Let’s Talk Spiritual and Mental Well Being with Sr.Aisha

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 Aisha for answering the questions.

You can find the answers below:

Feel free to send your questions to [email protected]

The service is completely anonymous

Q:

Salaam, my fiance started practicing sufism over a year ago. In the beginning I did not see it as a bad thing because his actions were really subtle. However, as of recent months, I have become aware that the practice has completely consumed his life to the point where he has lost all interest in dunya and has mostly isolated himself from friends.

I do not know how to describe it but it kind of feels like he is following some sort of cult and not Islam. I want to know if there is any way I can help him and get him out of this situation?

A:

As salamu alaykum sister,

Shokran for writing to our Live Session. I am truly sorry to hear about what your fiancé has gotten caught up in. It does not even sound like a Sufi tariqa. I have never heard of anything Islamic being associated with Star Wars that concept is truly different. I would even question if it was truly a Sufi order. It does not sound like it.

Marriage Plans and Hurt 

I can imagine all of this has hurt you very much. You both probably had plans for a wonderful future sister. Now it is all in disarray. When we care for someone we want to see the best for them and it is very difficult when they take the wrong path or something affects them mentally, spiritually, or physically.

It is especially difficult when marriage plans were in place and are then affected by these changes. It is truly devastating to the person who has watched the other deteriorate.  My heart goes out to you. 

Wrong Paths, Possible Mental Illness, Refusal to Change

Sister as you have described him, he is introverted at this point, has no balance in life, is totally immersed in this ideology and refuses to listen or even consider changing his ways at this point. As he has a history of mental health illness, this most definitely could play a part in his fascination and obsession with this.

As you know in Islam we are to have a balance in life and in all our affairs. With that said, there is not much else known about what he is into except that it is in part based on a Star Wars movie prediction (?) therefore it is far removed from Islamic teachings. 

Would Marriage to him have been Ideal?

Sister I will kindly ask you to consider what it would be like being married to him right now. I am sure that by pondering this thought you will find it is not pleasing to you. Allah is merciful sister and saves us from many devastating things.

Allah will shut doors even when it hurts us-for our own good. Allah knows best. 

New Chapter in Life

Insha’Allah as you cannot change him, nor can you force him to change, perhaps it is time that you close this chapter of your life. I know this is hurtful to think about but given the situation and his refusal to find truth and balance it may be your only option.

Additionally, he has called off the marriage anyhow and this may be a mercy to you from Allah. 

Moving On

Sister I encourage you to move on. I know it will be hard for a while but please know that only by Allah and through Allah can your ex fiancée find the right path and change. In the meantime, nothing is guaranteed in that regard and you have a life to live. I kindly suggest you invest in yourself right now.

Give yourself a lot of self-care, eat healthy, get in some exercise, take walks in nature. Spend social times with family and friends as you are able. Take up a hobby or engage in an activity of your interest. Use this time for self-care, healing and to rebalance your life. 

Staying Close to Allah

Insha’Allah, engage in charity work if you can. Helping others always makes us feel good and is a great benefit to those in need. You may find great joy in this right now. Stay close to Allah through prayer, reading Quran, and dhzikr.

Trust in Allah, knowing you had this experience for a reason, a reason that may not be revealed right away. Allah Knows Best. 

Conclusion 

Sister please let this situation go with grace. We cannot force anyone to do anything, nor can we spend years trying to. Leave your ex fiancé in the hands of Allah and trust Allah that your ex will one day find his way back.

In the meantime, practice self-care and self-healing, stay close to Allah, and begin to create a new wonderful future for yourself. We wish you the best.


Q:

My husband is bipolar,has refused to take medication,and is emotionally unavailable. We have been married for 17 years and have 4 children. When he is a maniac,he goes into relationships that fail later and he regrets afterwards. He says he loves me but doesn’t act like so. He has recently married a second wife.

He lies and doesn’t fulfill his promises contrary to Islamic teachings and that hurts me.I can’t separate him from the condition, I am confused and don’t know what to do. Do I leave him and how will that affect my kids who are still young? I love this man,I pray a lot to Allah swt. He works in a different town from where we live with his new wife. Please give me some advice.

