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Ask the Counselor (Q/A Session)

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.

Question 1.

An issue came up between myself, eldest sibling/their spouse. Since then my sibling/spouse
have been kind but I do feel discomfort from them and there is lost of trust/closeness. This
has had an effect on my relationship with my immediate family and now I am feeling
estranged from them as well.

Assalamu alaikum wa rahamatulahi wa barakatuh sister,

It can be uncomfortable when something negative happens with other family members which
may cause continued distance. Depending on what the issue was originally may to a large
extent influence the way thus distance is kept and for how long. We know that, as Muslims,
we are to value our family highly and this is what adds to the discomfort- that by keeping a
distance and reducing interaction, this becomes going against an obligation which then adds
another level of discomfort. It is an experience that most people have experienced to some
extent or another and there are ways to amend the situation, in sha Allah.

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Firstly, consider the amount of time that had elapsed since the said event. When something
first occurs, the event is fresh, people are still ruminating over it, running the events over in
their head, asking themselves why they did what they did, mulling over how things could’ve
been different if someone had done something differently..etc.. so many things are running
through the mind that often it leads to preoccupation and distraction for some period of time.
With the natural passage of time, the level of dominance that these thoughts play in one’s
mind will go down and emotions around it will be less heightened. On occasion, it is possible
that it is entirely forgotten and relationships naturally resume as the bonds are rebuilt.

However, this doesn’t always happen, especially if the event was a big one where people got
hurt. This is where it becomes difficult to move on, even as the thoughts related to the trigger
event reduce. On the other hand, whilst there many still be animosity between the people
involved, after some time has passed, it becomes easier to now think about solutions to fix the

So, in your case, firstly I’d suggest asking yourself if you still feel its early days
since the event occurred and if some more time may ttherefore be required to allow emotions
to settle further both for you and your sibling and their spouse. The fact that you are now able
to recognise the current distance suggested that perhaps it is steadily reaching this point.
Whether you are ready tontry and make amends yet, or whether you still need time, you can
use this space to think more broadly about the situation and try to get to the root of it, at least
from your side anyway. At least if you can settle things in your own mind, then this will make
things easier for you emotionally, whilst also adding to the ease of moving on for all of you.

For now, you can focus on your own interpretation of what happened. Go through the event
and ask yourself how and why it happened? What caused it? And what was your role in the
whole situation? As you do this, remember, it has already happened and there is nothing you
can do to change things. Right now, you are here to process things and move forward and thus
begins by reflecting on what happened. As you establish your role in the event, also consider
what must’ve been going on for your sibling and their spouse also. If you feel that they did
something wrong, try to understand how that might have come about. Was it just that they
were having a bad day? Or is there something deeper and more enduring that’s going on? Was
it a one off event, or has it been going on for some time? Is there a deeper issue going on between you and your sibling that hasn’t been resolved and the spouse has become part of it
simply because she became a close family member, rather than having gotten involved

Is it that this event has been blown out of proportion and is actually a product of
a building subconscious feeling that has been going on for sometime? If this is the case, then
this requires deeper thinking to consider why this barrier is there and how to make steps to
remove the barrier so that the relationship with your sibling can be establish again. If this is
not the case and it was actually just a random 1 off event, then it may be easier to let go and
move on. In this case, make excuses for them. Perhaps something negative had been going in
behind the scenes for them that you weren’t aware of and this caused them to behave in a way
that facilitated this negative event occurring. In sha Allah, if this is the case then it’ll be easier
to fix the situation and move on.

Either way, when you are ready and feel that your emotions around what happened have
tamed and you are ready to address things calmly then you can start making steps to build
bridges. You can’t control what happened, but you can take control in moving forward. It is
probably best to start by making the move with your sibling alone first. You have known your
sibling all your lives and so know best how to approach them. Invite your sibling over, or out
somewhere together where you can have further discussion. They may also be feeling the
same way as you, or perhaps have even already moved on. Without further discussion you
will never know. Discuss what happened and how it made you feel and what your current
concerns are. Ask your sibling to do the same and listen attentively, even if in the moment
you disagree with what is being said. Hearing your sibling and allowing them to observe that
you are can play a huge role in moving on as it demonstrates mutual respect t for one another.
It may even explain things for you in a way you hadn’t even considered. Likewise, for your
sibling also. Either way, it’ll open the doors to open and honest discussion between you,
enabling you all to move forward, in sha Allah. Often having this space for discussion to get
things off your chests can be enough.
If you anticipate that things may get a bit heated, or if they do, perhaps you might think about
inviting a mutual third party, or even have this discussion in counselling, to the discussion
who will be able to allow the discussion to occur in a safe space as well as be able to offer an
outsider perspective that is in no way emotionally invested in whatever has happened.
Sometimes when negative events happen, things can be taken out of proportion and a third
party can help to bring things back again so that more rational and relevant discussions can be
Otherwise, in the midst of all this, remember that thus is your sibling. You share the same
blood, the same history, you probably know each other better than anyone. You will have
shared memories over the years. Reminisce over the positive ones. Do this together. Laugh
together. Lighted the mood and remember the moments where you were closest and let
thisnbe a platform for positive dialogue moving forward.
May Allah make it easy for you to overcome this challenge. May He make it easy to build
bridges with your sibling and establish a positive relationship once more. May He make you
the coolness of each others eyes in this life and the next facilitating many more happy
memories to come.

