Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Thank you for participating in the session.
Please find the 4 questions to which our counselor provided answers. If you do not find yours here, check out our upcoming session or submit it there again.
Thank you for your understanding.
Question 1. Being gifted and depressed
I know someone who was born exceptionally smart than others. However, he seemed to have a very depressing period in the last couple of years, he was prone to anxiety since he was young. He was told that being gifted is a barakah from Allah, but at the same time he could not understand why he is struggling with depression. He also believed this barakah was meant to help others. But I noticed a lot of people are using him, and left him eventually. My question is what’s the possible meaning behind this gifted talent along with severe depression? How can he “help” or “serve” others with this barakah if he was also born to be prone to depression?
Salam alaikom brother,
Thank you for your question. You know someone who was born exceptionally smart, masallah, but still seems to have a very depressing period in his life. He could not understand how these two things—being gifted and struggling with depression—can happen to him and what the possible meaning of this talent along with severe depression is.
Well, brother, this is an interesting question. When we talk about a gifted person, we are talking about someone who is blessed with exceptional intelligence, creativity, or natural ability in a single or multiple fields. https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/gifted
This ability is usually noticed at an early age, when the child starts to exceed expectations and accomplish at a notable level for his or her age group. These children usually need special education, care, and adjustment of their studies not only to foster their talent but also to avoid some mental health issues that can be directly linked to their condition.
And this is interesting, because would you think that a talented person could suffer any form of problem in school? But actually, research indicates that those who are gifted are also vulnerable and prone to certain mental health conditions. Read more here, here.
One study, for example, compared 49 gifted children aged 9-18 years and 56 age and gender-matched healthy children of normal intelligence. The findings suggest that gifted children are at risk in respect of mental health.
Why? Because they are usually bored in the class, they need a faster pace, more in-depth understanding, or more interest, and if they are not provided with this care, they end up losing interest, which leads to failing exams, etc. Not to mention the possible bullying and exclusion by their peers for being “different.” Also, maybe they themselves feel alone and a bit out of touch with others, and this isolates them from their peers and finally leads them to depression.
I have no more detail about your friend, so I am not sure, but this is a possible explanation for his mental health problems.
But there are other ways to see this problem too. For example, you know, Allah says in the Quran that we are all going to be tested somehow. We all have our weaknesses and strengths. And this means that while he has the strength of being smart, he can be tested with something else, like, for example, depression.
We human beings are complex, and having exceptional talent in one area of life does not guarantee success in other areas of life either. Not at all.
So, it is very important to have these expectations in line with reality. We will still need to make efforts in other areas of life, and can find ourselves in need of correction and improvement.
You mentioned that he thought that he was meant to serve others, yet he was used by some and left. I am not sure; this is just an example, but he may need to understand the difference between being positive and helpful and being naïve.
So, again, he will still have his challenges, face some difficulties, and have to learn to cope with them, aside from the main purpose of life, which is getting closer to Allah through His worship.
What can he do?
If he struggles with depression, the best thing you can do is support him in finding assessment and treatment. It would be good to find the root of his feelings; this will be the first step towards healing. Is it related to his giftedness or to something else, for example, problems with family, marriage, or work? Or is it rather a problem at a physiological level?
After diagnosis and proper treatment, a good Muslim counselor will be able to provide guidance on how to proceed and make the most out of his talent while helping him to cope with certain things that are either the consequences of his giftedness or not.
Here are some sources from our site for additional info: Why Are Some Gifted More Than Others?
May Allah make it easy for him,
Question 2. Irritated
I don’t know why, but I get irritated at everything my family does, I just want to run away. I wanna grow in life as much as possible. I am fed up with my family, my mom, my dad and brother. They don’t give me attention. I feel so lonely. I wanna run away but then again, my age. I am gonna be 28 this year. If I will run away now, they marriage will go on stake. I need peace, I wanna grow, I want to learn a lot of things, I am pissed up.
Salam alaikom dear sister,
Thank you for writing to us and sharing your struggle. From your letter, it seems that you are emotionally affected to a greater extent and that you are struggling with your family. You are feeling lonely, and you feel that they do not give you attention.