A:

As salamu alaykum sister,

Shokran for writing to our Live Session. Sister as I understand it your husband is bipolar, manic most of the time and refuses to take medication. As a result, he is in and out of relationships when he is manic. He is currently married to his second wife and lives elsewhere with her while he works. You have young children together and you are wondering what to do at this point. 

Spouse is Bipolar

My dear sister I can imagine this is very heartbreaking for you to endure. When we love someone, we want to see them healthy. When we are married we want to feel secure and close to our spouse. We want to be able to trust their decisions as well as depend on them to do the right thing. We want our spouses to be emotional available as it is part of the marriage relationship.

At this point, your husband is emotional unavailable, lies and doesn’t fulfill his promises contrary to Islamic teachings. As he is bipolar, you feel it is due to this and you do not know how to separate him from the illness.

Illness or Convenience 

Sister as you know we cannot force anybody to do anything, even if it is good for them, such as your husband being compliant with his medication. Some people with bipolar illness take medication for a while and then stop because they feel “normal” and therefore feel they do not need it-only to relapse.

Others have bipolar illness which is milder and they do not necessarily need medication but do partake in counseling. At this point I do not know the severity of his bipolar illness, as you did not mention his status, however I am wondering if some of his decisions are based on personal choices or are due to his illness.

Being married to someone who is bipolar is not easy. It takes great patience, fortitude, and sacrifice. In some cases, behaviors thought to be attributed to a bipolar condition are actually attributed in reality to that person’s personal choices. Insha’Allah you will be able to differentiate if there is any question regarding this.

In other words, if one is diagnosed with a disorder such as bipolar illness oftentimes manipulation can be used to do things that are not acceptable and blame it on the mental health illness. I’m not saying this is what your husband is doing, no. However, it may be a consideration for some of his actions, only Allah knows.

Rights in Islam

As his wife you have the same rights as a second wife. All wives have equal rights. While you did not elaborate and it is not clear, I will just state that he should equally split his time between you and the children and his second wife. That is one of your rights. It sounds as if things may be one sided, Allah forgive me if I am wrong.  

Love-the Good and Negative Points

Sister you say you love him very much and I do believe that you do. However, given the situation I kindly ask insha’Allah that you make a list of all the good points that you love about him, the things that he does for you and the children, and make a list of the negative points.

The negative points would include the things that he does that are not in alignment with Islamic values, not conducive for a marriage, or just plain inconsiderate. Insha’Allah look at your list and see if the positive qualities outweigh the negative. If they do, alhumdulilah. Still there are issues to be addressed. 

Speaking with Husband

Sister you may wish to speak with him about the circumstances and how to make them better and more in alignment with your needs and Islamic requirements. Sister please do speak with your husband at a time when things are calm about the changes you would like to see in the marriage.

If needed, make a list so you do not lose track of your thoughts when you are both conversing. Insha’Allah, approache him with love and support and with a conviction to save your marriage. In this way he may respond more favorably.

When you are discussing your concerns and the changes you wish to see, you may want to include a timeline for any changes that he may agree to. This is important because often times people can agree to something but it may drag on for years and years without change.

Self-Care

I am not sure what your social support is like, but I encourage you to reach out to family and close friends for support. Try to take extra special care of yourself at this time. This would include eating healthy, exercise, attending Islamic events, spending time with family and friends, as well as picking up a special hobby or interest which you may enjoy.

Keep close to Allah and make duaa concerning this matter. By keeping a balance in your life, it will help your own mental health in terms of dealing with the stressors of your marriage. 

Conclusion

Insha’Allah you and your husband will be able to improve your marriage to a point where you are happy and feel fulfilled as a Muslim wife. If he is unwilling and you are tired of trying to make it work, you do know that you do have the option for divorce although this is an absolute last resort. Often times it is a mercy.

In regards to the effects of divorce on your children-it may hurt them for a while but children are resilient with the proper supports. If you are worried about the effects of divorce, ask yourself-what are the effects on the children of an emotionally unavailable father who does not live with them? 

Insha’Allah you and your husband will be able to come to an amicable resolution the problems you both are facing. If not Allah does make provisions for divorce. Please make duaa to Allah to bless and assist you both in this process. We wish you the best.


