Ads by Muslim Ad Network

Ask the Counselor (Q/A) Session

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Thank you for participating 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. The remaining questions will be published there soon.

Question 1. Duty to mother

Salaam. I am Christian and mother is Muslim. My mother says that a Hajj pilgrimage is due to her. I am not financially able to do this for my mother. My mother does not even have food in her house and electricity on monthly basis. For that, I will help my mother. I will not see her starve or sit in darkness and cold. I have my husband children to take care of. We are in hundreds of thousands of debt. I feel my mother is emotionally blackmailing me to make me feel guilty that I owe it to her for raising us kids (we are 3 children). However, where in the Quran does it say, to put others even your mother before your own kids? I cannot take from my financially stressed household to send my mother on Hajj as it is a compulsory pillar of Islam. Moreover, I am Christian as I could not commit my heart to Islam. I do believe I will one day, it’s just that the way of Islami was brought up on, was not out of love, but force. 1. Am I allowed to contribute to her pilgrimage? 2. Must I put myself into further financial distress to obey her instruction that she will go in 2025 and I must start saving for her Hajj pilgrimage now?

Peace be upon you, sister,

Thank you for contacting us for advice. Your mother is Muslim, and you are Christian. She says that Hajj is due to her, but she has no means to afford that, so you feel that she is emotionally blackmailing you to make you feel guilty for not paying it for her. And you are currently in a financially stressful situation, and while you are helping her with her needs like food and electricity, you are not ready to pay her expenses for a Hajj.

Ads by Muslim Ad Network

Sister, I understand your struggles, and may God reward you for your efforts as a daughter and as a mother. I am not a scholar, but a counselor, so I will try to provide you with some links from our site. For further scholarly info, kindly write to our section here.

First, it is important to know that Hajj is the 5th pillar of Islam, and one has to participate IF and WHEN is able to do that. Here is what the Quran says:

“Pilgrimage to this House is an obligation by Allah upon whoever is able among the people.” 3:97

The footnote is to clarify ability: Pilgrimage is obligatory on every Muslim at least once in their lifetime if the person is physically and financially able.

So, if she can afford it, she has the duty; otherwise, it is not an obligation on her. Yet, she can be rewarded according to her intention and reap some of its benefits: Cannot Afford Hajj

Yet, it is true that it is allowed to use the money of others to complete hajj. The condition here is that this money has to be lawfully earned, according to Islamic teachings: Gifting Hajj – Allowed?, Is Hajj Valid If Other Has Paid It?

It happens in the opposite situation too, doing hajj on behalf of others who are unable to complete it in their lifetime, but your question is not about this.

So, what you have to know is that even if you were a Muslim daughter, you wouldn’t be obliged to pay your mother’s hajj; it is an act of kindness, a gift, and you would be rewarded for that, but it is not a duty on you. If you want to know more about this, kindly write to our scholar here.

So, what you can do is have a talk and approach the situation considering each other’s needs and possibilities. You may understand that she would like to fulfill this religious duty, but she has to understand that her duty cannot be forced upon others. And, beyond that, her religious duty is on her only if she can afford it.

Beside that, in Islam, we believe that children have not only duties but rights too. So, bringing you up is surely a sacrifice and a great effort from a mother, but it is also a duty, and you shouldn’t feel that you owe her for taking care of you as a child. Respect and good treatment in return, ideally, is something that will come naturally, as the fruit of years of good treatment and care.

It is also understandable that this brings a lot of stress to you, as you already take responsibility for her and also for your kids and husband, but the basic expenses are your priorities. In Islam, these are noble deeds, and you would be rewarded for your help and financial contribution to your family, just like in the case of charity, for example.

In Islam, we believe that we are rewarded according to our intentions and that Allah sees and knows what is in our hearts. It means that if an act is beyond your capacity, it is enough for us if we and Allah know that, and it is secondary whether others see it or not. I hope you understand my point.

