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Building Mental & Emotional Health

Dear Brother/Sisters,

We’re glad to announce that Ask the Counselor section is going to hold its next counseling live session on February 2d at 16:30 GMT/ 19:30 Makkah time.

If you have any question related to mental, emotional, and social well-being, feel free to submit it during the session on this page or send it beforehand to [email protected]

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The service is completely anonymous!

Thursday, Feb. 02, 2017 | 19:30 - 21:30 GMT

Session is over.
DISCLAIMER
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.  

Salam I am 34 years old. I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis last year. I've been through struggles throughout my whole life since my childhood. Please help me! I am in need of a Muslim psychologist!



 

Wa ’Alaikum Salaam wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuhu,

There is a hadith that says Allah (swt) tests the most (hardest) the ones He (swt) loves the most. So, be encouraged. Suffering is, paradoxically, a blessing in disguise. It may be your ticket to Jennah! Your suffering is not lost in the eyes of Allah (swt) even when it is lost in people’s eyes, including yourself, whose perceptions of things are limited to this world mostly. While we should fear meeting Allah (swt) in the next life and having to answer for our sins, we should also remember the beauty of the next life. It is the pure, perfect justice of Allah (swt) that we all have been waiting for all our lives, especially in these days and age when so much injustice, and horror, and crimes are committed against humanity.

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Please feel the relationship with Allah (swt) regarding the above hopes so that you don’t suffer alone without a companion to comfort you in your pain. Allah’s (swt) truth and comfort is there for you!

Beyond building a love-relationship with Allah (swt), ask Allah (swt) to guide you to some relief. There are many amazing symptom-control methods out there for MS now. Try to find them. I know people with MS who have had phenomenal recovery. They have the ability to manage their symptoms so much so that they can now do everything that they used to do before they got the disease. So, please search for the alternative as well as the conventional treatments out there and don’t lose hope for relief in this life. Talk to people, Google things, do everything you can to search for answers while seeking the help of Allah (swt).

If you find help, thank Allah (swt). If you don’t get relief, or don’t get “enough” relief to relieve what you feel you have been suffering, of both physical and mental suffering, remember that the Prophet (saw) said that any pain we suffer removes our sins.

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So, again, you can look at this thing (and all your suffering throughout your childhood) in a different way from bad. You can look at it in relationship to the next life and to gaining insight and wisdom in this life. The more we suffer the more we turn to Allah (swt). People who have it easy have no reason to ask of Allah (swt), so they sometimes forget that we should be thanking Allah (swt). They become separated from their Maker (swt). So, thank Allah (swt) for that which makes you turn to Him (swt) and have a close relationship with Him, In Sha’Allah.

It is also helpful to look for the good and beautiful things that surround us in this world which is filled with the signs of Allah (swt). Smell a flower. Watch a child play. Listen to a child; they say amazing things. Go to see the ocean (if near one). Go to the mountains (if near them). Watch a documentary about something that interests you, and thank Allah (swt) that you have your mind which is alive and active still.

The beauty of the mind is something sorely overlooked in our world of consumerism. But the beauty of the mind is the real beauty as our soul is from Allah (swt). The beauty of this world, while they are signs of Allah (swt), are going to be destroyed when Allah (swt) ends the world. Then, only the Ruh, the soul, will remain and matter. It will have to answer for how we responded to the world’s tests Allah (swt) gave us.

Lastly, don’t forget that everyone has handicaps/disabilities; some people’s are evident, like they smoke or they are crippled. Other people’s are hidden, but we all have them, evident or not evident. In fact, your suffering may be much less than other people’s. See things from the positive side!

May Allah (swt) make it easy for you!


As-Salam Alaikum. I am a 17 years old girl from India. I am a bit moody since my childhood. I get too sentimental over small issues, and I get hurt very easily. I become too overwhelmed with anxiety and cry very easily and often on silly things. I don’t want to do so, but whenever I see someone crying in reality or in television, I hardly can resist my tears most of the time. I get nervous and stressed unnecessarily when I have exams or in general when meeting authorities and teachers. I find many times tears coming down in such situations. I am unable to control myself. I don’t know why. This makes it difficult for me to carry myself. I often, knowingly or unknowingly, behave rudely towards my parents, even if I don’t want to do so. I later regret and make tawbah. Sometimes, I need to detach myself from everything for some time. This creates misunderstanding with people around me, and my mom often accuses me to destroy the peace of home, and she says I am too sensitive to handle things. But I really don’t intend to do so. Am I sinful? Please advise me. Do I need to see a psychiatrist? Please help. Thank You.



