Mend Your Heart with Sr Hannah’s Advice


Salamu alaykum dear brothers and sisters,

We would like to thank you for joining us in this face book live session.

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

If you have any queries that you would like to send to our upcoming live session, feel free to send them to [email protected]


Q: I dream about dajal everyday and I told my parents and elders who can give me advice about it. Everynight or every time I close my eyes I dream about creepy stuff like illuminate, dajal, and jin. 

I always read ayat al kursi and duaa, but still have nightmares. I dream that I’m running from fitna al dajal or I’m beating shaitan ? So what should I do?

Assalamu alaikum sister, 

First of all, you are doing the correct thing to make sure that you read the relevant duas, including ayat al kursi. This is something you should remember to do at various points – following a bad dream, along with following the recommended sunnah practices such as changing sides. 

You should also always endeavour to read your adhkar in both the morning and evening as a means of protection. There are also select surahs and duas recommended to read immediately before sleeping which will, in sha Allah, protect you from bad dreads and any harm that could come in the night. 

Regarding the content of your dreams, do be cautious about who you share this with, especially the bad dreams. Not many people are trained in dream interpretation so if you are looking for this, ensure you turn to someone who is qualified to do so. 

Aside from this, remember that these dreams may or may not mean anything. Dreams can come from Allah or Shaytan and sometimes it can be difficult to tell which because shaytan likes to play tricks on the mind.

On the other hand, dreams can be simply be a product of your thoughts conscious, or unconscious during the day. These dreams have no meaning to them as much as it can be tempting to assign some meaning to them. It may be that in your case since you’ve had this dream many times, it is consciously in your thoughts and therefore could just be a reflection of what you have been thinking about in the day. 

Regardless of the root of your dreams, they are causing you a level of distress and understandably so also make sure that you are engaging in self care to minimize the effects of this distress. Given the distressing nature of your dreams it can easy to become so fixated on them that you forget about other matters.

Make sure that you are eating well and getting some exercise each day, engaging in acts of worship both obligatory and mandatory as well as engaging with others socially and doing things you enjoy in order to maintain a healthy balance. These things will ensure a healthy mind that is less likely to become fixated on the more frightening things that are occupying your present thoughts.

Try to maintain healthy sleep hygiene by ensuring you get sufficient sleep, avoiding food and caffeine close to bedtime. Likewise, with stimulating activities such as use of technology which can make it difficult to sleep. These things will also ensure a good sleep less likely to be interrupted by vivid dreams and restlessness. 

May Allah grant you ease and may you find comfort in His remembrance.

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Q: I converted to Islam after marriage. My mother in law and brother in law disliked me from the beginning. I receive abuse (verbal) almost daily from both of them. Mother in law acts innocent in front of others and tells them I beat her and her husband which I swear on my child is not true.

Brother in law believes her and abuses me and my child verbally very badly. I am on the verge of depression. Though my husband supports me he is also facing the same problem from them. Is divorce the only solution to this problem? Please advise.

Assalamu alaikum sister, 

It sounds like your husband comes from a family that are exhibiting some very toxic behaviours. When it comes to it being a family matter, it is more difficult to manage because one is also obliged to maintain family ties and respect parents except when they are forcing something against Islam.

Even though it seems that they are not doing this, they are being verbally abusive and this is not OK and should not be tolerated. If it were the case that your husband was siding with them then perhaps your situation would be even more difficult and warrant a divorce, but it would seem that he is also being subjected to the same from his own family which must be very difficult for him. 

I would suggest beginning by taking a step back and not making any irrational decisions in the moment without considering the consequences. What you are facing is placing you under great pressure and distress both individually and as a couple as well as as a family. Whilst it is important to maintain ties, this does not mean that you cannot take a break.

Given that both you and your husband are being subjected to this abuse, now might be a great time to take a break from it all and focus on yourself and your marriage. If it’s possible to organize a weekend away then this could be a healthy way to get this much needed break. Otherwise, just have a weekend to yourself without contact with his family and give yourself time to focus entirely on your relationship without the interference of his family.

