In this counseling answer:
“Build your Islamic character. It pains you to not be praying and practicing your religion, so start doing so. You can start slow, no problem! Islam is a path, and a path is one step at a time, i.e., gradual. So start building your faith by seeking Islamic knowledge and gradually implement into your life the teachings of Islam you’ve learned. ”
As-Salaamu ‘Alaikum Dear Confused,
At 19 years old, it seems you never ever felt “love” before. It seems it is frightening and confusing you because you are unfamiliar with it. As it is new to you, you are also confused about how you are supposed to behave in response to it.
First of all, from what you have told me, you have done nothing wrong. Secondly, don’t be afraid; nothing is wrong with feeling the love! You can feel confused simply because it is unfamiliar to you. Also, I am told that Pakistani parents sometimes teach their children that feelings of love are wrong. That is not true. Feelings of love are impossible to avoid. What you do with them is the place where the words “right” and “wrong” come in.
I recommend you buy books on love, marriage, and marital relations (including intimate relationship) written by practicing Muslims or Christians as they are perfect tools to educate yourself in a way which is in accordance with the moral of our religion. Dr. Sheikh Yasir Qadhi is doing a course on marriage & intimacy issues. It’s one of the best courses out there. You can sign up on the following link: http://www.likeagarment.com/ He has an eBook as well on the issue of marriage called “Like a Garment”.
Regarding this young man, perhaps, you should try to discover through friends whether he likes you or not. Also, can you ask your parents if they are open to you talking to this particular individual about marriage? And, vice versa, can they find out from his parents if they are agreeable to you talking to him? Maybe they will agree to meet you and your family. Then, if both families are agreeable, the two of you could start talking to see if you want to get married.
Don’t forget, since this is the first time you have ever been in love, it might just be infatuation or what is called “puppy love”. You need to talk to him about his ideas and ways in the world to see who he really is to determine if you really want to marry him. But, before all of that, pray istikharah and ask Allah if this guy is the right one for you, and if so, ask Allah to open a way for you to get together, In Sha’ Allah.”
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Secondly, “beauty is in the eyes of the beholder”. You know those people who are really pretty, and so really popular but have the manners of a mule. Those people became arrogant, forgetting that Allah gave them their body as a gift; they had no part in the decisions about it. Then, their beauty ends up being skin deep. Thank Allah that you don’t have that problem.
In fact, women with straight hair want wavy hair, and women with wavy hair want straight hair. Even if someone is pretty (and not arrogant about it) and has a good character, then they are said to “have it all”. But, who has it all, except Allah. Even that is a deception.
So, short-circuit all that craziness of self-condemnation by realizing that our physical beauty is not the most important thing. What is? Piety and good character. That is why beauty is in the eyes of the beholder because piety shines through our skin. Also, a duck-billed platypus is beautiful to another duck-billed platypus. Even a bug is beautiful to another bug. There is someone out there for everyone because Allah created us in pairs, so you are just on the path to find your pair who will think you are the most beautiful woman in the world because of the way you make him feel!
If you have a bad character and were pretty, you would lose all because physical beauty is only skin deep and so it fades, along with all other physical things. You are ahead of the game, even if you are short and have thick glasses because your behavior is modest! The Hadith tells us that modesty is a branch of faith.
Thirdly, hijab is beautiful to a man who loves and wants a good Muslim wife. Don’t ever think that hijab takes away from your beauty! Maybe it does to a bad Muslim or a non-Muslim, but do you want that sort of person to be attracted to you? I think not! So embrace the beauty of hijab, what it represents and what its function is: love for obedience to Allah and preserving our beauty for our husbands! That is the kind of “divine” beauty that is the “real” beauty and that is what we all should be focusing on, not our eyesight or height.
That brings me to my next point: build your Islamic character. It pains you to not be praying and practicing your religion, so start doing so. You can start slow, no problem! Islam is a path, and a path is one step at a time, i.e., gradual. So start building your faith by seeking Islamic knowledge and gradually implement into your life the teachings of Islam you’ve learned. Understand the wisdom and benefits of praying five times a day and start by praying once a day at least, while having tawakkal (depend on Allah) and taqwa (fear Allah, i.e., believe that you will have to answer for your behavior in the Next Life). Then as your faith grows, in sha’ Allah, add more obligatory prayers to your day until in sha’ Allah you will not miss any of them.
Keeping our prayers is essential as salah is the best vessel for communicating with Allah. But we can communicate with Allah in other ways, too, while asking Allah to bring us to salah as the best form of communication with Him. When your forehead is on the ground, you are telling Allah that you are willing to submit your whole self to Him. So, start doing it with your spirit and behavior in the world. Ask Allah to help you get there, In Sha’ Allah. Allah promises that He will respond to those who supplicate of Him.
Lastly, I recommend that you start developing self-love instead of all this self-hatred. Allah does not care about our physical looks, but He cares about the piety in our souls! Please read the answer I gave to a brother who is very depressed: Deep in Debt: I Wish for Death. I talk extensively about self-love and I want you to read that answer, please. It is many pages long and I don’t want to repeat everything again here. I talk in detail about how to love yourself because you love Allah and His religion. That will make you beautiful inside and that will make you have light on the outside, and that beauty is the greatest beauty. I hope this helps, In Sha’ Allah.
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