Ads by Muslim Ad Network

Counseling Q/A on Family and Relationships

Dear brothers and sisters,

Thank you for partcipating in the session.

Please find the 6 questions to which our counselor provided answers. If you do not find yours here, check out our upcoming session or submit it there again.

Question 1. Marriage

I am a Sunni Muslim but my family is Alevi. I have met a woman who is Sunni and we want to get married but her parents are not allowing it.

I have stated to them that I am a Sunni but I believe the main problem is the clash that may occur between my side of the family and her side. Her parents have threatened to cut ties with her if she marries me.

Ads by Muslim Ad Network

Salam alaikom wa rahmatullah,

Thank you for contacting us for our live session.

Your concern is a common one, unfortunately. Parents sometimes refuse the marriage because of the different backgrounds of the family, such as different nationalities, tribes, castes, etc.

If you both are Sunni Muslims, have a pious and compatible character, and share common values and goals, there should not be a major obstacle.

I am not a scholar, therefore I am not qualified to tell you under which conditions the marriage between a Sunni and Alavi could be permitted or whether it is permitted. In general, Alavis hold some views that are not in line with basic Islamic aqueeda, so as far as I know, there are different opinions on the topic. You can also write to our Ask the Scholar section for more.

But if you are a Sunni Muslim and you believe in the 5 pillars of Islam and the 6 pillars of Iman, in the Oneness of only true God, and in the Prophethood of Muhammad; furthermore, if you follow the Quran and the Sunna, in my understanding, it would be enough for you to marry a Sunni Muslim girl.

It is true that marriage sometimes is more than the union of two people, as two families also join. So, parents understandably look at the broader scope and seek a good relationship with the spouse’s family and common ground in the long run.

But there should be a balance between family interests and personal ones, as you, the couple, are going to marry and live together.

Of course, there are specific circumstances and details that can make your situation easier or more complicated. In some marriages, the family has a greater influence on the daily lives of the couple than in others.

First, it would be good to clarify what views your family particularly holds that are outside the frame of Sunni Islam. Are they very traditional about their beliefs or open to the teachings of Sunni Islam? I recommend consulting with a knowledgeable person about these details and whether they are reconcilable or not.

Secondly, what are your plans after marriage? Would you live together with your family or separately on your own?

Thirdly, what’s your family’s stance on your choice to follow Sunni Islam? What are their views on marrying a Sunni girl?

I recommend finding answers to these questions and seeing whether there is an opportunity to clarify some ideas and reconcile the differences between the two families. Her family may be worried about the religiosity of their daughter, and they want to make sure that she is married to someone who properly practices and has knowledge of the Sunni creed and preserves the religion in the family. This is an understandable concern, so what you can do is see how to address it properly.

You may ask for the help of a knowledgeable person and also be open to listening to the main concerns of the family. Be open to understanding and try to address their worries with genuine answers. Also, reassure them that you are also Sunni; you may explain to them what made you follow Sunni Islam, how strong your conviction is, etc. This may help them to trust in your understanding and firmness in your faith.

May Allah make it easy for you.

Question 2. Relationship with parents

Salam my question is my relationship with my mom.

Sister, I don’t want to be rude or disrespectful but with all due respect my mom is very toxic. She is never ever satisfied with whatever we do for her. She thinks we are her enemies and can do no good to her. We try our best to cope up with her and not talk back to her because then she cries and we are hurt as well. And Allah gets angry. But it’s just unbearable at most of the times wallahi. She always taunts us, always curses us, uses abusive and bad words against us and above all even if we try to talk it out with her in a peaceful manner, she complains to our dad who lives abroad. We would be fine if she complained about our mischievous acts. But she always exaggerates it and lies about us to our dad and in turn our dad also gets upset with us. We get sadder. Whenever she is angry for no reason at all she starts to scream and yell at us. I don’t know why. I’ve tried to talk to her a lot. But she just doesn’t listen. We are all very irritated and annoyed by this behavior of hers.

