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Ask the Counselor About Your Life Struggles

Question 1

I was being disrespected in the whole neighborhood for recently 2 years. Some people start backbiting about me telling everyone that I am gone mental or lunatic. The people start believing them and called me lunatics and verbally abuse me. How can I defend myself from 1000 people living in my neighborhood? Now I suffer from depression, anxiety, and grieves and sitting home for 2 years.

Salam Aleikom,

I’m sorry to hear that you feel you’re being disrespected in your neighborhood. According to you, this began about two years ago with people backbiting and gossiping, saying that you are ’mental or a lunatic”. As a result of a few people doing this, now many people are believing the gossip and backbiting and it has spread throughout your neighborhood. Understandably, you now feel depressed, suffer from anxiety, and you have been sitting home for two years. I am so sorry this has happened to you, people can be so mean and cruel.

Backbiting is a Sin

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I can imagine this must feel really horrible for you. As we know backbiting is a huge sin. Those that are backbiting and gossiping about you obviously have no fear of Allah nor any remorse for their lies and abuse. However Allah will deal with these people.

’O you who have believed, avoid much [negative] assumption. Indeed, some assumption is sin. And do not spy or backbite each other. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his brother when dead? You would detest it. And fear Allah; indeed, Allah is Accepting of repentance and Merciful.” Qur’an 49:12

Getting Counseling

In the meantime, I kindly suggest that you engage in ongoing counseling for the depression and anxiety that you are experiencing. Even if it is a result of the gossiping and backbiting that has been going on, it still needs to be addressed. In sha Allah you will see the benefits from counseling.

Examine your Attributes and Good Points

I also kindly suggest that you start examining your attributes and good points and reviewing them daily. You may want to write them in a notebook or Journal so you can review them easily. By looking at your good points daily you can start to negate the wrong thingsthat are being said about you, start to over-come any feelings of shame, inadequacy, or fear.  By strengthing your self esteem and self confidence, you are building yourself up internally.

Appreciation for Self

By correcting negative thoughts internally you can then begin to see how wonderful a person you are and begin to appreciate what a fine person you are. When one appreciates themselves and has a solid sense of self, it makes it easier to confront and negate things like you have been experiencing. Between counseling and increasing  your self-esteem and feelings of self worth, you will be able to go back outside in the world again in sha Allah, holding your head high.

Outcomes of Backbiting

There is nothing worse than backbiting it is very harmful, and hurtful. One of the devastating outcomes is that some people feel so bad that they become reclusive like you have. In a way that is giving the people who are doing this backbiting a win card. This is to mean that instead of ignoring them and holding your head high and continuing on with your life and  business, you have let them overcome you with their lies, and you have retreated.

Do Not Let Them Win!

Bullies liars, and backbiters love nothing more than to cause chaos in other people’s lives. Insha Allah do not let them do it any longer! I know it may feel uncomfortable to start being proactive and getting your life back but you can do it. I have full confidence in you. Once you take the first few steps towards resolving this, in sha Allah the rest will come easy.

Handling Backbiting/Gosssip

In sha Allah please be strong in your resolve about who you are. Never let what anybody says deter you from being the great person that you are. When someone back bites or lies about you, you may choose to ignore it and carry on with your life, or you may choose to confront the person and ask them why are they spreading these lies. Usually when you ignore people like this and go on with your life the gossiping and backbiting dies down. This is usually due to the fact that they are no longer getting a response from the victim whom they are backbiting about.

The best outcome and the best conclusion is from Allah who sees and hears everything. You’re part of the equation however lies in not succumbing to this abuse, standing up strong and firm, taking account of all your good points, and not let the backbiting get to you. This may be hard at first, but when done over and over, it becomes second nature and the only opinion about you that will matter-is Allah’s.

Conclusion

Build up your self-esteem and self-confidence. Seek counseling to deal with the depression and anxiety that has been a result of this treatment. Pray to Allah for ease, protection and strength. Know that this will pass, but know that you must take steps forward and not let the sinful behaviors of others afect nor harm you. Allah is your protection and mercy and…the truth always comes out sooner or later!  We wish you the best.