 

Wa ’Alaikum Salaam wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuhu,

Thank you for asking this very important question! No, you are not a sinful person. Sinful people are full of sin; they prefer sin to righteousness. You, like all of us, sometimes commit sins unwittingly or out of weakness. A sinful person loves to live a life of wrongdoing, a life that is not according to Allah’s (swt) laws. Sinful people are kuffar/kafir.

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The word kafir comes from the word that means “to cover” or “hide”, like a farmer hides a seed by covering it with dirt. A kafir is an unbeliever because s/he covers the truth with lies and/or deceit. Lying is false information, deceit is the absence of information to guide a person away from the truth by not saying something needed to be said for a person to understand a situation properly. A kafir hides the fact that we were created (not of our own accord), and they lie that our provision comes from our own hands (not our Creator’s). They delude themselves and others about their power.

You, on the other hand, feel guilty about your problems, e.g., being rude to your parent or disrupting the peace (unintentionally). That proves that your heart is not that of a sinful person, but is the opposite. You care about others, you do not want to do injustice(s) out of arrogance and/or the pleasure of seeing others suffer. You are afraid to disobey Allah (swt). So, now, is being super sensitive a sin? No!

The Prophet (saw) was super sensitive. He (saw) cared more than any of us about other people’s feelings, and pains, and rights. He worried more about his own behavior than any of us ever have, out of taqwa (fear of/awareness of our duty to Allah). However, the difference between his behavior and yours (ours) is something called “acting out”. We make a big scene. He (saw) did not “act out” his feelings by making a big scene. He would tell people how he (saw) felt without making the whole world turn its head and ask, “What is wrong with that person?”

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“Acting out” is acting out how we feel instead of saying it. We play charades about our feelings. To express ourselves when we do not know how to express ourselves, we do that to get a response. We need a response because we need answers. By crying or getting loud, we get the attention of the people who we want to listen to us or understand us. However, it is the way of immaturity; we still cry to communicate because we do not have words yet. Babies and small children “act out” their feelings because they do not have words yet.

That is not to say that crying is not very good in some situations. It is very good in many situation as it is not always “acting out”!

So, my recommendation to you is: you cannot control what other people do. Therefore, you need to start having your own internal dialogue with yourself. First, when you feel overwhelmed with feeling, ask yourself what you are feeling and why you are feeling it. Start to become conscious of what it is you need and/or want, and why you feel that way. Then, try to verbalize it—to yourself and Allah (swt). Ask Allah (swt) to guide you about the source of your feelings and how you should respond to them. A good way to process them is setting up a task that will solve the issue that produced them. When we feel that we can do nothing, that is when we automatically cry—out of frustration. Sometimes we can do nothing, then we have to learn to leave it in Allah’s (swt) hands and trust in Allah (swt) that He (swt) will resolve it in this life or the next.

Sometimes others can help with their different perspective or knowledge of Islam. So go and talk to your parents, or a friend, or a teacher, or someone else you feel comfortable with.

You need to go down a path of understanding of your feelings and how they can be resolved so that you can live at peace with them instead of them threatening you with confusion and/or fear and/or too much pain for you to handle.

Lastly, of course, it is wrong to be rude to your mother. So, ask Allah (swt) to guide you as to why you did that. what did you need to communicate to your parent? What were you trying to say that you could not say so you “acted it out”? Make tawba (repentance) too, and ask your parent to forgive you!

May Allah (swt) make it easy for you.  


As-Salamu ‘Alaikum sister. First of all, thank you for giving your precious time to solve problems of many. May Allah reward you with the best. A couple of months ago, I asked you regarding an issue of mine with my university school mate. We both are graduating in the same college. My issue was that she had some feelings for me and I too had some for her. We just met once but did not express our feelings, and before we could meet again, I just reminded myself that it was wrong and I never talked to her again, although she tried two or three times. I was very ashamed of myself that whether I did something wrong or hurt her. I tried to apologize to her later, but she turned away this time and this remained unsolved. Sister, you suggested me just to forget this incident and not to think that she was still thinking about me. Alhamdulillah your suggestion helped me a lot. But today I feel I am just so negative. Few months ago, I came to know that she was engaged with one of my good senior friends. Even though everything seems fine Alhamdulillah, I am a practicing Muslim and that girl is also of high morals, and she is among the top students, but I don't know why many times I get worried whether she was happy now. Why is that? The other problem of this same issue is that girl's brother lives near to my home. I never talked to him, not because of any hatred, but because of the feelings toward his sister. But last year when the above incident with his sister took place in the college, I met her brother coincidentally in the mosque. I wished him salam with a nice smile as if he is my future brother-in-law. Next day, he starred at me with doubtful eyes as though he wanted to tell me not to come in the way of his sister. I got panicked because I heard a lot of bad stories where bad things happened, and I am very much concerned about my and my family's respect and honor. After that I never looked at his sister again. Although the guy shook my hand in an apologizing manner later, I still feel very bad and I feel panicked when he passes by me. The senior to whom his sister will be married will surely invite me to the wedding. What should I do then? Give some helpful suggestion sister. This has been really disturbing me a lot. JazakAllah kahyran.