Recently, she opened a salon and she plucks the eyebrows there, apply lash extensions as well and wigs too. She forces us to learn and help her with the business. Since we clearly know its haram. We try to avoid but then she says no one thinks about me and supports my business. But what do we do. We don’t explain her ever that its haram she knows herself very well that the money earned is haram. But she says justifies it by saying that I’m earning money nothing else. She also doesn’t wear her hijab I told her to a lot of times but she doesn’t listen and says this is all in the eyes. And she backfires is by saying u are my kids and I’m not obliged to listen to you. And shouts and gets angry and cries and again complains our dad. She back bites a lot as well, and we leave the room and even on that she gets upset that no one talks to me at all. Where’s all she has to talk is about backbiting about our dad or relatives. Pls help us, we need advice on how to deal w such a narcissist mother. I love her and respect her but we also have hearts and feelings. She always compares us w other girls and herself. We try out level best to satisfy her but she never is.. Jazak Allah

Salam alaikom wa rahmatullah, dear sister,

Thank you for sharing the struggle you are experiencing along with your siblings.

Normally, when family conflicts arise, it is wise to listen to both parties and both sides of the story. What frequently happens is that we misunderstand or misinterpret the intentions of the other person but fail to discuss and clarify them, and this leads to escalated conflict and increased negative feelings, alienation, etc.

This is the case in many regular situations, and assertive, sincere communication can bring improvement.

Then there are situations that go beyond the regular ones, as one or more members use unhealthy communication, gaslighting, emotional abuse, manipulation, etc.

This makes the interactions quite toxic and difficult to deal with, and they lead to negative and harmful effects, even mental health issues.

In these types of interactions, what is basically questioned is your perception of reality. Even if you keep showing respect and kindness, you are made to believe the opposite or that what is happening is your fault.

I am sorry for your situation. It must be hard to experience that she is cursing you and your siblings, using bad, abusive words, etc.

Do you remember whether she has been like this always? Or has something happened that caused her behavior?

Maybe there is something going on that causes her such distress that leads to this behavior. It can be a marital problem or a financial one, for example. Of course, this cannot excuse disrespectful and abusive behavior, as she is also responsible for her manners. You, the children, also have the right to be treated with kindness and respect.

Your last sentence says, “We try out level best to satisfy her, but she never is.” Sister, what may happen here is that, deep down, she is not satisfied with herself or with her own situation. These curses and bad words are more the expression of her inner talk and her hidden beliefs about herself than about you or your siblings.

What can you do?

First, try to see her struggles and try to understand where she might come from. It is quite sad that she cannot express herself better and is unable to be supportive of her kids, whether she is aware of it or not. She might have lacked this support back in time or is still lacking, and she is not strong enough to cope with it properly. She might have a current, untreated mental health issue or be going through challenging times. She may need professional help, for example, counseling where she can unpack her anger and disappointment and learn how to deal with it.

With this being said, you may sit down with her and ask her whether there is anything that annoys and disturbs her and whether she would like to talk about it. You may tell her that if she needs anything, you are there to help her, and you would like to see her feeling happy and well.

At the same time, it is important to realize that it is not your or your sibling’s responsibility to “solve her problems”. If you feel that burden, try to let it go. Being supportive does not mean solving the issues for others or correcting their mistakes. She has to take the initiative to take steps for her emotional and psychological well-being and overcome her struggles and possible problems. Your support will matter for sure, and you will be rewarded for it.

What you can deal with is your own behavior. This is what you can control and will be questioned about in front of Allah. So, make sure that you keep your respect and kind manners while keeping boundaries that do not let you get hurt by words.

You and your siblings may assure her of your support and help, but of course, within the boundaries of Islamic teachings. You are not obliged to take part in a business that is not allowed in Islam.

The question is not what you say, but how you say it. So, assertive communication and respectful tones would convey the message more clearly. Just keep the communication on what you are willing or unwilling not to do instead of pointing out her faulty ideas about her business. That would usually lead to further defensiveness and denial from her side.

You may say something like, I understand that you need help, but I believe that this is not right, and I do not want to take part in it. But I am happy to help you find other halal businesses that would also bring the barakah of Allah, and I am also happy to assist you with the work there. Here are some fatwa articles on this site: Is Cleaning Eyebrows Haram? Is Removing Hair From Eyebrows Haram? (Video) Women Working at Beauty Salon: Permissible?

What else should you do?