You can also bring this up to discuss with your mother the fact that Allah is perfectly aware of her situation financially, and ask her whether she thinks that Allah would be happy and pleased with her hajj if she forcefully got the money from others or not. We all have to put our trust in Allah (in God), as He is the One who provides us. If Allah has destined her to complete the Pilgrimage, it will happen, so the best thing she can do is to make dua and trust in Allah andin His perfect timing and plan.

So, you can talk to her and let her know that you are considering her needs, and when you are able to do so, you will try your best. What you can do in this regard, for example, is that instead of spending on occasional gifts, you save that amount for her, so she can decide to spend it on her hajj if she wishes so.

I hope this helps.

Thank you for contacting us, and may God reward your good intentions and help you make peace.

Question 2. Extreme OCD

I have been struggling with severe waswas OCD with the deen for two years at this point.

I am especially struggling with reciting surah al Fatiha in my salah.

It’s at the point it feels paralyzing.

I keep reciting the ayah over and over and over. My salahs are taking 10-20 mins now.

I feel they’re not accepted. I just pray to just to say I at least tried.

I am exhausted, I feel at times waiting until the last second to pray and I know it’s not good to do that.

It especially is hard when it pray in jamah. I keep repeating and the imam finishes before I can say ameen.

I have tried seeking therapy, working with a life coach but nothing is working.

Salam alaikom wa rahmatullah, brother

Thank you for contacting us with your struggle.

I am sorry to hear that you have extreme difficulty with your prayers, especially with reciting the Fatiha. You write that you fear that it won’t be accepted; therefore, you keep repeating it over and over.

You said that you have tried life coaching, but it did not help.

This can happen if you are dealing with some form of mental disorder, like anxiety or OCD, which, as its name suggests, requires medical and clinical evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment. This may need medication—at least until your situation improves—and  therapy.

So, I kindly suggest that if you feel that this situation—your anxiety and obsessive thoughts—are out of your control and are too overwhelming, seek a psychiatrist or a clinical psychologist. You can also get a referral from your general doctor to the right place.

It is important to know that while there are cases like yours that manifest related to your religious practice, it may not be a spiritual but a medical condition; therefore, it has to be treated accordingly.

If you get the right treatment, you can notice significant improvement, in sha Allah, and this will make a real difference in your daily life. So, I kindly suggest seeking professional medical help.

What else can you do?

In this article about OCD, the author says:

The OCD sufferer is a sick person, and the rulings applying to the sick in Islamic fiqh differ from those applying to the healthy. In turn, the sick person cannot be treated as the healthy one is treated in regard to prayer or divorce.

So, Allah will not hold you accountable equally, as a healthy, adult person is accountable for their worship and deeds. What you need to do is to seek treatment and be patient, asking Allah to heal you from your condition.

Some more tips:

What makes you feel that your Fatiha recitation is not good enough?

Remember the hadith:

“Such a person as recites the Qur’an and masters it by heart, will be with the noble righteous scribes (in Heaven). And such a person exerts himself to learn the Qur’an by heart, and recites it with great difficulty, will have a double reward.” Sahih al-Bukhari 4937

So, while we have the duty to learn by reciting and trying our best to do so, Allah is aware of our struggles and will reward our efforts accordingly, in sha Allah.

Allah is the only Perfect One, we, as creatures, all err and make mistakes. It is our human nature not to perform perfectly; it is enough to make efforts to be better, not to be perfect. Kindly revise your expectations accordingly and let yourself make mistakes. 

What you can do is ignore the thought, “It won’t be accepted.” Furthermore, how do you know that this will be the case? Are you sure about it? Are you 100% sure that Allah won’t accept that particular recitation, for example? What is your proof?

If you are 100% sure, you may recite it again. But if you do not know for sure, then it is no more than a doubt, dear brother. In this case, you have to follow the Islamic maxim that only certainty uplifts doubt and leave the matter, assuming that it is okay and Allah knows best.

I hope this tip helps. May Allah reward your efforts and grant you success and healing, ameen.