Question 2.

I have bene married for 2 years and i am currently in the UK and my husband is abroad due
to financial issues I had to come back here. However, his mum who is divorced 2nd time and
his sister have caused alot of issues between us, recently it has gotten worse and my
husband has said he will not speak up or defend me when they disrespect me. It would be
different if he did not believe them or alllow them to interfere but he gets brainwashed and
always says they arw right no matter what they say or do. What do I do.. he said due to this
he doesnt care if we get a divorce. 

Assalamu alaikum wa rahamatulahi wa barakatuh sister,

At the moment, you and your husband are living separately which can be difficult enough as
it is. However, you are now also faced with the added burden of his mother and sister
seemingly having a problem with you also. To top it all off, it seems that your husband is
taking their side and it’s causing additional friction with you and your husband.
This situation may be more difficult to resolve since you are living in different countries and
so would rely solely on distance communication. Whilst this is great because it allows for
contact to be made anytime, the lack lack of face to face contact can mean that non verbal
cues can be missed a lot more easily and messages can get misinterpreted causing
additional unnecessary difficulties. Do keep this in mind also as you work through resolving
the issue.
Since your husband doesn’t seem to want to understand the role of your mother and sister in
this, and may even get further heated if you bring them in to the discussion, whether present
or not, you might focus solely on the 2 of you first before raising this as an issue. At the
moment you are living separately which is not ideal in a marriage, especially in the early days
like this. You have only been married for 2 years which would usually be where bonds are
increased and happy memories are made. You have no children and so can focus on just the
2 of you for now.

It is important to have discussions about your future, where you see
yourselves moving forward. What are your plans looking like with regards to reuniting? It is
important to have these discussions early on to ensure you’re both on the same page,
working towards the same goal. This discussion alone will help to bring you together, in sha
Allah, as you are establishing this common goal.
In sha Allah, these discussions, without mention of his mum and sister will help to strengthen
your marriage and naturally move forward without being impacted by any interference from
his mum and sister. Hopefully this will also deter them from getting involved as they see they
are no longer having any impact.
However, there is a chance that it won’t be that simple. It may be that they are still able to
hold some kind of negative influence on your husband and marriage. Whilst you can’t do
anything about the way they behave, you can control the way you respond in a way that will
dampen any potential heightened emotions. The first way you might do this is to remember
that your husband has always been in their life, he is their mahram and has been taking care
of them in some way or another for a long time, since far before you entered their lives. In
their eyes, you have now come along and taken part of that away from them. This isn’t a bad
thing. This is what marriage is. It is an additional commitment for both spouses. He now has
you to take care of as well as his mother and sister. To them, it probably feels like they have
lost part of him and so naturally will have hard feelings to the one who has ’taken him away’,
I.e. you. Now, whilst you have not done this maliciously, they might be inclined to feel this
way whether consciousnessly or unconsciously. It may also be a result of jealousy. The point
is, that whilst they might be directing hatred towards you, they probably don’t have any hard

feelings towards you personally as such, just that you have stepped into their lives and they
feel like you are stepping on their toes and they don’t want to share their son/brother with
you. I’m sha Allah in time they will adjust and accept you into the family as a daughter/sister
of their own. Deal with them patiently by not responding aggressively with them and instead
treating them with kindness. That can be hard when they’re not treating you so well, but if
you think about it, when someone is kind to you, it’s very hard to be mean back and in sha
Allah, they would be the same. It may be difficult to begin with, but if you can try and
understand why they might be likenthis, then it’ll make it easier for you.
By treating them kindly and not involving them in any discussion with your husband about
your relationship I hope that you should be able to, in time, overcome these present
challenges and enjoy a happy family life with your husband and extended family too.
May Allah grant you the patience to manage during this challenging time and may He reward
you for trying. May He grant you a happy life filled with love and success in both this life and
the next.

