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Ask the Counselor About New Muslim & Revert Struggles

Dear brothers and sisters,

Thanks for participating in the session.

Please find the 5 questions to which our counselor provided answers. If you do not find yours here, check out our upcoming session or submit it there again.

Question 1. Should I take this as a sign?

Asalam aleykum
I should start by saying I’m a revert. I have been getting to know this brother for the past few months and everything has been going really well. I felt he was capable and very kind, we are compatible and he’s expressed that he wishes to marry me. He has motivated me to get closer to Allah and I truly feel he’s a good man, very selfless, he has a big heart and is always willing to help others.
I have done istikhara once at the beginning of getting to know him and that was positive, I felt calm with my choice of continuing the courtship.
And again I did it once more after he said he did it too, I was sure in my heart that it would be a positive decision; I got a few signs(seeing his name a lot, etc) my mother also expressed interest in meeting him which I took it as a good sign ( I have to add that my parents aren’t Muslim and I haven’t introduced them to my potential choice for a spouse as I fear they would be very upset due to the fact he’s Muslim, they were also very upset when I told them I didn’t want to be a Christian.) but with my mum saying she’d like to meet him I felt calmer and took this as a good sign.
I prayed istikhara again and everything was going well, I felt the decision was positive and I still felt peace and calm over the situation and the potential to marry him. We spoke about meeting in person (he even said he should learn my parents’ language so that he may speak to them) and discussing future plans.

Since a few days ago, he hasn’t replied to my message and his phone is off as calls go unanswered, I know he’s not ignoring me or blocked me. I prayed for peace of mind but I fear that something bad might have happened to him however I know nothing happens if not by the will of Allah. I am just confused. Should I take this as a sign that I shouldn’t go ahead with this?

Salam alaikom, dear sister,

I am so happy to hear that you have become Muslim, masallah.

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You are asking about a brother whom you got to know, and he expressed his intention to marry you. You did istikhara several times and got positive sensations, according to what you say.

But since a couple of days, you have been unable to reach him, and you are unsure whether it is also a sign for your future or not.

Well, since then, even some more days have passed, so probably you are already in contact again, and you may already know his reasons for disappearing. I am not sure, but I guess there can be multiple possibilities, from the very practical ones to the rare ones, etc.

If not, once he contacts you, you can ask him about them. What matters is having sincerity between you, confidence, and trust during communication.

If you notice anything strange, it is, in my opinion, rather a test of honesty and trustworthiness in general, which can indeed be an indicator (or red flag) for future success in marriage or its failure. Not as a sign of istikhara, but as a sign of having good and reliable character or not.

Istikaha is a prayer when we ask the guidance of Allah in a matter. It is important to know that we have to pray istikaha once we have made our decision. In your case, proceed with the marriage. What you have related in your letter seems like these ones, alhamdulillah.

Positive signs usually come in the form of facilitations of progress in that matter. On the other hand, negative is when there is a blockage, delay, or some obstacle in our way. If you strongly, repeatedly, and clearly notice these obstacles, you may reevaluate your plans.

But we always have to know, as you also say, that everything will happen with the will of Allah and His permission. So, it cannot be that you misinterpret a sign that leads you not to marry, or the opposite, if Allah has decreed that for you.

So, while it is good to always seek the guidance of Allah and look for signs, we also have to trust in our Qadr and in our willingness. Do you want to marry him? Is there a halal way to do that? If so, then try to go along with your will and trust that He won’t let you happen if it is not meant to happen. 

Read more about istikahara here and here.

I hope this helps.

May Allah help you and grant you a successful marriage.

Question 2. Marriage exhaustation mental

As Salam Alaykum.
I’m a reverted to Islam al hamdulillah nearly 14y ago. I became Muslima and got married soon after. I don’t know much about my responsibilities that I was presume to have toward my husband. When I married, he used to cook and help me a lot but always declined me to work in the name of Islam. I move from my country to the U.K and I found it hard after a while. So, I got in touch with good Muslim alhamdulillah I did all to stay firm. After I gave birth to my son straight first son my husband attitude changed completely, he blamed me for all mistakes and he only wanted me to focus in the child, we got second one and few months after I found out that I was afflicted by sihr. We treated it to our best of our ability then I got 3 boys and things just got harder.

I did my best again then I went back to his home country for treatment ruqia that put lot of pressure on us. I came back feeling much better but my husband started to abuse me verbally more and more. Some days I found I was crazy and I begged the imam for help. The 1 imam told me to bear patience with my husband language the second imam send us to counseling because he blamed my parenting skills toward the kids. Then I finally have a psychologist who heard me and decided to make us work toward a better place. I was so much abused that I couldn’t take anymore. Went back home with the kids and my non-Muslim mother help me go out with my preview partner I regrettably that day completely.

