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Battle Your “Demons” & Life Struggles (Counseling Session)

Dear Brother/Sisters,

Thank you for submitting your questions.

1. Question

My husband refuses to maintain me as his wife because we are in a long distance marriage initially seeing each other 3 days and 2 nights per week for first year and 3 days 2 nights every 2 weeks a second year of marriage. He has not paid one penny in maintenance since our marriage ( we’ve been married over 2.5 years and now I’ve asked for maintenance he has called talaq and blocked me from contacting him on all platforms evff we n though I’ve just started the Iddah period.

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He has enough financial security to maintain me as he always makes reference to the ax mounting money he is earning and saving. I do all the travelling to see him in respect of our marriage he doesn’t travel to see me. When we are together he gets his marital rights on demand. I feel completely disrespected and used by him. Am I being unreasonable for requesting maintenance I requested £10 per day.

As salamu alaykum sister,

Shokran for writing to our Live Session. I am sorry to hear about the issues you are having with your husband, sister. As you are relatively newly married (2.5 years) this must be a devasting situation for you. No woman gets married thinking they must “ask” for financial help to maintain themselves or a household, and one certainly does not expect to be divorced for doing so!  As Muslims you both must know that it is a husband’s responsibility to provide full maintenance of the wife and household. 

A Husband’s Obligation

As you are both Muslims and you are married legally, it is your husband’s financial obligation to maintain all your needs financial expenses. This is mandatory under Islamic law. Sister even if you were very wealthy your husband must still provide for your finances. The maintenance of a wife includes a home, clothing, food and so forth. You are not obligated to pay any of the expenses related to the home or your maintenance unless you so choose to do so.

Other Arrangements

Of course, there are certain situations where a wife may agree to share in the financial costs if the husband is not making that much money at his job, if he is sick, or otherwise unable to fully provide for his wife. The important factor is that the wife offers to help. Ideally this is discussed prior to the marriage and not brought out as a surprise or a demand post marriage. This situation it not one that is forced upon a wife as she has no obligation to the maintenance of the finances of the household- only the husband does. However, it is a blessing should she contribute until the husband is able to fully support and maintain her and the household. While this is not an ideal situation, it is one that may be needed in certain situations today due to the high cost of living. However, according to what you wrote, your husband is making good money and is even saving some of it.

Refusal to Maintain Wife

Sister it appears that you are maintaining yourself financially and you may even be paying for your trips to see him. He should be paying for these trips. His refusal to maintain you financially because you are in a “long-distance” marriage is not Islamically based nor is it legal under Islamic law as far as I know. I am not an Islamic scholar so you may want to check out our section “Ask the Scholar” for more definitive answer on some of the smaller points that you brought out. However, it is well known that the husband is the financial maintainer of his wife and his family. Using the excuse that you are in a long-distance marriage is just that, an excuse. As a Muslim he should be aware of his responsibilities as a husband and realize that just because the marriage may be a long-distance one, does not negate his responsibility to support you.

Alarming Responses

With this said, you are not being unreasonable to demand your marriage rights, specifically financial maintenance. It is alarming however that when you asked for your rights to this, he blocked you and started to call talaq. This is truly a red flag and yes you have the right to feel disrespected as well. It is a very cruel and irresponsible way for a husband to treat his wife. Does he not know you are a blessing from Allah swt? 

Divorce

Sister, given your husband’s careless attitude towards you, the lack of his desire to fulfill his Islamic duties as a husband concerning maintenance, his anger at your requests for financial help, as well as his immediate response to block and seek divorce upon your request-maybe divorce is best. Perhaps it is best that the talaq goes through and you are divorced from him. While Allah does hate divorce and it is best to seek resolution prior to divorce, his seeking a divorce immediately kind of negates this option.

Conclusion

Sister, my heart goes out to you regarding this situation. However, your husband’s refusal to provide maintenance, his disrespect and disregard for you, as well as his quick response to want to divorce says a lot. It also says a lot about his regard for Islam and Allah’s commands which is really most frightening. Insha’Allah sister perhaps this is a blessing. Perhaps it is that Allah is saving you from a worse fate should you stay married to this man. Please make duaa to Allah for ease and mercy in this situation, trusting in Allah that if your husband files for divorce-it is a blessing for you. We wish you the best.

