
    keep it up, Wael

  3. Minza says:

    Wow. Beautiful and wht an amazing article..
    keep it up.. 🙂
    its helped me alot ..
    God bless you n everyone.. Take care.. Keep smiling.

  4. Kawthar says:

    Jazak Allah Khair. A truly inspiring, thought-provoking article. A difficult parent may distract us, and make us become consumed by thoughts of worthlessness. But if we stop and think, we will find that all our negative thoughts are but an illusion. And as we step out of the illusion, we will realise, as you said:” that if I’m going through a period when there’s no one who appreciates me – when I’m all alone – maybe it’s because that’s where I need to be spiritually. Maybe there is an important life lesson that can only be learned in solitude.”
    And that solitude allows us to be in Allah’s peace; i.e. our hearts will be peaceful, even whilst our limbs are striving to fulfil their obligation towards our parent, for example. And when we are in Allah’s peace, we will continue to serve our parent despite their continuous criticisms and disapproval of us. So the transaction is between us and Allah swt, i.e. when I serve a parent who is unkind towards me, I’m serving them to reap the reward from Allah swt. And our only solace during the whole striving process is, as you mentioned nicely: ” Allah has not abandoned me – and He never will! – but He is guiding me, watching me, and bringing me along the best path for me at this moment…. Allah is helping me in ways I do not yet perceive”. Surah Ad-Duha should be our solace. Thank you for making it so relevant to us.

  5. Amy says:

    I am sure this is an article I will find my way back to when I need it. The “friends” thing is a real sticking point for me. I know I’ve been padding my life with mostly “takers”, simply because it was better than being completely friendless. It’s hard for someone to reach a point where they are willing to accept the solitude in trade for no longer being used, but it’s the best choice in the end. Like you said, eventually balanced friendships will be made with new folks.

    There was something you were incorrect about though- about not having any emergency “go to” friends. If you think about it, you will realize you have a team of such individuals who would do anything they could for you if you got into a bind. One thing givers are sometimes challenged with is being able to ask for that help, since they are so used to being the one offering it.

    • Wael says:

      Amy, I consider you and the other members of the team to be true friends. 🙂 I meant locally. You remember when I put out a call a while back, asking for someone to help me with a personal issue? I got only one local response, from a sister who is good-hearted but indiscreet. So I had to turn her down, lol. I was disappointed about that.

  6. Brother in islam says:

    Assalam alaykum

    Beautiful article. One comment I have is about friendships. I agree that if you are a giver and you’re befriending a taker, this puts a strain on the friendship. But I believe that if you are befriending someone for the sake of Allah, then these feelings of resentment should not stop the friendship. We don’t befriend expecting to be rewarded by the friend (it would be nice of course), but rather our reward should be with Allah, inshAllah.

  7. Inner Peace: Feeling Unwanted? says:

    […] Wrote by: Wael Abdelgawad […]

  8. Soso says:

    Thanks for this well written and insightful piece of writing, may Allah (swt) reward you. It’s nice to know we aren’t alone in feeling unwanted and lonely. I think a great way to overcome these sentiments is to get to know Allah(swt) intimately through His beautiful Names and Attributes.

    May Allah(swt) shower us all in his divine Love and Care.

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