Then I came back and told my husband its finish I can’t take it anymore how he uses and abuse me and I Tey so hard I told him all about what happened in my country. He called his sisters and explain and told them don’t contact my wife leave her. He begged me to forgives him that he was going to change and that he regrets how he treated me. I sleep with my kids he never bothers to fix it blaming upon me how I move during the night. Now we have 4 kids and still he loves to control all, from food to anything else money etc. I reach I point after forgiving him that I don’t see point in living because all he says it’s my fault and if I’m not happy to leave him and my kids. I told him stop abusing me let go counseling he belittle me on all from cooking to cleaning to kids to me. I mentally reached the point where I don’t see joy every Ramadan, he will make hell for me at a point he will complain fight, argue disturb my sakinah of Ramadhan and now he started raising the hands against me. I do ruqia, etc. the best I can but in completely hopeless. He talks always aggressive towards me and want to have reason in all. He doesn’t want me to have my kids because I was afflicted once. Doesn’t matter how much help he is not ready to pay and I get scared to ask for any help since its all the same stories. And now people use that I did wrong once to him. Is that correct to spit and fight with your wife such way. I don’t even have rights of intimacy so what the point in such marriage? I’m suffering a lot he knows I don’t have a family to support me and he will not listen to me. I feel like a meskin begging for even 1 to go see my friends without been empty hands. He does give to me some money but he really knows that I will use for kids snack or even petrol too. I cook, clean make his tea try all but that man he is unpleasable. I’m losing hope in all despite ruqia and duas and tajweed. I don’t have friends that much I don’t dare disclose it and the person who knows it’s because he told them the situation. So, they confirm it with me. I reached the point where I even think Allah is cleaning my life with him been my test. But Islam is beautiful not such way. I don’t have the right to be happy in this dunia?

Salam alaikom wa rahmatullah, dear sister,

Thank you for sharing your struggle, and may Allah ease it. I am sorry to hear of your distress and disappointment that your marriage causes you.

As I understand it, your husband’s behavior changed after your first child was born. Then you realized that you were affected by shir. And your husband was verbally abusive to you, which made your situation worse. Then you went to an imam and to a psychologist, moved back to your mother, and had an encounter with your former partner, which you regret.

You told this to your husband; he begged for forgiveness, but he still continues controlling and abusing you, including during the time of Ramadan. He started raising his hands against you. He is aggressive towards you and does not want to have your kids because you were afflicted. You are doing ruqa, duas, and tajweed, but he is “unpleasable.” You feel like you are losing hope and suffering.

I am so sorry that you are dealing with hardship in your marriage and with your mental health.

Abusive relationships, in and of themselves, can be detrimental to one’s self-esteem and mental health in general. Your letter is not very clear about whether your abuse started due to your mental health problems or whether it happened otherwise. One thing is clear: abusive treatment is unacceptable. You are not at peace with the situation right now and need change for the sake of your own health.

You are asking yourself, What is the point of such a marriage? And I would ask the same thing: What is the point of it?

Have you tried to think about it, for example, looking for pros and cons for trying to solve it or leaving? If not, I would make a list with all the points you can have for both sides.

Kindly note that, on the side of staying, I do not mean not to change anything and keep enduring abuse and ill-treatment.

I rather mean that if you still love him and you want to save this marriage, you will need to make a plan about how to work on fixing the situation and gaining back your rights for good treatment and initimacy without any abuse. It is clear that things cannot continue without any change. However, this option necessitates the willingness of your husband too, because even if you would like to fix things, the relationship depends on both of you. He will also have to make efforts to change his behavior. You wrote that he begged for forgiveness and said he regretted his treatment, but was there any change on his side? He has to know that promises without any commitment are no more than empty words, and he will be held accountable for them.

You would need to talk about each other’s needs. What does he want in order to feel better with you? Imagine a scenario where everything is okay between both of you. How would that look? What would be different? Describing it can be a good starting point for your conversations about how to fix your issues.

On the other hand, think about the things that are also present in your marriage and have little chance to change. Also, if you face physical abuse, you need to seek help and try your best to get out of this situation for your own safety. Allah does not like divorce, but there are situations when it is the lesser wrong thing, such as abuse, ill-treatment, or the spouse’s bad character, that make daily life unbearable. Your husband has to know that he has duties towards you, and if he wants to keep the marriage with you, he will need to fix his behavior issues and go beyond his promises. 

