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Counseling Q/A on Love, Fitnah, Sins and Repentance

Dear Brother/Sisters,

Thank you for participating in the counseling session.

Here are the 4 questions our counselor provided answers for. If you do not find yours, please check the answers in the following live session or submit your question again.

Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Question 1. A Strange and Confusing Problem

Years ago, I liked someone. To such an extent that I would make dua again and again to be with that person. And it bothered me, not because I liked him, but because I couldn’t get this person out of my head. I didn’t know what had gotten into me. My brought-up was that men and women stayed separate, not even friends. Anything like dating was completely out of question, and I honored my dignity. But somehow still, I couldn’t get this person out of my head, to the point it affected me emotionally.

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 Rationally speaking, I did not know if he was religious, I did not know who his family was, I did not know what he was really like apart from the very small bit I knew about him. The qualities I liked, I’m sure there are many others with the same qualities, if not even better. Rationally speaking, it did not seem logical to like him in that way… It’s just that there was something strange about this person, like a gut feeling that I’m missing some type of crucial information, but I don’t know what. Maybe that’s why I kept thinking about him. Not because I liked him. Or maybe both, I don’t know.

The thing is, years later, I saw him again. Just a glimpse. More than once, same location. Or at least, I think I saw him. Part of my mind is saying, “You’re just imagining things. That was probably someone else.” Another part is saying, “That was definitely him. You saw him clearly.” Then, I’m saying to myself, “Either way it doesn’t matter. I have a life. And he’s not in it. Period.” I didn’t let myself do a double-take, so I have no confirmation that that was really him. I’m just trying to live my life like a normal person.

 But this bothered feeling keeps coming back. I don’t know why I care. I don’t even know if I care. As much as I know, he could be in a completely different city, and my mind is just playing tricks on me. Maybe that wasn’t him that I saw. There’s just this confusion and stress building up. A very strange feeling.

Something deep inside of me wants to know who this person really is. Actually, have a conversation, even if it’s business-related. I don’t want to look toward marriage, because I don’t even know if I actually like him, or if I’m just curious about him. Then there are so many other reasons to cross out that option, such as 1) I don’t want to get married yet, 2) He’ll probably be very confused if I propose, 3) Or, if he happens to like me for some strange reason (Me??), then I don’t want to give him false hope in thinking that I want to marry him or something, 5) It could be that he’s very different now from when I last saw him. Don’t want awkward situations, 6) I have no idea what kind of impression he got of me the last time he saw me (a very strange one, perhaps), etc.

 But really, then there doesn’t seem to be a solution apart from, “Keep yourself busy with other things. Get a social life. Get a hobby.” I already have all this, so that’s not the problem. I don’t know what is my problem. So maybe that’s why I’m asking for help. I just want to get this strange, confusing, bothered feeling outside of my head. And I want to stop caring whether or not that was really him that I saw. And I want to stop thinking that my mind is playing tricks on me, and just move on with my life. If there’s a solution to this problem, then please let me know. I need help.

Thanks.

Answer:

Salam Aleikom sister,

Thank you for writing to us with your concern. You seem like a deep thinker who ponders a lot on issues that come up in her life. You ask questions and make lists of answers. Mashallah, keep it up. Yet, I advise you to sometimes just go with your feelings without your brain interfering a lot in the process. J

You said there is a man whom you hardly know, yet always come to your mind. You imagine him seeing and although you state you are not interested in marriage, you wonder why and if you care about this person.

My dear sister, you are 20 years old. It is completely normal that you feel interest in some men that across you. Oftentimes it might feel that Islamic teachings want to deprive you all those wonderful feelings a woman can feel toward a man. Some falsely even teaches that you cannot talk to the opposite gender and get to know someone before marriage. Yes, Islam wants us to see through those beautiful pinky glasses that love puts on us, wants us to keep things straightforward and make the conversation focused on getting to know each other for marriage. But there is no shame of feeling love and care for someone, feeling he occupies your mind and interests you. These are wonderful feelings you should live and not trying to get rid of them.

Sister, there is a reason you have noticed this man and he keeps coming into your head, and you will never know what you really feel about him unless you do something with the situation, such as approaching him. As you can see just waiting and wondering and focusing on other stuff do not really help. You have already tried. You have created a whole list about why it is a crazy idea to approach him, yet the feeling about him does not go away from you.

It keeps coming to you because he has moved something in you. There is nothing wrong about it. I am not sure of your culture and the cultural practices, but in Islam there is nothing wrong if the woman approaches the man. Remember the story of Khadijah and Prophet Muhammad, how she approached him through one of her servants.

