Wa ‘Alaykum As-Salam Sister,
You must learn to find your self-worth. This is from the inside out. Once you learn who you really are and that your being is connected to the source of your being, which is Allah (swt), you will feel comfortable in your own skin. Focus on developing your character and avoiding evils such as lust, anger, envy, selfishness, and being self-centered. Build character traits such as kindness, helpfulness, patients, genuine caring for others, being a hard worker, and tuning into the mutual goals that you and your husband have for your shared future.
Be assured that most women do experience the anxieties that you are experiencing. We all question our decisions and wonder where our life is going and if we are on the right path. Your panic attacks and anxiety are likely the result of cumulative factors that include some of that questioning, not really knowing who you are from the inside out yet (as this is a life process), and being “awakened” to the fact that life is fragile and short.
Let’s focus on our sense of self work as a woman in today’s post modern, post tech age. Women, who feel comfortable in their own skins, who have a good sense of who they are from the inside out, and who are confident and strong, do not desire or need attention from others to feel validated and “good enough”. In fact, we are all beautiful and we are all capable of being “pretty” enough to become a distraction to others, and to get their attention to be on us. But when we are doing that, are we focused on our own work? Food for thought.
With that said, hijab can be quite pretty in and of itself, as there are various pretty, pretty fashions which are modest and tend to flatter a woman’s face. I say this hesitantly because I really want to persuade you from acting on the urge to be noticed by others. Why? Because your focus on your family relationships and your friendships with people, who will be in your life for many, many years to come, in sha’Allah, will help you feel connected and prevent you from being lonely. Over the years, your beauty will change, but those who love you will always see you as pretty and beautiful even if you get into a car accident and have huge scars on your face.
You see, this is where you should put your energy because this is what will be there for you later on in life. Who cares if the people you work with think you are pretty or not? Thus, the way a woman can feel pretty is to wear pretty things at home, when her husband, family and beloved ones are around – the ones who counts. You can take it from here (I don’t think I need to go into detail).
So, do pray to Allah (swt) about the hijab issue and ask for true guidance. There are some women in some areas of the world who really cannot wear hijab and survive as they will lose their job or even be at risk of harm due to the current global political environment. But that is a different issue than choosing not to wear it due to not feeling pretty. Modesty is beautiful.
I am not sure what the link between the hijab and your friend dying is, except for perhaps you chose to wear it because after your friend died, you realized how precious life is and you came to honor the way of the spiritual woman with a desire to please Allah (swt). Realize that is it normal to grieve for a friend. You were close to him even if you did not want to marry him. You helped him when his family was far from him.
You are young and it seems you haven’t experienced a lot the death of those who are close to you. Yet, dying is a part of life. This certainly does not mean that you did anything so wrong that you would be punished with an early death. Only Allah (swt) knows why He (swt) called your friend early. The spiritual realm and reasons are not always known by us living our earthly life. Allah (swt)has a specific plan for you and for your life, and as you move forward in the here and now and tune into the life that you are living now, His divine will for you will unfold for you and things will make more sense to you.
The best way to work through these emotions of grief is to honor the time you had with your friend. Honor what he gave you and what you gave to him. Set some special time apart to strengthen your relationship with Allah (swt) and ask Him (swt)to keep your friend close to Him. Then, grieve no longer, because your friend is where he is supposed to be by the Will of Allah (swt). Let Allah (swt) take care of him. You will miss him, but there is no reason to feel guilty for not marrying him. If he had not been taken by Allah (swt) to where he is supposed to be at this time, he would be seeking the most appropriate wife for him and that was not you, and you felt that in your heart. There are many kinds of love. You loved this person as a friend, and I would not be ashamed of that. Support and comfort are never wrong.
I would advise you to continue counseling and to work toward getting a very good sense of yourself and confidence with who you are in this world as a human being. Shift your focus onto the life you are living in here and now, and ask your husband to share with you what he things about your future goals.
I pray that these words have provided you with some comfort and have inspired to you reflect within yourself and upon your relationship with Allah (swt), resulting in more clarity and guidance for you.
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