Remember, our main goal in life is to get closer to Allah, to worship Him, and to gain taqwa. Is this possible in this marriage? Are you both becoming better persons by living together?

Allah, swt, is our Provider, and He is the Most Just and All-Powerful. If we put our trust in Him and decide to move on for His sake from a harmful situation, He will help you out, even if it seems impossible. So, dear sister, try to rely on Him and focus only on the next step: how to end this situation.

Whichever option you choose, I think, according to your letter, that you need professional assistance too, with whom you can work on your mental health together. I am not sure where you live, but online there are Muslim professionals who are trained in psychology and have knowledge of the deen. I kindly but firmly recommend seeking someone and starting therapy or counseling to restore your self-esteem and confidence and gain inner strength to face the challenges of your marital life, either with or without your husband.

Once you feel better about yourself, you will be able to judge the situation with more clarity, and you will also notice your possibilities with a more positive outlook. Therefore, it is crucial that you seek help, either online or locally, where you get sufficient support to

May Allah make it easy for you.

Question 3. Revert and co-wife

I am reverted and second wife of Muslim man. My husband did big mistake by taking me as a wife secretly from first wife. I was not accepting it like that. But he said it is ok and he will sort out it in short time. I wasn’t Muslim so I didn’t know how is right and how is wrong. Now when she found it out he is always spending time just with her because he feels guilty and her family makes him guilty. She is always calling and checking him now. I was understanding at the beginning but it is like that more than 5 months. He is seeing me with kids on phone and coming sometimes to see us at home or we have to meet outside because she is calling and checking him if he comes to us. Now is Ramadan I am lonely and having iftar always alone. I want to ask for divorce after Ramadan. I have no strength to understand him anymore. He is unfair financially, emotionally and physically to me and my kids.

Wa alakom salam, sister,

I am sorry to hear of your struggle and that you are feeling that this situation is financially, emotionally, and physically unfair to you.

You think that your husband made a big mistake by not disclosing to his first wife that he wanted to marry you. I also understand that you did not know what was Islamically right or wrong.

First of all, masallah for being embraced by Islam. You will see, in sha Allah, that it is a beautiful religion, that it cares about the rights of spouses, and that it promotes justice in our dealings. We are supposed to be honest and fair and conclude our dealings with taqwa. Also, when it comes to the issue of second marriage, the husband is required to treat this situation according to his best, being just, respectful, and understanding about its challenges.

I am not sure whether he has admitted that he made a mistake, what led to these consequences, or not.

I am not sure about his intentions; maybe he thought that this would be the best for all, or it was something else. But it seems that, at least from your point of view, it did not work out, and now you are struggling with that.

What can you do?

What I would say is to talk to him and let him know that you married him because you love him and would like to be with him and become a family. And that, despite understanding the situation, you can and do expect fairness and equal treatment as a co-wife.

It is okay to understand his wife, him, and all situations by being patient and merciful. It is also good to understand that he acts out due to the guilt he is probably feeling. But this does not mean that you have to agree to give up your God-given rights and your needs, which will naturally lead to feeling uncomfortable in this marriage. He has to understand that if he wants to maintain the two marriages, he has to fix the situation with his first wife without violating your rights for attention and time together.

So, it would be good to ask him about his plans for restoring the balance between the two families. Yes, it is a bit late, as the situation is already given, but still, he has to take responsibility for his choices and try his best to manage this situation well.

You may let him know what you need. And also that you feel that he does not treat both of you equally on a financial, emotional, and physical level, and try to discuss what you need to feel this way.

You can assure him that you are understanding and patient, but you are not comfortable with this situation and need change. You can also list down your expectations and discuss where the middle ground is, especially regarding practicalities. What if his kids or his wife want to talk to him? In which situations would you be okay with that, and in what context do you want him to set boundaries with them? You may go through the main issues and also set some norms that you all promise to respect.

If you need to talk to a mediator or counselor together, you may turn to one and get a couple of sessions. He may do that with his first wife too, for instance.

By the way, there is not a single rule about how multiple marriages should work, as there are individual differences and each particular situation has its own.

Regarding your relationship with her:

Some co-wives get along well and can even help each other with chores and children. Others prefer maintaining more distance and boundaries. What you need to do is ask yourself: what can you bear and what cannot? And, maybe, ask his first wife about it too. Try to deal with each other with kindness and respect for the sake of Allah, remembering that it was He who decreed this situation for both of you. How can you get the most out of this?