You may learn about cognitive distortions and unhealthy thinking patterns and how to recognize them during a conversation.

You can also read about gaslighting and how to deal with it.

Here are some tips that would help you and your siblings:

  • Trust your own version of the events. You may keep a journal where you document the fights and where you record the words and the situation as it happened, sticking to the actual words and behavior of each of you. It might help you strengthen your confidence in your perception of reality and stand up for it.
  • Learn more about gaslighting examples and how to recognize them in a conversation.
  • Make sure that you always keep your intentions pure and for the sake of Allah in your dealings. There is no need to “win” a battle if you know that Allah is watching and knows what is right and just.
  • Spend enough time with positive things and supportive, loving people to balance the negative effects of a harmful family relationship.
  • Practice forgiveness and make dua for your mother.
  • Seek professional help if you feel that you need further support.

I hope this helps. May Allah bless you.

Question 3. Parents keep pressuring for marriage

I just finished my studies and my parents keep pressuring me for marriage because I’m in my 30s Female. My whole life they were clingy and made sure I didn’t intermingle with the opposite gender and now that I’m “old” in their eyes they keep pressuring me for marriage especially since people in the community keep asking them and making my parents feel insecure about it because people who are early 20s are getting married in my community. I don’t have close relations with my parents so I don’t trust their choice in men for me. I also don’t think I’m ready for marriage because I just finished my studies and I’m tired and want to rest and focus on myself. Eventually I have to pay off my loans and work. I also want to be on the deen more and read the Quran and I feel like all that will take years. I’m also feeling hopeless because the guy I liked for 5 years says he doesn’t want to marry me so I feel so rejected as is and I’m already in my 30s. I lowkey just want a husband to provide for me but of MY choosing in my time when I feel comfortable not pressured. I just feel so anxious now because of my parents constantly provoking me and getting me angry regarding marriage and I can’t even move out because the outside world is worse probably. Idk what to do. I can’t seem to move on and like someone else and feel anxious about everything that I’m unable to get myself to be productive. I literally just listen to music and stare outside.

Salam alaikom wa rahmatullah, dear sister,

Thank you for turning to us. As I understand it, you are in your 30s and struggling with the constant pressure of your parents, who want you to get married. You feel that you are not ready; further, you feel hopeless as the guy you liked does not want to marry you, and you feel rejected.

I am sorry for your struggle, sister.

I would say that there are multiple issues here: the pressure of your parents, your plans, and your feelings of hopelessness for rejection. I will try my best to deal with them one by one.

  1. Pressure from your parents

Sister, I think it is quite understandable that you are less willing to do something when you are feeling forced. This is a common reaction, as we all would like to feel that we are in control of our decisions.

My question is: have you tried to talk to your parents about this? I mean a genuine, sincere conversation when you are willing to listen to each other and also able to express our needs. If you are annoyed by their pressure, you may turn to defensive mode and rejection which can be counterproductive and lead to even more pressure. What about letting them know that you understand their reasons?

Tell them that you understand that they want the best for you and that you appreciate that, but when you feel pressure, you are not able to make the right choice.

Also, you understand that they feel insecure about this in the community and have a hard time responding to strangers. You may help them understand that we only need to please Allah and no one else, so what others say should not really concern us. There is a hasan propethic recommendation about this manner too:

“Part of the perfection of one’s Islam is his leaving that which does not concern him.” Hadith 12, 40 Hadith an-Nawawi

Everything happens by the will of Allah and only when the time is right, so with pressure, we won’t be able to hurry our destiny. Think about what they can help you with, and ask them to assist you with that so they can feel productive too.

  1. Your plans

You say that you just finished your studies and are feeling tired. You want to relax, pay back your loans, focus on yourself, and learn more about the deen. Masallah, sister, all these sound good. However, I am wondering whether marriage would be a real obstacle to these things, or rather just a perceived one?

I mean, you may learn about the deen while you are married; even you can share your spiritual life with your spouse, which is a great experience. You can also take care of yourself and pay back the loans during your marriage. So, I kindly ask you to think about it from another perspective.

