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Islamic Counseling on Mental Health Challenges

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Thank you for participating in the session.

Here are the 4 questions our counselor provided answers for. If you do not find yours below, please check our upcoming session or submit your question there.

Thank you for your understanding.

Question 1. Depressed due to outcome

As salam alykum, I’m a MBBS doctor, alhamdullillah, and I want to pursue an MD degree in orthopedics. It’s been 3 years of constantly studying and giving exams and failing, but not getting the branch of my choice. Seeing my peers get good branches and not being able to help myself, it’s taking a toll on my mental health. Alhamdullillah, the only thing helping me is constant prayer. I just wanted to ask: Should I constantly knock on the door or should I give up thinking it is the qadr of Allah?

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Jazakala khair


Wa alaikum salaam wa rahmatulahi wa barakatuh,

This is the kind of situation that everyone finds themselves in at some point. That is, they are in hot pursuit of something, yet there always seems to be some obstacle to achieving it. There could be any number of reasons why this is the case, but this is something only Allah knows, and it then comes down to our judgement as to how to perceive the situation and whether it is a sign to give up or whether one should patiently persevere.

For 3 years now, you have been pursuing this route but have not yet managed to attain what you are trying to achieve. Is Allah telling you that this is not for you and you should quit and try something else? Or keep going and you will appreciate the rewards of eventually attaining it after having strived so hard? It is taking its toll on your mental health, understandably so, but, alhamdulilah, constant prayers are helping. This in itself is a blessing from Allah, as even though it is distressing for you, it is a matter that continues to push you toward Him. Alhamdulilah. Perhaps He continues to test you to keep you close to Him and will eventually grant you the route that you are so desperately seeking.

The other thing is that perhaps Allah wants to push you towards something that is actually even better for you. Perhaps there is another branch of medicine that is more suitable for you, and Allah is trying to close this door for you to push you to another avenue that will be better for you, provide better opportunities, and be more rewarding for you in this life and the next.

Alternatively, as you suggest, perhaps this field isn’t for you at all, and Allah is telling you to stop and try something entirely different.

Only Allah knows what this is all about, but the fact that you continue to turn to Him is certainly the most fruitful way forward, whatever the ultimate outcome. However, since you cannot be sure, you also need to take action yourself. Do continue to pray, and perhaps give it a certain amount of time that you feel you can tolerate before you eventually make the choice to either pursue a different branch of medicine or try something altogether different.

If it gets to this point, make sure to make your decision and then make istikhara. If your choice is meant to be, then Allah will facilitate it; if not, then He will continue to put barriers in your way. However, what you should always do in the meantime is trust in Allah’s plan and be confident that ultimately what He has planned for you is what is best. It may not feel like it, especially amongst constant seeming failures, but in sha Allah, you’ll get there in the end and look back and say Alhamdulilah for the trials you have endured to reach your end goal.

May Allah reward you for remaining steadfast, and may He continue to give you strength in adversity. May He grant you the best in this life and the next, and may you and He be content with that.

Question 2. Help with OCD

Hello, I hope you are doing fine. I am a girl in high school, and I find it very difficult nowadays because of my mental health. I won’t specify what compulsions or thoughts I have, but they are very persistent and interfere with my faith and everyday life. May Allah bless you and thank you for taking your time to read this. May Allah ease my stress and yours too.


Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatulahi wa barakatuh,

Even though you haven’t specified the thoughts and compulsions you have been having, it almost doesn’t matter too much because it is something that we all deal with to some extent or another, so I can first reassure you that you are not alone in battling this. This is almost certainly a sign of waswas, or the whispers of Shaytan trying to push you to do something that is not pleasing to Allah.

Such thoughts impact people in different ways, depending on how they choose to deal with them. Essentially, the most effective way to deal with them, regardless of what they’re about, is to remain firm in your faith so that you will not be tempted to act on them.

Firstly, make sure to check that your daily obligations are in order. Are you praying? On time? Are you ensuring to fulfill as many sunnah acts as you can within your day? These can be quite important when it comes to repelling thoughts like the ones you are having, as completing sunnah acts throughout the day can be helpful in ensuring that Allah is constantly on your mind and any whispers from Shaytan are kept at bay. In particular, saying the various duas at certain times of the day before and after doing certain acts can be a very effective way of always being in constant remembrance of Allah. Say the prescribed duas before entering and leaving the home, before and after going to the bathroom, before and after eating, and so on.

If this is not a practice that you are yet accustomed to, then you can help yourself by putting sticky notes as reminders in the relevant places until it becomes a habit. Remembering to take some time to read your morning and evening adhkar is also another excellent way to repel such thoughts. There are many other things that can also help here, including fasting, praying additional nafl prayers, and reading the Quran. These are all things that push you closer to Allah and further from Shaytan. However, if these are not usual practices for you, don’t overwhelm yourself to begin with. Take it slowly, one step at a time, introducing new things bit by bit so they become routine without becoming a burden, which would actually make the situation worse.