Regarding solitude:

I am also a convert, so I understand what an iftar alone is like.

But let me advise you something: being Muslim is a beautiful thing, and you are part of the ummah, with or without having your husband at iftar time around the table. So, what about checking out public iftars and community gatherings locally? You may check the mosque and bring your kids along with you. Try to get involved, meet other sisters in Islam, worship, and enjoy the blessings that are there, regardless of your husband. They are coming through Allah, and He is the only one we need to rely on.

You can also enjoy this time with your children, if they are too young to bring them for taraweeh, for example. You can read stories, cook together, learn about Ramadan, practice good deeds, etc.

Maybe it is your first Ramadan, but I can assure you, there are no two identical ones. Each year has its own issue, with challenges, blessings, hardships, etc. So, developing contentment with what Allah has decreed for this time is the best choice for happiness. Try to make dua as much as you can, and ask Him to guide you and let you get closer to Him, increasing in faith and knowledge.

May Allah make it easy for you.

Question 4. Desire Struggles and Umrah

I’m trying very hard to lower my gaze… Please help me I’m about to do umrah I don’t want to do any of this there

Please please answer this question it would mean a lot to me 

Salam alaiom, brother,

Thanks for writing to us with your concern.

What you relate seems to me to be a struggle of desires. Which is surely one of our biggest tests and the trick of Satan. We are created with sexual desires. It is part of our human nature. But Allah also sets limits and boundaries for these desires, and we need to learn self-control to be able to channel them in the proper direction, as permitted by Allah. Some have the test that these desires cross these limits and will have to make huge efforts to keep them on the halal path, but the reward is enormous for the efforts and sacrifice. May Allah make you among those who pass this test and gain enough self-control and patience.

What can you do?

First, you will need to see what the means are that work as triggers for you and try to make sure that you avoid them. If your mind is full of lustful thoughts, it is more difficult to resist temptations. You may need to focus your thoughts on things other than physical desires and intimacy and elevate the status of your soul by directing it towards Allah and spirituality.

So, ask yourself, from where do you get the most temptations? From your mobile? From friends? Places, like, for example, the gym? Whichever is the case, try to distance yourself: unfollow all related content, try to follow religious ones, and do not let any lustful or attractive content on your screen. Social media use in and of itself can be a strong trigger if your algorithm lets you pop up attractive images and videos. The same thing applies to audiovisuals, movies, music, and so forth.

Try to distance yourself from friends and places alike. Are they helping get you closer to Allah, or are they boosting your desires? If the latter, what is the point of them in your life?

Instead of these things, try to fill the gaps with more positive, religious, spiritual, or any other topic that sparks your interest. You do not need to go to extremes and set too high spiritual expectations. It’s okay to leave space for wordly issues, halal ones. Do you have any hobbies? Or would you like to study something? Try to maintain an active life and avoid boredom, as it can also be a trigger. 

Set some goals, according to your interests and also for the deen. Read Islamic books on spirituality; for example, Al-Ghazali and Ibn Qayyim have excellent pieces about the purification of our hearts, about how to deal patiently with our nafs, desires, etc.

Young people naturally have more urges and tend to follow their impulses, but spiritually speaking, looking for instant gratification makes our souls weaker, impatient, and prone to seeking immediate satisfaction. Therefore, we need to learn how to gain patience and not let our desires and impulses dominate us.

Changing these habits for better ones can help clean your heart and mind, which naturally leads to less focus on our desires.

At the same time, you can strengthen yourself by practicing self-control. Ramadan is a great opportunity. The Prophet, peace be upon him, advised the young who cannot marry to fast, as fasting helps lower our desires.

Keep trying to lower your gaze, as I said, also online, and incorporate regular fasting.

Regarding Umrah, set your priorities accordingly. Are you going there for the sake of Allah, right? If so, try your best to serve Him and not “your desires.” Don’t let your desires overcome you. Make a decision and a promise to yourself that your focus will be on Allah and worshipping Him, and that you will try your best to maintain this focus during the umrah and beyond.

Also, this might be a good opportunity to strengthen your connection with Allah. Turn to Him and complain to Him alone. Share with him your struggles and ask sincerely for forgiveness and for His help and guidance. Ask Him for strength and patience. He is All-Merciful and All-Loving and loves to forgive and give.

I hope this helps.