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Question 2

As-Salamualaikum, How should I interact with my parents? My dad doesn’t talk to my mom at all, he ignores her and avoids her in the house. I actually don’t remember the last time he said a single word to her. My mother is depressed and therefore socially isolated because she withdrew from her friends.

She relies on me and my siblings for social interaction, even though they have moved out so we can’t really talk to her that often. And because of her depression, I feel like she is emotionally unavailable and maybe even neglectful. And because of this I lash out or overreact whether my mom does or doesn’t do anything wrong.

As salamu alaykum sister,

Shokran for writing to our Live Session. Sister you must be under tremendous stress from living in a household where your mom has mental health issues and your father does not speak with her or interact. You stated your mother is depressed and I can imagine that is really hard on you, especially as she has not received treatment (you did not mention she did) and she is socially isolated.  I am sorry that you are in this situation but in sha Allah perhaps things can change.

Mental Health Issues

Depression and other mental health issues can be emotionally draining especially when the person who is suffering from depression or mental illness is a loved one. It is even further compounded when you live with the person and you feel helpless as to what to do for them. Mental health issues effect the whole family. For instance, your dad stopped talking to her-perhaps he gave up. Perhaps it has hurt him so much, he may feel helpless and therefore stopped interacting.

Encouragement and Social Activities

Sister I would kindly suggest that you try to get your mom out of the house when possible. Try encouraging her to do small things with you. Maybe take her to the park, Masjid for prayer, shopping, and other things she may enjoy. She may be resistive at first so you may want to take her out for a short time initially, maybe 5 or 10 minutes to a nearby park or window shopping. As she has not been outside for a while this may be the best way to help her acclimate into social activities and regain a sense of hope and comfortableness. You may wish to engage your dad or siblings if they are willing.

Counseling for Mom

Another important factor would be to try to engage your mom in counseling. This may perhaps be more successful after a few short outings so she can get used to other environments rather than the home. Right now, the thought of going out into a strange office meeting a strange person may be too overwhelming. However, you know your mother best so in sha Allah please do try to engage her in counseling. You may want to state that you will go with her and that you will be supportive of her efforts towards healing. I know this is asking a lot from you as you are only 17 and you probably have a full plate of work at school, but if you take some time out a few days a week for your mom, in sha Allah things will get better.

Addressing your Dad

Sister, you may wish to speak with your dad about how he feels regarding the situation with your mom. Maybe you and he can go for a nice dinner, a quiet walk somewhere, and talk. Perhaps he has no one to talk to regarding your mom. Perhaps he can offer you more insight into your mom’s condition that you did not previously know. In any case sister, by engaging your dad you are making him feel heard, seen, and cared about regarding the situation with your mom. After all-that is her husband-he loves her verry much. He may be at a loss at what to do at this point in life. Your energy and ideas may give him hope as well.

Lashing Out-Stress

Sister you stated that you sometimes lash out at your mom. It is understandable that you may lash out or overreact when your mom does or doesn’t do things that are wrong. It’s not right, and please pray to Allah for forgiveness, but for a young adult you are under a lot of stress carrying a lot of responsibility. I can also imagine you worry a great deal about your mom because you love her very much. Acknowledging your sensitivity, hurt, and anger over the situation is very brave and I am proud of you for being able to identify this. In sha Allah pray to Allah for patience and ease, healing for your mom, as well as healing for yourself because I can imagine it has been very hard on you as well and possibly-you are scared… of the short and long term out comes.

Conclusion

Sister please do try to encourage and engage your mom to get out of the house for short periods of time with you-building up the time and activity level each week. Insha’Allah encourage her to go for counseling stating you will go with her and be supportive. Try to emphasize the benefits of counseling and healing in terms of her feelings of happiness and an increased ability to do the things she once enjoyed. Engage your dad and/or siblings in these efforts if possible. Insha’Allah, your dad may become more responsive if he sees a positive change due to these efforts.

