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Ask the Counselor Q/A About Family & Marital Problems

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Thank you for participatig in the session.

Please find the 6 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. Pictures and social media

I recently got engaged, and ever since my talking stage I have deleted all of my images on social media due to what my fiancé and I agreed upon. He as well does not post himself on his own social pages. We both are in separate universities, and he is extroverted while I’m am the complete opposite. He is a part of many school clubs and organizations and I am not. I don’t Even go to events (he’s not allowed either) because I feel it’s not beneficial most of the time for me. We both have a sense of protective jealousy and I feel like I have more than he does. Recently one of his school clubs posted his selfies and pictures with other girls.  I immediately brought this to his attention: And reminded him I did not like the fact he consented to other women taking pictures with and OF him. He justifies the argument by saying men CAN be seen and women can’t. While I agree for the most part, I personally do not want my significant other posting images with other women. I do Like The fact other he consented to other women taking images of him. Am I being unreasonable?

Salam alaikom, dear sister,

Thank you for turning to us.

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You are engaged, and it seems to me, according to your letter, that you have agreed upon with your fiancé some guidelines regarding your social interactions. You say that you both have a sense of protective jealousy, but you feel like you have more than him.

You also say that you think that you are a more introverted person, while he is more of a social and outgoing person. And both things are fine, alhamdulillah, while it is also a test to tolerate and learn to love and respect the differences in each other.

Actually, these differences can be a good source of blessing for a couple and serve as a means of self-development. For example, with time together, you may start appreciating social activities while he learns to enjoy being less socially involved. You both grow, unless these differences are so “extreme” that it makes it difficult to compromise.

So, first, I would make sure that you both approach the marriage with this open and tolerant attitude towards differences of opinion and attitude.

As you live in the West, social activities follow different guidelines, involving free-mixing, teamwork, and shared activities with the opposite gender. And it is quite inevitable that one finds himself or herself in awkward or uncomfortable situations as a Muslim.

What can you do?

I think intention plays a huge role in our interactions. So, you both have to make sure that you approach these situations with taqwa. I would say that instead of total prohibition, try to learn to deal with them realistically and understand that in Western societies some form of interaction WILL happen, whether in school, work, the education system of your future children, shopping, etc. So what matters is to have a respectful, kind, but formal relationship with the opposite sex.

If Allah occupies your mind and your heart in your dealings, it is more likely that you will not get confused between right and wrong in your interactions.

Please check these articles for more on this topic:

How Much Can I Socialize with Opposite Gender Without Sinning?

Tips For Transitioning to College and Dealing With Opposite Sex

15+ Common Questions on Interactions with Opposite Gender

Also bear in mind that non-Muslims most often are not aware of our guidelines, so they do not know our boundaries until we set them. We cannot expect from them that they know how to behave with Muslims, and what is normal and unintentional for them may not mean the same for us. We have the responsibility to educate non-Muslims about our social norms.

For some Muslims, this may go easily, while others may comply outwardly, even if their hearts do not do that. Remember the hadith:

“Whoever of you sees an evil, let him change it with his hand; and if he is not able to do so, then [let him change it] with his tongue; and if he is not able to do so, then with his heart—and that is the weakest of faith.” [Muslim]

Regarding the selfies of your fiancé, I would approach him with an open discussion instead of questioning him. What happened? What was the context? Did he have the opportunity to refuse taking those images?

As only Allah knows what is in our hearts, it is always wiser to ask about his intention and what he felt was right in a particular situation, regardless of what he was able to achieve, instead of making assumptions. Maybe he did not feel comfortable either; he just struggled to express his views. And if this happens, a supportive and encouraging attitude will help him next time.

Learn to trust

Furthermore, trust in a relationship is always a test. Our level of trust sometimes says more about our confidence in ourselves than about the other person.

So, if you feel that you are struggling with trusting him, ask yourself: What makes you feel not good enough or “jealous”? As you said, protective jealousy is good and healthy to an extent, but you need to be honest with yourself and recognize if your jealousy is more than that.

You may seek online some exercises and worksheets to improve your self-esteem and enter the marriage with self-confidence about your worthiness as a young Muslimah and wife. As jealousy can lead to control, too much control can harm the relationship, cause conflict, and cause fights.

Check out this article by Umm Zakiyyah: Is Trust in Marriage Really that Important?

Here are some additional tips on developing trust in each other as a couple:

  • have open, sincere, and non-judgmental communication. If one feels that they cannot speak without being judged, next time they may withhold details, and that unfavors trust.
  • The ability and practice of forgiveness are a must in a relationship. We all make mistakes, and it brings relief if both of you feel safe admitting that.
  • Try not to bring up past mistakes after they were discussed. Better focus on the future.
  • Have Allah in between your dealings; He is the One who will hold both of you accountable for your deeds.