Q:

I have sent a question before and it did help me, but now it seems like things are getting out of hand, I have been procrastinating so many things now that I have so many problems. I don’t know which to solve first but I will start with this one,I hope you don’t mind if I send you one question at a time to avoid confusion.

Last Ramadan 2019 was the best Ramadan I ever had, I tried to stop all my bad habits and be a good Muslim, at first everything was working, my OCD was not disturbing me, I visit this site almost all the time and read articles, I try to make research too. I felt okay, but then something happened, a lot of things happened. I’m not sure what, I suddenly began to doubt everything I did.

Prayers became chores, I can’t concentrate, if I pray on time I’m too early, if I pray late I’m a lazy Muslim that doesn’t care about her afterlife,if I just pray it doesn’t matter how, God won’t accept, I’m going to hell. If I perform ablution I dread what will happen next, will I fart?(sometimes vaginal fart), will I discharge something?

I have to wash my private part before I pray, I don’t think I will ever stop doing that. And then, I can’t pray around other people, this one is getting better but I still feel weird, I don’t feel comfortable praying in other places that is not my home. I keep thinking what if I have vaginal discharge?

I can’t use the bathroom. I sometimes can’t even eat or drink in my own house if a stranger came and I didn’t like them, I sound rude but I can’t help it, I wish I wasn’t like that. I try to read the Quran everyday but I just feel empty, when I’m on my period, I don’t even feel like I’m a Muslim.

And then a pandemic started and this Ramadan was just depressing, I don’t want to admit it but I was hoping it would end fast, even though I woke up and prayed in the middle of night, I felt sad, nothing. Have I committed something horrible and forgot about it? Or am I destined to hell?

I can’t pray at school too even though 90% of the students are Muslim. If I go somewhere, I usually don’t pray until I get home and I keep thinking what if I die on the way home? When I was young, no one in my household explained anything at the appropriate time, I’m not close with anyone not even my mom. I’m not comfortable talking to them about things like this and they avoid it too. And the way they teach us at school is chaotic.

I feel like I don’t know much about my religion,the fard and Sunnah of Salah and ablution and that’s why I feel doubtful of almost everything I do, if you have a video about prayers and fasting and ghusl please tell me the link, if there is a book that I can read please tell me where to find it. My mood is so weird these days,I feel giddy and then I feel depressed and I avoid watching tafsirs. Thanks and God bless you all.

A:

As salamu alaykum sister,

Shokran for writing to our Live Session. It sounds like you are going through a lot mentally. I can imagine that you feel your mind is overloaded with thoughts, fears, doubts, and uncertainty. According to your question, you are having a difficult time with OCD. 

Previous Ramadan Insights

During the previous Ramadan things were very good for you regarding the symptoms of OCD. Afterwards however, things slowly began to go back to the way they were. Sister, what did you do during that Ramadan that negated or reduced the OCD?

You may want to reflect back upon Ramadan and write down things you did differently that helped subdue the intrusive thoughts, fears, and OCD behaviors. This reflection might give you some insight on how you can make little changes now to help you cope with what you are going through and get back on track.

Seeking Treatment

Sister the way you are describing how you feel as well as your behaviors, it sounds like you may need to be seen for treatment. OCD is a very difficult thing to address alone. Professional treatment for OCD can be effective. It may take time and hard work on your part to overcome OCD, however the benefits are life-saving.

You do not have to live in this way of doubt and fear! You may need medication in addition to cognitive behavioral therapy (or other approach) however many do suffer from OCD and find great relief in the treatment.

Possible Outcomes

Sister, if you seek counseling and treatment for OCD, insha’Allah you will see your life change for the positive and you will not have to deal with all of these intense doubts, intrusive thoughts, fears and uncertainties.

Additionally, you will gain a deeper understanding of how OCD works and how you can deal with it. 

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and Spirituality

Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is part of the anxiety spectrum as you know. Sometimes it is more manageable than at other times. Stress exacerbates it. Sister, if you got treatment, insha’Allah your doubts and fears concerning prayers, wudu, fear of passing gas or vaginal discharge, praying in other places besides your home such as a Masjid or school, and so forth, will begin to subside. You will feel sure of your actions, decisions, and thoughts.