These are the main things you can do to directly help with your faith and resisting these thoughts, but you can also do things like keep busy with good Allah-fearing sisters that will not only keep you on the path of Islam but will encourage you to remain firm in your faith together with them. Additionally, simply engaging with them in useful social activity can be something to keep you busy so that you are distracted from acting on any of the thoughts that you are having. Keeping in mind that most likely whatever thoughts and compulsions you are having would be easier and less shameful to achieve when alone, being with other people is a means to prevent this from occurring.

In sha Allah, as you manage to get control of these thoughts over time, you will find that your mental health recovers considerably, especially as you get closer to Allah and live a more contented life engaged in useful and productive things.

May Allah make it easy for you and reward your struggles for His sake. May He free you from your distressing thoughts and give you the strength to get through this successfully. May He grant you the best in this life and the next.

Question 3. I always somehow upset my parents

Assalam o Alaikum.I just don’t feel satisfied with myself. I used to be a horrible person. I had this addiction to watching movies/series that included sexuality and other bad stuff late at night (without letting my parents know), but Alhamdulillah, with the help of Allah, I’ve managed to resist watching this kinda stuff. I just can’t focus on my studies now. I’m currently in A-levels, and I feel like my mind is stuck. I start overthinking while studying and have lost my interest in Salah. And today my mom slapped and scolded me because of these two things: (1. Lack of interest in studies; and 2. Not offering fajar prayer, and that too in front of the house help. I do love her, but I just have never made her proud by achieving good grades. Please guide me on how to be a good daughter and a good Muslim. Because I feel like Allah is not happy with me because my mother’s not…Does Ruqyah help? How do I deal with the tiredness that I have while offering prayers or even studying? Please emphasize ways to keep my parents, especially my mother, happy. How can I be obedient to her? I’ve lost my way in between. I do obey her at times,  like when she doesn’t want me on social media. I’ve deleted all my accounts on social media. She doesn’t want me to watch movies/series (she caught me once while I was watching a movie and locked the room)…I’m not watching them anymore, alhamdulillah. But she doesn’t know who I used to be or how I’ve left those things for her.


Wa alaikum salaam wa rahlatulahi wa barakatuh,

Firstly, the fact that you are reaching out for advice is a good sign that you are willing to make the necessary changes to become a better Muslimah, in sha Allah. Alhamdulilah. Alhamdulillah, I see that you are already taking the first steps toward overcoming your struggles by giving up social media and unhelpful movies/series too. That is not an easy step to take, especially as it was once an addiction. This is a very big and commendable step that you have taken. May Allah be pleased with you.

However, it seems that now that you have given these potentially damaging things up, you are now struggling with your studies and prayers, especially fajr. You also want to be a good daughter to your mother, who doesn’t seem so pleased with you at the moment. Whilst her actions in slapping you are not ok and she shouldn’t be doing this regardless of what you have done, she still has the right to be respected as your mother. She doesn’t want you on social media or watching movies and is upset about you not praying. This is understandable as a mother. She wants to do all she can to keep you away from things that are harmful, and while slapping you wasn’t the most appropriate way to deal with it, it is clear that she just wants what is best for you.

Alhamdulilah, as I said, you are certainly moving in the right direction, but now your challenge is to get out of being stuck in between the pursuit of good and being obedient to your mother. We know that Allah has commanded that we be good to our parents, and perhaps you are right that He is displeased with you for upsetting your mother. Only Allah knows, but it is for you to be obedient to her (as long as she is directing you in the way of Islam and not against it, of course) and for you to be confident that Allah is seeing all that you are doing to be obedient and be confident in His mercy.

Even though your A-levels and achieving a good grade in them are important and seem to be important to pleasing your mother also, it is not the most important thing. However, I do believe that if you focus primarily on getting your Salah in order and taking it seriously, you will find that you will become motivated in your studies also, which in turn will, in sha Allah, see your grades improve also.

You mentioned doing ruqya, and this is certainly something you can try. Anyone can perform ruqya on themselves, and it is even recommended to do so. You may find that this helps with the tiredness and just getting closer to Allah in general. Otherwise, the first thing to do may be quite simple. Examine your lifestyle. Is your sleep hygiene good? Are you getting enough sleep? Are you going to bed early enough such that you get sufficient sleep to wake up refreshed for Fajr? If not, think about things like limiting screentime and caffeine intake, in particular in the hours leading up to bedtime. On a spiritual level, saying your duas before sleeping can also be a way to ensure you wake up in time for fajr.