Question 3. Guidance of future

I am a student who moved abroad for studies and with an intention to settle. I have a mother who is in early 60s. My father passed away 15 years ago. I have an elder sister who raised me she’s in early 40s. As my car was moving away my mother raised her hand in tears and I cannot get the image out of my head. I try to pray 5 times and know that this dunya is temporary. I know real happiness is in remembrance of Allah. I have been having thought of moving back to India after 3 years since I’ll take that much time to recover my expenses. I will earn less in India but I will be around the person who loves me the most. She even said don’t call me just eat on time and eat from outside since I never entered the kitchen in my life. This selfless nature makes me feel I want to be around my mother. Can you guide me on this as my sister said I won’t be able to upgrade to a bigger house with own room if I come back and as a man grows up, they need privacy. My quality of life would be basic.

Wa alaikom salam, brother,

Thank you for turning to us and sharing your story with us.

You moved abroad for studies with the intention of settling. Yet, as time passes, you more and more miss your mother, and you are thinking about moving back to be with her and with your loved ones. On the other hand, this decision would negatively affect your life quality; you would earn less, and as your sister said, you wouldn’t be able to upgrade to a bigger house, and your life quality would be basic. 

I understand your struggle, and I feel your hardship, brother. May Allah help you, ameen.

I believe what you are experiencing is a common struggle on an emotional level for many who have decided to move far from their family. In the distance and in the absence of our loved ones, we realize the value of being close together and the connection and family bonds. This realization may follow a move back home for some, while this cannot or won’t be the case for others. Some people leave home temporarily, and life circumstances make this move permanent; sometimes it is the opposite.

I believe there is no single answer to this question, as it really depends on each particular situation. From the point of view of our qadr, dear brother, it is already written, and it is decreed what decision you will finally make and where you will spend your life at the end. Allah knows, while we are uncertain about our future. So, while these decisions seem very difficult for us, know that Allah will guide you towards what is best for you, in sha Allah.

What can you do?

Try to think about your goals and your priorities while considering the following points:.

Phases of life

It is good to know that moving away and forming your own life is part of normal development. In one way or another, we all leave the home where we grew up and form our new life—close or away from our parents. As we grow up, there will be new priorities and new roles we need to take: you will work, and, in sha Allah, you will be a husband one day and a father one day. This will transform parental relationships, and this transition is normal, but it can be challenging if we struggle with letting go of past phases. Either as a parent or child, sometimes both.

Sometimes a child has difficulties moving on to the next phase, and sometimes a parent holds back the child for some reason.

With this being said, know that it is okay to experience feelings of longing and miss your mother, who is far away. It is normal that, sometimes, these feelings become stronger or more intense. You want to be with her, and you start appreciating more the connection and the presence of your loved ones. This may or may not lead to the decision of moving closer, temporarily or permanently, back to your family and settling somewhere closer.

On the other hand, it is also good to be aware of the fact that these feelings of longing may reach an extent when they delay or impede the natural transition from one life stage into another. When this happens, counseling or other forms of intervention can help the person (whether it is the parent or the child) get through this period successfully. I am not saying that this is your case; rather, it is just something to keep in mind.

Brother, this decision is something you have to take. What can help is to review your goals and see what options you have. You say you went to study. So, what about, after finishing school, reevaluating your idea of settling down and seeing what career options you have there or in your homeland? Where is the next step more readily available? Or, what about taking a longer break and going back home to see if you really would like to stay there permanently or not?

Also, try to think about what alternatives there are for you as a family to see each other often. What is better, if you go there, or maybe your mother can also come to see you sometimes?

You may list down pros and cons for staying and also for leaving. Then, if you are inclined towards a decision, you may pray the istikhara prayer and rely on the guidance of Allah. Beside that, try to listen to your heart and not what others tell you. Also, know that finding your real place is not necessarily where more economic stability is. Struggles that your sister mentions may be temporary, and there can also be alternatives. Try to explore all your possibilities and have an optimistic outlook. Know that if you decide something with good intention and taqwa, Allah will help you along the way.