I hope these tips will help.

May Allah bless your future marriage. ameen

Question 2. Marriage Issues

Assalamualaikum, I have been married for many years and I want to mention during intimacy I naturally don’t feel the touch of my spouse and feel disgusted and angry after wards.

Also in my daily life, I’m not fully satisfied by the level of physical and emotional needs I get from him as I’m a sensitive and have high or extreme desire for love, affection and care. I mentioned to him but he does get annoyed and it stays as its. I’m distressed and is this a valid reason for divorce due to high need physical and emotional care, love and support. 

Wa alaikom salam, sister,

Thank you for sharing your struggles.

Intimacy plays a huge role in marital success and satisfaction, so your concern is understandable. May Allah make it easy for you.

I understand your disappointment and your distress, but I also have to point out that finding ways to fulfill your desires will naturally decline your interest in solving the problem between both of you. So, I advise you to take it as a test from Allah and see what you can do to pass it.

It is a huge blessing if both of you are on the same page regarding intimacy. But if this does not happen naturally—and this happens frequently—there are some things to do to improve your intimate relationship.

Your physical and emotional needs do matter, sister, and I am not sure when or how you have tried to talk to him about this.

Non-verbal communication

For men, this can be an especially sensitive topic, and sometimes they do not know how to react verbally to this kind of criticism. You say he gets annoyed, but maybe this does not mean that he does not care; he may not be confident enough. Even a situation can trigger feelings of not being good enough, which leads to further isolation and a lack of expression of love for you.

So, you may choose an extra-careful approach and make sure that you praise him, mention the things you like about him, and reassure him about your love before trying to discuss this issue.

Even if you think that verbal discussion is not the best option for him, you may choose another approach and try to guide him towards your preferences during intimacy in a non-verbal but demonstrative manner.

Creativity also plays a role, so what about seeking other ways to enjoy marital life? Check out these articles:  10 Romantic Sunnahs from Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) Why Love Language Matters In Relationships?  Five Types of Intimacy to Practice with Your Spouse For Married Couples: Improve Your Intimacy with These Tips, or search for more online:

During intimacy, there is communication at another level, and the couple does sense each other, as does negativity, fear, or disgust. So, make sure that you put aside your feelings and approach these situations with patience and love.


Being able to communicate about intimacy can help us feel closer to each other. And both of you need to know that here there is no right and wrong, as emotional and physical needs and desires are subjective. Naturally, there can be many differences between spouses, even with physical attraction present. The goal is to learn each other’s “love language” and be able to give and express love the way the other understands it. This may take time and patience, but the reward is tranquility and love.

And one of His signs is that He created for you spouses from among yourselves so that you may find comfort in them. And He has placed between you compassion and mercy. Surely in this are signs for people who reflect. (30:21)

It is important to set up this perspective. Why? Because this way, no one feels offended by a discussion and takes criticism personally. It is about adjusting and harmonizing your personal needs as a couple, which should happen with empathy and without judgement.

If you think that a marriage counselor can help with that, you may involve a third person to guide you.

There are also many self-help books about intimacy and the main differences between males and females when it comes to our emotional and physical needs. Yes, there are differences; it is normal and part of our journey to discover and learn them in order to grow together. I advise you to check out some of this literature; even by Muslim authors, there are some excellent guides for spouses. You may share it with your husband and learn together.

Responding to your question about divorce, before contemplating it, make sure that you try all means to generate change and do it for the sake of Allah, with patience and compassion. We all have our strengths and weaknesses. Focus on what unites both of you and make those things your starting point.

The key is patience, understanding, and taqwa—being able to learn about each other for the sake of Allah.

May Allah make it easy for you and bless your initiative!

Question 3. Marrying a bisexual

I have married a man whose father was a gay for 4 years but I moved in with him two years after.

Only after getting married to him, I caught his chat and exchange of pictures with men. When I confronted him, he said he is bisexual. He defines them URGES. He has dated men in past but he says he never had been with any man. Just being around them, for playing, kissing and hugging.

I love my husband and I want to know what does Isam say about marrying a bisexual. I also do not have very pleasant sex life with him, he says it is normal for all his friends. Please advise me. I have recently told my mum, she asked me to seek a divorce, we fight a lot ever since I have had my nikkah done. I was very upset when I knew that my husband had relationships with men, my life turned upside down. But I love him, I cannot leave him, but I want to do what does ISLAM say. Now he does not date men, but whenever we fight, he watches male p**n. He admits, and we fight a lot. Please advise me in the light of Islam. Jazakallahukhairan

Salam alaikom wa rahamtullah, dear sister,

Thank you for sharing your struggles.

