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Learning to Lose and Let Go (Counseling Session)

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Here are the 4 questions our counselor provided an answer for. If you do not find yours below, please submit it for one of the upcoming live session.

Thank you for your understanding.

Question 1. Husband does not care about his health

I have been married six years with my husband. When I married him he was not overweight or skinny, he was good shape. But after having our first child i noticed that he gained weight, maybe angry, and ate a lot. His weight has increased dramatically. He eats like theres no tomorrow. And he never eats small meals. He just stuffs his face. He is a tall man and he gains weight around his lower body. Aside from that i noticed when hes hungry he gets angry. Angry to the point were we fight. He hits things around him. I understand in Islam that we should not over eat and take care of our health. I have expressed my feelings to him but he just says what can he do. I told him exercise and eat healthier options. He always stays away from veggies. I told him that being overweight can cause health issues. And he has a hard time breathing or standing up for a while. The other reason i say this is cause he works in a restaurant so he eats a lot and they are not healthy. Every-time i tell him to go to the gym or exercise with me he said there is no point. He is not depressed or gave up its just that hes lazy. And he says that is how he is. I do not want an overweight husband. Even being with him is boring. I always tell him to eat health and exercise like me. I enjoy being active and staying fit. We are both young and need to take care of our health. Is there a hadith in the Quran that says to not be overweight? If you have another options please let me know!

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Answer:

Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatulahi wa barakatuh sister,

Spouses are supposed to be the coolness of our eyes and bring us happiness. Unfortunately, it seems that your husband is not doing this for you as you have watched him putting on weight and is seemingly unbothered by it.

You are absolutely right that we have the duty to take care of ourselves. Our bodies are an Amanah from Allah and we must take care of this. It does seem like your husband is being neglectful of this despite you mentioning it to him. At the moment it seems like you are getting nowhere with your warnings, but there are some things that you could consider or try to improve the situation.

Firstly, id encourage you to consider if there is something that might be triggering this behavior since he wasn’t always like this. Perhaps he has some underlying medical condition that he needs to get checked out by the doctor. This would also place him in a position where he would be hearing advice on overeating from someone else, not just you.

Otherwise, you say he is not depressed, but perhaps he is and is just not showing any signs or is doing a good job of keeping it from you. This is where it could potentially get dangerous. Has something happened that might be making him feel depressed? Has he suffered a bereavement? Lost his job? Does he get he engage socially enough? Spend enough time speaking with his family? He could be depressed, or may even just been feeling a bit low if any of these important things have been impacted in some way. Overeating may in fact be a symptom of depression and is the way he is managing his emotions at this time.

He may not be depressed at all, but its important that you look deeper for any possible reasons why he might be. Otherwise, maybe he is just looking for your attention and is clearly gaining it. You could test this by giving him positive attention in another way in response to something good he has done. This will take the attention away from his eating and encourage him to focus on this positive thing more frequently to gain the attention from you that he seeks. It may just be something seemingly small, but could make a huge difference. Again, this might not be it, but is something worth testing and can only have a positive outcome for you both anyway.

On completely the other end of the spectrum if the above seem to yield negative results, then maybe you could consider being completely blunt with him and expressing the harsh reality of how you feel and that you find him boring. This could obviously come with bad consequences so is something to consider very carefully and whether any good come out of it. If this is the route you take, you really need to be careful about how you get this message across to ensure it does, but in the best manner you can. Amongst this of course its important to continue to put across your concerns, both from an Islamic perspective but also quite simply about your concerns for his health and any potential consequences down the line, that you love him and you don’t want that for him, or your family.

As well as this, there’s no harm in persisting with encouraging him to tame the eating and exercise more. Do it with him, exercise together. Pick an exercise that he enjoys. You might even think of something that is not directly considered exercise, but is more of a secondary outcome, such as doing something outdoors that requires a lot of walking, yet the focus maybe something different. Do this in such a way that he experiences a psychological benefit of doing this and will be encouraged to do it more, not just for the exercise, but more to get the pleasure from doing the activity. Try different things until you find something he enjoys, or that you both enjoy doing together.

May Allah reward your concern for your husband’s health and trying to support him in overcoming his difficulty. May Allah guide him to what is best for him and your family and most pleasing to Him.

Question 2.

Assalamualaikum. I have been living one of the most miserable life that anyone can get. I am an IT employee who has been always a kind hearted person and loyal to others. I always try to do good deeds but somehow I have been going into depression day by day. I am a very ugly person or I would say the most ugly person that you could imagine. All my friends tease me of my look, my relatives used to talk about me regarding my ugliness. I am just kind of stuck at my home because wherever I go out I used to hear stuffs of my ugliness. I wanted to travel, meet my friends, roam here and there and wanted to enjoy my life. But I am kind of hopeless and unable to do anything. Everyday my life goes like a hell. I weep in my room, cry but have none to share my thoughts with. I rarely have now friends or anyone to talk to. I did a lot of prayer for this but didn’t get any response from Allah. Now am losing the faith in Allah and praying to other religion God for providing me with a normal life. I pray to Allah only for the death. I know whatever life is left for me that will be a complete hell.