While you haven’t said exactly what bothers you, you did express some of your needs quite clearly, masallah: you want to grow, to learn a lot of things, and you need peace.
So, my question is, dear sister, have you tried to talk to them about these needs? Do they know what you would like to do and what plans you have for yourself? And if so, what are the obstacles you face?
It would be good if you could discuss with them what bothers you and what makes you feel fed up with them.
If you feel that they do not give you attention, it is understandable that that makes you feel lonely, even if you are an adult lady. It can lead to a wide variety of feelings, for example, not feeling loved and worthy. Check this out: Do You Love Your Self ? Let’s Find Out!
So, what I would suggest is to express your feelings to them, but with a focus on what you need and not what they do wrong. They might not know that their behavior makes you feel lonely and makes you want to run away.
It would also be good if you could talk to a counselor more in depth about these feelings to see what kind of beliefs are behind them. Also, it would be helpful to see whether there are some mental health issues behind it.
So, please, try to seek counseling and talk to someone who can lead a discussion about this with you. You can also try a trustworthy community member or friend who knows you and your family and can mediate between you and them.
And there is something else that caught my attention. You wrote that if you run away, their marriage (your parents) will be at stake. What exactly does this mean? Do they have problems in their marriage? Or do they have some disagreement between them about you?
I am asking this because I am wondering how their marriage can be dependent on you. If they have any form of conflict, it is something that they need to solve, even if the conflict is related to you, their daughter.
I cannot comment more on this, as you did not provide more details, but it would be good to think about this a little bit and see whether it is something that is really your responsibility or something beyond that.
So, sister, what I can tell you is to please try to calm down and see things from a bit of distance. If you are overwhelmed emotionally and struggle with distress, it is difficult to see things with more clarity. First, you need to calm down to be able to think about possible solutions.
Trust in Allah and turn to Him in your prayers. Just share with Him your struggle. Ask for His guidance and help, as He is the only source of help in need.
Try to increase your worship, add some extra dhikr or voluntary prayer, and listen to duas or recitations that help you calm your heart down. In His remembrance, you will find peace, in sha Allah.
May Allah make it easy for you.
Question 3. LS My Mother’s Family (Including Her) Doesn’t Approve Of Me Leaving Shia Islam And Denies Some Things in Shariah.
Ever since I left Shia Islam, my mother’s family (Including my mother) don’t like the decision and often attack me for doing so. I cannot deny the obvious truths that are in the Ahl as-Sunnah wa’l-Jamaah. My father (Including his family) is not a part of Shi’ism but is a part of the Ahl as-Sunnah wa’l-Jamaah. Every time I fold my hands during the prayer, or I don’t pray with the Turba, (The stone Shias use for Salah to put their forehead on) or I if I say “Ameen” loudly, or if I watch a scholar on Youtube they would say to stop watching them and watch Shia Youtubers. I hate it! I feel mad every time they want to suppress the true way of Islam. I feel pity for them for even being a part of Shi’ism. Even when I express my views to them such as the prohibition of music (Which I know this site doesn’t support the idea on the prohibition of music, but I am entitled to what I think based on the Hadiths) they complain to me stating that I am Wahabi, or Salafi or what not. My father always says to give Dawah to them, but I fear that they will look at me in a hostile way and think of me as a heretic, or extremist, or deviant. I don’t want to be questioned by Allah on the Day of Judgement as to why I haven’t pushed them to quit Shi’ism, but I fear for myself. Overall, they attack me for the true beliefs of the Ahl as-Sunnah wa’l-Jamaah. They try to call me back to the deviant ways of Shi’ism, and I always feel sad that they want to attack me so much. It isn’t recurring but whenever I bring up something about Islam it will usually lead to us talking about Shi’ism. And I don’t want to give Dawah to them because I fear for myself as stated above.
What advice can you give to me as a teenager that lives in a family that is torn into two schools of thought. One right, and one wrong. And a final question, I heard from the student of knowledge that it is impermissible to pray in Shia masjids because they attack Abu Bakr, Umar, and Uthman. (May Allah Be Pleased With Them)
Well, I have no choice! I want my prayers to be accepted, but if I refuse to pray at Shia masjids, they might look down on me and scold me and say that I am Wahabi or bad. Help me! I need an answer ASAP to all the questions. It is hard to live in the west.