This marital problem originates from your husband and his sexual orientation, yet you are the one who seeks advice. In this particular case, it will be quite difficult to generate change from one side only. I will share some tips with you on how to approach this challenge, but he has to be actively committed to change too.

You say that his father was gay. I’m not sure whether your husband was born Muslim or not, and to what extent was his father’s attitude openly expressed and practiced at home? I am not sure what the nature of the relationship with his father was or how it is now.

Having a homosexual parent may not be the direct consequence of having same-sex desires, although being exposed to and witnessing intimacy in an inappropriate manner when young can influence attitudes and desires, and studies point out other emotional consequences. This can happen in the case of some form of abuse or traumatic experience too, although your letter does not mention anything like that.

It would be very good if he could unpack his history with a counselor, a professional who has the right approach to exploring his early experiences that might or might not lead to current struggles.  

In Islam, sexual or romantic intimacy is only possible within the boundaries of marriage, and marriage is only possible between a man and a woman. Everything that is outside of it is some form of zina. Zina is not only sexual intercourse; there is zina of eyes, ears, words, etc. 

Read more here: What Is The Real Meaning of Zina (Adultery)?

Furthermore, Muslims are required to not act upon their same-sex desires; this is considered a sin. Note that what is sinful is not thoughts and desires, but acting upon them. This includes “foreplaying, kissing, hugging” with lust, and watching male porn too.

With this being said, your husband’s involvement in these actions is not allowed, and he has to repent, seek forgiveness, and stay away from them.

He has to try his best to fight against these urges and focus on desires and intimacy that are acceptable in the sight of Allah.

What he can do is make conscious efforts to switch his focus and not watch or get involved in relationships. If he is distressed, he needs to find other means to find relief and ease. It takes commitment and effort to unlearn a habit and substitute it with another, acceptable one. But it is definitely possible to do that, either alone or with the help of a professional.

What can you do?

Regarding your question, yes, it is possible to be married with him until he fulfills your marital rights for intimacy, and he is trying his best to combat these desires. It may be his test, and may Allah reward his efforts. I am not a scholar, so for a more specific answer on permissibility, please write to our scholar.

Sister, I understand your disappointment, but the best thing you can do is be as supportive of him as possible. You said he stopped dating, so it seems that he is trying to fight these desires. Encourage him and recognize his efforts. Also, recognize and value his sincerity and willingness to talk about it. Try to understand his struggles from his point of view and not minimize them; for him, they can be huge, but not as much for you. Discussions and fights, as you can see, won’t bring any success; they just make the situation more complicated.

It is surely a test for both of you. If he is tested by his desires, you have to know that it is not about you. It is his personal struggle, and he may need you next to him to not be against him. Of course, your feelings of disappointment and hurt are valid ones, and you can talk about them without blaming him because he may not want to cause you harm intentionally. Keep loving and sincere communication and support each other through this challenge; together, you may overcome it, in sha Allah.

Help him find a Muslim counselor who can provide a faith-based approach and show your love and care for him. You may go to marriage counseling together if that can help. And you can also seek individual counseling and learn skills to cope with this challenge.

May Allah make it easy for both of you. ameen

Question 4. Marry to a married man


I am 26 yrs old…I want to marry a man who is previously married and as a son he said it was a forced marriage he had a lot of family pressure….i understand his situation as I knew him since a long time….I am ready to marry him but my mother is against it what should I do???

Salam alaikom dear sister,

Thank you for contacting us. As I understand it, you want to marry a man who was previously married, and his marriage was a forced marriage with a lot of family pressure.

I am not sure if I understand well his situation now: is he still married or has he divorced from his wife?

Whichever the case is, your mother is opposing this marriage, and you are not sure what to do now.

Family members cannot be forced to marry or marry not to someone and reject a marriage without sound Islamic reasons. Sound Islamic reasons are those that impede your ability to fulfill your rights as a Muslim wife or are based on duties that are beyond your responsibility. For example, a lack of piety, good character, and unislamic manners can be these reasons, as can an inability or unwillingness to provide for you and your future family. 

Check this article about the rights of the wife.

So, if your mother’s reasons are in line with the Islamic reasons, you have to take a second thought on your marriage plans and see whether these obstacles can be fixed; otherwise, it is better for you to stay away from the marriage.

