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Question 1 – Depression due to hadiths and Verses about reward and punishment

I have really been suffering from depression and it is really hurting me because my depression is to do with Islam. At times, it seems that justice is defined very differently.

Reward and punishment seem to be associated with gender, not the deed itself. Men seem to get more rewards than women for the same deeds. Quran and hadith mention that there is an exclusive reward for men or a reward that they are given of more than women, which is spouses. We all know that when it comes to the reward of spouses men are given a lot more than women, which I do see why because men like women more than what women like men and that there is no jealousy, but what is hurting me is that Allah only promises men of a reward that is elusive to them and does not do the same for men.

Suppport AboutIslam.net

He only promises men that from the reward of spouses they will get a lot more than what women get, but does not promise women that from a certain reward that they will get more than men. So from here, it is clear that if a man and a woman have the same number and type of deed, the man will be given more in a number of rewards than a woman. If a man gets more spouses than a woman, then shouldn’t the woman be given more than in him in something else or given a reward that is just for a woman, otherwise then how is it fair that just because of gender one gets more for the same deed.

For example, in the hadith here it mentions; That the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: “There are six things with Allah for the martyr. He is forgiven with the first flow of blood (he suffers), he is shown his place in Paradise, he is protected from punishment in the grave, secured from the greatest terror, the crown of dignity is placed upon his head – and its gems are better than the world and what is in it – he is married to seventy-two wives along Al-Huril-‘Ayn of Paradise, and he may intercede for seventy of his close relatives.”

So, a martyred man, will get all of this, but a martyred woman will not get all of this, she will only get 5 of these things, and therefore, she will be given 72 fewer rewards than a man as there is no mention that she will get 72 more things than a man, therefore for the exact same deed a woman is rewarded less. This makes paradise less appealing to women when they know that from a certain reward men will be given more than them, but from no reward, they will be given more, and when they know that for the same number of deeds, the man will be given everything that the woman has been given and will be given more, whereas, the woman will not be given the same number of rewards, and she will be made happy with fewer rewards, whereas if she was created a male, she would have been given more.

But when it comes to punishment, I see the complete opposite. It seems that women are punished more severely than men, especially if she is a married woman. For example, in here, Allah’s Messenger said: “There are three whose Salat would not rise up beyond their ears: The runaway slave until he returns, a woman who spends a night while her husband is angry with her, and a people’s Imam whom they dislike.” It only mentions that a woman who makes her husband upset her prayer will not be accepted. If a wife who angers her husband delivers for her prayer not to be accepted, then why does a husband who upsets his wife deserve the same punishment?

Why does the hadith not say spouses to make each other angry, rather it only mentions the woman? and in another, The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Whenever a woman harms her husband in this world, his wife among the (Houris in Jannah) says: ‘You must not harm him. May Allah destroy you! He is only a passing guest with you and is about to leave you to come to us”. Again, I only see hadiths about the wife getting cursed, but never see any hadith telling a husband he will be cursed or will be punished. It really hurts me to ONLY see hadiths telling the wife that she will go to hell, will be cursed, punished, etc., but then see ZERO hadiths telling the husband that he will be given X punishment.

If an abusive wife deserves to be cursed, then why an abusive husband does not deserve to be cursed? If there are so many warnings for the wife, why do we see zero hadith warning the husband in the same way? I image things as when someone does a good deed, the gender is looked at, if it is a male he is rewarded more if it is a female she is rewarded less, and when there is spousal abuse, if the wife is the one abusing the husband then she is cursed and her prayer is not accepted and she gets a major sin, but if it is the husband the one abusing the wife and making her be angry the whole night due to hurting her, then there is no curse upon him, his prayer is accepted in the same way and he only gets a minor sin.

So when it comes to rewarding the man is given more, but when it comes to punishment the woman is given more especially if she is a wife. I am really depressed as I feel that men are favored over women in everything and their good deeds have more value as there is only mention of exclusive rewards for men and no mention of a compensation reward for women, and there are only hadiths warning the wife of punishment and no hadiths warning specifically warning the husband of punishments.