I hope this helps.

May Allah let you spend time together and bless your family with good moments in the distance or close to each other, ameen.

Question 4. Overcoming Ramadan Anxiety

Assalamo Alaykom,

For background context, on regular days, I do a few things to cope with anxiety. For example, I always eat something right before leaving anywhere even if I had eaten an hour earlier, I keep a water bottle and extra snacks with me almost everywhere. If I’m in public and start feeling anxiety, I put something in my mouth (I.e candy) which calms me down. One of my biggest fears is getting low on sugar and fainting (although I don’t have diabetes or anything of the like alhamdolillah). Lack of sleep also tends to trigger anxiety so I try to sleep on time.

Ramadan has been a challenge for the past few years. Last Ramadan, I have my first and worst panic attack in which I couldn’t get up for more than an hour. Fasting is difficult due to anxiety. This year, I do want to try fasting insha’allah but I’m feeling worried the closer Ramadan is getting.

My questions are:

How can I cope with anxiety and fear of fainting without eating?

How do I get enough sleep when I must wake up early and I don’t know where the time would be to take a nap during the day as I am usually busy?

How do I deal with fatigue and worry during the day while fasting and still continue my regular life routine?

I hope I can receive some help in dealing with these worries. Thank you, and may Allah bless you.

Salam alaikom wa rahmatullah,

Thank you for contacting us.

Ramadan is here soon, in sha Allah, so, masallah, it is great to hear that you are planning and trying to prepare for the month according to your best. May Allah reward your efforts and make it easy for you, ameen.

You say that you usually cope with your anxiety with food or drink. Yes, certainly, eating is a common way of dealing with stress, which is in and of itself not necessarily wrong or harmful, unless it does not lead to overeating or some form of eating disorder.

You do not have diabetes, alhamdullah, but you have developed the fear of fainting due to low sugar levels. That is why Ramadan is a sort of challenge for you, as you fear that you won’t be able to use your regular coping strategy while fasting.

Well, I know that it is much easier to say than do, but I think as a first step, it is pretty good that, alhamdulillah, you are perfectly aware that this habit works as a form of stress reduction. So, in theory, what about finding an alternative stress reduction method?

What else do you like to do that calms you down? Is there any sound or any visual strategy that may work? Like looking at the clouds, reciting a dhikr, taking a long breath, or imagining a moment or a place where you feel secure?

Try to think about it, and you may take action right now by starting to implement the new habit. I would add regular breathing techniques, as it has a physiological calming effect and demonstrably reduces stress reactions. Plus, you can practice it wherever you are. For example, take a deep breath, then slowly start exhaling. Repeat this cycle at least 7–10 times. Meanwhile, first, remind yourself that breathing DOES reduce stress, and this is just a bodily reaction that will go away. Also, you may visualize yourself as being safe, calm, and okay. 

With time, a new habit will replace the old one, in sha Allah. Just remind yourself that it is not the food but the stress reduction that matters, and that to reach your goal (calm down), there are alternative ways.

Regarding fainting, if you are healthy, there is no reason why you would faint, isn’t there? Again, it is something that can happen, maybe as a worst-case scenario, but it isn’t necessary or definite that it will happen. Ask yourself: Are you sure that you will faint if you do not eat? Is there any evidence that supports your belief? Has it happened before each and every time you were fasting?

It can also help if you ask yourself: What would you say to your best friend if she fainted in a similar situation? Imagine that it happened to her. How would you support her?

Regarding any difficulties, know that religion is an ease, not a difficulty, and Allah won’t burden anyone beyond what one can handle. And that it is okay and normal to feel hunger and thirst during fasting, but most likely these sensations come and go and you will manage them, in sha Allah. Ask Allah to be with you and help you in the most difficult moments. You may take your daily prayers as some form of “break” or recharge when you make du to Allah to keep you well until maghrib.

