COVID-19 and Back to School Challenges (Q&A)

Salamu alaykum dear brothers and sisters,

We would like to thank you for joining us in this Counseling Session.

We would like also to thank our counselor, sister Hannah for answering the questions.

Find answers below.

Feel free to send your questions to [email protected]

The service is completely anonymous


Q: 

Aslamau Alaikum counselor, please I need your advice, Is it safe for kids to go back to school during the Coronavirus. Thank you! 

A:

Wa alaikum salaam wa rahmatulahi wa barakatuh,  

This is a dilemma that many of us parents are facing right now as the new school year draws closer. Just as when the schools and world in general were shut down, we still face a future of uncertainty at this point and face anxieties in all our interactions on a daily basis.

As schools now begin to reopen we now must decide whether it is safe to send our children back or not. There are many mixed opinions on the matter.

Some have had no choice and will continue to have no choice but to send their children back to school due to work commitments whereas others may have more flexibility in the matter. 

It is not as simple as to say it is or is not safe to send out children back to school. The answer to this question will vary greatly from family to family depending on personal circumstances. The following things are all matters that you should contemplate before making your choice.  

Firstly, ask yourself what it is that is making you anxious about sending your children to school. There are many things that could be contributing to this.

 Is there a genuine risk to them? Is the rate of infection locally in your area high? Has the school made sufficient preparations for their return? Are your children anxious about returning?

If so, why? Are they scared of getting sick? Or just scared of a change of routine? Are you worried about not being with them to directly protect them? Or are you also anxious about being away from them after they’ve been at home for so long?  

If there is increased risk in your area and you are afraid for their health, are you willing and able to homeschool as an alternative? If this is the case, or even if there is not an increased risk and you are still anxious about sending them, homeschooling could be an option in this case, at least until things are more settled and you are less worried about sending them back.  

If, after contemplating your own personal situation, you feel comfortable to send them back to school, then you can ease yours and their anxieties by starting to prepare them for their return now. 

Prepare them both physically in terms of ensuring that they are following strict hygiene procedures such as regular hand washing, coughing and sneezing into the crook of the elbow… Etc.., as well as psychologically.

Prepare them psychologically by letting them know that things will be different. They won’t be allowed to be as close to their friends as they were last year, but that doesn’t mean they don’t care, it is just to keep you all safe and that in sha Allah, things will pass and they will be able to play as usual again soon.  

It is a very difficult decision to make, but you can make the decision easier by considering the things mentioned here, talking to your children, the school and other mums. Weigh up the pros and cons of each and take the matter to Allah.  

May Allah guide you to make the best decision and may He keep you and your family safe. 


 Q: 

Should I let my 3-year–old year toddler go to the day-care or it will be not safe?   

A:

Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatulahi wa barakatuh,  

This is a difficult decision that all parents are facing right now as the new school year begins. After having been off school for nearly 6 months a ‘new normal’ has been established that we have become quite used to by now.

As a result there are the added anxieties around facing new changes in going back to school, but going back to school in a different way to what anyone has ever been used to in recent times.

Beyond this, this is the obvious anxiety that comes with the risk of infection from a virus that has caused so much death and destruction globally. 

Naturally, this makes the decision-making process amidst such anxieties incredibly difficult on so many levels and the situation will be different from family to family depending on where you live, health issues, the family set up… etc..  

To help you to make the decision that is best in your individual circumstances, consider the following things; is not necessary for your toddler to go to day-care? I.e. Do you you work and your child has to go? If so, are their alternatives in case you are worried about your child’s safety?

Could you make alternative work arrangements to work from home? Or if not, is there a close friend or family member who could mind your child whilst you are at work?  

If it is not necessary for them to go to day care, but you fear their lack of connection to other children, you could are age small get-togethers with parents of other children to encourage some level of social interaction and to be with other toddlers their age.  

If you are comfortable sending your toddler to daycare, what measures have they taken to keep the centre safe from the virus and protect the children who attend? Do you feel they have done enough and are they keeping parents up to date and informed? 

If you choose to send your toddler make sure to use this time before schools resure to establish healthy hygiene routines so it becomes more natural to them when they do return.

Encouraging regular handwashing procedures can help protect them and others in the daycare. Keep an eye for any symptoms they might have, as well as yourself and the moment you have any concerns, don’t be afraid to withdraw if necessary.  

Consider the pros and cons of your options in your own personal circumstances and take the matter to Allah.  

May He keep you and your family safe always and may He guide you to do what is best for you and your toddler.  


Q:

My husband had an affair which I tried to keep quiet for the sake of my children but they too found out he ended up having a child with this woman no they are not married  

This shattered me I asked him to leave but he said this is where wants to be etc they had the child and he sees him supports him financially and has started to bring him home to our children Now I have no hatred towards that child but her yes and him.  

I’m so confused I don’t know what to do my family have no idea if what I’m going through. My father passed away 25 days after this child entered the world.  

I’m broken and sad I read salah but I feel I’m stupid for staying. 

A:

Wa alaikum salaam wa rahmatulahi wa barakatuh sister,  

You have every right to feel broken given your current circumstances. To find out your husband, the man your trusted, has been having an affair, is one of the ultimate betrayals in a marriage. 

The fact that you have children together adds an extra burden as you have to try and stay strong for their sake too so as not to let the situation impact these innocent lives. Furthermore, the added complication is that he has had a child with this woman.