You say you are not thinking of marriage. Let me stop here for a second. Why not sister? What makes you say this? Your culture, your parents or yourself? What would happen if you married now? What kind of associations do you have about marriage? Oftentimes young people write us about very hurtful and sad associations such as that they think they must have children immediately after getting married, or they are afraid of the first night, or other fears. What are your fears? How has your life be different? And What would you need in order to feel you want to get married? There are many students who get married young and they are very happy. They might not necessary live together yet, maybe they would live with their parents, but at least their meetings and conversations are purely halal, they decided to show their seriousness towards each other by pronouncing the marriage.

But we do not talk about getting married yet! I only mentioned this to offer you the idea to ponder on marriage as well because if he (or any guy) would respond to you positively, what would be the reason you refuse his proposal? You need to be clear about this.

Something also caught my sight. You wrote: “Or, if he happens to like me for some strange reason (Me??),” why would it be strange that a man likes you back? Do you think you are not loveable? Not good enough? Maybe these thoughts are the real barriers between you and the idea of getting married?

Sister, you need to find your own worth. Know that you are a wonderful sister with many amazing traits. Inshallah you only need to live it and find someone who matches these characteristic. Who loves you the way you are.

But We only talk about that there is a guy who has brought you feelings and confusion you have never felt before, and now you do not know what to do.

What would happen if you approached him? Maybe through a common friend or someone you and him know as well. Maybe you find him on FB and write to him? What’s the worst-case scenario? I believe this would help you move on either way. Either you get to know a wonderful person who might even change your idea about getting married, or the initiation fails and you can move on knowing this man is not for you.

Sitting and thinking is never going to be solution to any of your problem. Being brave and actually trying to do something about it (even if it feels crazy, silly, uncomfortable) will help a lot.

Change comes with leaving your comfort zone.

I would also encourage you to turn to Allah. Pray istikhara whether you should approach him. Connecting with Allah and asking His help is always the best solution to our issues.

I hope I could help you in your confusion. May Allah help your heart feel at ease.

Salam,

Question 2.  Lesbianism

If I have committed SIHAQ can I be forgiven and how to righten my wrong doings?

Kindly elaborate more about this

Answer:

Salam Aleikom dear sister,

Thank you for writing us with your concern.

I am not sure what sihaq means, but from your question, it is clear that it is related to some form of homosexuality.

I am not a scholar, so I do not intend to elaborate on the topic from an Islamic point of view, but I will give you some links from our scholar who have done so:

In the meantime, I would like to draw your attention to the fact that Allah is all forgiving. Whatever sin we have committed – and indeed, we commit a lot of sins – He is ready to forgive, if we stop the sin and ask for His forgiveness.

“Say: O ‘Ibadi (My slaves) who have transgressed against themselves (by committing evil deeds and sins)! Despair not of the Mercy of Allah, verily, Allah forgives all sins. Truly, He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” [39:53] 

Allah says that He forgives even the greatest sins:

“And those who invoke not any other ilah (god) along with Allah, nor kill such a person as Allah has forbidden, except for just cause, nor commit illegal sexual intercourse and whoever does this shall receive the punishment.

The torment will be doubled for him on the Day of Resurrection, and he will abide therein in disgrace;

Except those who repent and believe (in Islamic Monotheism), and do righteous deeds; for those, Allah will change their sins into good deeds, and Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” [25:68-70] 

So sister, I cannot advice you more than turning to Allah with sincerity. Ask Him for forgiveness for your sins on a daily basis. Talk to Him as if you talk to your dearest friend who is the closest to you and can relieve your pain. Focus on strengthening your relationship with Allah. On a daily basis. By prayer, duas, or even fasting.

Do good deeds as He recommended that replace your sins. It can be giving charity, doing good to others, or even just smiling at them.

In the meantime sister try to move on. Do not dwell too much on your sin. Have good thoughts about Allah that – as He has promised – He has forgiven you.

“I am as My servant expects of Me, so if he thinks good of Me then he will have it, and if he thinks evil of Me then he will have it.” 

Sister, the fact that you acted upon your feelings means there is something very strong going on inside. I would recommend you seek assistance from a psychologist face to face to bring out and process all those feelings that has lead you to your sin. Understand what’s is going on inside you, what triggered it, and what you can do about it so you do not fall into the same mistake again.

I hope I could bring you some relief.

Question 3. Can my husband refuse my parents from coming to visit me or me visiting them?