In the evening hours, try to have a balanced diet with healthy food and enough drink, less sweets, and more fruits and veggies, as this will help you feel better during the day.

Additionally, what I can advise is to plan your month with realistic expectations regarding your sleep and your daily tasks. You ask how you can keep up with the normal routine, yet I ask, should we expect to be able to keep up with it fully?

What about assessing the expectations? See whether there is anything overwhelming in the schedule. Either physically or psychologically, like an exam period, sports, activites, deadlines, etc. See what you can postpone, if you think that would be better for you. Try to take care of your energy level and take this month as a spiritual recharge, a low-activity month, not like a normal or busy one. Add to this the fact that you expect to sleep not as much as usual, but with some reorganization, and may find some time for rest.

I hope these tips help. May Allah make it easy for you and grant you a blessed Ramadan, ameen.

Question 5. Sabr for that one soul for marriage.

Assalamualaikum warahmatulahi wabarakatahu,

You might remember as I have asked for your guidance many times before, and now I want to let you know about my suitation...

So it starts in late 2022, I love someone and I want to marry her and spend the rest of my life with her If Allah wills, I have been praying for her since the day I fell in love with her, and I love her soul, she has a beautiful soul Masha Allah, Allahumma barik, and I love her from my soul, and just want to be with her in this world and hereafter. My love for her is True and pure love, I don’t seek anything from this dunya rather than having her with me….I miss her, I want to be with her, I know it will take some more time for us to be together, if Allah Wills and I told her I am ready to wait for her no matter how long it takes, but that SABR is killing me from inside, Sabr is tears, Sabr is pain, and Indeed after this hardship there is ease, we are being tested, and we see each other in school and now our high-school is going to end and until Allah unites us again we don’t know when we will see each other. We are concerned about each other how will the days be like when we can’t see each other, I know love is not about seeing each other. I will tell my mom everything about her once my high school finishes, and In Sha Allah within the next couple of years, I will ask her parents for engagement and we can complete nikkah after studies because by then we both will be independent and be earning some money and that will also helping us financially after the nikkah. She is the greatest blessing for me… Now, it’s just sabr which is concerning me because I am waiting for that one day, where I can hug her and say Alhamdulillah we made it.. Sabr is hurting me, its pain, its tears, its pain of distance, pain of waiting for each other which is bothering me and I know in the end it will all be worth waiting.

Salam alaikom, dear brother,

Thank you for your letter again. I remember you, and I am happy to hear about you again.

I have read your letter, and, masallah, it was really heartwarming to hear that things seem to be going in the direction you have been wishing for. Subhanallah, the power of dua is great, and it seems that Allah let you get closer to fulfilling your dreams and being able to get married to her soon.

The end of the school year is approaching, and you are afraid that you may not be able to talk to each other as much.

If that happens, it may also be a test, as in the distance, you both may realize with clarity what you mean to each other.

Masallah, you have a good and pure heart, according to what you write, and Allah surely sees your struggle and sabr. I understand that it is very difficult to keep waiting, but if you do, you will get your reward, both in this life, in this marriage, and also in the hereafter, insha Allah.

Think about the names of Allah: He is the Delayer and also the Promoter (Al-Mu’akhkhir and Al-Muqqadim). He holds back, delays, and postpones events, but He is the one who promotes and brings them forth.

Allah (SWT) says in the Quran:

“Do people think once they say, “We believe,” that they will be left without being put to the test?” (Quran 29:2)

And also:

“I did not create jinn and humans except to worship Me.” Quran 51-56

Dear brother, I really hope and pray that you will be united in marriage as soon as possible. You know that this is the test, and you will be patient, in sha Allah, to accept that Allah knows what the right time of the events is and why. And on the way, keep reminding yourself of what your final goal is in this life: to worship Him and to get closer to Him. So, while your love is great for her, alhamdulillah, always remember that the love of Allah is where we find true contentment, and the meaning and purpose of our lives lie in His worship.

