My father is a very bad person; he drinks, smokes, and has had affair with several females. He also used to torture my mother emotionally and physically. I used to share my feelings with my younger brother as he has been suffering from depression as well, but he was at least able to make good friends and could somehow recover.
At high school, I never had good times. Nobody used to like me or talk to me. I was always alone, but when I joined university, I felt happy and finally made friends. I actually got many friends. I started enjoying my life and forget the bad times. I started having good grades as well. Then, all of a sudden, everything fell apart. My father’s business collapsed and he had to take many loans from banks and several people to save it. However, he was not able to repay them and his business died as well, so he stopped my and my brother’s studies and we came to Bangladesh. We could not even stay there as UAE doesn't give citizenship, and for Bangladeshis, it’s not easy to obtain a visa, thus I wouldn’t have been able to get a job there if I had looked for a job. Hence, we came to Bangladesh with a lot of pain and depression, but my father never felt pity for us. He said that now he had no business, so we had to manage ourselves.
My parents never made any savings for us; therefore, we were living in a small house in Bangladesh. When we came here, I didn't start studying as my parents didn’t want to spend on me anymore, so I didn't do anything, but my younger brother, who is in grade 11th, started the school. I was very much hurt and depressed already that I had to leave UAE and my friends, but that was not enough - my parents gave me more pain. They fixed my marriage with my cousin without discussing it with me. I knew him from before and I never liked him because he always reminded me of my father. I didn't want to spoil my life by marrying a man as worse as my father, but my father forced me because my cousin promised my father to give him money to educate my brother somewhere abroad, thus my father basically sold me to that cousin. He was physically attracted to me for long time. Before the marriage by a day, I called my cousin out of despair and told him that I didn’t want to marry him and asked him to stop the marriage as my parents were not listening to me.
But he refused and said that he didn’t care; he liked me so he would marry me. He also reminded that he was also paying for my brother’s education, so I was obliged to marry him. I was completely broken that I was forced to get married to him. It was the time when I just gave up and tried to commit suicide. But my brother stopped me. I am a religious person and I always had strong faith in Allah, thus I knew well that suicide is haram, but I felt I just couldn't take it anymore. My brother said to my mother about what happened. She also noticed that I might die or go crazy soon if I stay married to this guy, so she decided to make me divorce him. Since then, I have been staying with my parents, but my father keeps cursing me and he wants me to leave his home.
I can't even get a job, though I continuously pray to Allah. Please help me. What do I do wrong? What should I do to make my life normal? What prayers or du’aas could I say?
In this counseling answer:
• Forced marriages are against Islam.
• I also want you to make a list of the things you want to accomplish, the things that make you happy, as well as your goals for your future.
• Is it possible to contact a counselor there to inquire about possible scholarships or work-study programs so that you can return?
As-Salamu ‘Alaykum dear sister,
Thank you for writing us. I am so sorry to hear of all your pain and sadness. One thing I was happy to hear, however, was that you did find happiness and good friends at your university where you were studying. This shows me that yes, you can be happy, and you do know how to go on with your life after hardships.
Sister, Allah (swt) does not hate you; He loves you. It is said that Allah (swt) tests the hardest those He (swt) loves. So, please dear sister, never doubt Allah’s (swt) love for you; He (swt) is Most Merciful and closer to you than our jugular vein. Going through these tests and trials in this life while remaining close to Allah (swt) and trusting in Him (swt) will bring you many blessings despite how you may feel now.
“With every hardship comes ease.” (Quran 94:5)
As you know, forced marriages are against Islam. Thus, this marriage should have never occurred as you did not say yes. It is even more haram in that your father arranged this marriage for financial gain.
Nonetheless, sister, you are out of the marriage and back in your parent’s home for now. As you had a previous relationship with the university you were attending, is it possible to contact a counselor there to inquire about possible scholarships or work-study programs so that you can return?