During this time you might start by not even talking about the matter at all and just enjoy each other’s company without the added stress. However, at some point it will be necessary to discuss the matter together and talk about how you will address the matter with his family. It’s very important that you do this together and be completely open in your emotions.

You are both experiencing the same abuse from them so can understand each other from that perspective, but you should also keep in mind that this must be especially hard for him to face this from his own family that he was born and raised in. Perhaps you might choose to bring the matter up with them directly and let them know the hurt they are causing.

Approaching them together will show them that you and your husband are united in this. If their behavior is a means to try and split you up, then this will prove to them that it’s not working and will deter future behavior. Perhaps they didn’t even realize they were causing any bother and didn’t mean anything in their actions and to talk to them will let them know the same and perhaps even improve relations between you all.

Alternatively, if you feel they would be unreceptive, or if they don’t respond well following confrontation, then you may consider how best to distance yourself whilst maintaining some level of family ties. This may be possible with the intention of rebuilding bridges in the future as sometimes when family relations are struggling taking a break from each other and reducing contact can help to reduce any animosity between people making it easier to rebuild the foundations again in a more healthy way. 

May Allah bring you comfort during this difficult time. May He guide you to what is best and may He soften the hearts of your husbands family. May He strengthen your relationship with your husband and make you the coolness of each other’s eyes in this life and the next. 

***

Q: I am a muslim girl unmarried age 29 well educated and an engineer. I was away from my parents for the past 10 years for education and a job. I haven’t had any relationship prior but recently had a relationship with a muslim guy from past 3 years and had committed Zina. The guy promised marriage before and later denied saying he was not interested after this instance.

Afterwards we hardly talked over the phone and haven’t met. I am not sure but as far as I know he was good and had no prior relationship. Now I gave him time and in this time a year went and now I came to know he got married. I am not sure what was the reason why he got married…but wanted to ask if he got married before sincere repentance then is this marriage valid?

Also in this 1 year I did tawba and did all sorts of good deeds as suggested by different scholars in educational videos. Such as  practicing sabr and letting go but finding it hard. If I get married to another man and he comes to know about this sin it’s very difficult for a man to accept this and I don’t wanna take this risk.

Also looking now the difficult situation and testimony happening in world for mankind I fear Allah and I don’t want any such things for me, for him, and for our family. I think the best way is marrying him although he is married, and becoming his second wife. I am not taking anyone’s right as I can fully support myself.

I don’t want Allah’s punishment for me and most importantly for him as it is also a sin and huquq al ibad is what I think. I don’t know if he would be ready for this or not as he doesn’t want to hear from me, but I feel I must take steps or give him suggestions at least from my side.  Please suggest the best of best solutions so that I am wronging against anyone.

Assalamu alaikum sister, 

I will first begin by reassuring you that you have done the right thing following what has happened in the past by repenting and seeking Allah’s forgiveness. You recognize that what you did was sinful and are turning the matter to Allah. May Allah forgive you.

As a result of these actions however you are now facing the emotional consequences in moving forward and fear what the situation will mean for you in terms of finding a spouse and maintaining a marriage despite what has happened in the past. 

This relationship has caused a lot of hardship for you and was initiated and maintained in a way that is haram. The man seems to have been quite dishonest with you and has gone on to marry another. Whilst this doesn’t stop you from marrying him you should really consider whether this is the best option for you.

His dishonesty and lack of consistency is concerning and I would worry that this will only continue and will have ongoing effects on your own well being and will prevent you moving forward. And finding a spouse who will treat you well and marry you in the correct way according to Islamic legislation. In a way that you can be sure is halal for you both and free from sin. It will also not have any ill effects on anyone who may inadvertently get involved in the way that this man’s wife has and would be affected if you married him. 

Masha Allah, you have been repenting and in sha Allah, He will forgive you. Part of this repentance should involve you doing everything you can to never turn to that sin again. Also to be with this man will be a constant reminder of the same.