Answer:

Wa alaikum salaam wa rahmatulahi wa barakatuh,

Unfortunately at the moment you are experiencing insecurities about your looks to the point that its causing you severe levels of distress. There are a couple of ways you can deal with these both practically and by addressing your mindset in accordance with Islam. In sha Allah I hope this will hope to direct you on a path away from distressful times in the hope of an improved outlook.

On a practical level, regardless of how you look, do your best to take good care of yourself. Eat well, exercise and get sufficient sleep each night. This will make you feel healthy and well. On top of this, you can do things to help you feel better about the way you look such as taking regular showers, wearing fragrance and dressing well. This may make you look more attractive, but most importantly it will help you to improve your perception of your looks and how you feel about yourself.

Whilst you can change your looks in this way to some extent, you can’t change them dramatically, the more important thing is to focus on prayer and being good to those who accept you for who you are and not for how you look. Shift your main focus away from your looks and more towards that which is more important. Strengthen your connection with Allah that you will be satisfied with His divine decree and accept yourself as Allah made you. This will, in sha Allah turn you away from committing sins of wishing for death and turning to Gods other than Allah. This is not the solution.

Above all this, and perhaps something that will be more effective in your situation is to fix your mindset. Remember that life isn’t all about looks. Do you yourself judge people by the way they look? Do you frown upon them if they don’t look attractive or assume the worst of them? Hopefully as a God fearing man you do not, but its always good practice to look at yourself and your attitudes to others first.

The most important attribute over looks is character and Alhamdulillah, you day you are of good character. This is what matters and what you should focus on. If you spend too much time worried about your looks this will start impacting your character in a negative way. A good character is what is most important in the sight of Allah and knowing that you are pleasing Him should bring you happiness.

Pleasing Allah is more important than pleasing people, but do also remember that if people are rejecting you based on your looks, then they really aren’t worth being friends with anyway! Find blessings in your situation as a natural way to filter out people that are not good for you. Those who chose to be friends with you based on your character over your looks are those worth keeping and have better intentions.

May Allah make you pleased with His Will and guide you on the straight path. May He bless you with good people in your life who will accept you as you are and bring happiness and contentment with life.

Question 3.

I have been Islamic married to a man almost 4 years and we in different countries I’m really getting hurt as I find him constantly active in the site we met on and he’s saying looking for a wife I can’t understand him he come back to me and was very intimate then disappear for few days and doesn’t call me I don’t know what to do because I don’t want to tell him or nag but I want him to stop this site also he said few days ago he wanted to come to my country for wedding but nothing happened

Answer:

Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatulahi wa barakatuh,

Marriage is supposed to bring you and happiness. Alhamdulilah, in Islam, it is made quite clear the rights of the husband and wife and the obligations that we have towards one another to ensure this happens. Unfortunately, in your situation it does seem like marriage is not bringing you your due happiness because it seems like he is not fulfilling your rights properly.

There are a few things that need clarifying to begin with that will guide how you respond to this situation. You say that he is still active on the site where you met, saying that he is looking for a wife. Firstly, is it possible he is looking for a second wife? Of course, he can take a second wife unless you have specifically stipulated in your marriage contract that he would not take a second wife. If this is what he is doing and he is not directly chatting to other women one to one then arguably you don’t have the grounds to stop him from doing this. However, understandably, most women would feel upset by this as you are.

You have said that you don’t want to nag him and tell him to stop, but the truth is, if you don’t tell him how you’re feeling, he probably won’t stop! There needs to be some transparency here. You need to talk to him and find out if he is looking for another wife or not? If he is not, then you can gently warm him against using the site. He has no need to if he has you as his wife and is not looking for another. Warm him about how it could potentially lead him to haram if he should continue and that even for that alone he should stop. On the other hand, if he is looking for another wife and intending to marry another woman, then he also needs talking to ensure that your rights as a wife are being met. Whilst it may not be necessary for him to be with you every day or inform you of where is, it makes for a healthier relationship if there is an openness there. Perhaps the fact that you are choosing to say nothing is leading him to think that it doesn’t bother you. He will not know that it bothers you and how if you do not communicate with him about it. You mention that he goes away and doesn’t call you, again, I wonder whether he thinks that you are not so bothered by his absence if he is always the one who has to call you. Or, is it that you are calling him and he is ignoring your calls? If so, this is more of a problem on his side that needs addressing to clarify why. Quite likely it is something as simple as that he is at work.

Essentially, what this all comes down to is lack of efficient communication between you. Its not always easy to talk about such sensitive matters, but if they are not spoken about and just avoided then one or both parties may assume there is no problem and continue with behavior that is hurtful without knowing it or even intending any bad or harm by it. I think in your situation, whilst on the surface it seems that something dodgy is going on his side, and maybe it is, but for now, the first step you need to take is to make that first move in communication. Once the open communication begins, then it will be a lot easier to really understand what’s going on with his behavior and if it truly is something that you should be concerned about. Without the communication, this could all be based on assumptions that may not be true and could lead to the breakdown of the marriage.