Also, an internet search on your specific major may bring up fellowships, grants and other financial resources to help you return to school. Look into exchange student options as well as any Islamic scholarships (worldwide) that are available. If the university you attended does not or cannot provide assistance, look towards other universities.
Based on what you wrote, it seems you were most happy in a positive learning environment away from home, which is why I am encouraging you to explore your options to return, and yes, there are many options for you sister. It may take some work on your part finding these resources and reaching out, but in sha’ Allah, the doors will open. (I have included some links for you below, please check them out.)
Sister, I also want you to make a list of the things you want to accomplish, the things that make you happy, as well as your goals for your future. I also want you to develop steps you can take that will help you reach your goals. This may take some research on your part on which doors can be opened and how, but I am confident that you can do it. After all, you were a successful and happy student at one time, and you can be again no matter which direction you chose for a positive future, you have the ability to succeed.
While you may be unhappy at the moment, I want you to remember your days at the university when you were happy. I want you to do this not to make you feel sadder as you miss your friends and studies, but I want you to reflect upon these times as proof that yes, circumstances do change for the better, as before that you were lonely and unhappy in an otherwise unhealthy home environment. So, things can change!
In the meantime sister, I ask you to be kind to your parents even though their words and behaviors are hurtful towards you.“The Qur’an is quite clear in enjoining children to be kind towards their parents.
“And your Lord has commanded that you shall not serve (any) but Him, and goodness to your parents. If either or both of them reach old age with you, say not to them (so much as) “Ugh” nor chide them, and speak to them a generous word.” (Quran 17: 23)
Be a model of good behavior, kindness, generosity, and most of all, respect your father and mother.” You will be amazed at how much this will impact your father’s behavior. He can’t possibly continue to misbehave and abuse if everyone around him is smothering him with kindness, respect, and generosity.
Check out this counseling video:
While this may be hard to do dear sister, trust in Allah (swt) for the outcome. As it seems your father has some very serious issues both financially and emotionally, it is quite likely he is also suffering inside. While this does not excuse his bad treatment of you, I am asking that you model our beloved Prophet’s (saw) behavior by showing loving kindness. At the same time, I ask that you show yourself the same loving kindness by taking the steps you need to improve your life, opportunities and happiness. Continually seek Allah’s (swt) help as Allah (swt) will always be there for you.
As you take these steps towards creating a happier life, and in sha’ Allah returning to university if that is your wish, you will begin to reflect and grow stronger in your everyday struggles, tests and trials. We all have our tests and struggles sister; it is how we respond to them that makes the difference. I believe in you and I feel you are a capable, confident, and wonderful sister. I believe that once you set your mind to goals and visions you would like to accomplish, with Allah’s (swt) help, you can!
Lastly, I urge you to seek counseling from a professional in your area for your depression and suicide attempts. As you know, suicide is a great sin. It is almost like saying, “I chose my own pain over loving Allah (swt)”. I know you love Allah (swt); therefore, I hope you will not attempt suicide again as it is running away from Allah (swt) and the tests He (swt) has given you to make you stronger.
I understand also that wanting to end it all is an extreme action stemming from extreme pain. Thus, I urge you sister to seek counseling, focus on the opportunities ahead, be kind to your parents for there are many rewards and blessings in it, keep your prayers, recite the Qur’an, make du’aa’ and start actively planning for your future in a university. Often times, our setbacks in life are, indeed, stumbling stones which if recognized as such will make us stronger and more successful.
As far as your question about special du’aa’s and prayers you should say, I am not an Islamic scholar, so you may want to write our “Ask the Scholar” section; however, I do know that Allah (swt) hears all our prayers and that He knows all our longings and needs more so than we do.
“And when My servants ask you, [O Muhammad], concerning Me – indeed I am near. I respond to the invocation of the supplicant when he calls upon Me. So let them respond to Me [by obedience] and believe in Me that they may be [rightly] guided.” (Qur’an 2:186)
You are in our prayers dear sister! Please, let us know how things are going.
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