Salam alaikom brother,
Thank you for writing to us.
You say that since you have left Shia Islam and you follow Ahl as-Sunnah wa’l-Jamaah, your mother and her family have attacked you. They try to tell you to follow other YouTubers; your father says to give Dawah to them. You also say that you do not want to pray in their masjid because you fear that your prayers won’t be accepted.
Brother, what I want to start with is that, masallah, you seem to have a lot of enthusiasm to practice your faith and follow the teachings of Islam. That is great, masallah, even so that you are young, a teenager, and that you live in the West.
I am a counselor not a scholar, but would like you to point out that, in my opinion, the most important thing is to focus on Allah and on your connection with Him. The real guidance and support are coming from our Creator, and our goal is to worship him alone without partners or intermediaries.
In our religious commitment and views, we might differ from our parents in one way or another. Whether you are a convert, a born Muslim with less practicing or other practicing parents, the experience is somehow similar.
But, you know, our families are also tests for us. And we are also commanded in the Quran to treat them with respect and kindness. So, even if you feel that you do think differently about religion, try to be respectful in your treatment and be patient with them.
Also, remember, that your mother and her family are also Muslims. They believe in Allah, the One. Yes, there are some differences but they do believe and practice the 5 pillars of Islam, just like you. So, focus on the common ground and try to notice the things you share not the one that divide you in faith.
You say you feel pity for them and hate when they suppress the true way of Islam. I advise you to think about your feelings and make sure that they do not originate from pride and feelings of superiority over those who think differently than you do. Because that might come from somewhere else and not from pure intentions about wishing good for others. This was not the approach of our beloved Prophet, peace be upon him, either, even with his enemies. Read more about it here.
Your father says you can try to give dawah to them. This makes me wonder whether your father also follows the creed as you or not. If so, think about the fact that, despite this, he is married to your mother, and you are one family, masallah. I am not sure, but this shows a good level of acceptance and tolerance towards each other. And why is this a good approach?
Because, brother, all is in the hands of Allah. He changes or turns away our hearts, when He wants it.
So, while you surely feel the need to spread the truth and give the message about what you find true, it is finally beyond your control.
It is natural that you want to share your views with your loved ones and family, you want to correct them, enjoin good, and forbid wrong. Also, you would like to feel that you are on the same page, but this is not about being able to convince each other or not. It is to know that your hearts are finally in the hands of Allah and that you are focusing on your deeds and relationship with Him.
If you like debates and follow YouTubers who engage in them about religion, please also keep in mind that there are other ways to catch the hearts of others. It might be good for you, but maybe your mother has another way to connect with religion and spirituality, and it is not through intellectual debates about the deen.
So, what can you do?
Try to set an example with your good manners and the way you strive for the deen. Your good manners and good deeds will tell more than debates about who is right and who is wrong. Believe me, this latter is less effective in convincing someone, as it naturally leads to a kind of defense and rejection of the other person’s point of view.
Good behavior and kindness are the best ways, so just try to be kind and practice your faith. This way, there is no need to fear that they will see you as an extremist or radical. Try not to see it as a battle of right and wrong, as they are finally your family.
At the same time, you can make dua for them and ask Allah to guide them.
May Allah make it easy for you,
Question 4. Trust issues prior to marriage
Assalam Alaykoum, I have a couple of inquiries.
I’ve never had a boyfriend as I am saving myself for marriage, which is something that is dear to my heart. I want to build a relationship with someone that will help me better myself as a Muslim, take care of me & genuinely love me all the time. I pray to Allah swh a lot for this. But I also fear being in love with men because most men I’ve got to see in my life always 1st made sure that their wives have full trust on them & then after realizing their trust these men kind of backstabs their wives trust by spending time & nights with other women afterwards. Also, as I’m studying in a co-ed educational institute for now & I get to talk with the male classmates often & most of their opinions & activities always indicates that they want multiple wives or female partners to spend their time with in the future.