Thus, it seems that wife abuse is no issue in Islam because if it really was an issue, then there would have been hadiths directly warning the husband and telling him he will be cursed, punished etc. It seems horrible to be a woman especially a married one, because women have such a lower value in reward and gets punished more. Please help me. It really bothers me that only men are at rest that getting abused by their wives is strictly warned about and they get all the rewards and even more than women, but women cannot be sure than they will be given as much rewards than men, and have to live with the fact that in spousal abuse only the wife is cursed and the husband is not, and that there are no with direct warnings or the husband.

As salamu alaikum sister,

Shokran for writing to our Live Session with your concerns about rewards and punishments from Allah in the context of women and men. I am sorry to hear this has been causing you to feel depressed sister, but perhaps we can look at this from a different angle. I am not an Islamic scholar but I will do my best insha’Allah to help clarify some of your concerns.

Making a Case for Inequity

You eloquently and precisely discussed your concerns about the rewards and punishments from Allah in terms of gender. It is apparent that you did do a lot of research and reading about this subject.  You did give examples from the Qur’an and hadiths of differing rewards/punishments concerning things such as martyrdom, spousal relationships, number of good deeds, how husbands and wives treat each other, and so on. At first glance, one may think that Allah swt has favored men but what comes to mind to help us move forward and think of things in a more balanced way is what we do know about Allah swt-He is just and merciful.

Rewards and Punishments from Allah-are they Gender Based?

There are a few things that should be pointed out. First, Allah is just in His rewards as well as in punishments. Allah has created us, both women and men, thus He knows our different natures, weaknesses, strengths, and abilities. On a personal level, Allah knows us so well, He is closer to us than our “jugular vein”.  In the Qur’an it states:

“Indeed, Allah does not do injustice, [even] as much as an atom’s weight; while if there is a good deed, He multiplies it and gives from Himself a great reward.” (Qur’an 4:40).

“For men is a share of what they have earned, and for women is a share of what they have earned…” (Qur’an 4:32).

As we can see from these points Allah does not differentiate between men and women but does look at what one has earned as a means for His blessings or punishments. Also, one must take into account the fact that men and women may have different ideas of what a reward is. For instance, perhaps a man may feel that a reward of many homes in Paradise will make him happy, insha’Allah if this man is granted Jannah, Allah may give him many homes in Jannah. If a woman feels that gaining knowledge, a large home, or a beautiful garden will make her happy, Allah may grant her that as well as a reward. Allah is just, Allah makes Jannah a wonderful place for both women and men, one that is conducive to each of their happiness as a reward.

Allah is Just

Sister, the rewards are not so much based on men vs women in general but are based on the nature of men and women and what makes each one different. This is further divided into personal wishes and desires.  Not all men desire the same thing to make them happy, and not all women have the same dreams and wishes. Allah sees all and Allah takes everything into account when giving out rewards and punishments and Allah is Just.

“And We place the scales of justice for the Day of Resurrection, so no soul will be treated unjustly at all. And if there is [even] the weight of a mustard seed, We will bring it forth. And sufficient are We as accountant.” (Qur’an 21:47).

Marriage, Men, and Accountability

Sister you also spoke about men being favored by Allah in regards to marriage. You provided proofs that women appeared to be more harshly punished and received less rewards than husbands. In looking closer, we can see there are punishments and restrictions on men as well which can only be categorized for men (specifically in this case husbands). For instance, having more than one wife is permissible but there are conditions and rules that go with this responsibility. These conditions are very strict and if not followed can constitute a major sin (and punishment), thus it is advisable to marry only one if a man fears he cannot be just and equitable with all of his wives.

“Marry those that please you of [other] women, two or three or four. But if you fear that you will not be just, then [marry only] one.” (Noble Quran 4:3)

Men must also treat their wives with tenderness, love, mercy, justice, and kindness. Dealing unjustly with a wife is serious (such as abuse).  Allah punishes those who abuse, oppress, or treat their wives unjustly. “The prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, tells us Allah has said, “Before the creation of the universe, I forbid that I would oppress and I hate when anyone oppresses.” The prophet Muhammad (PBUH) further stated:

“The most complete of the believers in faith, is the one with the best character. And the best of you are those who are best to their women.” (At-Tirmidhi and authenticated by Al-Albani).