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Question 2

Hi, recently nearly a month ago I started to have homosexual thoughts. I’ve never really looked at a guy and been attracted to him, more so it’s always been like “oh he probably gets all the girls”. My whole life I’ve been straight, always wanted to be with a girl, had many crushes growing up (alhumdulillah nothing happened there) I never had a problem with my sexuality.

Nowadays however I keep doubting myself. Asking myself questions such as “what if I am really gay”? “What if I really do like this man”? I often think about my future wife and how nice that would be, think about how nice it would be to have a kid with her, think about all the good times we can potentially have.

My attraction to women has kind of been off since I’ve been having these thoughts though. Before I would be able to look at a women and instantly know whether or not I was attracted to her, nowadays I find myself being unsure and overthinking every time I see a women. I believe these thoughts are from shaytan as I know he knows that this is a vulnerability point of mine.

I’m just not quite sure how to return back to my original state (no gay thoughts, full attraction to women). I just don’t know how to fully convince myself and put my heart as ease that I’m straight and there’s nothing to worry about.

As salamu alaykum,

You have a common question that a lot of young people experience, but may fear talking about or asking. I applaud you for writing to us with your question.

Homosexual Thoughts

Many teens have these thoughts. They often come and go. Sometimes however such as in your case, it can be disturbing. When it becomes disturbing to the point that your thoughts are interfering with daily life or are becoming so troublesome that you doubt or question who you are, then maybe it is  time to examine the possibility of anxiety and intrusive thoughts.

Anxiety & Intrusive Thoughts

Intrusive thoughts are related to anxiety and anxiety is related to situations which become very uncomfortable. It is kind of like the mind’s way of dealing with the uncomfortableness. It is almost like the mind keeps checking itself over and over to make sure it is thinking and processing information in the correct manner. However this intrusive and repetitive thinking often time only increases the anxiety.

Diverting Thoughts

What you may be experiencing can be resolved insha’llah by diverting your thoughts to something else. For instance, if you start thinking you are confused about how you feel about a girl, divert your thought to a task at hand, or in rembrance of a fun event. When you stop putting a lot of emphasis and thoughts on a subject it tends to diminish.

For instance, some people when they pray keep having bad thoughts and doubts about Allah. Though they love Allah very much it is oftentimes their worry and anxiety which causes overthinking and doubts. This in turn stimulates the amygdala to overreact and produce more fear worry and anxiety.

Letting Thoughts Come & Go

I would kindly suggest dear brother that you try to ket thoughts come and go. If a thought comes up such as ’what if you really like this man” or being unsure of yourself regarding your attraction to women, let the thoughts come and go.

Don’t focus on them, don’t try to analyze them, don’t create new thoughts. Just let them come and go. When we stop giving attention and significance to intruding thoughts they tend to decrease and go away. They lose their power. In sha Allah this will happen for you  if you try these techniques

Common Feelings

As noted earlier many teens both male and female go through these feelings where they may have thoughts and desires for the same sex. Most of the time these feelings go away if not given a lot of thought and power. Sometimes they do not.

Yes, there are some people who are born Gay, however, they usually are not attracted to the opposite sex and then suddenly switch up, it is not that simple.  At this point since you have always liked girls this is probably just a phase you are going through which will diminish if you do not constantly put attention on it.

Conclusion

In conclusion, as a Muslim these can be troubling thoughts, however they are just thoughts/feelings. Try not to give them the power to overcome you so that you think about them all of the time. Insha’Allah, try the divert and ’let it go” methods. We wish you the best.

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Question 3

My parents would firsr force me to study for an upcoming pre-medical exam to get into a medical college. But I am interested in comparative religion and Islamic studies (just like Dr. Zakir Naik). After all these pressures and childhood abuse, they took me to a psychologist where I was diagnosed with anxiety a few months ago. They don’t *vocally* say me to crack the exam, but emotionally ask me to crack the exam and say that medical offers more money. I cry everyday for my dream of becoming an Islamic scholar (Insha’Allah), I ask help to Allah SWT everyday.