This is a heart wrenching position for any married person to be in. Then to add the loss of your father must have thrown you into the darkest place. May Allah make things easy for you.  

You are not stupid for staying. Your decision to stay seems to have been for the sake of the children and that doesn’t make you stupid.

You are in the midst of such a difficult situation and are probably feeling torn in what to do and in these early stages it is very confusing to know what is best to do. You must always keep in mind here that it is not you who did wrong.

You are not the one who committed the sin and so are not to blame. Your husband will be accountable for this, not you. 

Alhamdulilah, despite it all, you have not given up and have continued to maintain your salah. This is what is best for you and will be what will keep you strong during this difficult time.  

You could have acted on impulse and just walked away and maybe this would have worked out for the best, but there would have been consequences to deal with, particularly with regards to keeping things stable for your children and that is not easy in the midst of such a crisis.  

This is not to say that walking away is not the best choice, because given the circumstances you have strong grounds to do just this and would be absolutely justified in doing so. Despite the crisis you have kept your cool and this places you in a good position to make a rational choice moving forward.  

Right now, you should take advantage of the fact that you have maintained this level of cool in taking your next step. In this, case you might seek counsel together with your husband to get advice on the matter from as Islamic perspective from your local imam. 

If you are sure that you cannot make things work with your husband, having an imam present he will be able to advise you both on the steps you both need to take that takes care of the rights of all involved. 

If you all adhere to the rules according to Islam then a very difficult situation will be made a lot more comfortable knowing that you are sticking to the laws as prescribed by Allah. It may be that this means giving things more time, or it may be that the best route for all is to separate.  

Either way I would strongly suggest getting as much support as possible, both from those closest to you who will be able to support you both practically and emotionally, as well as more formal counselling to give you the space to express your feelings openly and honestly in a non-judgemental environment away from people who know you well that you may not feel comfortable to discuss such matters. 

This is certainly a time where it is very important to take care of yourself regardless of what the future holds for you and your family here on in. 

Seeking this support will help you emotionally and practically, but also make sure to give yourself the love and care you need right now. Make sure to take time to do things you enjoy each day, eat well, get a bit of exercise and try to get sufficient sleep.  

May Allah guide you to make the decision that is best for you all. May He bring you comfort during this difficult time and protect you and your children from further hardship.

May He grant your father the highest place in Jannah.  


Q:

Alsalamu alykum, 

If someone is a hypocrite and they are aware of it but they can’t admit it and on top of it they can’t make tawbah.

They tried but they don’t feel guilt to be specific like worried and concerned about it and there in this spiral of doom that has been going on for particularly 2 weeks they wake up after sleeping one or two hours because they spent all the time watching videos on repentance and seen but can’t feel the guilt specifically  

So they just do this and their heart just hearts and they have nothing to do and this person wasn’t really a practicing Muslim before but they were born Muslim and they are like they found out that they should read Quran and get knowledge because they don’t know Allah .  

Can you help and on top of that they have a case of arrogance and doubts of Allah and the worst is they have these moments at night where they are fine and like very in tune with religion but then all over again the next day and they don’t eat or anything and they are a youth 14 yrs to be exact? 

A:

Wa alaikum salaam wa rahmatulahi wa barakatuh, 

It sounds like this person is generally quite confused as they dip in and out of trying to increase their eman by knowing that they should seek to increase themselves in knowledge to get closer to Allah, only to then experience some doubts, then to feel more connected and then lose it all over again.  

This must be very confusing for the person. At the same time however, this person is 14 years old and it is quite normal for people of this age to go through various psychological challenges, in their personal as well as religious lives.

 At this age, they are transitioning between childhood and adulthood, where they are still reliant on their elders and still require some direction, but they are also learning how to be more independent and make choices for themselves and taking responsibility. This may explain the difficulties in seeking tawbah.  

At this age, to some extent the parents still have responsibilities to ensure the adolescent makes the right choices and may be accountable to some level for any mistakes they make.

However, at the same time, this is where this person needs to be learning to take responsibility for their mistakes themselves as they reach an age where they will be held accountable for the same. During this time, this may come across as arrogant as you have reported.

Now, the fact that at this age, to some extent responsibilities do lie at the hands of the parent, an adolescent’s mistakes are not entirely excused either and they should be learning to make tawbah for the same.  

One of the ways to nurture this is to support them in getting closer to Allah. At first, they may not be capable of doing this alone as they are not used to the responsibility, so this can be supported by those who are close to them.

Doing things together as a family can enable this process to occur naturally. Rather than forcing this person to repent, read the Quran and pray.. Etc.. Which can sometimes have the opposite effect and even push them away, gently encouraging it by doing these things together will gradually support them in achieving this by themselves as well as being a demonstration of good role models around them and letting them know that there a people around them to support them on their journey to independence. 

As they get closer to Allah like this they will feel more inclined to make the tawbah that they are currently running from making. As they become more engaged in Islam they will come to fear Allah more and fear His punishment and therefore will certainly feel more need to repent for the sake of pleasing Allah. 

For those around this person, they need to be aware that this is a process that does take time and immediate changes should not be expected. It is a process that requires patience and nurturing but the consequences will be beneficial to the person in question and well as their loved ones. 

May Allah reward your concern for this person and guide you in supporting them. May Allah guide this person on the path of Islam and drive them to find comfort in the remembrance of Allah.  

Sunday, Aug. 23, 2020 | 11:00 - 12:00 GMT

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