Beat The Winter Blues (Counseling Q&A Session)

Question 1

Assalaamu alaikum warahmathullahi wabarakaathuhu!

  I’m facing a problem that I’m so messed up in my mind. that I get many thoughts like it’s affecting my prayers, dhikr, and also studies so that sometimes I battle with my own brain.

I even find it hard to say my problem. I usually overthink a lot and I was addicted to so many social media apps and celebrities before, Alhamdulillah after sharing my problems with Allah, by praying, repenting, and remembering Allah I changed a lot and started to rely on Allah for everything and I’m happy with my bond with Allah. but I’m so sad that I get shaitan whispers a lot.

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I felt a relief that it’s a sign of iman, but since I’m messed up with my thoughts. because I try a lot to fight them a lot. so mostly I lose my focus on things, and now I find it hard to focus on things that I get distracted thoughts. soon I forget things and it’s hard for me to study. sometimes when I’m fighting with my own focus I feel stressed.

But alhamdulillah I keep on asking dua about these problems I know one day everything will be alright. sometimes even while praying I find it’s hard and I feel guilty after praying. I get this problem on and off. I really don’t know whether it’s a big deal. I just want some tips from counselors. jazakallahu khair for this opportunity. may Allah grant you goodness!

Wa alaikum salaam wa rahmatulahi wa barakatuh sister and ameen to your duas,

Alhamdulillah, the most important thing, to begin with, is that you are turning to Allah with your difficulties and this has been helping you. In sha Allah He will continue to help you.

However, I understand that as much as you continue to turn to Him, you still have difficulty maintaining focus due to Shaytāns whispers. This is must be very distressing for you, and it clearly is and that is why you are reaching out for further support, but do also understand that as disturbing as this is for you, it is also a good sign that you are on the right path.

Shaytān doesn’t like when people get close to Allah and will do everything to prevent it. Alhamdulilah, you continue to turn back to Allah every time. This is the right thing to do. Never give up on this. Don’t let Shaytān win!

Unfortunately, this is something that everyone goes through. Even the best of people, the most knowledgeable of scholars go through the same battle with Shaytān and his whispers. The key is learning how to deal with it. Alhamdulilah, you are clearly very aware that turning to Allah is the ultimate solution to overcome such whispers.

However, there are additional things that you can do to make your fight even stronger. Remember Allah at times outside when you typically might. So, for example, brush up on all the relevant dhikr that are recommended throughout the day such as when leaving the house, when eating, and even when going into the bathroom.

Shaytān may cause you to forget at times, especially in the beginning when you try to establish the habit so you can help yourself by sticking up little reminders around the place. So, place a poster, or even post it note on the door to your house to remind you to say your dua before you exit the house. Do the same on the bathroom door.. Etc.. This way, even if you forget, you will have plenty of reminders.

Otherwise, continue to keep busy in the remembrance of Allah, establish voluntary prayers, fast voluntary fasts, study something new in Islam. Pick something new and exciting that you can keep track of as you achieve more and more.

For example, it might be memorizing the Quran. Aim to memorize a manageable amount each week so you can be conscious of your progress and achievements. This will keep you motivated to keep turning back to it again and again for the sake of Allah.

The task you choose may not be memorizing the Quran, it may be something else, perhaps learning the meaning, or taking a course. Whichever you pick, it is a way to keep you close to Allah, to strengthen your bond as you learn more and to keep you motivated.

It will also help with your focus and concentration as you discipline yourself to establish a schedule with it. Learning the meaning of the Qur’an may be a particularly good option at this point as having an understanding of what you are reading in Salah will not only help you to appreciate Islam and its beauty but will also assist with your focus in prayer because you will be familiar with the meaning in what you are reading and therefore more able to connect and concentrate during prayer.

A way to support yourself with this is to do this with another sister, or group of sisters so that you can not only learn together and socialise with other likeminded sisters, they will help to motivate you and keep you on the straight path in your Deen and with your study. This practice will then help to spill over into other aspects of your life such as study at school.

May Allah reward your efforts to keep strong on His path. May He protect you from the whispers of Shaytān and guide you to all things good in this life and the next.

***

Question 2

Asslamualikum! Most scholars say that it is haraam to talk with a non-mahram unnecessarily, and we have many relatives who are nonmahram to me. I feel very strange not to talk to them while we are in the same room next to each other.