Right now my parents sent me to a place away from my home to study for my upcoming pre-medical exam, but I am not attending any classes. First I tried to attend the classes but whenever I would go there, I’d always cry in the class sometimes and always after coming to my hostel and during the night too and during nimaz and tahajjud too. Ofcourse my parents love me very much but they can’t force me to study something I never want to. They are coming to visit me in December because I am trying to convince them but they discourage me and think about their societal honor too.

Despite I’ve been a brilliant student alhamdulillah (Mashallah tabarakallah) they say that in the future I should not regret about my decision. Sister, honestly speaking, my heart yearns for studying comparative religion and Islamic studies but my eyes have dried and my heart is in a deep pain. What do I do? Kindly help me out. Kindly do. May Allah SWT reward you. Jazāk Allāhu Khayran Katheera. Looking forward to hearing from you sooner than later!

As salamu alaykum,

Sister, may Allah bless you for your desire to study comparative religion and Islamic Studies. That is a very high devotion to Allah to want to be in Islamic scholar. May Allah swt make a way for you to attain this.

The Problem….

This choice of a career is really a spiritual calling. It is a beautiful path and one that is benefical to so many people. The problem however is that your parents want you to study medicine. They are having you study for an upcoming pre medical exam to get into college. This is in direct conflict with what you want and as a result it is causing you much anxiety and depression.

Parents Choosing Options for Careers

Unfortunately a lot of times parents do not listen to their children’s wishes as far as a career or even marriage. Sometimes this ends well and sometimes it does not. As an individual, a human and as a muslimah you have the right to study what you would like.

Obstacles

When trying to decide what to do-the problem comes in when you ask the following questions: who is paying for your University, who is paying for your hostel or apartment, and who is supporting you with other financials related to education? I may be wrong but it is probably your parents who are paying for all of this.

While this should not give them control over what you study, it does make it more difficult and it does give them the advantage. If you were paying for your education and all related expenses you would be able to study whatever you wanted, but based on what you wrote this may not the case.

Speaking with Parents with an Advocate

In  this situation you may wish to speak with your parents with an advocate present who may be able to help you discuss with your parents the importance and honor of why you are choosing this as a career as well as your rights to chose your own course of study. This advocate may be an Islamic scholar such as an Imam, a counselor at your school who knows your situation, or a family member who will advocate for your choice.

Other Options

Another option may be to do the medical studies and do a minor in comparative religion and Islamic studies. I do not know how feasible this choice is or if it is even a choice because medical schools usually do not offer minors. With that said if your parents are adamant about you going to medical school you can either refuse and seek a way to pay for your Islamic Studies, or you may wish to comply and study Islam elsewhere.

Perhaps there is an online program and which you can enroll in that is free or low-cost. With your passion to become an Islamic scholar there may be grants and scholarships available to you. I would highly recommend looking into that.

Conclusion

Sister I really feel for you and I am sorry that your parents are not understanding. This situation is not uncommon but in sha Allah it can be resolved. You are the one who will be living your life with your career not your parents.

That is a very important point to think about. In this life it is wonderful when we can do something we love as a career and even more of a blessing when it involves Islamic studies as a calling in one’s life. Please do prayer to Allah that He softens your parents hearts or provides you with an opportunity to fulfill this most blessed mission.

Insha’Allah sister it will work out, don’t give up, talk to your parents, explore your options, and know that Allah is blessing the path you are on. We wish you the best.

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Question 4

I really dont know what I am doing with my life anymore. I dont want to live like this anymore. I dont want to even live anymore. I am 20 years old. I was engaged 2 years back to my cousin who is 8 years older to me. I was basically forced to get engaged to him. And now the marriage is scheduled next month. I really dont want to get married to him.He is not financially stable i have lived like a queen in my fathers house and now i dont know how i am going to adjust with him.

All my cousins are getting married to very rich men, i dont know why i am stuck with him and his mentality is like a desi aunts mentality.I dont even like talking to him he is very big snitch tellimg my mom and his mom of what we speak, he has no sense of privacy. Breaking off the marriage is IMPOSSIBLE now.My to be in laws came from india for the marriage and she is my dads sister also , my dad will favour her over me. I am studying medicine i am only in my third year. i really dont want to have kids now atleast till i finish my studies.I really hate the idea of having kids i am the oldest sibling i have grown taking care of my siblings my youngest sibling is now only 2 years old i cant deal with anymore kids. why dont my parents not understand me?