Keep in mind sister-he is probably hurting too. Sister try not to be so hard on yourself, you are dealing with a lot, but please be mindful of your own stress levels and ensure you are practicing self-care as well. Insha’Allah ask Allah for forgiveness, and to grant you ease. Pray to Allah to help your mom in her healing journey so your family can once again live in joy-especially your mom. We wish you the best.

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3. Question

As salamu alaykum brother,

Shokran for writing to our Live Session. I am not really sure how to respond to your question brother because you did not provide much information however I will do my best. May Allah guide me in these responses.

Bad Group Threats

You stated that you needed to know how to overcome bad group threats. I understand this to possibly mean bullying. I am not clear if this is happening in your community, at work, or some other environment. However, despite where it is happening it is a serious issue.

Considering Bullying

Group threats and/or bullying usually arise from school situations. The threats are usually in alignment with making fun of somebody, saying mean things, threatening to harm them, actually harming, or other threats that one conjures up to provoke, or insinuate as harm. Depending upon the situation there are several things you may wish to consider.

Possible Resolutions

If these are group threats in the nature of name-calling, insults, and/or criticisms, you may choose to remove yourself, if possible, from the environment or totally ignore the threats that are going on as long as they are not physical or inflicting mental anguish that you cannot deal with.

Physical Threats

If you are being physically threatened you have the options of informing your boss if it is occurring at work, a university official if it is happening at a university, or the police if it is happening in the community– or in any of the above or other situations if deemed necessary.

Conflict Resolution

You may also wish to participate in community-based conflict resolution with the parties who are inflicting the group threat. In order for this to be successful however the people who are doing this have to be of some sound mind and logic. A lot of organizations offer conflict resolution between parties as it is very effective and resolving disputes. To take this route you may need a third party such as a counselor, community, school, or work representative to initiate the process.

Power and Control

Those who threaten others obtain a sense of power from it. In sha Allah you do know that bullying and threats have nothing to do with you- but do have a lot to say about the ones who are doing the bullying/threatening. The recommendation to ignore it in mild situations often results in a loss of power and control over you for those who are threatening. When bullying and threatening others does not get a response, it tends to stop over time. However please do assess your own personal situation to determine what is the best course of action for you.

Staying Safe

Whatever route you take depending on your situation please always ensure your safety. If you fear getting harmed, please do notify the police. Until this situation is resolved, be mindful when you travel, and always let a family member know your whereabouts.

Conclusion

Brother, please pray to Allah for protection and guidance. Ask Allah to help you make the right decisions as to resolving the situation. Please review our tips and suggestions. Insha’Allah they will provide some help regarding your situation. Lastly, please do contact your local organization regarding bullying. For instance, in the usa there is an organization called Stop Bullying (1) which offers many resources and help. Please see if there is one in your area. We wish you the best

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4. Question

As-Salamualaikum, How should I interact with my parents? My dad doesn’t talk to my mom at all, he ignores her and avoids her in the house. I actually don’t remember the last time he said a single word to her. My mother is depressed and therefore socially isolated because she withdrew from her friends. She relies on me and my siblings for social interaction, even though they have moved out so we can’t really talk to her that often.

And because of her depression, I feel like she is emotionally unavailable and maybe even neglectful. And because of this I lash out or overreact whether my mom does or doesn’t do anything wrong. I used to feel sympathetic for my parents’ issues, but now I am so emotionally detached, that I don’t care at all. This apathy has stretched into my other relationships, as well as perceiving the world, and spiritually. I believe that I have a strong hold on my faith and belief in Allah and Islam, I maintain good habits, but I’m not really feeling any fear or guilt. In my friendships.