The Islamic things you have learned will integrate with your heart and feel natural. No, Allah is not punishing you sister. No, insha’Allah you are not going to hell for this. It is a disorder that is out of your control and Allah is most merciful. 

Ramadan and Covid

Sister, I understand that this Ramadan was a challenge. It was a challenge I think for most Muslims because of the covid-19. However, Allah in His in mercy did grant us another Ramadan to see and elevate spiritually.

As OCD tends to flare up with stress, perhaps it is the stress of covid-19 and all the uncertainty surrounding it that has triggered you. These are the most stressful times indeed.

Current Mood

Sister you referred to your mood these days as feeling giddy and then feeling depressed. Again, I highly recommend insha’Allah that you do seek out counseling as soon as possible to address these issues.

As we were speaking of covid-19, mental health issues are on the rise no doubt. They may be especially worse for those with pre-existing mental health disorders. 

Conclusion

Please reflect back upon the Ramadan in which you were able to negate some of your symptoms of OCD and try to find what it is that you did differently and try to apply it now. Please do seek out counseling as soon as possible insha’Allah to alleviate some of your symptoms.

Insha’Allah you will begin to find more peace, comfort, and confidence once you begin treatment. Insha’Allah you will find the following link helpful (1). While it is geared for new Muslims, it is a wonderful refresher and provides useful tips and inspirations.

Sister, please know that help is available, you can change this-you just have to be willing to take the first step.  We wish you the best.

1. https://aboutislam.net/reading-islam/living-islam/learning-resources-new-muslims/


Q:

I am 16 yrs old and I met a boy my same age. We have the same goals, interests, and we understand each other. We have a deep connection and we feel like we have known each other for a long time, we have not met in real life. We are practicing muslims and know it is haram to have a relationship so we are going to tell our parents.

He told his dad about me and his dad agreed to meet my family. However, the guy I like just told me that he is shia. I am a sunni. What are your thoughts on this? I need advice😭. It is really hard for me to like someone and I haven’t liked someone or felt so close to them and vulnerable and safe ever in my life. How do I tell my parents?

A:

As salamu alaykum sister,

Shokran for writing to our Live Session. As I understand your situation you are 16 and you have met a boy that you like. You have the same goals and you trust and understand each other. You feel that you have a deep connection and have known each other for a long time although you have not met in real life.

Practicing Muslims

 You say that you both are practicing Muslims and you understand that it is Haram to have a relationship. In order to keep things halal, you have decided to tell your parents. He told his parents and his father agreed to meet your family.

You on the other hand have not told your parents. It appears that he has recently told you that he is Shia. This may pose a problem for you because you are Sunni. However, I may point out that you are both Muslim. 

Shia vs. Sunni

Sister, as long as you both are practicing Muslims, you are striving to please Allah,  you are compatible and have respect for one another, it should not be a problem.

This is one ummah- however we are sadly divided. You may wish to write to our “Ask the Scholar” section for a more Islamic ruling as I am not an Islamic scholar. 

Discussing Differences

Any differences between you should be discussed and worked out prior to committing to a marriage. Differences may not even be an issue depending on the level of practicing things that do constitute a difference.

The main goal is to follow Islam, serve, love, and fear Allah, and base your life and possible future marriage on the Qur’an. 

Afraid to Tell Parents

I understand that there is great division and hot debates concerning the issue of Sunni vs Shia. As Muslims we should not be divided. I also understand that because of this you are afraid to tell your parents.

I kindly advise that you do tell your parents about him and introduce him as Muslim. Depending on your parent’s reaction upon eventually learning he is Shia, you and your fiancée may have to make a decision regarding getting married against your parents’ wishes. 

Right to Marry

As long as he is permissible to you Islamically you can marry him. While it is nice to have parents’ blessings regarding marriage, it is not required to have their permission as long as you are of age.

Just be sure to work out any differences with him due to the Sunni and Shia issue. If there are not any alhamdulillah. If there are, try to reach a compromise between the two of you. 

Conclusion

Sister, the most important factor is that you both are striving to serve Allah, you both are following the Quran, and you both have dedicated your life to Islam. Inform your parents and take it from there. May Allah bless you both for keeping this halal and seeking the righteous path of marriage.