My intention is completely clear. Such situations make me feel so frustrated because I obviously do not want to do haram but at the same time it just feels too awkward, even childish in a way.

(I have grown up in the West where there is nothing wrong with exchanging some innocent words with the opposite gender, as long as it is not becoming a flirting, or chitchatting about deeply personal stuff.) I cannot completely ignore these family members. What do you think, how to solve this frustration inside me?

Wa alaikum salaam wa rahmatulahi wa barakatuh,

It is understandable how difficult it is when the culture you live in follows practices that are not completely compatible with Islam. In your case, you live in the West where it is perfectly acceptable for men and women to mix openly. In Islam, this type of free mixing is not acceptable.

These contradictions make it incredibly difficult to live comfortably. Of course, as a Muslim, you are bound by what Allah has told you, and that is to refrain from unnecessary free mixing.

At the same time, when the culture where you are living practices the opposite to this, how do you uphold the values of Islam without feeling awkward, or making others look at you strangely for not fitting in with everyone else. This will inevitably lead to the types of frustration that you are feeling. You are not alone in such feelings.

Many Muslims living in the West go through similar dilemmas whether it be the same one as you or something else where the cultural practices opposes that of Islam.

There are however solutions that allow you to uphold your values as a Muslim whilst not being too offensive to those around you.

I understand that you are very clear in your mind, and possibly outwardly too that there are no ill intentions in your interactions with others, and its very important that you always maintain this clarity. It is also important that as much as you are clear about your intentions, you should also be aware of how much Shaytān loves to lead people astray and how he can do so in such a clever way.

So, in the case of free mixing, for example, someone may free mix completely innocently to begin with having no intentions of it leading to anything harm and then slowly and gradually little opportunities arise for innocent discussion about nothing untoward before discussion leads to something more personal without even realizing.

Over time, perhaps a long time, people become more comfortable with one another and maybe even develop feelings for one another and this starts showing in the behavior towards one another.

Anyhow, this doesn’t mean it would definitely happen or that it always does, but being aware of how these things can subtly happen can help make it less frustrating as you come to understand the wisdom behind why such things are practiced in Islam.

It is situations like this that lead to fornication and adultery. Sticking to the practices in Islam protect this from happening to Muslims. I understand that this may feel like a bit of a lecture.

However, it is important that you have this in mind, first of all, to feel less awkward as you understand that you behave the way you do for the sake of pleasing Allah which is far more important in the long run than pleasing family members. Keep that in mind when you are feeling awkward.

However, at the same time, it is important to maintain family relations and avoid any awkwardness that will help with this. In order to do this, you can maintain relations by still being present, but being ever conscious of how you are interacting.

So, for example, it sounds like the situations you refer to tend to happen in groups. Alhamdulilah, at least you are not mixing one to one with members of the opposite gender. Where possible, try to sit amongst and talk with those of the same gender, not those who are also mixing with the opposite gender.

Engage in the conversation and maintain those ties and then if the meeting is going on for some time and there are still non Mahrams present, make a valid excuse to leave.

You might also at the beginning of the meeting ask other brothers if they’d like to follow you somewhere (whether it be outside of the house or to another location in the same house) to naturally make the separation of genders.

Another thing you might try is to tackle it from the root. So, talk to whoever organizes the gatherings and gently let them know that you are not comfortable with such arrangements and that actually they’re not really OK Islamically.

Rather than trying to seem like you want to put a stop to them altogether, just suggest alternative arrangements, even if it is as simple as brothers and sisters sitting separately in the house. Depending on your relationship with the person this may or may not be an easy thing to do, although, keeping in mind your intention and the desire to please Allah and make things more comfortable for yourself it may not be so tricky.

If you feel this may be awkward, approach someone in the group who you know to be more strong in their Deen to support you in this and either approach the organizer or make the move to encourage separation with you.

Otherwise, you could even take the initiative to perform the action yourself and do it more casually by inviting those of the same gender to do something separately that perhaps they are more interested in than the opposite gender. This will naturally make the opposite gender turn to do something themselves independently.

May Allah reward your intentions and keep you strong in your Deen. May He bring you success in this life the next and make it easy for you to face your challenges successfully for His pleasure.