In such situations I honestly lost all my hope for a genuinely loving spouse & on the men as whole too. I honestly feel like no matter what I’ll do I’ll never have a spouse who’ll actually love only me as his only women meanwhile not having any desire for any other women. I also don’t wanna go into a relationship before marriage. But if I were to get married to someone who’s unknown to me is a good religious person. That will also be tough. Because I also feel like it’s kind of impossible to share my life with someone whom I wouldn’t know anything about.
Now my exact question is there anything that I can do to have a spouse who will actually only love me?
Also is there anything that I can do before marriage to know that person’s true love /intrest/ intentions?
Wa alaikom salam, dear sister,
Thank you for writing to us.
Masallah, you say that you are saving yourself for marriage. You also present concrete expectations: find someone who will help you be a better Muslim, who will take care of you, and who will genuinely love you all the time.
At the same time, you fear being in love because you see men backstabbing their wives trust after marriage, and this same conclusion you derive from the opinions of your classmates too.
Well, sister, there are some things to unpack here.
First of all, let me start with the last statement: that you do not want to be with anyone you do not know anything about. So, I want to tell you that you do not need to, alhamdulillah.
During the marriage search and courting period, you have the right to meet and find out as much as possible about your future spouse. Of course, in a halal setting, you do have the opportunity to ask genuine questions you are interested in, and you can expect answers and base your decision on them.
So, what you can do is think about and write down your must-haves and your dealbreakers. The things you really want and need in a spouse, and those you cannot stand or do not want to have in your life at all. Being religious and trustworthy, for example, can be one of these must-haves in your case.
I also recommend that you define these concepts prior to the meetings and make sure that you mean the same thing when you talk about them. What does religiosity mean to you? What does it mean to be trustworthy? Your candidate may have different ideas about what these concepts signify, so it is very important to clarify that during your conversations.
Regarding your expectations, it is very good, sister, and very important that you know what you want prior to the marriage. At the same time, make sure that your expectations are not too idealistic.
When it comes to marriage, sometimes we fall into the trap of thinking that our happiness and way to Jannah are not our responsibility but those of our spouses. But actually, it is yours. You are responsible for your deen and for successfully navigating your marriage, and this goes for both of you.
Imagine what happens if both of you expect the other to make your marriage successful. Will you progress if the responsibility is left in the hands of your spouse?
So, the approach should be rather, “What can I add to this to make it work?” or “What will I bring to this marriage to make it happy?” again for both of you. This means that both of you will come with the attitude and willingness to take action and improve for the better.
You mention genuine love in your letter too. What does this mean for you? Having someone who is supportive and non-judgemental certainly means a lot for your general well-being. But it is also true that despite having this attitude, you will still face conflict and misunderstandings. It is good to be prepared to deal with these differences while knowing that these are not signs of not being loved by the other.
And this links to the last point I want to share with you.
You say that you see marriages where men backstab their wives and spend time with other women. And your conclusion is similar when you talk with your classmates.
Well, do not say that what you have experienced does not exist, sister, because surely it does. Especially if your peers are non-Muslims, as in non-Muslim society, norms and views on women-men relationships are different.
But I would like to point out that there are contrary examples too, even if we switch roles. So, this has to do with our perception of these relationships.
Why do you notice those that support your beliefs? Our mind works this way; we filter out information that would challenge our views and beliefs. This way, we keep feeding our thoughts and feelings—the negative ones too—about certain things and ignore others that would be more supportive and positive.
So, I would like to ask you to challenge these views by searching explicitly for counterevidence to your statement. Look around and note down those relationships you know where husbands did not “make sure that their wives had full trust in them & then after realizing their trust, these men kind of backstabbed their wives trust by spending time & nights with other women afterwards.” Or where this happened, but the wives did the same.
You may see that the reality is more diverse.
Read some more about trust here.
If you think that these thoughts about trust and lack of trust are rooted somewhere on a deeper level and have to do with earlier childhood experiences about trust and safety with loved ones, I recommend you seek counseling to talk about these issues and put them into another perspective.
May Allah help you with it!
Monday, Jun. 12, 2023 | 09:00 - 10:00 GMT
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