My uncles and aunts start teasing me about kids and all and his parents and my relatives are obviously expecting me to give birth in the first year of marriage itself. Wallahi if that happens i might really commit suicide. I cant deal with all this stress. I was a bright student before because of all this stress my grades are going very low. When i tell my parents about how i feel they scream at me and tell me you are 20 already then when do you want to get married in your age i was married with a kid and all that. My parents are always like you can complete your studies after marriage tell me how ?

after marriage they are expecting me to take care of the husband and pop kids for him. Due to all this, the father i adored before i have come to hate him. My faith is gone i do not pray now do not read quran do not to anything related to islam now. I am living like corpse now. I am living like a non muslim. before this proposal happened( 2 years back)i was a full practising muslim i wasnt like the teenagers these days I have done word to word tafseer of the quran of 5 juz, i was doing hifz also. I have gone to so many islamic classes and i have the knowledge of everything. I dont know hat happened after the engagement i have lost my faith . I feel like Allah took my Iman from me. I am literally living like a non muslim now. I dont know what happened how it happened. I think Allah is punishing me for something.

As salamu alaykum,

I am really sorry to hear about the situation that you are in. All too often parents try to force their children to get married to one whom they do not want to be with. It sounds like this is what has happened to you.

Pressure

Sister, I understand the pressure to marry one whom your parents have chosen, in Islam no one can be forced to marry anyone especially a woman. In fact forced marriages are not marriages. However you have had two years to say no but you have not yet. Now there is only a month or two left. Sister don’t get me wrong, I do understand the cultural pressure and I understand wanting to please your parents however this is your life and it sounds like you will be very unhappy in this marriage. Despite it is one month away I would kindly suggest that you do two things.

1. Get to Know Fiancee

The first thing to think about would be getting to know your fiancee. Is he really that bad of a person? Is he a good Muslim? Is he kind to you? Do you have things in common? Is he open to you finishing school and not having children right away? The thing I guess I am asking you to do is to look at him separately from your parents forcing you to marry him. Look at his character, look at his Islam and look at how your life would be married to him. Perhaps he is not that bad of a person. Perhaps he would be open and supportive of you finishing your medical studies as well as waiting to have children. Perhaps he is very different from what his family and your family are pushing on you in terms of obligations. I will kindly suggest in sha Allah that you sit down with him and have a conversation about these very important things. You may find that he is very willing you support you and what you would like, and you may find that you actually do like him.

2. Call off the Wedding

The second option would be to call off the wedding. Of course this is going to cause a lot of problems, anger, sadness, and disappointment but how long will that last? I do understand the severity of this however the severity of living a life time with someone that you do not love as well as giving up your career and having children immediately when you would choose not to. Additionally, since this has been arranged by your parents two years ago, it appears that you have become depressed and withdrawn not only from your studies at school, life in general, but from Allah as well. To move forward in a situation that has already caused such negative reactions and feelings may not be wise. While this is an option, please do Istakharrah prayer prior to any decision regarding this.

This Moment

Sister your future depends on this moment. It depends on your willingness to speak with this man regarding your terms in the marriage or your calling the marriage off. Whether you realize it or not you do have the control and the power to not marry. It will cause problems yes, however do you really want to live a life that you did not choose?

Relationship with Allah

As far as your lack of relationship with Allah and you’re not practicing Islam, that is something that may be due to depression and feeling as if there’s nothing left. Allah loves you very much sister. Allah did not make this decision. Your parents made this decision and you agreed to it. It is not Allah’s fault. I kindly suggest that you start to pray and seek forgiveness for leaving Allah when it is Allah who has blessed you with so much and who loves you. In fact, in hard times it is Allah who gets us through, who blesses our path, and protects us. Please do return to Allah.

Seek Counseling

Sister as you said you do not want to live like this anymore I am recommending that you seek counseling as soon as possible. If you truly want to work through this hard time in your life and come through successfully, you will take the steps needed. I am confident that you can do it and I am sure that the situation will be resolved in a way that will make you happy but you have to take the steps. Additionally if you do ever feel like taking your life please call the Suicide Hotline in your area as well as tell someone who you are close to. Ending your life is never the answer because there is no going back.