***

Question 3

Asalam Alaikum, I pray this message finds you well, and may Allah swt reward you for the kind, non-judgemental support you are providing for Muslims across the world.

I am a revert and have been struggling with my faith and loneliness since leaving an abusive marriage two years ago. I met someone who seemed so genuine and unfortunately due to my weak faith at the time we committed a sin within the boundaries of Islam and I am not proud of it. This man promised me marriage, promised to be my mahram and read my funeral prayers if anything happened to me in the future and said he would support me throughout any hardships in life.

I found out I was pregnant and was devastated and remorseful however I felt that abortion is a huge sin in islam and wouldn’t improve my relationship with Allah so I decided to keep the baby and raise him as a righteous Muslim and servant of Allah. I understand how pure and beautiful babies are in islam and sincerely pray he will bring me closer to Allah and I can raise him to be a gentle human being.

I have sincerely repented, got back on track with my prayers and I plan on joining back at my revert group at the mosque when the baby is a little bit older. I asked the father for a nikkah as soon as I found out and have tried my best to encourage us to move forward in a halal way and raise our son Islamically.

He at first blocked me after I refused an abortion and had some family members staying with him that were trying to pressure him into an arranged marriage. He has caused me a lot of emotional pain but I forgave him. He said he would keep the baby as a secret from his family and keep me as a secret which has hurt me so much at the same time he said he would support with his son learning about the deen.

His family do not know and he said he’ll be a good role model for not telling them. He has a child from a previous marriage who he rarely sees and it seems he divorced her when she was pregnant so I am worried our children will grow up to think lying is ok in islam and be hurt when they eventually find out. I do not think this man will be in my child’s life although he has financial obligations under the law but I pray he will be in some way as I feel it will be beneficial for my child in this life and the hereafter if he has a father to teach him about Islam and shouldn’t be punished for his fathers mistakes.

My question is how do I move forward? My baby is due any day now and I am very tired dealing with the emotional and physical pains of pregnancy. I would like my baby to have an aqiqah and preferably his fathers name as I was bullied for my surname at school is this allowed although I understand he will inherit from me?

Am I allowed to say the shahadah for him at birth? My family are Christian and have always been loving and supportive of my conversion however I feel heartbroken at times that I don’t have a wali to communicate on my behalf and feel that if I was from a Muslim family he would have stepped up to his responsibilities and spoken to my father, he said in islam it’s too late to get married now because you are already pregnant but I believe Allah swt is kind and forgiving. I pray that Allah rewards you for your kindness and I ask you to keep my little baby in your duas.

Wa alaikum salaam wa rahmatulahi wa barakatuh sister,

I am very sorry to read about your difficult scenario and the struggles you are facing at this late stage in pregnancy. May Allah protect you and keep you strong.

You have committed sins, but you know that and you are living with the pain and the consequences. Everyone makes some mistake or another at some point. We are human and we all do this. You are not alone. Alhamdulilah, that you are aware of this and clearly very repentant for your mistakes.

You are doing all the right things. Alhamdulilah. Always turn to Allah, take your affirms to Him, pray for His forgiveness and guidance in all matters, and surely He will continue to guide and protect you.

Many of the questions you have posted here are those that I would strongly suggest you get scholarly advice on as I’m not qualified to answer such questions. Questions such as those about naming the baby, the aqiqah, and all the practises performed around the baby’s birth.

In sha Allah you will be advised of perfect solutions to all these matters that are in line with Islam and best for you and your baby. However, I can certainly help to advise on the emotional and psychological matters that you face.

It is unfortunate that this man wants to keep everything a secret, both you and the baby, and could be very destructive to both you and the baby, although I believe that this may also be a reflection that he also understands that what happened between you was wrong.

However, at the same time, you are now pregnant and there is no hiding this and the child and there are ways to make a mends for this, both internally in terms of repentance on both parts, but also externally in terms of making the things halal that can be where possible Again, this would be something to get solid scholarly advice on.

If it is possible that you can wed and this is what you both want, then you should and he needs to step up to the responsibilities as a husband and father. If you are confident that he can and will do that then go ahead. Or, if he is not sure and/or neither are you then perhaps give it a certain period of time before deciding what to do next.

If he is not serious after some months, then perhaps it is time that you move on and not allow yourself and your baby to be messed around anymore for the sake of your health and wellbeing.

