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IslamQA: Being plagued with fear of displeasing God and becoming misguided

Salam brother. Jazak khair Allah for this blog. It has helped me greatly. My question is that sometimes I am plagued with terrible thoughts. I am afraid of kufr and arrogance and Allah being displeased in me. I pray 5X Salah and read the Quran daily. I have increased reading surah Nas and say istaghfirallah. I am afraid my heart will be hardened. Any advice?

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

It is a good thing to doubt your own piety and fear for your fate. This in itself is a sign of being on the right path. Becoming misguided or arrogant is not something that can happen in a day. It is something that comes about out of thousands of choices over months and years. And God always leaves the door open for us to repent and seek guidance again. If you seek God’s guidance in all sincerity then He will guide you. There is no way you could magically become misguided despite sincerely seeking God’s guidance; God will not let that happen.

Also, realize that Islam is meant to give you a stable foundation that you can build upon. Rather than obsessing about your own piety and fears, once you have God’s guidance and do sufficient worship every day, then that is when your work begins. You are a servant of God, a representative of God on earth, so what is your task? Your task is not to be obsessed with yourself but to be an agent for good in the world like the prophets were (peace be upon them). You are on a mission and obsessing too much about yourself will only distract you from that mission. Our mission is to perfect ourselves then go on to make the world a better place in whatever way God has made possible for us.

So I believe ideally one should find a balance between worrying about themselves and worrying about their mission. We cannot ignore either of these. If you are plagued with doubts and fears, then this means you are not giving sufficient attention to your mission. Imagine that the Quran has been sent personally to you; imagine that God has given you a task to perform in the world. What would your attitude be in such a case? You will realize that you have a great number of opportunities for doing God’s work that He has assigned to His servants, whether it is planting a tree, volunteering, learning or doing whatever else that may have a benefit and make the world a better place.

Best wishes.

And God knows best.
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