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Disability & Struggles: How to Cope?

06 February, 2017
Q Salam I am 34 years old. I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis last year. I've been through struggles throughout my whole life since my childhood. Please help me! I am in need of a Muslim psychologist!



Wa ’Alaikum Salaam wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuhu,

There is a hadith that says Allah (swt) tests the most (hardest) the ones He (swt) loves the most. So, be encouraged. Suffering is, paradoxically, a blessing in disguise. It may be your ticket to Jennah! Your suffering is not lost in the eyes of Allah (swt) even when it is lost in people’s eyes, including yourself, whose perceptions of things are limited to this world mostly. While we should fear meeting Allah (swt) in the next life and having to answer for our sins, we should also remember the beauty of the next life. It is the pure, perfect justice of Allah (swt) that we all have been waiting for all our lives, especially in these days and age when so much injustice, and horror, and crimes are committed against humanity.

Please feel the relationship with Allah (swt) regarding the above hopes so that you don’t suffer alone without a companion to comfort you in your pain. Allah’s (swt) truth and comfort is there for you!

Beyond building a love-relationship with Allah (swt), ask Allah (swt) to guide you to some relief. There are many amazing symptom-control methods out there for MS now. Try to find them. I know people with MS who have had phenomenal recovery. They have the ability to manage their symptoms so much so that they can now do everything that they used to do before they got the disease. So, please search for the alternative as well as conventional treatments out there and don’t lose hope for relief in this life. Talk to people, Google things, do everything you can to search for answers while seeking the help of Allah (swt).

If you find help, thank Allah (swt). If you don’t get relief, or don’t get “enough” relief to relieve what you feel you have been suffering, of both physical and mental suffering, remember that the Prophet (saw) said that any pain we suffer removes our sins.

So, again, you can look at this thing (and all your suffering throughout your childhood) in a different way from bad. You can look at it in relationship to the next life and to gaining insight and wisdom in this life. The more we suffer the more we turn to Allah (swt). People who have it easy have no reason to ask of Allah (swt), so they sometimes forget that we should be thanking Allah (swt). They become separated from their Maker (swt). So, thank Allah (swt) for that which makes you turn to Him (swt) and have a close relationship with Him, In Sha’Allah.

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It is also helpful to look for the good and beautiful things that surround us in this world which is filled with the signs of Allah (swt). Smell a flower. Watch a child play. Listen to a child; they say amazing things. Go to see the ocean (if near one). Go to the mountains (if near them). Watch a documentary about something that interests you, and thank Allah (swt) that you have your mind which is alive and active still.

The beauty of the mind is something sorely overlooked in our world of consumerism. But the beauty of the mind is the real beauty as our soul is from Allah (swt). The beauty of this world, while they are signs of Allah (swt), are going to be destroyed when Allah (swt) ends the world. Then, only the Ruh, the soul, will remain and matter. It will have to answer for how we responded to the world’s tests Allah (swt) gave us.

Lastly, don’t forget that everyone has handicaps/disabilities; some people’s are evident, like they smoke or they are crippled. Other people’s are hidden, but we all have them, evident or not evident. In fact, your suffering may be much less than other people’s. See things from the positive side!

May Allah (swt) make it easy for you!


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About Nasira S. Abdul-Aleem
Nasira S. Abdul-Aleem, an American, has a BA in English from UC Berkeley and is about to receive an MS degree in counseling psychology (Marriage and Family Therapy - MFT) from the Western Institute for Social Research. For over ten years, Nasira worked as a psychotherapist with the general public and in addiction recovery.For the last few years, she has been a life coach specializing in interpersonal relations. Nasira also consults with her many family members who studied Islam overseas and returned to America to be Imams and teachers of Islam. Muslims often ask Nasira what psychology has to do with Islam. To this, she replies that Islam is the manifestation of a correct understanding of our psychology. Therapists and life coaches help clients figure out how to traverse the path of life as a Believer, i.e., "from darkness into light", based on Islam and given that that path is an obstacle course, according to Allah.