One of the most difficult issues I’m dealing with at the moment is with the doctrine of judgment and punishment as is found in the Quran. It has completely paralyzed me from living a normal life. I have become so inwardly focused that I seem to be unable to socialize or function normally in life. And when I try to remain outwardly focused, and try to do something “normal” like read what’s going on in the news for example, I am constantly reminded of the idea of punishment and accountability. I mean look to see there are people out there who aren’t Muslim, who are doing many sins and evil things.
Rather than feeling at ease that all of this injustice will be taken care of and justice will prevail on the day of judgment, I have an opposite reaction. I have such a deep insecurity with judgment and punishment that I just wish it all wouldn’t take place. “Yes, they are all sinning and doing wrong, but just don’t punish them and forgive them and don’t throw anybody into the hellfire.” That’s my emotional desire. I have such a tough time now of feeling at ease with the fact that people will be punished and called into account, that the very idea makes me paranoid and feel uneasy.
Striking the balance of living normally and digging into your beliefs is a tricky one for me. Because on the one hand, I get so caught up in inward thinking, trying to feel the roots and bases for my emotional issues. But on the other hand, when I try to snap out of it, and just “live life like a normal person,” I get a lot of anxieties, and paranoias, that makes me feel very upset in the moment.
For instance, I was reading today about ISIS and all the evil wrong they are doing and the harm they are causing to muslims around the world. Of course I don’t approve of the actions they are doing. They are doing evil and wrong, and committing major crimes, tarnishing the image of muslims, and spurring on more violence and hatred against muslims. It’s a vicious cycle that causes major corruption on earth. And it is something that God does not approve of. All this I am sure of.
But the paranoia that I am plagued with is that these people may be punished and called into account by Allah on the day of judgement for their evil actions. It should trigger in my heart a sense of satisfaction, feeling the true infinite justice of that day, that the wrong they are doing will be taken care of. But no, I have a sense of uneasiness, paranoia, anxiety, chest tightness at this idea. And it is a very strong, dehabilitating emotion. It’s not healthy emotions of iman, taqwa, or a healthy fear of the afterlife by any stretch of the imagination. My erratic emotions simply makes me feel it is unfair to punish anybody for any given crime, under any circumstances whatsoever. That is what my emotions are towards the topic.
Inside me, there is a some deeply rooted trauma that I have, in regards to being taken into account and getting into trouble, and being unacceptable. This is the problem. And it seems so deep that I’m still unaware of it most of the time. This is what Br. Nouman Ali Khan said to me in my email to him regarding my extreme paranoia over punishment and accountability.:
Amir you need to accept that you have an obsession with the subject of punishment. I can almost guarantee you that it is rooted in some form of emotional trauma that has nothing to do with the Quran. You need help and that’s not an embarrassing thing. I think you should consider going to a therapist to talk about your life other than God.