A husband’s responsibility to his wife is great in Islam, and Allah swt sees all. Dealing unjustly with a wife is serious. Abuse, mistreatment, and oppression in general are greatly hated by Allah. This goes for husbands who mistreat their wives. Husbands are to guard their wives honor, privacy, as well as any weaknesses. Husbands who disclose such are considered ’wicked” upon the day of Judgement.

“Allah commands justice, the doing of good, and liberality to kith and kin, and He forbids all shameful deeds, and injustice and rebellion: He instructs you, that you may receive admonition.” (Surah An-Nahl: 90) and “There is no person to whom Allah has given responsibility and dies neglecting that responsibility, but Allah will deny him Paradise.” [Muslim]

The Scales of Justice Are Balanced

Sister while it may seem Allah deals with women more harshly, He does not. Allah’s justice is perfect. When we as humans look at certain ayats, hadith, and other Islamic rulings we may not see the whole picture. We may see women are treated in a stricter way in one area, but not see how men are treated in strict ways in other areas that women are not. It all balances out as Allah is most just, merciful, and loving.

“If any do deeds of righteousness,- be they male or female – and have faith, they will enter Heaven, and not the least injustice will be done to them.” (an-Nisa, 4:124)

Conclusion

Sister, I kindly suggest that insha’Allah you try to focus your Islamic studies in a more diversified way. You may want to read and learn about the ways in which Islam has elevated the status of women, and how Allah does bless and protect women. You may want to explore your rights as a Muslim woman as well as a wife. Make duaa to Allah that He guides you in your learning so that you are able to understand the intricate nature of what is being learned. The prophet Muhammad (PBUH) held women in the highest of esteem and he was best to his wives. If we examine his life and his wives, we know that Allah swt has highly favored these women. Allah is most merciful and kind. In regards to feeling depressed, insha’Allah once you understand how loved you are by Allah, your sadness will dissipate insha’Allah. If it does not, please seek out mental health counseling. May Allah bless and reward you for seeking clarification in your Islamic journey. We wish you the best.

“God recognizes and rewards the good works of every human being, male or female.” (Quran 3:195).

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Question 2 – Female moving out from toxic father

Can a Muslim woman move out of her house due to mental illness caused by her father?

As salamu alaikum sister,

Shokran for writing to our Live Session. I am sorry to hear that your father has caused such great pain and issues within the family and for you particularly that you want to move out. Due to the nature of your question, I kindly advise you to submit your question to our “Ask the Scholars” section for a more concise Islamic answer.

Issues with Father

Sister I am not sure what is going on with your father that would make you want to move out. As you did not specify what was happening with him, nor with you, I can only advise you in a hypothetical manner. If your father is abusive please do tell a relative whom you trust and are close with as well as call the Domestic Violence Hotline in your area. If your father is merely irritating, frustrating, and so forth, you can take steps to leave to preserve your own mental health and sense of well-being. Of course, the steps which need to be taken will depend on your age (which you did not disclose) for both situations. I kindly suggest that you reach out to a trusted family member or sister, as well as connect with some local community agencies which can assist you with the steps that need to be taken once they have the specifics of your situation.

Rights as a Muslim Woman

Sister you have the right to live in a home which is free from abuse and harm. You have the right to live in an environment that is peaceful, loving, and conducive to your safety, practice of Islam, and your happiness. If your current home situation is a toxic environment, you have the right to leave.

Mental Health Issues

Sister the way you phrased your question it sounds like you may be suffering from mental health issues which you attribute to your father. I kindly suggest insha’Allah that you seek out mental health counseling as soon as possible to address any symptoms you are having. As you did not describe what mental health issues you are going through, I am unclear if your mental health status is in an emergency category. I am therefore asking you to evaluate how you are feeling dear sister and if you feel you are a danger to yourself or others, if you feel you do not want to live, please inform someone your trust, go to the nearest emergency room/hospital, and call the Suicide Prevention Hotline.