Life is like this. Normally, it does not pause until we take a rest or check out for a while. We tend to deal with multiple things at once. This may seem exhausting, and indeed, some times it is. But at the same time, we also gain extra energy from the positive things we have in life that help us move on with our tasks. A marriage can be a source of tranquility, love and affection, understanding, and support that gives you the strength to fulfill your other duties in life.

  1. Feelings of hopelessness

You say that you were rejected by a guy you wanted to marry. That is surely a painful experience. You may need to mourn this loss, as you had dreams and plans for the future that seem unlikely to be fulfilled the way you planned. But does this single rejection mean that you will always be rejected?

Does this mean that you cannot have something equally good or even better? Remember the words of the Prophet, peace be upon him:

“Verily, you will never leave anything for the sake of Allah Almighty but that Allah will replace it with something better for you.” Musnad Aḥmad 23074

Let yourself accept these feelings and also that, for some reason, this was the plan of Allah, and He is the best of planners. Yes, it is natural to feel down and sad after a loss; it might take some time too, but there is always hope, and we should hope for the better.

I think if you were able to change perspective and have a more positive outlook on marriage and your plans, you may feel more motivated regarding your marriage search. Meanwhile, you may go along with your plans for self-care and strengthen your connection with Allah. Just take care of yourself, find positive, uplifting experiences, and spend time in worship and peace. 

If you think that you might need some extra support, I kindly advise you to seek counseling and talk therapy where you can discuss this more in detail.

May Allah help you with it,

Question 4. Should I’ve to marry my fiancé?


I engaged in inappropriate relationships with multiple individuals from a young age, stemming from a disturbing incident when many relatives/neighbours started touching me at different ages since I was 6 or 7 and instructed me to keep it a secret.

In my teenage years I unfortunately repeated zina with a few relatives knowing.

Although I sought forgiveness and repented. I had got many proposals during college but I never had any boyfriend.

Shortly after, I got engaged to my classmate who loved me. He asked my parents for my hand in marriage, and they agreed. But I wasn’t ready because I knew my past was troubled, and I didn’t feel deserving of such pure love.

I regrettably continued these actions with my fiance after our engagement I did try to convey my fears and concerns to him stressing the importance of our faith but he did not heed my words. I did try to open myself to him about my past but I feared that it’s between me and Allah and I’ve sincerely asked forgiveness so, I shouldn’t.

He used to tell me he couldn’t control himself seeing me and want to get pleasures, I have always stopped him but he didn’t listen. I started ignoring him and making him understand that it’s wrong but he kept telling me, will seek forgiveness before nikkah. He is religious like prays 5 times daily and does tahajjud too.

But recently I discovered that my fiancé has been sexually and emotionally involved with his cousin sister for the past 5 years and he has admitted to engaging zina relationships with her due to his strong attraction towards her. They used share nude pictures and sleep together. He had also slept with few other girls as a teenager.

Despite being engaged for 7 years with our wedding only 1 months away this revelation has left me deeply troubled and conflicted. He begged and said me that he has repented and will not cheat me again with anyone.

He also said I didn’t understand his feelings and his desires (high sexual desires) and got frustrated so he started touching his cousin and she too didn’t deny. He swore on Allah and said he didn’t initiate first but it was her who did, later after few days when I started questioning him serious, he said he lied to me, but He did it.

He said he had fear if he says the truth, I might leave him. So sweared on Allah and lied.

I’m not understanding to trust him or not. I have got few questions in my heart.

1. Should I’ve to continue believing him or call the wedding off?

2. Is Allah punishing me for what I had done in the past?

3. Did Allah wanted to give me a partner who is not loyal as I was?

4. Will Allah keep punishing me for my past even after marriage?

5. If I call the wedding off after he cheated on me? Am I selfish that I’m not seeing my own bad deeds?

6. I do have got suicidal feelings but I fear Allah I don’t want to commit because I know it’s wrong but I’m tired of everything and my past and now I don’t know what my future holds because of my past. And I will never give up on my life no matter what.

7. Why did this all happened to me? I was a child when people around me, started to touch and told me to keep it secret. What was my fault?

8. I sometimes feel like to tell him that even i was worse in my past. I’m not pious because he thinks that I am. Maybe it’s out of anger.

