In this counseling answer:
• Instead of looking at her with anger or sadness, you try to get closer to her.
• Kindness, love, and patience will bring her back, in sha’ Allah.
• Make du’aa that Allah guides her.
I’m sorry to hear of your sister falling back from Islam. Sadly, this sometimes occurs when one goes through certain changes regarding identity or else.
According to you, she has low self-esteem. While you did not provide much detail, I can only say that she may suffer from depression or other issues you do not know about. Often, when people are very depressed or have had a traumatic experience, they shut down, even in their relationship with Allah (swt).
I would kindly suggest that instead of looking at her with anger or sadness, you try to get closer to her. Draw her to you; don’t push her away. Take her out for lunch and spend the day together doing something she enjoys. Have a light talk and don’t mention her issues such as wearing hijab or praying; she already knows that she hasn’t been practicing Islam properly and it probably does bother her, whether she says so or not.
Your job, as someone who loves her, is to try to find out what is going on in her life, how she feels, and what it is like at the university. Eventually, ask if something happened to cause her to change. Not right away though because you will have to build trust first.
It won’t come easy or fast as it appears she is hurt, and hurt people tend to withdraw and do not trust others easily. So, please be patient. Keep reaching out to her, making her feel part of the family. Make her feel loved and valued even though she has strayed from the righteous path.
Kindness, love, and patience will bring her back, in sha’ Allah. Punitive measures such as cutting her off, reprimanding her about hijab and prayers, or condemning her will only push her further away from you, the family, and Allah (swt). Surely, abandoning prayers and not wearing the veil are sins, but Allah (swt) is Most Merciful and Forgiving, and only He (swt) knows what is in her heart.
Make du’aa’ for her that Allah (swt) guides her and helps her through whatever she has been going through. In sha’ Allah, once she begins to feel worthy, begins to feel loved and secure, she can begin to heal from whatever bothers her. With this healing, in sha’ Allah, she will begin practicing Islam again.
Life is full of tests and trials. While some people, on the surface, may appear to have left Islam, they are really crying out deep inside for Allah (swt) to help them.
You and your sister are in our prayers. May Allah (swt) guide you to help her, and guide her towards the right path again, in sha’ Allah.
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