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Mental Health Counseling (Q/A Session)

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Thank you for participating in the session.

Please find the 4 questions to which our counselor provided answers. If you do not find yours here, check out our upcoming session or submit it there again.

Question 1. Confused about the character of my fiancée

I got engaged with the guy 3 months ago. It is an arranged marriage. I don’t have much say in this proposal. Since my parents are responsible for the matter regarding my marriage. They do ask me about my opinion before the engagement whether I am comfortable with this proposal or not. I prayed to Istikhara and trusted my intuition. I got positive vibes and the man and his family seemed to be value-driven people. So, I said yes and we got engaged. My marriage is going to be held in 3 months. I don’t know much about him. So out of curiosity, I searched for his name on Instagram. And I found his profile. There were no posts shared but in his following list, I have seen that there are many actresses he has been following. Ever since I got this disgusting feeling Why would a Muslim man follow actresses on social media platforms? I know that just looking at his following list does not make his character questionable, maybe he did it when he was young and now, he might be mature and emotionally intelligent. I feel very confused about whether he deserves me or not. Should I take this matter to my parents Or do I need to take a risk and get married to this guy? I feel like I would be able to respect him. What should I do?

Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatulahi wa barakatuh sister,

Alhamdulillah, you have gone about the process of getting married in the most appropriate way and you have had the support of your parents along the way. Although the marriage was arranged, your parents did also respect your opinion before moving forward. You took the matter to Allah by making Istikhara and the positive vibes associated with this encouraged you to accept the proposal and move forward with the engagement.

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Unfortunately, even though you felt like he seems to be a good man, you have recently discovered that he has an Instagram account and is inappropriately following female actresses. This has now left you questioning whether to go forward with the marriage before making the final commitment.

I admire the fact that you have sought excuses for him by exploring the possibility that perhaps this is an old account that he no longer uses. Given that he hasn’t posted anything in recent times suggests that this could be a plausible explanation. Your observations of his account activity suggest that he is not an active user of the platform.

However, that’s not to say that he is not someone who does use it, but just doesn’t engage so much. You cannot know which is the case without speaking to him about it directly. Although, this in itself might come across as less than favourable on your part as he would know that you have been spying on his social media.

Of course it is best that you know these things before you get married, but at the same time it leaves an air of mistrust from the very start that may be less appealing to him.

Essentially, this leaves you with the chance to either break-through marriage on the assumption that he is indeed engaging in zina and looking at other women when perhaps he is actually not and it is as you suggest, an old account that he has since abandoned and forgotten to delete or change. In thus case you would have missed a beautiful opportunity.

In the other hand, it may be that you turn a blind eye to it on the assumption that it is an old account, marry him and then find out that actually he is not the decent man you thought he was. Which if these outcomes do you feel would be worse?

However, then of course there is the other outcome that you do chose to marry him and it really is an old account. You have suggested possibility of sharing this information with your parents which could be another way to get a second opinion from those who care for the best outcome for you and will be able to provide ongoing support for whatever you chose to.

Thet may even have an alternative suggestion to deal with it that you hadn’t considered. Although they may not have experience with Instagram (or maybe they do?), they may be able to advise based on their wisdom of other similar things that they be more familiar with.

You still have a short amount of time to consider these things before you make your final decision. Whilst I can’t tell you what decision you should make, that’s your choice, I can offer you the above reflections and considerations that you may ponder over during this time in order to make the most appropriate course of action. Use this time wisely as it is such a huge decision that will impact the rest of your life whatever choice you make.

Spent some time alone giving all your focus to considering you options and possible outcomes. Continue to make Istikhara and have faith that if its meant to be, then Allah will make it happen and if not, then you will be confronted with obstacles.

You might write all your options down, write a pros and cons list for each. You could then put it away and periodically consult it and add to it as more comes to mind. Before you do this, consider yourself an appropriate amount if time to be pondering this information before you make the big decision. Take your time to measure your options, but also be mindful of the time and have a clear end date for when you have to have made the decision so that you can let him and his family.

May Allah guide you to what is best and most pleasing to Him and what will bring you the best in this life and the next. May Allah grant you a pious and God- fearing husband who will be the coolness of your eyes in this life and the next.

Question 2. Validity Marriage

Assalamualikum. I am married since 2015. I am very happy with my husband alhamdulillah. The day when my father accepted my marriage proposal, I was quite okay but next morning I was crying because of nervousness and confusion as I met with him (my husband) and his family but we both didn’t talk to each other. When my father saw I was crying, he also started crying (he was upset) as he was thinking, if the decision he took was right or wrong. My father loves me a lot so he was concern that if I am happy with decision or not. Then the same day at evening I convinced my father that I was just nervous nothing else as I easily get nervous for anything and it was my important event of life. So, it was a stressful event for me. Then everything happened so nicely. After 7 days my nikah done. After that 21 days later my wedding ceremony happened. I was totally informed during the marriage process. Just few days after my marriage I was diagnosed with guttate psoriasis (skin disease). And it took for at least 6 months to recovery. That time I got information about guttate psoriasis that one can got it suddenly after a stressful event. From that time, it’s came in my mind that why I was so much stressed in my marriage as everything is good alhamdulillah. 

