I hope all is well with you. As I said previously, I have been down that road although our experiences may differ. I went through the phase you did in my 4-5 years of college. At this stage it was a lot of pressure being exposed to all kinds of people and many different scenes. I was at a cross of being religious and saintly to liberal and devilish. I started going to a lot of parties and hanging with girls. Not to mention I even hooked up with girl. At times I would pray, but it was robotic; simply getting up there to get it out of the way but my heart was not in it. There were also times I just would not pray and simply convince myself to do these Kaâ€™zaa prayers; I would write down these prayers I missed and make them up some other day I was making up rules or bending them along the way. Just like you I started to question if Islam was the real way of life, is it meaningful?
All these situations I was exposed to made me realize things and started to grow up. Before college, I was definitely saintly and religiousâ€¦but then I realized I was like this only because it was what my parents wanted me to do, but I did not realize the meaning of Islam. I realize that parents are just parents and it is only their job to tell you, but they really cannot control how you live your life. They probably realize that themselves. What I am trying to say is when I got to college, I was exposed and did not know how to act and be Muslim under pressure.
Sometimes I feel like Allah puts certain people in these situations to realize things. Perhaps Allah put you and I on this boat to fall back on Islam, and take advantage of it. I think these mishaps we have had, we use that as an opportunity to become better as a person and learn through our mistakes. When I got away collegeâ€¦I got away from certain people, scenes, and simply the books. Once I got away from all these things, I spent a lot time to myself reflecting and see where things went wrong or what could have been better. At the same time, I took the good with me (good people, habits, hobbies, etc) and I built off of that and never looked back.
I stopped going out and meeting people. All these bad friends and stupid girls I used to talk to and chill with, I stopped calling them and missing their calls on purpose. I even deactivated my Facebook account, so that people could leave me alone at the time. Either they understood and got the message, or either they disapproved of how I didnâ€™t want to party anymore. People are always going to talk or not approve of the way you do things, but you got your own program and do what you gotta do.
So when I took time off from the world, lol, then I started taking time to learn about Islam diligently. I started reading Quran and its meaning, but I started off slow and tried not to do so much at once. I started spending more time in the masjid and making effort to pray at least once a day there. I tried to go to lectures at the masjid or Islamic events or at a college campus. Even if efforts were minimal, I took advantage of it and try not to indulge it all at once. This is what you have to do and you have to be honest with yourself while you are at it; realize you can only do but so much for yourself within your boundaries. I have come a long way, but I am still going at it and not looking back. A little goes a long way. All these things we can do strengthen to our Imaan.
Another thing is that I started to surround myself with good people. Sometimes you need a good influence to get you that push, over the hump. Obviously we all take our parents for granted, so it is best to find some other people to surround yourself like a Muslim orginzation or people who may attend the Masjid on a regular basis (of course do not abandon your parents, lol). While you are at it, abandon that atheist GF of yours. I honestly think she is jst a part of a phase you are going through, and is not doing any good for your life or contributed to it in any positive way (think about it??) If she asks what is up, just be straight-forward with her and tell her that you are trying to get your life on track. Donâ€™t worry about her getting her feelings hurt or if she is going to hold a grudge against youâ€¦she will simply understand.
I think another thing you could do is whatever issues you may be having in your life, try to read about it in an Islamic context (what Islam says about pre-marital sex, benefits of praying and consequences of not praying, relationship with parents, etc). You might surprised what you learn from doing it this way. Islam is a way of life and covers all basis.
One thing you must do is do talk to an Imam and tell him what you are going through. He will tell where to start, how to overcome problems. Sometimes to get out of a funk, it helps to get away from certain places and maybe try to go elsewhere. This opens things up. All this stuff you said on this forum, I think you have to tell people in person because this will be more genuine to you. There are other forums however you can post this in.
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There are other forums, but I feel like these are the best ones where other users will read and listen to you, rather than bash you and make you feel like crap. Gawaher is also good, donâ€™t be mistaken.
You are still young and I donâ€™t think you should feel bad about yourself. The fact that you are realizing things is the first step, and you are headed in the right direction. Try keep yourself busy in what is good in life, and always be productive. You have goals to accomplish and aspirations to reach. I hope you find this post useful, and I keep you in my duas, inshaâ€™Allah.