In this counseling answer:
• Interacting with other sisters in this way might also assist you in feeling less lonely.
• Talk to Allah about your loneliness.
Salam ‘Alaikom dear sister,
One of the key symptoms of loneliness commonly cited in the psychological literature is the experience of depression, so it is understandable that you feel down. Naturally, the feelings of depression will subsequently lead to eating more and exercising less, as you have said here.
Ma sha’ Allah, you say that you feel better when you pray, read Qur’an, and meet with other people – during those times when you are in the company of others, either conscious of Allah’s presence or physically with people. You have also said that you are seeking to get married. Certainly, this is one of the best ways by which you can not only overcome the feelings of loneliness but prevent yourself from committing zina.
It was narrated that: Alqamah bin Qais said: “I was with Abdullah bin Masud in Mina, and Uthman took him aside. I was sitting near him. Uthman said to him: ‘Would you like that I marry you to a young virgin who will remind you of how you were in the past?’ When Abdullah saw that he did not say anything to him apart from that, he gestured to me, so I came and he said: ‘As you say that the Messenger of Allah said “O young men, whoever among you can afford it, let him get married, for it is more effective in lowering the gaze and guarding one’s chastity. Whoever cannot afford it, let him fast, for it will diminish his desire.” (Ibn Majah)
When you are alone, it is easier to fall into Shaytan’s traps and seek company online, for example, to fill the gap that loneliness leaves you. But instead of seeking men online and committing sin, there are plenty of sisters’ circles online where you will find many other sisters going through the same as you are. Not only can this be comforting to know that you’re not alone, but maybe they would know of someone who is looking for a spouse.
Interacting with other sisters in this way might also assist you in feeling less lonely. Obviously, having an online social circle is no replacement for face-to-face interaction, but it might be enough to give your psychological well-being a bit of a boost and give that drive to get out and mix with others.
It is a shame that your local imam was of little help when you sought assistance in finding a spouse. Perhaps, you might want to try asking the sisters in the mosque if they know of any man seeking a spouse. Or at least they could ask around. That might sound a bit desperate, but you are going about it in the correct way.
You did the right thing to avoid moving forward with the nikkah you mentioned, and your instincts served you well and prevented you from getting into a potentially damaging relationship. You have a healthy outlook on getting into a positive relationship that will be good for you and not distract you from your deen. In fact, in a relationship, a couple will usually support each other in growing closer to Allah (swt).
There is no harm in asking questions. We won’t learn if we don’t ask, so it is unfortunate that your friend took it to mean something other than what it was. Perhaps, you could make it clear to her why you are seeking marriage at this point and that it is for all the right reasons. In fact, it is exactly the reason why, as Muslims, we are encouraged to marry young – to avoid falling into zina, to complete your deen, and fulfill the gap in your life that causes you to feel lonely.
Talk to Allah (swt) about your loneliness. He (swt) will hear your prayers and open doors for you that will lead you out of your loneliness, in sha’ Allah, whether that be through meeting a spouse or becoming more socially involved. He (swt) knows what is best for you. Your situation is a test from Allah (swt). Don’t fail it by overcoming it in haram ways. Instead, remember Allah (swt) and bare it with patience. Allah (swt) will hear you.
Given that you say you feel at ease when praying and reading the Qur’an, you might want to also engage in acts of dhikr (remembrance of Allah) more often, even outside of times of prayer. This will serve as a constant reminder that Allah (swt) is with you which can work in your favor in a number of ways. It can reduce the feeling of loneliness in the knowledge that Allah (swt) is always there. Having Allah (swt) in mind will prevent you from doing haram, and as you are showing your devotion to Him (swt), He (swt) will reward you for this, in sha’ Allah.
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A novel way you could try to do this could be engaging in dhikr as you exercise. Exercise is a natural mood booster anyway, so it will be beneficial to your psychological well-being, and including the element of dhikr can give you that added boost, too.
May Allah (swt) bring a suitable spouse to you when the time is right that will sooth your loneliness and be the coolness of your eyes. May He (swt) keep you on the straight path and bring you happiness and contentment in this life and the next.
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