Asalam aleikum. My husband’s mind has been filled with bitterness against my family. Simply because he had abused me when I was pregnant and they stood up for me. He made promises to them to change. However, when I forgave him and came back, he refuses to even say salaam to them. He doesn’t allow them to enter the gate of our home to see me…When I ask if I can see them, he will bully me and say no then after I cry he lets me go…he plays mind games that he is married again and has other children. Says hurtful things. Even lies just to hurt me…I pray a lot and keep my sabr…but at times…I get sad and depressed. I have 4 children.
I don’t work…asking for money for basic stuff is a problem. Yet he is able to provide…kindly advise…at times I feel very lonely in my marriage. He is constantly with his mum and at times I feel she also adds fitnah in our marriage.

Answer:

Salam Aleikom sister,

Thank you for writing me. It is heartbreaking to read your message, may Allah make things easy for you.

I am not aware of the culture in Kenya and what options you have as a wife with 4 children, but what I can see is that your current situation hurts you (and surely your kids too) and it should not continue like this any longer.

You say your husband has been abusing you; he does not let your family visit you and makes it hard for you to visit them. He says hurtful things, threatens you with having a second wife and other children, he does not support you financially while you do not work….

Sister, this is not a normal behavior of a husband and should not be tolerated for a second. There is no place for patience here: you need to do something about the situation. He promised you before he would change, he promised this even to your family who stood up for you at the time he abused you, yet he has not changed.

He cannot restrict you from seeing your family.

The Prophet said:

“The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, should serve his guest generously; and whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, should unite the bond of kinship (i.e. keep good relation with his kith and kin); and whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, should talk what is good or keep quiet.” (Bukhari)

He also said:

“The Prophet (ﷺ) said: There is no sin more fitted to have punishment meted out by Allah to its perpetrator in advance in this world along with what He stores up for him in the next world than oppression and severing ties of relationship.” (Abu Dawud)

You are not alone sister: there are thousands of women who have been through the same you have. Many of them had to stand up alone. You are in a very lucky situation sister hamdulillah that it seems you have a very supportive family who stand beside you. It is such a big relief, and could encourage you to make your first step. You do not need to endure your husband’s abuse sister. The Prophet Muhammad has never abused their wives. In fact, he said:

““The best of you are the best to their families, and I am the best to my family.” (Sunan Tirmidhi)

Sister, you need a safe place first and foremost. Would it be possible to go to your family for some weeks at least? Be in their protection, you need a clear mind to think for your future not a depressive one. Enjoy your family’s protection, recharge yourself, accept the help they offer you. You are in real need of it right now. You do not need to do things alone. Accept their financial help.

Secondly, Is there anyone who could talk to your husband? Your dad, your brother, your uncle if there are not present, any of your mahrams? They are your protectors when the husband has failed to be the one, so you can seek help from them. Let them talk men to men that what he has been doing to you is really wrong. Maybe if you stay with your family so he does not see his kids and you every day, and also your dad or brother talks to him seriously about his behavior, something would change in him. But he must prove it this time that he is able to be fully responsible for you and the children.

Please have some calm moments with yourself and think about it: what would make you feel happy? What do you need in a marriage? What must happen form his side that you are able to trust him again and go back to him? Do you really want to live with such a man for the rest of your life and make your children see such father example? Remember that this affect your children as the primary teachers of children are the parents. Do you want your sons to become like their father? DO you wish your daughters to potentially marry later on a man who is like their father?

Abuse should not be tolerated. I know you must be really scared right now sister, depressed and confused what to do. It is a really really hard situation you are in with 4 children. I feel for you with all my heart. It is a big decision, and the stability we get used to – even if it is abusive – is often feel more comfortable to stay in than changing and throwing yourself to the uncertainty of the future.

But please, remember that we only depend on Allah. He is Our Ultimate Protector. Neither our family or our husband can support us the way Allah does. We need trust Him that He wants the good for us. Thus if we change our situation, He will be there for us and not let us down.

Make lots of dua to Allah that He finds you the way out. Either it is that your husband changes and realizes his mistakes, or that you get the courage to divorce, move on and find a husband who appreciates you. Connect with Him, pray, do good deeds, turn to Him with all your fears and worries. He is the only one who can truly help, inshallah.

Please, please sister seek help from your family. There are there for you, you are not alone. Also connect with other sisters maybe online who have also lived and survived an abusive relationship. In the meantime, take care of yourself. You need to recharge yourself for your own and for the kids’ sake. Do things you enjoy, socialize with your friends and other moms, spend quality time with your kids and family, learn something new, have a hobby.