Then Although I feel very blessed with my marriage for 5 months of marriage, one intrusive thought disturbs me a lot off and on. I cannot concentrate on my daily basic work because of this. My thoughts are:

Did I willingly give my consent to the marriage or not? If I was confused why I did not tell my father that I want to talk to him before taking final decision. If I talked and met him twice before taking decision then might be I would not be stressed or confused.

Now my question is ……

Is my marriage proper or not as I was confused?

Wa alaikum salaam wa rahmatulahi wa barakatuh sister,

You have been suffering from intrusive thoughts regarding your marriage and this is making you question whether your marriage is valid or not mostly due to your feelings of confusion around the time of getting married.

The first thing I would suggest is to discuss this with someone of knowledge to get the Islamic ruling on this matter to be sure.

From the psychological perspective I believe that the thoughts you are having are likely a result of your heightened levels of anxiety. It seems that in general you experience anxiety, but naturally when working towards marriage such feelings will be at their greatest. As you say, it is such a huge decision and a life changing one at that.

Anxiety relating to this is perfectly normal and something that the majority of people getting marriage go through. It does however seem like this is an issue for you outside of this scenario too as you mention you get nervous easily. I would suggest looking into this further, especially if it is impacting your daily life and intruding on you getting on as normal.

A psychological evaluation would help in this case. From here, you would be able to get the appropriate support moving forward. Given that you have also learnt that your skin condition is triggered by stress, managing your anxiety may also see you skin condition clear up too.

Additionally, taking a look at the current state of your deen will be helpful. Intrusive thoughts can often come from experiencing waswasa. Shaitan likes to stand between man and wife and upset marriages and so your Intrusive thoughts may be a result of waswas and trying to cause unnecessary discord in your new marriage early on.

Regardless of whether your intrusive thoughts are really a result of waswasa or not, there’s no harm in using this as an opportunity to examine your Islamic practices and improve upon this. You will see benefits in your life either way. Check your compulsory deeds – are your praying all your daily prayers on time? Are you offering sunnah and voluntary prayers? Do you make regular dhikr? Especially morning and evening adhkar? (Very important in beating shaitan!)

Do you make some time to read Qur’an some times during the week? Do you make duas throughout the day as you go about your business (such as before entering the bathroom, before leaving the house, before and after eating…etc…)? Regularly checking on yourself regarding these things will help to boost your imaan, bring you closer to Allah and push Shaytan away. This will also help to reduce your anxiety levels too as you find comfort and support in the remembrance of Allah.

Alhamdulilah, you seem to be happy in your marriage and your father has been a great support throughout, so it does seem that based on the information you are presenting, that your difficulties stem from the anxiety and nervousness that you are experiencing which is causing you question things. This only then adds to your anxiety further and keeps you distracted.

As a result, I would suggest taking the steps above first (getting advice from a person of knowledge and checking your eman and working on this). In sha Allah once you have done these things then your anxiety will decrease and you will be able to think more rationally. When you are in this space, the distracting thoughts you are currently having will diminish.

May Allah guide you and may your strength in faith keep intrusive thoughts a bay. May Allah bless your marriage with success in this life and the next.

Question 3. Will I ever get married I have epilepsy it’s controlled but I struggle to keep a job 

How will I ever get married because of my condition it says in Islam that the husband should take care of his wife’s right it mentions it in the Quran too but because of my condition I might not be able to fulfil that plus I can’t take someone right please help me this really bothers me.

Assalamu alaikum wa rahamatulahi wa barakatuh,

Having a health condition surely is one of the greatest tests from Allah. In this case, the test not only comes at the hands of having a such a health condition, but with the limitations that it can place upon you too. You have mentioned one of the biggest challenges that could be faced by a man with a condition that may hinder his ability to work and therefore provide for his family. Islamically it is the man’s responsibility, and so you are worried about even being able to find a wife if you may struggle to fulfil this obligation.

I understand how this must be causing you lot of distress. Whilst I cannot advise against what we know is Islamically obligatory, I hope I can share some insight into alternative ways to approach the situation.

Firstly, regarding your ability to work, whilst this may be hindered and unpredictable, there are ways to work around this, working with your condition rather than fighting it. Alhamdulillah, the world has become a lot larger with lots of online options available that allow for flexibility. This is particularly useful for many types of people including those who have conditions such as yours. Lots of organisations offer hybrid or online only options for work.