You have the chance to free yourself from this sin by stepping away from its cause in search of something more permissible and pleasing to Allah. You have the opportunity here to start again but following the path that Allah laid out in seeking a spouse and Allah knows best. 

It will be hard to detach yourself from this relationship as you have had the chance to develop strong feelings for him, but with strength and determination for the sake of Allah it is possible. Of course, you do still have the option to go ahead with it, this is your choice, but you must consider any potential consequences for all involved.

Perhaps you could confide in someone close to get their advice from a perspective that is not emotionally involved with this man who will be able to advise from a neutral perspective with your best interests in mind. 

May Allah forgive you and guide you to what is best for you and most pleasing to Him. 

***

Q:

Q:

I recently had my nikah done and I am listening to bayans about intimacy and first night. I came upon a dua that a husband has to make; grabbing his wife’s forelocks when he takes her home.

Dua is :

“Allaahumma inni as’aluka khayraha wa khayra ma jabaltaha ‘alayhi wa a‘oodhi bika min sharriha wa min sharri ma jabaltaha ‘alayhi (O Allah, verily I ask You for her good and the good of what You have created in her, and I seek refuge with You from her evil and the evil of what You have created in her).” (Abu Dawood : 2160)

QUESTION:

I know my question is a little fiminist But what about the wife? Why the wife is not told to make such a dua? (To ask for good in him (husband) and To protect her from the evil in him).

It’s like the husband gets protection from his wife from Allah but wife is told ‘naah you are to take whatever you get’. I know Allah loves all of his creations and he knows best but I am stuck at this question .. please guide me 

Jazakumullah khair.

Wa alaikum salaam sister, 

First and foremost, I would advise you to seek scholarly advice on this as I’m not suitably qualified in this matter. I am aware of this dua but I have never seen it used in this context. I would also advise you to be very careful about where you seek advice from. These days, thanks to the media, there is so much false information out there.

Sometimes this is a result of cultural norms taking over, sometimes it is a result of innocent misunderstandings being taken out of context and shared widely to the point that it becomes an accepted fact. Sometimes these are a result of man’s mistakes, other times they are a result of shaytan trying to lead people astray.

In this case of matters relating to marriage this can have detrimental effects on the health of the marriage sowing discord between spouses as well as leading them away from the true path of Islam. For example, in the case you have presented, it is easy to see how it could make women feel devalued, perhaps because of misinterpretation, or lack of context behind it. With a lot of matters in Islam it is very important to understand the context in which something has been prescribed as well as checking the authenticity of the author or stated author. 

In Islam, wives are afforded all the necessary rights to live a happy and fulfilling marital life and its not uncommon to see things taken from the Quran and hadith and taken well out of context and portrayed in such a way that seems to be oppressive to the woman.

Women are not and should not be oppressed in Islam, but instead, they are held in high respect and valued very much if Islam is practised correctly in the marriage. 

Something that you could do that is useful to all married couples, especially new ones is to enrol on a course where you learn about marriage from an Islamic perspective. This could be online or face to face. Alternatively, there are plenty of books on the topic also. This is something that you could ideally do together as a couple so that you can learn together.

Here you will be able to get a better and fuller understanding of each other’s rights as well as your own. Knowing that you both have this same mutual understanding will make for easier relations between you as you can be confident that you are living your married life together following Islam as it should be. 

May Allah grant you a happy marriage full of blessings. May He make you each the coolness of each other’s eyes in this life and the next.

***

Q: I am an 18 year old striving to become a better muslimah in general. I tend to get jealous, angry , lazy and unmotivated a lot, I don’t like the feeling. I want to grow and be a better person but I don’t know where to start. I just want to grow, change my mindset, be happy and please Allah. I don’t know what to do and I often feel down for not knowing what to do. 

Wa alaikum salaam sister, 

The first thing I note here is that you are recognizing that there is a problem and you are reaching out for help. This is a great first step to take and puts you in a strong position to achieve what you want. Even though you are finding things tough right now, you are certainly showing evidence of determination to reach your goal and in sha Allah you will. 