9.  If I call of the wedding will I ever get a pious man who will be loyal and faithful.

Salam alaikom, dear sister,

Thank you for sharing your struggle. It is very hard and saddening to read your letter, especially about the sexual abuse you have suffered at a young age and that, probably as a consequence, you engaged in multiple haram acts in your teen years with some of your relatives.

Sister, first of all, you are not responsible for the childhood abuse you suffered from. I am really sorry for that. It is absolutely wrong; there is no doubt about that. There is no doubt that it is not your fault as a child. It is very sad that people, including your own family members, took advantage of your young age and molested you. This is something that probably had long-lasting effects on what you see as right and wrong regarding sexuality and regarding what is acceptable and what clearly crosses boundaries.

Sister, there are two separate issues here.

One is your past experience, and the other is the character and actions of your fiancé and the actual decision about your upcoming wedding.

I would definitely separate these issues, as it seems to me that somehow you believe that what is happening with you—i.e., that your fiancé has cheated you—is somehow the result of your past or a punishment for it.

I have, to be honest, had a hard time reading that, according to your letter, multiple people in your family have clearly no perception of boundaries, the healthy and necessary limits of sexual desire, or the commands of Allah.

I am not sure whether you are in the position to seek counseling, but I really think that it would be very helpful if you were able to talk with a professional about this. I think that there are some very important issues about family boundaries, relationships, and sexuality that you need to unpack and put into a different perspective, as well as regarding your childhood abuse.

So, please, if you can, seek immediate help from a counselor, if possible.

Then there is another issue with your fiance, who was in a haram relationship while you were engaged.

This engagement is 7 years old, which is, to be honest, quite a long time. This is a long waiting time for a couple, so I am not sure what the reasons were for such a delay. It only delays or suppresses the healthy sexual desires of the young couple and may even lead to premarital or extramarital relationships, as it just happened with him.

So, while on one hand, his needs are understandable, the ways he channeled them are clearly not. (And it is definitely not your fault, that he ended up cheating you because you were strong enough to wait until your wedding day.)

This will naturally lead to a loss of trust, sister. And considering your past, your general trust in men and in your own worth may have been affected even prior to that, so this can be quite a confusing time for you now. May Allah help you with that. 

Regarding your questions, I cannot tell you exactly what to do or what not to do, but I can suggest some things to think about.

  1. Ask yourself: Would you be able to trust him after this? What do you like about him? Why do you want to marry him? Please put aside the past 7 years of engagement and consider yourself and him in the present. How are you now, and how are you? Is he a pious, trustworthy person with good character? (Is praying 5 times a day enough to have a pious character?) Is he someone who could be a good husband and a good father? You say that he loved you, but what about you? Your feelings and needs really matter, dear sister, so please try to think about what you want and need and not he wants right now.
  2. What you did in the past is already in the past. We cannot know what Allah thinks and does, whether it is a punishment or a test from Him. You may have repented for your past wrongdoing, and Allah is All-forgiving and Merciful. Keep in mind, sister, that you were in a very vulnerable situation at a young age and that maybe your accountability is even questionable for those actions. (If you want to know more, please turn to a scholar or write to the Ask the Scholar section.) So, please try to see things from the perspective that you deserve happiness, positive relationships, and healthy, fulfilling relationships. You deserve a trustworthy husband and someone with good character.
  3. Regarding your question point 5., you are not being selfish by calling a wedding if you came to realize the cheating of your fiance. This is a valid reason both for breaking an engagement and for divorce. Read more here:
  4. Questions 6-7: Only Allah knows why He tests us the way He does. But after all hardships, there is relief, and what you can gain is stronger faith in Him. We do not know what the future holds; none of us do. So what we can do is stick to His commands and guidance and put our trust in Him.
  5. You ask about whether you can have a good, pious husband if you call off this wedding. Yes, sister, that is my point: in sha Allah, you deserve a good and pious person, even if it is hard to believe that you can trust in the right intentions of people around you. You may need time to work on healing your wounds and be able to see with clarity who deserves your confidence and what your real worth is. I kind of ask again to seek counseling and try to work on the past wounds.

I hope this helps. May Allah make it easy for you.