On the other hand, getting married to a divorced man or becoming a second wife are not Islamic reasons to reject a marriage.

These situations will set up different circumstances, and it is very advisable that you carefully reflect on what it means in terms of practicalities if you are a second wife or married to someone who has kids from a previous marriage. As your husband will have some obligations towards his other family, you have to set realistic expectations about what it means in day-to-day life in terms of free time, expenses, etc. Check out our Family section; we have very rich content on these.

If you are aware of these possible challenges and are okay with them, you should be able to proceed with the marriage.

What can you do?

Try to talk to your mother and explain to her that you have thought about it, and try to convince her that you know what you are doing.

Make dua to open the heart of your mother and also that Allah show you the right thing to do.

If this marriage is meant to happen, it will, and if not, the future holds something more suitable for you. Just trust in the perfect plan of Allah and seek His pleasure in your choices.

I hope this helps.

May Allah make it easy for you.

Question 5. Husband has strange behavior

We are married for 5 years. We have a child. We do not have any financial issues, family issues or other type of issues. We both earn well living good life. We are both practicing Muslims. However, there is one issue I am facing couple of years and I do not know the reason. My husband does not like to sleep with me in the same bed. He gives excuses and avoids. Most of the nights he will be in the couch watching TV or talking to his family members back home in loudspeaker. Secondly, without any reason or any fight he stops talking to me for a week or 2. In a month he stays like this for 25 days or more, only 5 days he will talk to me. He does not care about me, does not show love or affection. I tried communicating with him, asked him why he does this, cried to him but nothing bothers him. He is continuously doing it. As far as I know he does not have extra marital affair and he is not that type of guy. I feel so depressed and lonely as here I do not have any family members or friends. Please tell me something that will provide peace to my heart. How to overcome my mental stress? Its bothering me for years. 

Salam alaikom, dear sister,

Thank you for sharing your struggles.

I am really sorry for this situation; it must be very hard to deal with these silent periods in your marriage without any apparent reasons.

What you present in your letter is quite strange and, by no means, is a normal way of living marital life. It would be very good to hear what your husband has to say about this situation and what his possible reasons are for this behavior. I am sure that there must be some reason behind this, whether it is apparent or not to you.

Marriage is meant to bring tranquility, love, and mutual support between the couple. You, as a wife, have the right to kind and good treatment and intimacy, and this goes beyond financial support. Of course, your husband also has the right to intimacy, to enjoy your company, and to be treated well. So, it would be very important to know what makes him deny his own rights and yours as well.

There can be multiple reasons: mental illness, unhappiness with his current situation, or some personal struggles that make him unable to be in contact with you. I am not trying to guess here; he is the one who knows what is happening and why.

My first question is: Was he always like this? Or did something happen? Do you remember when this behavior started? Was this a consented marriage from both sides?

Whatever the answers are, it is clear that you are not happy in this situation. It is also clear that you do not have to endure treatment like this as a wife. This is not the way to deal with marital conflicts. The spouses have to have mutual respect for the sake of Allah and a willingness to solve any underlying issues between them and not ignore or hide from conflict.

What can you do?

Try to sit down and talk to him in a calm and friendly way. No offense, no blaming; just let him know that you are not happy in a situation like this, and in order to continue this marriage, you need some sort of change.

You can explain to him how his behavior makes you feel and what you need as a wife. Also, you can tell him that you love him and would like to see him happy too, so ask what you can do for him.

Be kind but firm in your willingness to generate change. You can offer him options to choose from in order to fix this marriage, but he has to choose one and commit himself. Like, for example, talking to the family and involving them, going to a marriage counselor, going to an imam together, taking a marriage course together, trying to fix it between you two, etc.

Also, if you sit down to talk to him, be open to his words and let him talk freely about how he really feels. He may be more sincere with you if he feels that you are empathic, understanding, and non-judgmental, even if you hear something that is difficult to digest first. (I do not mean enduring insults or disrespect, just being strong and fair enough to accept possible criticism.)

Be supportive of his struggle, and try to stand by him if it turns out that he needs some help. Whether regarding his mental health, family issues, or something else

Explain to him that you both deserve a happy and harmonious marital life and that you are ready and willing to commit to changing and fixing this situation. And that our religion strongly emphasizes reconciliation, while we need to recognize that a good marriage requires continuous work and efforts from both sides.

I hope this helps, sister. May Allah make it easy for you.

Question 6. Overcoming loss of loved one

I am unable to accept and overcome my husband’s sudden death.  The more time is passing, the more difficult and more regret for many things, is taking over. It’s too much, unable to handle.