Moving forward from here, the first thing I would suggest is checking whether you are experiencing depression as the symptoms you have listed here are certainly similar to what someone with depression might experience. If so, you should seek ongoing professional support for this, either in terms of medication and/or counselling. 

However, it may not have anything to do with depression at all and is just a cluster of feelings that describe what you are going through now. If depression is ruled out then I would next suggest trying to identify if there is any potential reason behind why you are feeling this way. If you are not able to identify anything then perhaps there is no underlying cause, or perhaps it has not just come to mind in the moment.

If you cannot identify any cause, then next you might look to your triggers. Is there anything in particular that makes you feel this way? Or makes these feelings worse? If there was a cause and you missed it, then this exercise might even help you to uncover it. If you are able to identify the cause and/or triggers this gives you something very specific to work with by targeting the root of the problem rather than going through a process of trial and error in trying to overcome your struggle. 

You may be able to get straight to the point, or you may have to try out a few different techniques, but in sha Allah you will find something that works for you and pulls you in the right direction to the goals you are aiming for. 

Be with good people – surrounding yourself with good Muslimahs who will keep you firm in your Deen can go a long way to overcoming the feelings that you are experiencing. There are multiple benefits to being in the company of such people.

They will be able to motivate you when you are feeling lazy, they will be able to encourage you to do good deeds and learn and practice Islam and they will provide you with support when you need it. These days, it’s possible to be part of such groups in your close community, or online too with sisters from all around the globe. 

This should be supplemented with your own independent search for self development. Set yourself small achievable goals. If you start setting your standards too high or beyond what you are capable of at this time you will quickly find yourself spiraling downhill again feeling negative about yourself and situation. Begin by setting yourself a very small goal each day and as you achieve more and more each day you can build on this as your confidence increases as you achieve your goals each day.

You may even use this as an opportunity to learn something new which will be beneficial to you as a Muslimah but also for your self esteem too. For example, to accomplish this you might sign up to one of the many online Islamic studies courses online. Alternatively, tasks you can do at home might be to read and/or memorise the Quran each day beginning with reading a single page each day and increasing with time. This will help to nurture your connection with Allah also as you find peace in your heart. 

May Allah reward your desire to please Him and may He make it something that is easy for you and that you will gain much from as you overcome your struggles and achieve your goals. 

***

Q: Ever since I can remember( about 9 years),  I’ve had a “complicated” relationship with my grandparents( dad side). What many adults do not realize is that kids feel emotions that adults may hide from other adults very easily and can immediately tell when an adult is being more than less friendly or cryptically mean with a child. We see things that many, often overlook or try to heavily ignore.

One of my earliest memories, although very blurry is the sudden exact emotion I felt one summer when I had to go to my grandparent’s house, it was this feeling of discomfort a sudden wave of anxiety even if the issues they had with me hadn’t yet been processed by my evolving 8-year-old mind.  Along the way, it transformed into jealousy because they were always much more excited about my younger sister calling her their rani (queen) all the time or “smarter” because she finished the Quran earlier than I did. Keep in mind I have always had a great relationship with my sister Alhamdulillah.

As I get older I realize I was never really jealous of her I was just thinking of ways to make myself worthy of being called their “rani”. Over the years, this issue seemed to get more and more apparent to me yet I hadn’t told either of my parents because it still had not registered to me completely. I couldn’t bring myself to understand how a grandparent dislikes their own grandchild they’re supposed to be your superheroes who spoil you with food and love.

It got most toxic you can say in 2018 when I had to come to Pakistan for O-levels because I had to go over to theirs every other weekend and they were more up to my face about my faults and flaws and bad-mouthing my mother in odd cryptic ways. I have blocked most of it from my memory and for the sake of my father I visit them with a stone on my heart and coal in my mouth as I go along with what they say. And now that my parents know my mother does all she can to reduce the time I spend there, she’s lied so much for me (may Allah forgive her) and tried to understand the situation from my point of view and I’m grateful that my father has even said that when I go back home he will sit down with me to try to understand why I dislike going there ( I haven’t had a conversation with him about this yet).