Question 5. Follow up last session


I couldn’t mention all the details in my previous question so i am mentioning them all now because your advice has really helped me before sister…

Salam alaikom sister,

Thank you for the additional details.

If I understand it well, you have never met him in real life, as it is an online relationship, right?

If that is the case, it will be easier to end it, in sha Allah.

As I said in my previous letter, his truthfulness is quite doubtful, and he admitted to hiding the truth both from you and from her wife in order to turn the situation in his favor.

To be honest, dear sister, I have to agree with your sister, mainly with her statements. It is a form of manipulation, misleading, and lying: “as he isn’t trustworthy because of how many lies he spoke”. He has a right to take a second wife, but this does not mean that he can commit zina and engage in an extramarital affair with his “future wife”. This is cheating.

Also, I agree that you deserve more and better and that “u will have a tons of good men out there.

I think his case with his wife is a good example of why it is not good to stay away from one’s wife for a long time and that one should marry someone who one really likes. However, those are his tests and struggles, and you are not responsible for them, nor are you the one who has to solve them.

So, I kindly ask you to listen to your heart and your sister. You seem to know that what is happening is wrong, and try to make sure that you stay away from this relationship for the sake of Allah. Trust in the Prophet’s promise:

“Verily, you will never leave anything for the sake of Allah Almighty but that Allah will replace it with something better for you.” Musnad Aḥmad 23074

With this being said, I still hold the same opinion as before, so please take that as my advice on the matter. Please repent, seek forgiveness, and “mend your way” by ending this affair as soon as possible. Make sure that you always put Allah’s command first and try to please no creature but the Creator alone. May Allah help you and reward your efforts.

Question 6. Dua for a non-Muslim

Assalamualaikum, I hope you’re doing well 🙂 As the title says, I was in a relationship with a non-Muslim. It had been going on for almost a year before we both decided to break it off as I realized that in order for our relationship to continue or even advance into marriage, it would be at the expense of his relationship with his parents, and I would hate for that to happen especially when they’ve raised him so well. The reason to this is that we live in a country where laws applied to Muslims or the overall image of Islam may be “intimidating” from an outside point of view, and his parents are absolutely against him being associated with Islam in any way. I was in no way expecting him to convert for me, I just wanted to appreciate the company of someone who has good life morals and values, and treated me with utmost care. I now realize that it was selfish and ignorant of me to do so, and that there’s a reason it is haram. But now that it ended, I can’t stop the pain even after two months. The only thing that keeps me going is asking in my prayers that he becomes a Muslim, not for me or for us to get married, but because I genuinely want the best for him. From what I see he leads a good life that inspires me to be as good a person he is, and I accept it if he wasn’t meant for me. But it hurts that I can no longer express my love for him, and this in a way feels like the last way that I can do so. Is this something foolish to do? Am I disrespecting my religion in any way?

Salam alaikom wa rahmatullah, sister,

Thank you for sharing your story. Masallah, I am glad to hear that you realized that this relationship is not right in the sight of Allah and that, outside of the boundaries of marriage, you cannot have further contact with him.

I really understand that you find his good character and morals appealing, despite the fact that he is not a Muslim right now. The prophet, peace be upon him, also emphasized the importance of good character and good companionship. And it is really a blessing to find someone who is blessed with good manners and a good heart.

Therefore, it is understandable that you miss his company, although you may expect a reward from Allah for giving up something for His sake: 

“Verily, you will never leave anything for the sake of Allah Almighty but that Allah will replace it with something better for you.” Musnad Aḥmad 23074

You say that you accept that he was not meant to be for you, alhamdulillah. So after repenting and seeking forgiveness for any wrongdoing, this is the best approach you can take, as we Muslims, believing in the Qadr of Allah, know that what is meant to be for us will reach us, despite any obstacles.

Regarding dua for him, I think that there is nothing wrong with making dua for a non-Muslim and asking Allah to open his heart towards Islam. You may express your gratitude for this experience (while seeking forgiveness for your sins) and asking Him for guidance. You may also ask Him to grant you someone with a similar good character in your life.

More about dua here: Can You Make Dua for Non-Muslims?

I hope this helps, may Allah bless you.

Monday, Oct. 30, 2023 | 09:00 - 10:00 GMT

Session is over.
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.