Make sure to have this conversation when you have long enough together with no distractions where you can discuss what’s going on, what your concerns are, how its making you feel, what your expectations are and discuss your future together so it does not become something ambiguous that only one of you is working towards. Discuss possible dates and timelines such that even if things don’t happen as and when planned, you will still both be working together towards the same goal. Likewise, ensure that he also has the space and time to express his own thoughts, feelings and concerns. It might be difficult and uncomfortable to initiate and some of the topics of conversation may even be difficult to swallow also, but it is better for you both to be working together and voiced your own perspectives that keeping each other in the dark about these important things.

May Allah grant you happiness in the marriage and may He make you both the coolness of each other’s eyes in this life and the next.

Question 4.

Salaam, I wrote in to this forum early this year about my shameful sin of watching a couple of pornography videos online that involved horrible scenes of both heterosexual and homosexual male and females. I felt guilty and disgusted at myself for watching these videos. I felt depressed and anxious that maybe I’m also homosexual for watching these disgusting videos. I have repented severally since then. I have resolved never to do it again and alhamdulillah it’s been almost 9 months and I never did it again. I also don’t feel the urge to do so ever again. My issue is sometimes I remember the disgusting thing I did in January and I feel guilty all over again and the doubts start to set in all over again over my sexuality and general sanity. I sometimes cry at disgust at myslef and I feel I’m undeserving of finding love. I know Allah loves to forgive and he has forgiven me inshaAllah but I still find it hard to get over this self-doubts and guilt. It gives me so much anxiety and makes me cry a lot and hate myself. Please counsel me on how I can overcome this terrible issue as it’s causing me so much distress and sadness. Thankyou.

A few years back I was clinically diagnosed with OCD and anxiety issues. So a part of me is thinking, this could also be a contributing factor.

Answer:

Wa alaikum salaam wa rahmatulahi wa barakatuh,

Alhamdulilah, that you have had the strength to give up on this sinful habit and have remained strong to do so for some time. You continue to repent, and this is the best thing to do. In sha Allah, you will be forgiven for this as you have actively tried to curb the habit and have successfully done so. The good thing as well is that the urge to turn back to it has also dissipated too.

Whilst you are now able to refrain from this sinful behavior you have now been left with the psychological consequences which after some months are still causing you much bother. I think the first thing to remember is the psychological consequences of things like this take far longer to resolve than actually giving up the habit itself. It is quite normal to still be feeling heightened levels of guilt and anxiety some months after. Unfortunately, such thoughts can continue for years after too. However, the reassuring news is, that whilst such feelings may exist for quite some time beyond now, they do reduce and become less of a bother. It can be quite distressing, but do continue to see the blessing in such feelings in that it is like a constant little reminder moving forward not to slip back into the sin again. Shaytans whispers can easily tempt people into going back on an old habit, but if you still have these niggling feelings of guilt, then it will be a lot easier to stay strong and not turn back. Its not comfortable, but it would be a whole lot more comfortable than falling back into sin and suffering even more dire consequences. Again, another blessing that can be taken from a seemingly negative situation. Another more positive way to view the situation to be thankful that you quit the habit for it turned into something even more serious that landed you in even more trouble. You briefly questioned your sexuality, but didn’t follow through with it, it is a private sin that was not exposed to others. You stopped before either of these potentially more harmful consequences could occur.

You do also mention that you wonder whether your clinical diagnosis of OCD and anxiety issues may be contributing to your current situation. I think you are absolutely right. If you have already been experiencing such problems, then now to go through something that is aggravating the anxiety further is of course going to make it all the more difficult to overcome. Most people who commit the same sinful behavior as you did in the last will be left with the same feelings that you are but given your history it is quite likely that you are experiencing the psychological consequences a little more than someone who wasn’t already diagnosed with anxiety issues. The fact that you were clinically diagnosed I hope means that you have seen a doctor to get these diagnoses and I don’t know whether you received ongoing support in managing these preexisting conditions, whether it be through mediation or counselling, but I would suggest that you either go back to get additional support, or bring your current feelings up with your counsellor if you are current receiving it.

What is very important right now in moving forward is that you are gentle with yourself. You gave up on the sin for the sake of Allah. You have to be incredibly strong to do that. You did the right thing and you are remorseful, surely that is the sign of a good Muslimah. We all make mistakes of all kinds, but it takes a person of good heart to take it to Allah, confess the sin and keep away from something that can be so tempting. Do continue to turn to Allah, continue to seek His forgiveness and find comfort that He is listening and He knows the trouble its causing you. Ask Him to make things easier for you moving forward. Finding this comfort with Allah should help you towards being kinder to yourself about what happened in the past. You have done all the right things moving forward. In sha Allah, He has forgiven you, so you need to forgive yourself too.

May Allah forgive and bring you comfort during these testing times. May He keep you on the straight path and keep you strong in faith.

Wednesday, Nov. 09, 2022 | 09:00 - 10:00 GMT

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