My husband married another woman without my knowledge, under his family pressure and as a grudge against my father, my father was not letting me reunite with my husband. Later when I got to know, I forgave him and accepted it. Now he died suddenly. Is there any kaffara/ sadaqah that I can do on his behalf, so that he can be forgiven.

My husband died suddenly and was buried in another country.  I am dying to visit his grave and meet him. I don’t have my visa / resources.  Please guide.

Salam alaikom wa rahmatullah, dear sister

Thank you for writing. I am really sorry to hear of your struggle with the loss of your husband. May Allah forgive him and grant him the highest ranks in Jannah. May Allah ease your suffering and bring you relief.

As I understand it, your husband married someone without your knowledge. You forgave him and accepted his other marriage prior to his death. But due to his family’s pressure and your father’s disagreement, you were not allowed to reunite with him.

He died in a different country, so I assume that you were not allowed to follow him and that he lived / was there with his other wife when he died suddenly.

Now you are struggling to accept his death and handle this loss. You would also like to visit his grave but have no visa or means to do that.

Sister, this situation is very much a reminder of the Quranic verse about being tested with loss. It is a promise that we “surely, certainly will be tested” with the experience of loss. And good tidings for the patients.

I know that knowing that this will happen to all of us does not mean that we are not going to suffer or that a loss cannot surprise us. But Allah is the perfect planner and the timer of all things.

For some reason, it had to happen this way. And probably you suffer too because, according to what I understand from your letter, the circumstances and the decisions of other family members limited your “free will” to get united with him. Things went against your plan, which can make it even more difficult to accept the situation.

Sadaqa for the deceased 

It is recommended and commendable to do good deeds and worship in the name of our loved ones. This, not only spiritually but also psychologically, can ease the suffering caused by grief. It is some form of continuation of the legacy of the death and a help in transiting into the new reality without him in this life.

You can also make dua to Allah to forgive him and grant him Jannah. That is also a beautiful way to think about a loved one who has passed.

However, you ask, “is there any kaffara/ sadaqah that I can do on his behalf, so that he can be forgiven?” I am not sure whether it is just a confusing use of wording. I might misunderstand your intention, but what I would like you to know is that it won’t depend on you whether he will be forgiven or not. It depends on the rahma and mercy of Allah and is beyond our control. Your extra worship and deed in his name will surely count on the Last Day in his favor, and it will surely affect your account positively on that day too.

Sister, please try to let go of this guilt; you do need to hold on to this weight, as what happened is not your fault.

Grief has its stages, and there can be points where we feel responsible for the death of another. We might ask questions like, What if I did this or that? It would not happen this way. etc. If you struggle with these types of doubts, know that it is normal and that you are in the healing process.

Also, try to look at it from the perspective of Qadr: Allah, for some reason, has planned it this way. It had to happen this way; it was out of your control. And He, Allah, surely knows what is and was in your heart and in the heart of your husband when he died, and this is what matters.

Forgiveness may also play a role in your healing. So, try to forgive him, your father, and his family for the whole situation. No one is perfect, and probably everyone has their reasons and even good intentions. Try to talk to your father. Try to talk these things out with him.

You may set up a role-playing situation and imagine that your husband is there, talking to you (and you can involve your father, if you wish so). Try to talk things out with each other, forgive each other, let your father say what he wants to “him”, and you may do the same thing.

If you feel that you are not ready for that, you may write your thoughts in a letter addressed to him. You may say good-bye or just write down your plans with him.

Finally, give yourself time. The grieving process is normal, even between 6 and 12 months after death. So, take your time to properly grieve and to experience sadness, an inability to cope, a wide variety of emotions, inertia, even anger, etc. Read more about the natural mourning process to be able to recognize these stages and make sure that you are on the way of healing and accepting this reality.

Be understanding of yourself and accept your own struggles. It is not meant to be easy, but it is meant to be bearable. In hard times, remember the verse and dua from the Quran:

Allāh does not charge a soul except [with that within] its capacity. It will have [the consequence of] what [good] it has gained, and it will bear [the consequence of] what [evil] it has earned. “Our Lord, do not impose blame upon us if we have forgotten or erred. Our Lord, and lay not upon us a burden like that which You laid upon those before us. Our Lord, and burden us not with that which we have no ability to bear. And pardon us; and forgive us; and have mercy upon us. You are our protector, so give us victory over the disbelieving people.” Quran 2:286

May Allah make it easy for you, ameen.

Friday, Nov. 24, 2023 | 09:00 - 10:00 GMT

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