Either way, Alhamdulilah that you have the support of your family around you. Whether you do make the relationship work and get married or not, your family will provide you with the support that you need at this time.

Don’t be afraid to turn to them for support. Having a baby is a really tough job, especially if you have to do it without the father’s presence so their support will be very beneficial for you. However it may be a tough job, but also so very rewarding.

Again, either way, whether you and he move forward together or apart, it is very important that you take care of yourself. This will also make it easier for you to deal with any other difficulties you face.

Engage in plenty of self-care! Be with people who make you happy and do the things you love to do! Eat well and take advantage of the time when friends and family reach out to help out with the baby. Take advantage of those moments to just rest without feeling guilty. Spend time outdoors getting some gentle exercise (with the pushchair when you’re recovered form childbirth and baby is here).

Do something that you’ve always wanted to do but not had the chance to yet. Join mother and baby groups (both online and face to face where possible) to mix with other mummies going through the same struggles of new motherhood. All these things will help to boost your emotional and physical well-being and place you in a better position to deal more rationally with the situation with the father of your baby.

Give him space to think things through for himself too and decide what he really wants and you make clear to him what you want from him too so that you can come up with a solution that works for all the best as possible. You might try to encourage him to have this discussion with you with a mutual party present, either a counselor or even better, an Imam who will be able to listen and advice in a way that is in line with Islam.

May Allah guide you to what is best for you and your baby and most pleasing to Him. May He grant you a safe delivery and a healthy baby who will be the coolness of your eyes in this life and the next.

***

Question 4

I’m married for 10 years have 4 little children but lastly, my husband has been threatening me with divorce but he didn’t act on it yet.

He keeps saying I need to leave our home then he will do apply for a divorce, I don’t know why he is doing this he speaking to other females he hits me calls me names insult me he even lets his whole family bully me.

Now he can leave me but why must I move out with my baby’s, I’m a good wife what must I do. I don’t want to lose my family but I’m exhausted.

Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatulahi wa barakatuh sister,

I understand that this is a very difficult situation for you with your husband constantly threatening you with divorce. It probably leaves you feeling very insecure not knowing what is going to happen next. This is not a very pleasant situation to be in and is possibly impacting on your children too and it’s not fair of your husband to be treating you like this.

There is however one massively concerning thing is that it seems that your husband is abusing you, both physically and emotionally and this is not OK. Abuse of any kind is never OK and you do need support with this. I understand that you don’t feel that it is right that you should be the one to leave with your babies, and certainly, you should not be the one to be placed in such an uncomfortable situation.

However, at the same time, for the safety of yourself and you children, it is best, not only for yours and your children’s wellbeing but also to move forward in the best way. You and your husband both need time away from each other to reflect on your situation and where you want to go from here. Being away from each other and outside of each other’s presence will allow this to happen most effectively.

Perhaps go and spend some time with your family without necessarily sharing why you are having this time away. This time doesn’t necessarily have to solely focus on reflecting on your marriage but is also a form of taking care of yourself and giving yourself time for self-care to look after yourself and be with people who genuinely care for you and enable you to feel loved in the way that you should be.

Whilst you are taking this time for yourself, it will also give your husband the chance to think about his own behavior. Sometimes it takes this space apart to realize what you have and where you are going right or wrong and how to make changes.

Once you have had a few days to focus on yourself and reset your mind, then you can start thinking about what you want moving forward. Think about and consider your opinions and what the consequences of these may be. So, do you make the big decision to walk away and escape the abuse with no going back because you are sure he can’t change?

And how would you go about this and where would you go and support your children? Might you go back and give him a chance to change and if after some months it’s still not working then leave? But at the risk, he may still be abusive and it makes things even more confusing for your children.

It is a very tough choice with possible good and bad consequences, either way, however, taking the time to process your options rationally will allow you to consider things more carefully.

You might consider consulting loved ones to get their advice, of suggest seeing a counselor with your husband together to try and work things out. Most importantly take thile matter to Allah and ask for His guidance in the matter. When you make your decision with the consideration of all in mind, especially your children, then present it to Allah and move forward with confidence.

May Allah guide you to what is best for you and your children and most pleasing to Him. May He protect you from harm and bring you happiness in both this life and the next.

Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees be held liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.

Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2021 | 10:00 - 11:00 GMT

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