I feel like I don’t care about what they have to say. I also believe that I’m not attached to anyone, and I don’t think I ever really have been. And I’m worried that I never will be. And I’m always faking my reactions to whom I am talking with, and I feel like because of that I don’t have a personality. I know when things are wrong; like when I sin and ask for forgiveness, or Muslims are suffering and I pray for them, but I don’t actually feel sympathetic. And I have also become so short with mom when she talks to me–just like my dad. So I’m basically doubling her isolation. I plan to take her to Jummah so that maybe she can reconnect with her friends, but she kind of refuses. She also refuses the idea of therapy and in the past, she would be hesitant to make general doctor appointments for me and take me to them. I know that in Islam, children are supposed to respect and honor their parents. And I understand and respect the sacrifices that they have made for me, but they don’t make the changes they need to better themselves, which has in turn messed me up. I want to know how I should react and respond Islamically. And next year I will be moving out, so my mother will be completely isolated.

As salamu alaykum sister,

Shokran for writing to our Live Session. I am sorry to hear about the issues you and your family are having. It must be really hard to cope with your mom’s mental health illness (depression), her neediness, as well as your dad ignoring your mom. Sadly, outcomes such as these are not uncommon when mental health issues are not addressed.

Depression

Living with a loved one or having a loved one who suffers fromdepressioncan be stressful and draining. You may just wish that person would “snap out of it” but it is not that easy, especially when there has been long term depression (chronic) with no treatment efforts. Based on what you described, your mom may have persistent depressive disorder (also called dysthymia). According to NIH (1), “Persistent depressive disorder (PDD) is a depressed mood that lasts for at least two years. A person diagnosed with persistent depressive disorder may have episodes of major depression along with periods of less severe symptoms, but symptoms must last for two years to be considered persistent depressive disorder.” The only way to know for sure is to have your mom see a counselor in her area for an assessment and ongoing counseling to address whatever it is that she is diagnosed with. If she does indeed suffer from PDD (chronic) depression treatment is often successful but she must be engaged in the process in order to heal.

Your Mental Health

Sister you spoke at great length about your current inability to relate to others on a meaningful level. You also described feeling emotionally detached and apathetic. This could be due to years of being under stress regarding your mom’s state of mental health or it may be something you learned as a survival tactic. Often times when we are on overload emotionally, the brain may disconnect emotions and feelings to prevent further damage and harm. It is a defense mechanism. It could be also that you have developed some other mental health issue. In any case sister, I kindly suggest that you engage in counseling to determine what exactly is going on and treat it. You are young sister with so many good things in life a head of you, it would be recommended to get an assessment and engage in treatment now-rather than waiting years and years to address something that may be treated and resolved now.

Counseling

Counseling is an important part of this healing journey-for both you and your mom. While obviously you cannot make your mom go for counseling you can encourage her and be supportive. For your own self-care-you can make the promise to yourself that you will not let your own mental health issues go on for decades as your mom did. You can choose to get counseling now, address the issues, and resolve them insha’Allah. I know this is asking a lot from you as you are only 17 but you are a very loving and wise young lady and I am confident you can turn this around for yourself and in sha Allah your mom.

Frustrations

It is understandable that you may lash out at your parents. You are under a lot of stress—but it is a sin sister and I am sure it hurts them. While understandable, it’s not right, please pray to Allah for forgiveness, and pray Allah grants you ease, patience, and ends your frustrations. Being frustrated and hurt chronically over a period of time can lead to lashing out. When frustrations are not expressed in healthy ways or are not resolved-they may develop into uncontrollable outbursts. Thus, it is best to deal with these feelings sister-no matter how uncomfortable they may be. Pray to Allah for help. Read Qur’an when feeling overwhelmed; make dhikr, get involved in community organizations which are doing charity work. Again, counseling is an effective modality to learn how to deal with unsurmountable frustrations and lashing out.

Conclusion

Sister your situation is hurtful, I understand that. However, there are things you can do to improve the current and future outcomes insha’Allah. Please continue to encourage your mom to go for counseling. Offer to go with her. Try to get her out of the house for short periods of time. Take her for a short walk to a pretty park; take her to the Masjid-even if she is hesitant at first, tell her you will only stay for a short while for prayer. Insha’Allah she will agree to go. Insha’Allah she will get over her fears as she gets used to going-and possibly will connect with the sisters there and reform friendships. Insha’Allah your dad will want to be a part of this growth and healing process and he too will want to go on these outings and to the Masjid with his wife and daughter. Lastly, but most important–be mindful of your own stress and frustration levels and ensure you are practicing self-care as well as seeking out a counselor in your area. Pray to Allah to help you and your mom in this healing journey. Insha’Allah this opens up new doors of hope and action for your whole family. We wish you the best.