But everything is so hard no one can understand the pain that I have suffered at their hands. Only I know what it feels like but at the same time, I hate how I can’t like my time with my grandparents. This issue has become something to “joke” about for the rest of my family to poke at or taunt at a family dinner and I hate it so so much. It’s like everyone undermines the issue as to me just overreacting or being oversensitive and it hurts so deeply.  

Why am I the only one who must keep my mouth shut while my grandparents can go on and on hurting me? Why is no one asking them to realize their hurtful actions? I have read everything there is on how an old person’s brain develops leading to why they sometimes do things no one can understand yet nothing ever gives me anything to piece together my grandparent’s actions. I want to understand them but I cannot.

Every time I look at my father I feel this immense guilt that I dislike so heavily the people who raised him and made him the wonderful man that he is today, Alhamdulillah.  Whoever the respected counselor is, I know it’s a lot but I hope you understand what I am trying to convey. 

Assalamu alaikum  sister,

Everyone experiences the consequences of their upbringing, both the positive and negative to the point that without knowing it shapes a large part of our personality too. If one takes a moment to really reflect you will often come to realize why some of your actions as an adult are a result of your experiences in childhood.

Sometimes these things can be very obvious as the memories are more clear whilst others might be a result of forgotten or even repressed experiences. This influence can sometimes be good and sometimes bad. Sometimes the influence can be so ingrained that it has become a fundamental part of the personality and difficult to change in the case of a negative impact especially if the person does not recognize the connection or see it as a problem.

Other times the impact can be negative and the person does recognize the impact of childhood experiences on present factors. This is the case for yourself. You recognize the profound effect that the behavior of your grandparents has had on the way you are today. It sounds like their behavior was not a pleasant experience for you and is something that still affects you deeply today and is a matter you are having a hard time letting go of because it seems this behavior is still going on now.

In cases like this I would usually ask the person to think about whether the perpetrators, in this case, your grandparents, are genuinely behaving this way towards you. Or whether it is just your interpretation and misunderstanding that is leading to an experienced exacerbation of what is actually going on. And perhaps more a reflection of your own insecurities, in which case I would suggest looking for evidence to support your beliefs, as well as any evidence that might refute it too.

However, you note that your dad seems to recognize that something is going on and is willing to have a conversation with you. This would be a good place for you to start as he is clearly open to listening to you which provides you with that space to express yourself to someone you trust.

This could provide you with the opportunity to build bridges with your grandparents by getting it out with the backing of your father, a man you respect so much. You could even ask your sister what she thinks too. Did she ever feel like she was favoritism? Or that your grandparents showed obvious dislike of you?

Aside from dealing with the matter directly, you should also look for ways to indirectly improve your well being. Regardless of whether your feelings are a result of general poor conduct towards you from your grandparents or not, it is clear that the situation has had an effect on your self esteem. You can help to boost this in a number of ways.

Focus on things that you are good at and the positives in your life. Appreciate your blessings, be with people who make you happy and do things that bring you joy. As well as this, you can find new ways to boost your esteem by doing things that you are good at, volunteering, or starting a new hobby or studying a new course. This will give you a renewed drive in life to accomplish new and existing things and to realize your potential regardless of what others think or say.

This will be great for your well-being over all, but is also a good way to support you in approaching the situation with your grandparents with a more positive mindset that can either see things from a new perspective or be able to deal with it without it making you feel low in mood. It might even give you the strength to confront the matter head on with a cool head in a way that allows you to express yourself whilst remaining respectful too.

May Allah make things easy for you and pave your way out of the distress you are facing. May He bring your happiness and contentment in your family.

Salam,

*****

Thursday, Aug. 13, 2020 | 10:00 - 11:00 GMT

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