In general, to bring back your interest in prayer, there are a few things you can do, aside from the things mentioned above specifically in reference to Fajr. However, you may find that focusing solely on fixing your Fajr prayer may also make things easier when it comes to fulfilling your other prayers throughout the day. It almost provides that initial boost in the morning to get you in the right frame of mind, with Allah coming first over and above everything else.

Following on from this, make sure to structure your day around prayer. This can be especially helpful for you as a student and could be very helpful when it comes to your A-levels. Make sure to check prayer times daily and ensure that you pray on time. Structure your day around prayer rather than anything else. You will also find that this should also help you structure your study time. For example, it may be that you want to review a certain topic between Asr and Maghrib, and this will put a natural timer on time spent studying a topic whilst still making prayer the most important thing amongst this.

Additionally, taking a break to pray helps you realign your values, realize what’s important, and turn to Allah with whatever you want in that particular moment. This will leave you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated, ready to get back to whatever study topic you are to move onto next. Achieving a routine around prayer is an excellent way to keep Allah close at all times, to continue to call upon Him throughout the day, and to have the most perfect element of structure within your day. Having a routine like this will also help to fix your tiredness, which will also help you get up for Fajr.

Hopefully, you can see from this how fixing your salah can be the perfect way to also increase motivation in your studies too. In turn, these things should also please your mother, as she will see that you take both your prayer and your studies seriously. In sha Allah, in time, this will reflect in your grades too.

May Allah make it easy for you and give you the patience to persevere through the initial changes that will be tougher. May He reward you for abandoning harmful things for His sake. May He bless you and your mother with the best in this life and the next.

Question 4. Scared, anxious and overthinking

Assalamalaikum. This website has always given me hope and guidance. Jazak Allah Khair for that. I am a 32-year-old unmarried female. My problem is that I get worried and scared about everything, especially anything that requires a difficult conversation or conflict. For ex., if I am talking to my landlord about an issue in the house, I’ll think about the worst-case scenario that she will ask me to vacate her house. I am always worried that my boss doesn’t like me. When I’m outside, I’m anxious about everything around me. The distressing news about increased faith-based oppression is another thing that makes me anxious all the time. I keep wondering if people are discriminating against me because of my faith. This is affecting my performance at work and my mental peace. Please suggest some duas to recite so that my heart becomes strong and I’m not scared.


Wa alaikum salaam wa rahmatulahi wa barakatuh,

Alhamdulilah, I’m glad that you have found a great source of hope and guidance here. May Allah continue to make that so.

I understand that you are experiencing a lot of anxiety at the moment, particularly in relation to your faith and the way others may perceive you. This is not made any easier by the increase in faith-based oppression currently going around. It’s understandable why some people feel this way as a result, and then of course how this has an impact on relationships and performance at work.

The first thing to always keep in mind amidst all these concerns is that you are not here to please people but to please Allah. Always having this in mind can help increase confidence in openly being a Muslim and practicing Islam. If people are displeased with you for being a Muslim, then they are not people who are worth being around. If you are being discriminated against at work, then perhaps this is not the job for you. What is most important is that you please Allah. If you are pleasing Allah, then you have no need to be anxious, as the reward is far greater with Him in this life and especially the next than it is to please people in this life.

However, what I’m also understanding from what you are saying is that perhaps there actually isn’t any discrimination going on and you are simply interpreting their actions as being discriminatory, even though their actions and intentions may not be this way in nature. Your anxiety about the possibility of being discriminated against, especially due to the faith-based oppression that frequently occurs at the moment, is exacerbating these thoughts that you are having. I would encourage you to take the time to consider if they really are being discriminatory towards you. What evidence do you have to suggest that they are? Have they actually said something offensive or physically insulted you or prevented you from practicing Islam? From what I’m understanding, a lot of your anxieties stem from what you think people are thinking, even though they may not be. For example, you are worried about what your landlord thinks of you and that she will evict you, but the truth is, she hasn’t, so her actions don’t actually come across as potentially discriminatory in nature.

You might also think about how you can use your anxieties for good. There certainly is an increase in faith-based oppression, but that doesn’t mean we should go into hiding. Instead, we can use our faith as a means to educate people and show them that Islam is a good religion. Conduct yourself publicly in a good way by being kind to people so that they are able to see this. You have the power to correct any misconceptions that people may have. Whether your boss or your landlord like you or not, you can behave kindly towards them so that they see Islam in a positive light and see Muslims as good people like yourself.

Of course, on top of this, making duas to help with your anxiety will always be helpful, so definitely look into some good authentic duas that you can be making to protect you against such distress. You might turn to your local imam or authentic online sources to find such duas, of which I’m aware that there are plenty that our beloved Prophet used to use during times of distress.

May Allah ease your worries and bring you contentment of heart. May you find peace in the remembrance of Allah and the strength to overcome your present struggles.

Monday, Mar. 13, 2023 | 09:00 - 10:00 GMT

Session is over.
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