May Allah help you,

Question 4. Unable to pray regularly…

Assalamu alaikum,
Dear counsellor…I’m not able to observe prayers regularly…I’m on antidepressants for past 9 years, With history of mental illness for past 22 years…I used to pray regularly, I had a broken marriage and was remanded in prison on false charges…and the strict interpretation of Islam by the ulema and many websites…I couldn’t fold my hands during prayer…though I wanted to pray couldn’t even go near the mosque at times…didn’t know what to do…took psychiatrist opinion and I started praying alone and seek guidance from Allah himself ..and started studying the translation of Quran…which alleviated many of the doubts in Islam ….now I am posted in my hometown ..me and my father don’t get along well…I love him and respect him…but when he’s around me, my brain stops ..and this confusion ..that unable to pray regularly haunts me ..I know I’m a better person ..don’t know what to do…kindly help me..

Answer:

Salam Aleikom dear brother,

Thank you for writing us. Just the fact that you have written us shows your pure intention that you indeed feel bad about the fact that you cannot observe your prayers regularly. Know that Allah knows and values your efforts. Never compare yourself to others, but only see what you have been through, where you were and where you are today.

You said you are on antidepressants and you suffer from mental illness for 22 years. You had a broken marriage and you went to prison for false charges. That sounds like a real hardship subhanAllah, may Allah make it easy for you.

I am glad you turned to professional and you visit a psychiatrist who, I believe, gave you a wonderful advice when he said to pray alone and seek guidance from Allah Himself. It was also a wonderful idea to start studying the tafseer. Indeed, it really can connect one’s heart to Allah and refresh one’s faith. I hope you still keep these advices.

Brother, prayer is our ultimate connection with Allah. Five times a day we stand up in front of Allah to ask Him to guide us on the straight path and help us with our affairs. It is one of the pillars of Islam about which the Prophet said:

“The first matter that the slave will be brought to account for on the Day of Judgment is the prayer. If it is sound, then the rest of his deeds will be sound. And if it is bad, then the rest of his deeds will be bad.” [Recorded by al-Tabarani. According to al-Albani, it is sahih. Al-Albani, (Sahih al-Jami’, vol.1, p. 503)

So my question to you is: what do you need in order to keep your prayers regularly? What is it that really makes you say at the time of prayer: “hm, I will not go to pray”? It is a decision at the end. You said praying alone has helped you to establish your prayers again, but now, if I understood well, your dad”s presence frustrates to the extent that makes you unable to pray. How about if you close the door on you?

Is there anything else that might be an obstacle for you to feel the need to pray? Because this is the key: as Muslims, we should feel the urge to answer the call and go pray on time. We know the importance of it, thus we don’t want to lose the chance to connect with Allah.

Allah says in the Quran: “truly it is in the remembrance of God that hearts find peace” (13:28)

When we do not feel this urge, something is wrong. We need to find it what it is exactly.   

Do you think that maybe as you are from India, your mother-tounge is not Arabic, thus this is a problem? For non-Arabic speakers, oftentimes it might feel burdensome to pray in a language that is not theirs. Therefore, they feel praying is not really serving the purpose of connecting with Allah. Do you have such feelings?

Brother, we all struggle with our prayers, believe me. We miss fajr, we do not feel like making wudu and going to pray, or praying is inconvenient due to the current circumstances (you are at a conference or in the street for example), or we stand up but our thoughts are all over the place in our head and we do not really feel present in our prayer.

The most important is that we try our best. To not miss any prayer, to be present. It will not be perfect, but at least we tried.

I advise you to make the decision: you will never miss your prayers. Make a promise to Allah who has been helping you a lot. If praying alone feels comfortable, then pray alone! Close the door, tell your dad to not bother you, and pray. I also advise you to sit after your prayer and talk to Allah in your own language. Tell Him all your struggles, your fears and frustrations. With prayer, with other life circumstances. He is there and will listen you. Ask Him to help you make things easy to you. Make your prayers alive and personal.

I also encourage you to keep up with your tafseer lessons. Learn about those suras that you read in the prayer so their meaning will also bring you closer to Allah inshallah.

I would also encourage you to seek help from therapy. I am not sure what sessions you have with your psychiatrist, but therapy and medication are a strong combo to help you get through your mental issues. May Allah cure you.

In the meantime, I would gently encourage you to seek out Muslim friends. I know you said you do not want to go to the mosque and I can completely understand you. Not every Muslim community is welcoming or teaching the best manners. But you are not alone brother with this frustration: I am sure you will find other brothers who also do not like going to the mosque and struggle with the same issues you do. Maybe you can find them online. Give it a try maybe when you feel. Life gets easier if we connect with likeminded people.  

May Allah make things easy for you dear brother. May He strengthen your faith and make you taste the sweetness of prayers to the extent that you will feel you never want to miss it again.

Salam,

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

Session is over.
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