Question 3. Distancing from parents after marriage

We are married for 8 years now and have 2 children. It was a love marriage and initially my mother wasn’t convinced with my future wife and I worked my way through her resistance to marry her and at the end everyone was happy and fine with it. After our marriage we moved in our house in a separate floor with our own privacy. I was supposed to join my job in a few weeks abroad and eventually my wife was to join me there in a couple of months.
My wife had a speculative and paranoid view when it comes to in-laws since ever. Long before our marriage she used to tell me that one has to be very careful with in-laws and that her mother’s in-laws and her sister’s in-laws weren’t good etc. I never saw this as a problem as I thought what problem she’d have with my parents they’re nice human beings.
When I left her at my house I faced some difficult situations as things didn’t happen as
planned and my job got delayed by 4 months. Eventually I was able to bring my wife to me after about 8 months after our marriage. From that she hardly stayed at my place, probably around 3 months in total.

And ever since then has developed such a resentment towards my family especially my mom. I’ve
tried talking to her many times to find the reasons and instead of holding a mature conversation she blamed me that I know everything and that I’m acting naive and that I’m double faced and what not.

Things worsened after. After many distressing fights she eventually opened up with the reasons for resentment. And believe me they weren’t so relevant at all. She calls my mother a
toxic woman citing certain things she does. But even she does and says such things, her mother does and almost every other woman in the world does. Moreover she blames me that I conspire against her with my mother. I’m proud to say that I’ve maintained an absolute boundary ever since marriage of not talking anything bad about my wife to any of my family including my mother. I’ve learnt this as a lesson after seeing my cousins or my own siblings and their problems with their spouses. Inspite of being so steadfast in maintaining such boundaries she just on the basis of her paranoid thoughts blames me of being a villain. I tried many times to clear the air but it only lead to fights and she freaking out at me.

Lately she even made sure that I don’t talk to my family when I’m at home. I had to call
them like a thief from supermarket etc meanwhile doing household chores.
I always had a dream of inviting my parents to stay with me here. But taking into
consideration her resentment towards her I sacrificed my dream and never touched this topic. And moreover I never ever bothered about her relationship with her parents, even myself maintained a good contact with them. Never tried to limit she meeting them, like how she limits mine with utmost
grit. 8 years have passed like this and now I have regrets of distancing my parents all through. I talked to her about inviting them over to stay with us. They’re getting old and frail by the day and may not be able to come as time passes by. To this she got so angry and blatantly said that she won’t stay with my mother together. That I should call them and take them on a sightseeing tour and send them back.

I find this utmost heartbreaking. In the last 8 years I married her, day by day I’ve just lost contact with my parents. Even though I maintained such absolute boundaries of never backbiting about her or complaining about her to anyone. I feel really suffocating and I find this an absolute abuse. Divorcing her may be an easy way out and go and make up to my parents for all these years. But I love her, I love my 2 wonderful kids. I find stuck in this toxicity. She involves her parents in everything and blatantly says that they’re nice people so they deserve to get involved and my family is evil so they remain outside. I agree my mother has issues, but my wife has even more, her mother has even more.
She has zero tolerance to unpleasant situations in any relationship and moreover tries to find a
problem with a microscope and the moment she finds one tries to distance herself. Does divorcing her because she has since ever trying to distance me from my family is a justifiable reason? Or sacrificing my relationship with my parents and hanging on to this relationship for the sake of children be wort it? Will my children ever learn to respect her or love her in her old age when they haven’t seen their grandparents in their lives even though they were alive and capable of being with them but just because my wife distanced them?

Wa alaikum salaam wa rahmatulahi wa barakatuh brother,

This was an absolutely heartbreaking read. It is hard enough hearing the numerous tales of difficulties between older children and their spouses and in laws. This is an unfortunately common occurrence. Often there is no genuine reason for there to be such disputes and is clearly just jealousy ofneithet the in laws or the person who has married into the family, or both. This can be dealt with relatively easily by simply recognising that this is the issue, acknowledging it and dealing with it accordingly, whether this is by treating them backkindly through understanding the underlying issue and patiently allowing the natural passage of time that allows accommodation only the new relationship and for new relationships within the extended family and with the inlaws to grow positively.

Otherwise, stepping back and allowing time to pass and things to settle, or innthe worst case, if things are particularly heated, then keeping some distance whilst still maintaining a level of minimal contact to maintain family ties whilst praying for resolve further down the line.
Unfortunately, in your case it seems that there is no conflict involved sonthere should be no genuine need to keep any distance from your parents. From what I am reading it would seem that your parents haven’t done anything wrong and there doesn’t appear to be any need to be distancing yourself or cutting them out. It seems in this case that perhaps your wife is jealous of them and doesn’t want to share your attention with them. It’s not uncommon to feel that way. Wouldn’t we all love to have 100% attention from our spouses, but we all have a duty towards our parents too and we will be questioned about this as much as our responsibilities towards our spouses and children.