Wa ’Alaikum Salaam wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuhu,

Alhamdulillah, I am glad that I was able to help before and I hope I can help again, by the will and guidance of Allah (swt).

It is not a sin to feel. What we feel is not within our control. Sin is reacting to a feeling in an inappropriate way, not according to Allah’s laws, for example, cuss, hit someone out of anger, say something hurtful to get back at someone. However, there is a feeling that happens between the feeling which was the impetus for our behavior (the desire) and our actual behavior. This feeling usually goes unnoticed in terms of our consciousness of the “system of feelings” that is going on inside us, in our minds and hearts, before we do a behavior in reaction to our feelings. For instance, if someone mistreats us, we feel the pain of their mistreatment first because that is the feeling that gets a reaction out of us that something is wrong. Then, we react to that feeling with another feeling, e.g., anger, fear, frustration. It takes work to sort out the difference between what we feel initially and what we feel in response to that feeling. We have to learn what the relationship is between our feelings and our internal reactions to them (before a behavior) to be able to identify which is which. When we can, we gain access to the ability to “decide” how we want to react, what action/behavior we want to take in response to our feelings, which were a combo or an initial feeling (e.g., the pain of a mistreatment) and our feelings about that feeling.

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When we are conscious of how this system works, we can gain the insight we need, by Allah’s (swt) guidance, to understand how to turn off our desire to do a bad behavior before we do it. That desire is usually Shaitan corrupting our thinking with his evil suggestions of how to act.

So, what could be a sin is how we respond to our feelings, not our feelings themselves. From what I can tell, you did nothing wrong; to feel love is not a sin. To feel desire in response to that love is not a sin. You did not do an unlawful behavior (zina) in response to your feelings, so you did nothing wrong. So, please stop “beating yourself up”, so to speak, for feeling love, and even desire, for someone.

No, I would not recommend that you go to the wedding! You can make an excuse that is not a lie but is not telling the whole reason why you do not want to go. You can say that you don’t feel well. People will assume that you mean you don’t feel physically well, but you can mean that you don’t feel mentally well and you won’t be lying. Their assumptions about what well means is not your fault.

As far as your worries about her happiness go, I think I can safely say that her happiness is now beyond your realm of rights in relationship to her. You have to let her go, completely. Her happiness, or lack of it, is not something that you can do anything about at this point. I think you know that you need to leave her in Allah’s (swt) care now.

The same applies to your continued feelings for her. You have got to let go of her, in Sha’Allah. As I said, you cannot control what you feel, but you can control what you do about your feelings. Rather than just pining over her, perhaps finding another area of life that you love to think about would take your mind off of her. Or, try to find another sister who you think would be good for you on your path to Jennah, In Sha’Allah.

May Allah (swt) make it easy for you.


Salam. I am a 26 years old woman from Pakistan. I currently live in Pakistan with my parents while my husband is in Dubai. We’re married for 1,5 years. My problem is that my husband does not use his mind; he just follows his sister and mother. He uses abusive language with my parents, although my parents don’t interfere in my and my husband's matter. I always do what my husband says and whatever my husband wants. He beats me severely. I still love him and want to live with him. He left me in my parent’s home now, and he doesn’t contact me or even asks me about her daughter who is just 6 months old. Please reply me what to do.



Wa ’Alaikum Salaam wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuhu,

My dear sister in Islam, if beating you “severely”, abandoning you, cussing at his elders (your parents), blindly following his mother and sister and not having a life of his own, and, most of all, abandoning his baby daughter are not enough to make you feel differently about him, what can I say to make you “wake up and smell the coffee”, so to speak? Therefore, I would examine your appreciation of yourself (your own self-worth) instead of challenging your appreciation of him.

Do you think that you do not deserve better? Do you think that he is the only man that will ever want you or have you (and he does not deserve the honor of being called a man). Many men would love to marry a woman who does “whatever my husband wants”. Why don’t you fear for your safety, for your sanity, for your Islam, for your baby’s safety? If he hits you severely, don’t you think that he would hit his child, too? He doesn’t even want her!

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Have you ever heard the expression, “keep your eyes on the prize”? I think you need a new prize to keep your eyes on: Paradise (Jennah), not him! Figure out how to get to Jennah. We all need a partner in that path because Allah (swt) created us in pairs. To me, he is not a person who is a good partner. According to the Quran, a “man” is someone who cares for women and children. He is a provider and protector of women and children. Your husband it the opposite!