Even more flexible, would be to freelance work. If you have a particular skill that you could offer in a freelance basis, this allows for complete flexibility where you work on your own terms in your own time doing as much or as little work as you can, when you can. You might even find that there are charities that work with people with conditions like your own that offer support to find work that is suitable or could help with accommodating your situation by providing support in the work place or perhaps even finical accommodation in terms of helping with certain costs of living. This is something that you might try looking into locally in your country of residence.

Additionally, regarding marriage and your responsibilities, providing financially is one of your obligations, but there are others also that your condition doesn’t have to stand in the way of. A wife will be looking for someone to be a kind and loving husband who will be a nurturing father to their child. These are qualities that are not even related to working and providing for your family that are also highly important in marriage and will be what a woman is looking for also.

I would recommend being honest with any potential wife from the start regarding your situation so that they don’t ever feel like you mislead them. If the most important thing to the woman is that you are working long hours for high pay and they feel like your condition would not allow for that and reject you based on that then you might ask yourself if that is really the type of woman you would want to marry anyway if that is her priority.

It’s almost like your condition allows you to naturally filter out those who may be interested in you for the wrong reasons. Instead, a woman who is more interested in her potential husbands level of faith and his character would more easily overlook the possibility that your condition could effect your ability to work at some point. As I said, honesty from the start before you even marry will help establish trust from the very beginning. It will also allow for your character to shine through.

Regarding work, you might even let her know that you are willing to try your hardest within your capabilities and that you are aware that it is your responsibility so that she knows that you are aware of your obligations and not avoiding them for no reason.

May Allah reward your desire to follow the deen of Islam and fulfil the rights of your potential wife despite any challenges you may face. May He grant you a righteous spouse who will be the coolness of your eyes in this life and the next.

Question 4. How do I rise above disrespect, neglect and not being prioritised?

How and what can I do when my husband is complete opposite of me and I am ridiculed that I am boring and anti-social as he likes going out all the time and meeting his family and loves to take pictures. Our sons are similar to me, within family we will take pictures as a keep’s sake but he and his sisters live on social media and have to tell / show people what they are doing at all times and get likes / sympathy. His sister even used my baby sister’s death to get a post and get comments. When I have asked them not to involve me in their social media campaigns, I am told, I am boring, anti-social not popular etc.

Assalamu alaikum wa rahamatulahi wa barakatuh sister,

My first question would be whether these comments are coming directly from your husband. Or, are they from others? Be it your extended family or friends? Or, is this what you think that they think, including your husband? Your answer to this would largely determine what the best course of action would be.

If it is solely based on what you think others think then this is much more easily resolved as you can deal with this within yourself. If this is the case then perhaps you are interpreting peoples behaviour to understand it as them thinking you are boring and anti-social. What behaviour that they are doing is making you feel like this is what they think of you? It may be that this is because you are the one comparing themselves to them. They may be more outgoing and active on social media, but that does not make you boring or antisocial. It simply means you behave different personalities and you socialise in different ways.

This may be the same with your husband too. That’s fine. Its OK to be different. In fact, it can make things more interesting and open each others eyes to different types of people and ways of life. Not everyone is the same and that’s what makes the world more diverse. The challenge comes in accepting and embracing these differences. That would go for both you and your husband and extended family and friends also.

You may not be able to encourage this within others, but is something you can work on within yourself and will enable you to live with a peace within yourself regardless of what others may seem to think. Keeping this in mind may also make it easier for you to challenge your interpretations of others’ behaviours and attitudes towards you.

Their behaviors may bother you and understandably so, especially when it come to posting family pictures on social media, but it is important to decider whether they are being malicious with it? Or their behaviour is just how they are generally. If it is not malicious then perhaps they will be more receptive to you stepping up and saying that you are not comfortable with what they are doing.

Let them know that you appreciate that they are active on social media and its important to them but that they should please ask your permission to share family pictures highlighting safety issues. Similarly, as much as you are less comfortable with big gatherings, there are times when you should also be open to making adaptations and stepping outside your comfort zone too to satisfy your husband’s lifestyle too.

That’s not to say that you should always do this, or that you should compromise your own values or Islamic obligations ever, but when possible, when appropriate, then join him sometimes too.

If they are being malicious with their comments then perhaps the involvement of a third party would be appropriate here. If it is with your husbands family, then you could voice your concerns to him that he may step in. If it is directly with your husband then perhaps marriage counselling is the way forward.

Additionally, you might together put more effort into strengthening your relationship by doing things together. Why not try something completely new and novel to both of you. Something fun that would bring you together. You may both feel uncomfortable doing something new together for the first time, but at the same time, this new experience together can help to foster new bonds that will strengthen your relationship.

May Allah bless your marriage and bring happiness and success you both individually and as a couple. May He bring resolve to this difficulty and get you through it stronger.

Monday, Sep. 11, 2023 | 09:00 - 10:00 GMT

Session is over.
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