I fear that terrible things will happen to me. What should I do?

The Details of the Question

- Someone told me an absolutely crazy torture story today as follows:
- There are men outside who abduct women. Then, they cut off their arms and legs so that they cannot defend themselves. I do not want to imagine what happens to those women other than rape. This story is disgusting and absolutely disturbing to me. I cannot bear it. I know there are lots of human smugglers and psychopaths outside doing cruel things to other people. But why? Women are subjected to so much torture. Why does Allah allow it? How could a person experience it without thinking of suicide or going crazy?
- I feel like going crazy after hearing that story. How can those women undergo it? I cannot imagine it being a “test”. Should I be worried that those terrible things could happen to me too? However, it will mean as if I do not trust Allah.
- On the other hand, such things happen not only to bad people, but also to innocent people.
- So, why should I feel safe in this world? How can I trust in Allah for His decision to put people in such situations?
- I can pray 5 times a day but can the next day be the worst test I will face? Does it have anything to do with trusting in Allah and my destiny?
- I do not know what to think anymore; I am really afraid of this world. May Allah protect us all from bad people!

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

As far as we can understand, you have seriously lost your trust in the world and in people. It may be based on traumatic experiences that you may have had or perceived or have been deeply affected by in the past. Therefore, your perception of threat from your environment is much higher than it should be.

Besides, your psychological mood causes you to focus on negative situations in general because when we look around us, although half of the world’s population is women, how many women are raped and their arms and legs are cut off every year? You will see that you can count it on the fingers of one hand.

As you can see, the world is not as insecure as you see it. Therefore, there is no reason for you to worry whether the “terrible things” you describe will happen to you or not. Yes, there are some problems and there are some places where we need to be cautious and pay attention to, but your perception of threat is not compatible with them, that is, it is much higher than it should be.

In that case, what you need to do is not to worry so deeply by thinking about the possibility of something one in a million or a billion. Allah has given people the feeling of fear and anxiety so that they will protect themselves from possible dangers, not that they will make life a torment for themselves. What you need to do is to take the necessary precautions, be careful like everyone else, and put your trust in Allah for the rest.

- Due to this insecure and anxious mood, you probably avoid entering groups, going out, mingling with people, and establishing close and sincere friendships with people.

Our first advice to you is this: Do not run away from your fears and anxieties. If you run away, you deepen your fears even if you relieve them for a short time. Join people gradually, visit certain historical places, mosques, that is, crowded and safe places with your girlfriends. Enter crowded places there.

As those little experiences occur without any trouble, your confidence will grow.

- When you go out or stay at home alone, imagine the best possible experience, not the worst possible scenario. In this context, imagine the positive experiences you have had so far, not the negative ones.

- Strive to improve your self-confidence by Allah’s leave and by putting your trust in Him because one way to trust other people is to trust yourself. As a matter of fact, people who have self-confidence problems tend to perceive the people around them as a threat because they have insecurity problems. As your self-confidence increases, your perception of threat will also improve.

- Keep away from horror movies and images with violence and brutality. Similarly, do not let others tell you brutal stories or news because those images of brutality, stories or photographs reinforce your perception of insecurity and fear in your subconscious.

- This problem you are experiencing did not form in a short time; instead of waiting for a solution in a very short time, you need to proceed by giving yourself time.

- If possible, talk to a mental health professional (psychologist, psychotherapist, psychiatrist) about your difficulties.

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