***

5. Question

I have a fear of getting married let alone thinking of having children. I’ve often thought that I might die before any of that happened. I accidentally asked (to Allah) to die sooner instead of being a wife and a mother. What do i do about this? I need someone like you to answer this problem.

As salamu alaykum sister,

Shokran for writing to our Live Session. As I understand your issue dear sister, you have a fear of getting married and having children. You also stated that you accidentally asked Allah to let you die before you became a wife and a mother. Now you are wondering what to do.

Fear of Marriage and Having Children

Sister I am wondering what it is that you are afraid of when it comes to marriage and having children. I kindly ask that you look inside of yourself, your feelings, and determine what are your fears exactly-and where did they come from. You may wish to write down your fears so you can look at them and see if they are rational fears. You may also wish to write down what it is about marriage and having children that would be wonderful. After you do that, you could compare the two lists and see which one makes more sense to you. Does it make sense to fear marriage for instance because you feel you might get divorced?

If that were the case hardly no one will get married! Marriage is supposed to be forever at least in this lifetime however, we cannot predict the future only Allah knows. The best thing we can do is follow Islam, trust in Allah, and use our own best judgment when choosing a life partner. I am not saying that is one of your fears, I just gave this as an example of how to possibly breakdown some of your personal fears. A lot of the fears that we have are not grounded in reality but our future projections of things that probably will not happen.

Positive Affirmations

When looking at your positive list concerning marriage and children, do these things bring you joy? Do they make you smile? Do they give you hope? When focusing on the positive we can often times eliminate a lot of things that we are fearful of. When focusing on the good and positive aspects of something and creating positive affirmations, what we are afraid of may begin fade. I kindly suggest that you do make these lists, cross out the fears that do not make sense once you analyze them, and focus on the good and positive aspects of marriage and children. I kindly ask in sha Allah, that you read the positive list at least two or three times a day. This will help train your mind to think in a positive way about these issues.

Possible Trauma Related

On the other hand, if there is something traumatic that has happened in your past and/or your childhood that has caused you to be fearful of marriage and having children– that is another thing. If this is the case sister, please do seek out counseling in your area. It is best to address these issues while you are young rather than carrying them through year after year, they only grow bigger and you may miss out on a lot of beautiful things in life. Further, if you do have a history of trauma, counseling has a high rate of success for healing and moving forward in life.

Past Request of Allah

As far as what you asked Allah, sister Allah knows us better than we know ourselves. I am not an Islamic scholar but I do know that Allah knows us, He loves us, and He knows when we say things we don’t mean. Allah knows when we say things out of fear and frustration, and He knows when we don’t mean something. Allah in His mercy and infinite wisdom will not grant you this request knowing you requested it under duress and fear. Allah is most wise, most merciful, and most forgiving. I kindly ask that you pray to Allah asking Him to forgive you for your previous request you made while under dire fear. Of course, Allah already knows this, Allah knows All-but as a humble servant of Allah this prayer can be an ending and nullifier of your previous request-but Allah already knows your heart sister and He loves you and He insha’Allah will grant you a long, happy life.

Conclusion

I kindly suggest sister that you do address the issues that have caused you such fear regarding marriage and having children. Be it through making your list and focusing on the positive until you are comfortable, to going for counseling if you feel these fears are due to a past trauma or abuse. In sha Allah you will soon feel positive emotions when thinking about marriage and children. However, you must clear out whatever it is that is causing you distress and fear. I kindly advise that you do this sooner than later so you can heal and begin to live your life enjoy in love without fear. Lastly, keep close to Allah knowing He loves you, He knows your deepest fears and joys, and He will insha’Allah grant ease during this journey towards healing and getting past fears We wish you the best.

Thursday, Dec. 30, 2021 | 06:00 - 07:00 GMT

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