It is absolutely unfair and injust to prevent someone having a relationship with their parents. Sure, she might like you to cut down the amount of time you spend with them tonbe with her, but there needs to be a healthy boundary here. You should not be made to feel like you are hiding your relationship and contact with your parents or uncomfortable in supporting them. In fact, ideally your spouse should be the one to encourage you to do more.
You absolutely have a duty towards your parents that at the moment it feels like you are not fulfilling at the hands of your wife’s attitude. However, you also need to take an active role in overcoming this so that you can rebuild your relationship with your parents. It is clear that your wife has a problem with this, but you need to set firmer and clearer boundaries on this so that she does not stand in the way anymore. It is clearly a sensitive topic so you will need to approach it carefully.

As you have gradually cut your parents off, it would probably make more sense and be easier to rebuild the relationship gradually also. To ensure that your wife does not have reason to complain, make sure that you are fulfilling her rights also. Give her your time and attention. Make her feel special. Done things with her (and/or your children) to help strengths your relationship and let her know that she is special to you.
Simultaneously be rebuilding relationship with your parents, even if this is just a brief weekly phonecall to begin with. You owe them that at least and definitely more. However, to ensure healthy relationships all round, doing it gradually will help to ease everyone to where you want and need to be, where you can be a loving husband and father whilst also fulfilling your duties to your parents. In time, as things get more comfortable, you can serve as the one to bridge the gap in the relationship between your parents and wife. Again, this may be a process that comes with challenges, but with agreed upon boundaries, lots of patience and mutual respect, it can work, in sha Allah. Start small. Arrange to do something all together with your wife, children and parents, possibly something outside of the home where any tension is less like to explode in a public place. For your children’s sake, I hope that your wife would also stay calm and respectful to your parents. From here, you can gradually build further and in sha Allah everyone will become more comfortable with one another as they realise that there is no need to fear or be angry towards each other when so much pleasure can be gained through cooperation.
May Allah reward your struggle to fulfil your Islamic responsibilities. May He guide you and make the task easier. May He grant you all contentment in your hearts and a love toward each other that will bring you happiness in this life and the next.

Question 4. Not Getting Married

Hello, I am 33 years old and I am looking to get married. Despite trying since a young age, things
haven’t worked out for me. I have received two proposals, but unfortunately, we never receive a
response from either of them. Additionally, I am unable to find a job. My sister, who is 35 years old, is
also facing a similar situation. Since we are not very social, we have very few people suggesting
potential matches for us. In short, we are facing difficulties in getting married and even finding a job.
Alhamdulillah, we pray five times a day, including the tahajjud prayer. We also recite morning and
evening azkar, as well as engage in tasbeeh of astagfirullah and other supplications. I can’t say it’s
magic or anything, but it’s strange that despite putting in a lot of effort, no favorable outcomes come
our way when it comes to marriage proposals.

Wa alaikum salaam wa rahmatulahi wa barakatuh sister,

The distress that you are experiencing is understandable. You are in your mid thirties and are having a hard time finding both a job and a spouse. The same goes for your sister. You are fulfilling your Islamic obligations and more, yet still nothing seems to be going as you hope. There are a couple of perspectives we can observe in this situation to make things clearer.
Firstly, you have briefly mentioned the possibility of magic. Now, whilst thisnmay be a plausible
explanation and maybe this is or is not the case, it should not change anything. You should still
continue to do as you’re doing. Pray, say your adhkar, pray tahhajud..etc.. These are while things that will protect your from black magic. If someone is doing magic then you cannot stop them, but you can continue to do your bit to protect yourself from it so that if someone should do magic on you, you have protected yourself.
Otherwise, regarding finding a job and spouse, open your doors wider, look in alternative places. Ask around, in your local masjid, even online. The same goes for jobs as well. People don’t always
advertise these things openly (jobs or looking for a spouse) and so rely on word of mouth so you have to take more active steps in getting involved and asking around. Look further than your local
community. As someone who is not tied down to a job, the world is your oyster. Taken advantage
while you can, because once you do get married and find a job, there will be more limitations. That is not a bad thing, but just so that you are aware of the opportunities you have available now.

Right now, it feels like you are probably feeling under a lot of pressure to achieve these 2 things in
particular. Often when we feel under such pressure it somehow makes things more difficult, perhaps as we are so focused and closed minded around these things that we are less able to be flexible and/or give time to other things. For example, leave of the pressure to get married and find a job and focus on you and taking care of you. If there’s something you’ve always wanted to do, then nows the time. Firstly, you have the freedom to do so, secondly it’s a time for self care and no pressure(something you’ll have less time for when married (/with children) and working and finally, it’s not uncommon that these are the very times when opportunities arise where you never expected!
Doing new things, being with new people you may just meet someone who knows of a job or someone seeking a wife.
May Allah continue to guide you on the straight path and put opportunities in your direction from where you never expected. May He grant you a righteous spouse when the time is right who will be the coolness of your eyes in this life and the next.

Sunday, Jan. 07, 2024 | 09:00 - 10:00 GMT

Session is over.
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