This includes developing contentment in the present moment, accepting your qadr, and following the perfect timing of things set by Allah (SWT). If we get in line with what the present moment allows and do not desire what the future or the past holds, we may navigate this “waiting period” with more ease and contentment, in sha Allah.

So, this is my advice to you: keep up with the optimistic outlook, keep making dua, and trust in Allah and in his plan. Meanwhile, enjoy what the present situation allows by accepting your actual circumstances and deciding to make the most of this time period. This can be your studies, hobbies, friends, family time together, etc. And when time arrives to be together, you will be able to enjoy those moments fully, in sha Allah.

Additionally, once you talk to your mother, you may see whether there is any opportunity to fasten this period with their support regarding finances and practicalities.

May Allah bless you and make it easy for you. May Allah unite you in marriage as soon as possible, ameen.

Question 6. Zina related

So, my question is what is the actual meaning of zina? I have been very close to zina, I want to know if I have actually committed it or not?

I know one thing for sure and that is that I have committed the bad things which are related to zina, which brings a person close to zina. But, I’m not sure what exactly zina means, does it mean sexual intercourse or all the things other than sexual intercourse also?

It’s troubling me a lot.

One more thing is that I keep reminiscing my bad actions and I keep deriving pleasure out of it even when I know it’s haraam and I should stop it immediately.

Also, I keep repenting but I can’t stop myself from stopping my desires and sometimes I doubt that my relationship with my companion (we aren’t married) is based on these filthy things, even though it’s not. He repents as well, we both know that we done the wrong thing to us and our future.

How do I repent sincerely and completely stop deriving pleasure out of these filthy things? How do I know proceed in a halal way for future prospects?

Me and him, have decided to stop talking for few years, till college is completed, we think we will be mature and then we will decide if we are actually compatible or not. I love him, and he loves me. We don’t want to upset Allah and want a halal marriage for us.

Salam alaikom wa rahmatullah, dear sister,

Thank you for contacting us and sharing your struggle.

Regarding zina, here is an article from our site. Let me quote from it to answer your question:

Zina, in its broad meaning, indicates any haram (prohibited) act, whether the act was sexual intercourse or a look, talk, touch, or desire that is related to or may lead to illicit sexual relations.

Ibn ‘Abbas narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:

“Allah has written for Adam’s son (mankind) his share of zina (adultery and fornication), which he commits inevitably. The zina of the eyes is the sight (to gaze at a forbidden thing), the zina of the tongue is the talk, and the inner self wishes and desires, and the private parts testify to all this or deny.” (Al-Bukhari)

Allah (SWT), in the Nobel Quran, said:

{Nor come near to adultery: for it is a shameful (deed) and an evil, opening the road (to other evils).} (Surah 17 Verse 32)

Scholars said that what makes some forms of gazing, talking, and touching forbidden acts is that they bring you near zina.”

Kindly read the whole article for more details and understanding.

What I want to add is that the pleasure of the sexual relationship—desire, attraction, and act—is not shameful, or as you call it, filty, but a natural, God-given enjoyment in this life. The problem is when this happens outside of marriage. Allah has created this desire in us, and it is normal and okay that you have it, and it is okay to wish to fulfill it. What is wrong for us, Muslims, is to engage in it without nikkah, without the barakah of Allah.

So, with this being said, you have done the right thing to stop this relationship until you finish school and see whether you are compatible and ready to get married. I advise both of you to repent, seek forgiveness from Allah, and trust in Him and His plan. He is All-Forgiving, and will reward you for giving up something for His sake. If the future has something for both of you together, it will surely happen, but be it within the halal boundries and with the blessings of Allah.

May Allah make it easy for both of you,

Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024 | 09:00 - 10:00 GMT

Session is over.
Views expressed by hosts/guests on this program (live dialogue, Facebook sessions, etc.) are their own and their appearance on the program does not imply an endorsement of them or any entity they represent.