Please do make istakharrah prayer to Allah for guidance. Insha’Allah if you still have questions please do contact our “Ask the Scholar” section. We wish you the best.


Q:

I’m extremely paranoid at the idea that my fiance might be interested in another girl and/or cheats on me. He never gave me any reason to think that but it’s my personal issue that is making me live in an endless anxiety state. I have panic attacks whenever I think about it, and get paranoid every time we meet and a friend of mine would be with us.

I question everything in his behaviors, the amount of seconds he looks, smiles or does anything. This is making me live in fear and I’m totally helpless please advise me. Note: that I’m very insecure from other girls and don’t see myself as being enough.

A:

As salamu alaykum sister,

Shokran for writing to our Live Session. I am sorry to hear about the feelings you are experiencing in regards to your fiancé. It must be very worrisome to feel like you are in a state of anxiety or panic. It can also be scary and fatiguing. 

You state that you are very paranoid that your fiancé may be interested in someone else. You even fear he may cheat on you. Your fiancé has never given you a reason to feel this way thus it is a personal issue that leaves you in a constant state of anxiety. 

Previous History of Possible Anxiety/Panic?

Sister I am wondering if you have experienced anxiety or panic disorder prior to your engagement. I kindly suggest that you think back about other times in your life when you may have felt these feelings. If so, write down in a journal-the circumstances, triggers, and what kinds of emotions you experienced.

Look at other situations where you may have felt paranoid, anxious, or had a panic attack. This could include getting ready to take an exam in school, meeting new friends, going to social events, and so on. Please refer to the following link for an online quick quiz regarding panic (1) and anxiety (2) disorders.

While these quizzes are not a definitive answer, it may help you to determine if indeed you may be suffering from either of these disorders and then insha’Allah you can determine if you would like to engage in treatment. 

Journaling for Clarity

Regarding your fiancée, insha’Allah write down any events that preceded your feelings of paranoia, anxiety or panic. For example, you and your fiancé are talking about work and he mentions a co-worker in a business context that happens to be female. Or you and your fiancé are at an event and a woman walks by.

These would be precipitating events. They are innocent events but things like this might trigger anxiety or panic. Insha’Allah by keeping a journal you may identify your triggers, see a pattern in your emotional reactions (anxiety, panic, paranoia), and be able to determine insha’Allah if your feelings are justified by the incident. 

Counseling

Insha’Allah sister I kindly suggest that you do see a counselor in your area for ongoing counseling. A counselor can assess you more thoroughly to determine if indeed you do have a mental health issue that needs to be addressed.

Actually, anxiety and panic disorder are rather common and when they get to an extreme they can develop into paranoia. If left untreated, it is very uncomfortable, can be frightening at times, and can interfere with relationships.

You don’t have to live this way. It is best to address the problem prior to actually getting married, so that you can go into your marriage without these issues. 

Low Self Esteem and Self-Confidence

From what you have written, it also appears that you may have low self-esteem and lack self-confidence. This does not help either when it comes to mental health issues. I kindly suggest that you examine your self-esteem issues and begin to write down your positive traits and qualities as well as your abilities.

Focus on these and not the negative feelings surrounding your self-concept. If need be, there are support groups and free online classes which help people to develop self-confidence and increase self-esteem. A Google search can bring up some reputable ones, as well as a counselor in your area can provide recommendations. 

Conclusion

Insha’Allah sister you will be able to begin your journaling to gain more insight,  seek ongoing treatment from a mental health counselor in your area, as well as participate in positive activities and learning skills regarding self-esteem and self-confidence.

As human beings we all need to gravitate towards improving our selves both spiritually and mentally as well as emotionally. Is a lifelong striving and you are not alone, everyone has things to work on.

Please do address these issues prior to marriage in order that you will enter the marriage without these pressing and interfering issues. We wish you the best.

1. https://www.psycom.net/panic-disorder-panic-attack-test/

2. https://psychcentral.com/quizzes/anxiety-quiz/

*****

Tuesday, Jul. 07, 2020 | 10:00 - 11:00 GMT

Session is over.
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