Sister if you do have mental health issues and choose to participate in counseling, it can make a great difference in how you view things and how you may proceed in dealing with your father. I kindly suggest that if you do indeed have a mental health disorder, that you address this first, or in conjunction with moving out if this is to be your decision. Wellness on all levels of functioning (physical, spiritual, emotional, mental) is important when making big life decisions or actions. It provides a more solid foundation to deal with stressors that change can bring. You may also find that by resolving your mental health issues, you may be in a stronger position to deal with your father (provided that there is not any abuse going on).

Choices

Sister as I really do not know what is going on, I do want you to know that you have choices and yes, one of them (depending on your age & situation) is moving out. The other choice is to get a family mediator, preferably Islamic, to assist you with the issues with your father. This can be done with a family counselor, an imam whom you trust, or a close family relative who is unbiased. Insha’Allah, you will get counseling however for you,  and please remember your safety comes first.

Conclusion

Sister, please assess your situation for safety issues. Please do call the Suicide Prevention Hotline if you are feeling like harming yourself or the Domestic Violence Hotline in your area if you are being harmed. Please reach out to a family member or friend whom you trust for support. You deserve to live in a peaceful and loving home-that is your right. Please do get counseling to resolve any mental health issues you may have as a result of what has been going on. Counseling can also provide a lot of resources for you which may assist you with your future plans as well as family intervention if needed. Sister you have choices. Please draw close to Allah swt and make duaa to Allah for ease and help with this situation. Allah loves you sister and will bless your steps in resolving this if you draw close to Him. We wish you the best.

“Allah does not burden a soul beyond that it can bear.” Qur’an 2:286

Question 3 – How to move on when the future looks bleak

I’ve been praying for a spouse and children since my early 30s (i’m 50). I’m chaste, I never dated or slept with men. I have 2 older brothers who have grown kids, and they’re busy with their families.  I’ve always had the responsibility for my parents, who have been quite strict with me, and quite critical over small things.  I work and they do not support me financially and have not helped me look for a spouse.  I can see now that it is very unlikely that I will get married, as there have been no prospects at all over the years. The problem is, my parents’ needs are significant (dementia, mobility, etc) and I am really tired of taking care of them.

It has taken an emotional toll on me, and while I know I should be accepting Allah’s decree, I have a lot of resentment in the fact that I have nothing to look forward to, that I won’t have physical and emotional companionship, and that I alone must provide for myself financially (my parents have not set aside any money for me, and they told me they won’t do that).  My nonmuslim friends think my parents should go into a retirement home, and I should start dating non-Muslim men otherwise I will be lonely for the rest of my life.  Truthfully, I have always yearned for a sexual relationship too (within marriage).  How do I find hope in a future that looks so bleak? I could be in my 60s before I am free of my parents, and even then I will be struggling alone.  I should tell you that my parents do not want my brothers to take care of them, they think it is my duty – so please don’t tell me that my brothers should help because they won’t.

As salamu alaikum sister,

Shokran for writing to our Live Session. As I understand your situation you are 50 years old, you’ve never dated, you have kept chaste, and you desire to be married. You state that you’ve been praying for a husband and children since your early 30s. However, you’ve always had the responsibility for your parents and they were very strict with you. In addition, they were critical of you which probably decreased your self-esteem and confidence thus hindering you from actively seeking a spouse.

Current Situation

Your current situation is that you work, thus your parents do not support you financially. You also take care of your parents’ full time. Your parents’ needs are very taxing as they have dementia, mobility problems and so forth. You state that this is had an emotional toll on you and that while you do want to accept Allah’s decree you also resent the fact that you have nothing to look forward to and that you are alone.

A Great Sacrifice

Sister you have been taking care of your parents for most of your life. That is a great sacrifice. However, as a Muslim and as a human being you do have rights to your own personal happiness as well. You have the right to be married and have children. However, in your loving sacrifice you have given a lot of decades to your parents. At this point there is no reason why you should not or could not get married although it will take some changes in lifestyle on your part. It will also take some courage in realizing that your brothers do have an Islamic responsibility to help out with your parents.