May Allah make it easy for you,

Question 5. After brain surgery

I recently just underwent a life-threatening brain surgery to remove a brain tumor that I was born with and only discovered later on at my age now and had to have this surgery otherwise I would have passed away. Now after this surgery I experienced a physiological breakdown which was explained due to me having ptsd of my past experience of being stabbed around my body number of times luckily surviving Alhamdulillah, but also due to post surgery depression and I was experiencing a whole load of disturbing issues such as suicidal thoughts and attempts and so on which is nothing like me as I know this is completely haram and would not do such a thing.

I have many issues when it comes to forgiving myself as I used to mess about prior to this surgery and be involved with girls. I have a hard time forgiving myself and often think how will I get forgiven if I did all the things I did when I know I shouldn’t have even though I know Allah swt is the most merciful but again I am my worse enemy and find it so hard to forgive myself.

The other issue I have is that whilst having this surgery I was with a girl who helped me throughout and she was more of a help then my family was and helped me overcome everything but the thing is she is not Muslim and I don’t know if I find her attractive to marry her as I got with her prior to my surgery but I used to just get with girls (again I’m ashamed of this). But now I know the value of how short life is and I am a better Muslim Alhamdulillah but I feel obliged to stick by her due to all the help she gave me.

I did state to her that I would not be able to marry her unless she is a Muslim as her family are Hindus but she does not follow that religion but still does not accept Islam for her sake and just for the sake of getting married to me.

She also has stated that if I don’t get with her, she would end her life which I cannot have on my mind.

Please help as I’m in need of advice

Salam alaikom, dear brother,

Thank you for sharing your struggles.

As I understand from your letter, the brain surgery you recently went through was a life-changing situation for you. You realized that life is short, and you have become a better Muslim, alhamdulillah.

Yet, you have hard times forgiving yourself for your past mistakes and sins, especially being involved with girls.

You are still in contact with a non-practicing Hindu girl who has helped you during the recovery.

So, I am wondering, in the first place, is it possible that you have hard times with forgiveness because you are still somehow involved in something that is not allowed? It is still your present and not your past, so you may end up in situations again and again that cause you guilt and remorse. What do you think?

I think what happened to you is a huge blessing, despite the hardship an illness can cause. It seems to me, alhamdulillah, that you have “got it,” that you have understood the purpose of this test, and that it has served you as a reminder and a wake-up call. Alhamdulilah, you have found what the real purpose of your life is, and you were also able to realize your mistakes.

It is like you have become a better person—a new one, right? So, what about looking back at your past self as someone else? Someone who was not strong enough to resist desires or someone who was not close enough to Allah to choose Him before other things in life. Now, you may see these sins clearly, but what about back then? Will you be able to forgive him for his ignorance?

You cannot change the past, but yes, you can do better in the present with your awareness and stronger imaan, in sha Allah.

So, what I advise you is to switch your focus to the present and see what you need to feel better about yourself now.

And yes, it is possible that your past version was okay with a relationship that your present self is not. It is okay to admit that now, when you are looking for marriage, she might not be the right one. Marriage should happen for the sake of Allah and for looking for companionship and to form a family. Her help and care for you are surely admirable, but is this the right basis to get married to her?

Make sure that you do not confuse love with pity or feel that you owe her something in return. Love should not be conditional, just like the love of Allah, right?

Also, it is okay to be proud of your principles, even if you just recently realized them. It’s okay to stick to wanting a Muslim wife, and it’s also okay if she does not want to convert for the sake of love only. Can this mean that it is a sign that the future holds nothing for you together? At least for now, with this setup?

Beside that, I would remind you that manipulative tactics, like claiming to end one’s life for not getting what she wants, question the purity of one’s character. Is this something you would like to bear in your life? True love does not come forced; furthermore, there is no better thing than being content with the qadr of Allah and accepting when He gives and takes away people from our lives. 

So, I kindly advise you to keep up with your new attitude and keep Allah at the center of your life. Ask Him for guidance and put your full trust in Him. He brought you back to life, so I am sure He loves you, and He wants you to be among the righteous ones. Everything in your life in line with His teachings can stay, and it is time to say goodbye to the rest.

Accept that this was your qadr and that Allah wanted you to go through this. He knew that you would make mistakes, but He gave you another chance. If He is so merciful, can you feel the same mercy and forgive yourself?

Regarding your post-surgery depression, you may seek counseling and also medical advice about this matter to see to what extent it is a normal reaction and belongs to the adaptation phase and when some more intervention is needed. You may seek therapy, where you can deal with these feelings and put them in the right place.

I hope this helps.

May Allah make it easy for you!

Sunday, Mar. 31, 2024 | 09:00 - 10:00 GMT

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