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A Question about Loneliness, answered by Imam Suhaib Webb

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#1 [Permalink] Posted on 30th September 2007 10:13

'Thereare times when I feel very lonely and away from Allah. My heart bleedsfor His nearness, but I feel that my sins have kept me away from Hismercy. It is during these times that I feel alone and depressed. Whatcan I do to rid myself of this feeling"

الحمد لله الكريم الودود وأصلى وأسلم علي حبيبنا وسيدنا محمد وعلي آله وصحبه أحمعين

Loneliness is defined as, "Having no-one or nothing else around, which cause sadness and depression[1]"

In recent times loneliness has taken on an almost epidemic nature.According to a Boston Globe article, "Loneliness is becoming a majorhealth problem.[2]" And it is common to see articles like: "LONELINESS CAN BE THE DEATH OF US.[3]"

When trying to assess the cause, or causes, of loneliness currenttrends focus on the absence of loved one's, success and friendship.Although there is no doubt that absence of such things createsloneliness in one's life. A quick review of some of the current terms,given to contemporary loneliness, reveals that something greater thanthe material is the root cause of it Some of these terms include:

Living-Together Loneliness[4]
Crowded Loneliness[5]

No! These are not oxymorons, but they are clear proof that there is more to loneliness than the absence of the material.

Quranic Medication

Allah سبحانه وتعالى says:

وَنُنَزِّلُ مِنَ الْقُرْآنِ مَا هُوَ شِفَاءٌ وَرَحْمَةٌ لِلْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَلا يَزِيدُ الظَّالِمِينَ إِلَّا خَسَاراً (82)

"And We send down from the Qur'an that which is a healing and a mercy to those who believe."

The Qur'an is a medication and cure for the ills of the soul. Thus,the wise person is he who medicates his soul with the verses of Allahسبحانه وتعالى.

Uncovering the remedy for loneliness:

Indeed, the balagah, rhetoric, of the Qur'an is an important part ofwhat makes the Qur'an a miracle. It is important for Muslims innon-Arab lands to gain a mastery of Arabic in our order to taste thesweet quenching nature of the Quranic expression. Come take my hand aswe walk through this lush garden and find the fruit, which will cure,inshallah our sorrows.

One of the most common phrases found in the Qur'an is, "My lord" or"Our Lord." However, if you pay attention you will notice that there issomething missing in these phrases? What's missing is what is knownhas, harf nida, a word[6] which signifies a call. Usually, but not always, it is done with the letter ya. For example, Allah calls on the believers:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا

"Oh you who profess faith."

The Prophets:

وَقُلْنَا يَا آدَمُ اسْكُنْ أَنْتَ وَزَوْجُكَ الْجَنَّةَ (35)

"And We said, Oh Adam reside with you wife in Paradise.[7]"

In addition Allah سبحانه وتعالى uses this form of address with the Prophet(sa), His wives رضي الله عنه, the hypocrites and people of other faiths.However, when the believer is calling on Allah one finds that the harf,word, ya is missing?

Let's Partake Of The Fruit

As we said, the word ya, oh, is used to call someone. For example,if you were in one room and your friend, let's say his name is Wassim,was in the next room, how would you call him? You would say, "Ya, oh,Wassim!" However, if our dear Wassim was on the other side of a largefield and you wanted to call him, how would you do it? You would raiseyour voice and yell, "YA WASSIM!" However, if Wassim was sitting rightnext to you, extremely close to you, how would you call him? Of courseyou would just turn to him and say, "Wassim." There would be no needfor the ya because Wassim was so close to you.

The scholars of Balagha say that, "The Ya used for the calling ofAllah by the servant is hidden on purpose in order to illustrate theintense closeness Allah shares with them, by His knowledge. In fact, ifyou were to look at every single supplication made to Allah سبحانه وتعالى inthe Qur'an you would only find the word ya, oh, used twice! Thus abeliever should never feel alone once he has comprehended this.[8]

وَإِذَا سَأَلَكَ عِبَادِي عَنِّي فَإِنِّيقَرِيبٌ أُجِيبُ دَعْوَةَ الدَّاعِ إِذَا دَعَانِ فَلْيَسْتَجِيبُوا لِيوَلْيُؤْمِنُوا بِي لَعَلَّهُمْ يَرْشُدُونَ (186)

"And when My servants ask you concerning Me, then surely I am close.I answer the prayer of the suppliant when he cries unto Me[9]."

This verse is very unique because it is the only verse in the Qur'anwhere a person came to the Prophet (sa) and asked him a question aboutAllah سبحانه وتعالى. Usually when such and event happened, the revelation wouldbe sent instructing the Prophet (sa) to, "Say or Qul." However, thisverse was sent because the people were enquiring about supplication,thus the response did not come through the Prophet (sa) but Allah سبحانه وتعالىanswered them in the first person! Again, as the scholars havecommented, this was done to show the special relationship between Allahand His servants. It is so close that He did not answer through theProphet (sa), but answered it directly. Thus when one realizes this,there will be no further loneliness, because Allah is with Hisservants, listening to them and taking care of them.

وهو معكم أين ما كنتم

"He is with you, wherever you are."


  1. The believers loneliness is based on his/her closeness to Allah.
  2. Worldly possessions are not the key to happiness
  3. Allah is so close to His servants that they only have to sincerely call upon Him
  4. One is never alone because Allah is there

We Ask Allah to bless us with closeness to Him in this life and the next.

Suhaib Webb
Cairo March 23, 2005


[1] See Encarta Dictionary under lone'ly.


[3] Boston Globe, April 22, 1996, LONELINESS CAN BE THE DEATH OF THE US, Judy Foreman

[4]This term is a creation of Dr. Dan Kiley who states that over 10-20million people (primarily women) suffer from it. He blames it on therise of feminism and the unrealistic expectations men have placed onwomen do to the alteration of gender definitions and expectations.

[5] This term was coined by Dr. Roberta Hestenes of Eastern College.

[6] I translated harf here as word for the sake of simplicity

[7] Surah Al-Baqarah verse 35

[8]For an amazing discussion on this see Khasais Al-T'abir Al-Quran waSamatuhu Al-Balagha by Dr. Abdul Matin Al-Mut'i Al-Azhari, vol.2 pg. 7

[9] Surah Al-Baqarah verse 186

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