A Conflict

Sister it is not haram to go against what your parents want concerning taking care of them. Unless your brothers have abused your parents or have treated them very badly there is no Islamic reason that they cannot care for your parents. Just because your parents don’t want them to, is not a valid reason. In sha Allah you will understand this so you can move forward. I kindly suggest that you have a family meeting with your brothers and discuss this most important issue. Please do stress the Islamic points that it is their responsibility as well.

Brothers Need to Assist

It does not matter if your parents do not want your brothers to take care of them, what does matter is that your brothers are responsible to your parents according to Islam. By not caring for your parents your brothers are accountable to Allah. It is in their best interest to sit down with you and discuss taking care of your parents. I know you stated not to suggest this but it is a truth.

Medical Issues

The medical issues that are going on with your parents may require a full-time caretaker. In most situations where there is dementia and mobility problems that means they need 24-hour care. I am not sure how you have done it alone for so long especially while working, but it appears that they already do need more intensified care or they will in the very near future. Home care health aides usually work in shifts when they take care of elders or people with many medical problems. They work in shifts because the work is so intense that it usually takes two or three people to complete a 24-hour care shift. There is a very real danger that now or in the near future the conditions of your parents may be so grave that an accident could happen while you were at work or while you are there. Additionally, 24-hour care of two people who are possibly bedridden is very taxing on your health. It would be very sad if you got sick or something happened to you because you are not taking care of yourself. While Allah does require us to care for our parents He also requires us to care for our own health and wellbeing.

Other Alternatives

You did mention that someone had suggested a retirement home or possibly a nursing home but depending on circumstances, if there are adult children involved it is best to keep parents at home if possible. Being that your parents have three adult children who can take turns caring for them there should be no reason why they cannot remain home. I understand they do not want your brothers to care for them however it is not fair to you to be the sole caretaker. As mentioned above, professional caretakers are divided into shifts because of the intensity of the work and that is for one person! Insha’Allah sister, you will come to the realization that at this point it does not matter whether your parents want your brothers to take care of them or not. If your brothers are absolutely against caring for your parents, perhaps you can look into professional caregivers and let Allah swt deal with your brothers.

Self-Care- Your Rights

Sister, even if you did not desire time to find a spouse, you still need time for yourself.  You need time for self-care, social outings, rest, Islamic activities, pursuing a hobby, time for enjoyment, and yes the time for meeting someone whom you can spend your life with Insha’Allah. There is nothing wrong with any of these activities. In fact, by denying yourself these things in life, you are essentially creating an imbalance not only in regards to your physical, mental, and spiritual health, but you are denying yourself of life’s little enjoyments. It is your right to be happy, healthy, and balanced. And yes it is your right to seek a spouse, a life-long partner.

Conclusion

Sister, at this point in your life you have given so much time to your parents and that is a blessing but it also came with drawbacks. Please take this opportunity to make some positive changes in your life so that you can pursue your own health, happiness, and dreams as well. As a woman, a Muslim, and human being this is your right. In this life we have choices. We are to “trust in Allah but tie our camel.” This means we trust in Allah but we try our best to resolve situations (in this case) that make us unhappy. Allah wants you to be happy sister. Allah loves you and wants those good things for you that you want for yourself. Insha’Allah I encourage you to make the needed changes that will insha’Allah bring joy and happiness to your life. We wish you the best.