Conclusion

Sister I understand this feels like it is unsolvable but it is. You have two choices. You can either get to know him and you may like him, or you may get to know him and you don’t like him. If you don’t like him you can call off the wedding. Granted, this should have been done a long time ago, but here yiu are now. You do have choices. Lastly dear sister, in regards to your frustrations about him not being rich, please ask yourself, was our beloved prophet Muhammad (PBUH) rich? We wish you the best.

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Question 5

Assalamu alaikum.. So, there was a boy i used to like him since many years..i always used to pray so that Allah makes him as my husband. And this continued for almost 5-6 years but we never had any kind of haram relation or something else..somehow i got to know that he also has feelings for me..but i was not sure of that as he never proposed..maybe bcs we both were studying..meanwhile oneday his elder brother suddenly proposed me..at first i refused as i always thought him as our elder brother i never felt anything for him..so as big brother i shared with him that his small brother likes me..i said him to ask his small brother whether his feelings for me was true..as i was not sure before..so the elder brother deceived me he told me that his younger brother doesn’t likes me and bla bla..and elder brother expressed that he loves me from so long time,etc..so somehow i developed a feeling for him..and during this time i prayed istikhara prayer constantly..when this marriage proposal went to my dad he rejected..no one agreed with this proposal from both families..and this elder brother hurted me so badly..i trusted him, i shared with him all my feelings..he didnt even askes sorry from me for what he did!! this happened 1.5 yrs ago..now suddenly i discovered that his younger brother used to like me seriously..but his elder brother lied about him to me..and this younger brother whom i used to like since so many years is absolutely like the man i want as my husband he is so good Alhamdulillah..so i now constantly feel regretful for what i did.. Allah showed me a glimpse that he(yb) likes me but i was badly decieved..i regret why i accepted his elder brothers proposal..I feel so guilty..I like him(yb) still now and nowadays this feeling has become so extreme..i feel like i betrayed with my true feelings..i suffer thinking why i let myself get deceived! i just cant forget what has happened with me past 6-7 years..i feel so depressed..what should i do with this feelings..i wish i could erase everything but memory! thats never possible..how should i deal with all this feelings!

As salamu alaykum,

Sister, as I understand your situation there was a boy that you used to like and he liked you. However as you kept the relationship halal you were not sure about his feelings towards you.

A Surprise Proposal

One day, his older brother, not the boy you liked- propose to you.  You were surprised and confused but none the less accepted once you received clarification from the boy who proposed that his younger brother did not like you. As it turned out neither family would say yes to this marriage.

Conversations

During the time that you were conversing with this older boy about marriage you did tell him that you thought his younger brother liked you but he said no. Sister you may have been inexperienced with conversations like this. It can be confusing because we expect others to be honest! However,  perhaps the older boy did not know his younger brother liked you, or he did and lied. If he knew, the boy is not going to say ’oh yes my brother likes you”.

A boy will not say this because he likes you and does not want any competition. I understand that this hurt you but at any rate the marriage did not go through which is a good thing. It is said that Allah will shut a door that is not good for us. Alhumdulilah Allah protects us.

Feeling Deceived and Regretful

I can imagine that this situation hurt you very much. Please don’t be too hard on yourself as you did not know. Too often people take responsibilities for things that they did not know, and they feel guilty or very sad. It would be different if one knew, but one cannot be held responsible for what one does not know.

Forgetting Hurtful Things

Sister, it appears that this happened a few years ago. Understandably it has still affected you and you wish you could forget it. Perhaps as time goes on the feelings well lessen. They say that time heals and that is true.

Conclusion

Sister I kindly suggest that you try to put all of this behind you and move forward with your life. Insha’Allah, you can use this experience moving forward in terms of dealing with others, especially men and proposals. Try to focus on the here and now, your current activities, studies, work, family, and so forth. Over time insha’Allah it will get better. We wish you the best.

Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021 | 05:00 - 06:00 GMT

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