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Inner struggle to get closer to Allah


Salaam, I am a teenager and I decided to stick close to Islam because I got tired of ignoring what many of our elders persuaded us to do (I.e stay steadfast and abstain from Haraam). Later, I was interested and began finding ways to become closer to Allah and I became happy and at utmost tranquillity. The only problem is the environment that I live in. I find it hard to abstain from evil, such as lustful gazing and Sin such as lying. All these sins occur in places such as school and my town. Then I, unfortunately, reach a phase where I give in to sin and completely forget what my aim of life was to do. Days later, I repent and try my best to get closer to Allah but I fall again to sin. I try and try but the same cycle repeats again. I cannot find means of keeping up with my taqwa with the surroundings like this of mine. Please give advice if you are able to…

Thank you for your question. The struggle that you are facing is a common one and you must always have hope that you will finally overcome these issues.
Just like you are facing problems now, there are others that worked their way through these factors and were successful in the end and it is the tests that made them stronger. They never gave up on these daily battles. Keep trying and try and break the cycle.
For a cycle to break you need to change something. Right now your environment is like a strong wind, and your faith and commitment to God is like a flame. When the wind blows the flame flickers as though it is going to go out. But if your flame was to get stronger, the passing wind would not affect it, indeed it may even strengthen it.
In order to nurture a flame you need to protect it. That is in keeping good company, staying away from places where you may be forced to sin, constantly reminding yourself, but more than all of these the most effective barrier from the wind is to gain knowledge and understanding. When you increase your knowledge, practice what you know, even if that seems insignificant at the time.
Be calm and remember that God’s way is a smooth way. The world is a game and if you don’t understand how it works you will always be at the mercy of passing tides.
It is natural to be attracted to the opposite sex, but educate yourself to not objectify them. You will understand that there are things more important than that initial attraction and through that, you will be able to control your glance better. The attraction is not a problem but what you do about it and how you go about controlling it is where you need to be vigilant.
May you always be successful.
Zohair Ali.