Question 4 – I feel stressed

Im really busy with my schoolworks. And works are packed up for me. I was sad that i can’t manage them specially my sleep.  Since im having lack of sleep my mind is messed up. Recently i got scolded from a teachers who was closed to me. I got judged and misunderstood. I was really embarrassed. But i was happy it made me more close to allah.. i was working well with my studies but i got confused and sad i cried to allah alhamdulillah…i was stressed and confused onto what to do.. but everytime i prayed and said it to allah azzawajal. Now im so stressed that im having headache and i feel ill. My mind gives me bad thoughts continuously. I find its hard to pray and i feel lazy. Astagfirullah. Now my mind say to omit some sunnah acts cause its hard but i want to continue it..im having many confusion and i find its hard to take a decision..i feel down…i need allah i need to worship him..Inshallah may allah help me. And thanks for this opportunity. May allah grant you goodness

As salamu alaikum sister,

Shokran for writing to our Live Session. As I understand your situation, you are very busy with school. It appears that a lot of work is stacked up regarding your studies and you are worried about it. It has come to the point where it is affecting your sleep. Due to lack of sleep, you feel that your mind is not on point, or as you phrase it “your mind is messed up.” This is a common problem for a lot of students who take on a lot of coursework at school. Sometimes one gets behind in the assignments and ends up in a vicious cycle of sleep deprivation and stress trying to catch up-or keep up.

Stress and the Mind

You described an incident where one of your teachers misunderstood and judged you and you got in trouble. You stated you were embarrassed but the outcome made you closer to Allah. However, because of all of your studies and responsibilities, the confusion and sadness continued. Your stress levels became higher and you felt confused about what to do. You prayed to Allah about your situation but there is no resolution so far. You are now experiencing headaches and you don’t feel good. You state that your mind is constantly going and you are thinking negative thoughts. In addition, you now find it hard to pray because you are so tired probably, and you want to omit some sunnah acts because it is hard. This leaves you confused, unable to make a decision, and you feel depressed. This may be due to stress and not taking care of your health (not sleeping, not eating good foods, worrying, etc.).

Slow Down

It sounds like you have been doing a lot of schoolwork, thinking, and worrying too much. Long term deprivation of sleep may cause a whole lot of physical and mental issues. If you are not sleeping for long periods of time, yes it can affect the way you think and feel. It can also affect your physical health. Insha’Allah you will be able to slow down, give your mind and body a rest, and regenerate good study habits which in turn may reduce your stress levels.

Self-Care, Relaxing, and Regaining Health

I kindly suggest making a list of the things you need to get done on a daily basis and try to complete your list. Do not make your list extremely long because that will only stress you out more. If you try to organize the things you need to do for school it will be much easier in sha Allah. In your list, please include time frames for the following: sleep, school/studies, exercise, healthy eating/drinking lots of water, having social time with family or friends, making time to go to the Masjid and pray, making time for self-care, partaking in a hobby, walks in nature, fun such as going to the movies with friends, and spending some time quietly relaxing doing dhzikr or listening to some calming music. If you incorporate these things on a daily basis/weekly, you may feel a sense of control over your situation. Feeling in control can lead to decreased stress responses, a sense of accomplishment and well-being. As your body and mind begin to heal from nourishing activities, insha’Allah you will feel more balanced and less stressed.

Balance

When we have a balance in life this can decrease is our stress. Balance is very important. When our bodies are out of balance due to lack of sleep or chronic stress it can cause anxiety, depression, unwanted thoughts, panic disorder, and other mental health issues.

Breathe

You may also want to implement breathing techniques in order to help you distress and relax. This technique has been used for thousands of years to relax the body and mind and help one refocus. Deep breathing also cleanses your body and teaches you to be in the present moment. When we are in the present moment our minds cannot race to the past nor the future. It helps relieve our minds from worry. I kindly suggest that you look at this link if you are interested in this trying this technique: https://www.mindful.org/take-a-mindful-moment-5-simple-practices-for-daily-life/ Millions of people have found mindfulness breathing most beneficial and research has illustrated its effectiveness.

Conclusion

Insha’Allah, by rebalancing your mind, body, and spirit, getting the proper rest, eating healthy foods, incorporating social and relaxing activities, you will begin to feel better. Once you have the proper rest and focus insha’Allah these other thoughts and feelings will go away. If they do not and your mental status is still the same, I encourage you to please seek out counseling for an assessment and ongoing sessions. Sometimes when we get too stressed out our brain chemistry can change and professional intervention is needed to help us rebalance. We wish you the best.

Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2021 | 05:00 - 06:00 GMT

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