Please consider finding a “real” man, one who fears Allah (swt) and has feeling in his heart for his children so that he would not abandon his children. A man who fears Allah (swt) does not verbally abuse his elders. A man who fears Allah (swt) would love his wife—the opposite of beating her severely!

Love makes the heart safe. The person is able to live his/her life fully, feeling strengthened and motivated to be a productive person, free to help others because their needs are met. This is what a mother needs to feel to be able to take care of small children who need care and protection 24 hours a day. It is very hard to raise a child; it is very demanding. Your focus should be on that (as your duty to Allah and to your child) so that you can win Allah’s (swt) pleasure and go to Jennah, in sha’Allah. Your focus, time, and energy should not be on how to survive an abusive marriage and still be there for your child!

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May people do not want divorce because of its cultural stigma and because our religion says that it should not be your first line of defense, but it should be your last. My dear sister, please know that you have every right to get a divorce in this case. I would even be so bold as to say that divorce in your case is your duty; in my opinion, you should not stay married to this person because he is a serious danger to your and your child’s safety! May Allah (swt) forgive me if I am wrong, but I am being sincere to you and Allah (swt) about what I feel in this case.

May Allah (swt) make it easy for you!


I am doing my MSC. I love a girl. She is a true Muslim by heart. I wanted to marry her as she also loves me. I chose the proper way and sent my parents to her parents. Her parents said that they accepted my proposal, but they needed some time as their daughter was still studying. Negotiations started. My parents were asking for engagement, but unfortunately during all this negotiations, my father died. My mother was mourning for 4 months. During the mourning period, the parents of the girl engaged her (without her consent and wish) with someone else who is rich but uneducated. Now what should I do? Please help me. I really wish to marry her, and she wants to marry me too. I have been making dua for long time. Many people say that this is fate and I should accept it. Please suggest me something, I am so depressed!



Wa ’Alaikum Salaam wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuhu my dear brother in Islam,

You and your fiancé have the right to get married. In Islam, you are not supposed to talk to another person when you are already engaged to someone else, let alone marry him/her. If you want to talk to another person about marriage, you have to break off your engagement—which, in your case, has never happened, so she is not supposed to talk with anyone else about marriage.

To be engaged is a commitment in terms of loyalty to that person. Please write to the scholars on this website whom will give you a legal fatwa to this situation so you can show it to your fiancée and her family. You are in the right and her parents are in the wrong. You should take a fiqh ruling to them to show them that they are disobeying their religion.

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Beyond that, it is very important that you two marry each other because you want to marry each other; she does not want to marry this other person. Her parents do not have the right to force her to marry someone who she does not want to marry. Again, please write to the scholars on this website to get the rulings for that regulation too to show to her and her parents.

It is common in many Muslim countries for parents to force their children to marry people that they do not want to marry. This practice is cultural and has nothing to do with Islam. It is a huge violation of the rules in the Deen of Allah (swt). It is a gross misunderstanding, misrepresentation, and misuse and abuse of the extent of the powers of the parents to dictate their children’s marriages and lives.

The parents have the right to refuse a suitor based on Islamic proofs against them. But they do not have the right to refuse someone based on their personal tastes. They don’t have the right either to insist on someone based on personal taste when it goes against the desires of the bride/their child. Nonetheless, it is a common practice in many Muslims countries to force their children to marry people who they do not want to marry and visa versa, i.e., not marry people they do want to marry based only on taste and personal preference, and not Islamic proofs against them. This is NOT Islam!

If these steps do not resolve your issue to your liking (in Allah’s laws and pleasure) and your depression, and you continue to suffer depression, ask Allah (swt) to help you by giving your heart the assurance that the injustices done to you in this life will benefit you in the Next when all wrongs will be righted, and in this life by making you a stronger person who can endure mistreatment. These are tests, brother.

If you still feel depressed, professional help with a Muslim therapist may help you process your feelings because s/he could bring to the table religious knowledge combined with knowledge of how our psychology works, In Sha’ Allah.

Please, feel comforted in the knowledge that Allah (swt) tests the most those He (swt) loves the most. Tests feel bad, but they are good for us because they teach us to be strong and to trust in Allah (swt). They keep us turning to Allah (swt). If our lives were easy, we would not feel any need to turn to Allah (swt) and we might forget about His role in our life of being our Creator and our Provider. We need to not only be grateful to Allah (swt) for His provision, but to ask Allah (swt) to help us increase our faith in Him (swt).

May Allah (swt) make it easy for you,

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