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Mental Health Struggles (Counseling Live Session)

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Thank you for participating in the previous counseling session about hardships and struggles with your questions!

Due to the counselor’s limited capacity of answering questions, here are the 4 questions that our counselor has provided an answer for.

We apologize for not responding all the other questions.

If you have not received an answer below at this time, please submit your question to one of our upcoming live session.

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Thank you for your understanding.

Question 1.

Asalamalaikum dear brother/sister, I will try to keep it as short as possible. I have been a masturbation addict who explored very dark content such as incest, cuckold I have disgusting sins in my past which include inappropriately touching my sisters, I have shared pictures of my haram relationship partners on various platforms and spoken about them. Problems began when recently I found a girl I really made dua to Allah for and we are planning to marry. I used her pictures on Reddit, bumble and once I sent a cropped one on WhatsApp to someone to ask about her clothing. I told her about bumble and she didn’t ask any questions alhumdulilah which saves me from shame since I did it a few times and the pictures weren’t decent and also had her face. A guy who I matched with through her fake account even said few sexual things which back then I used to turn myself on. On Reddit she had once allowed me to share a cropped indecent picture, however I even shared others for getting a sick arousal and deleted them in few minutes. I have shared her cropped nudes and spoken about it to strangers. I have shared her normal pictures along with other girls normal pictures asking strangers who would they choose while they said things about her. I am ashamed of my actions and I know I will never ever go back to them. I once made her repeat after me to see if she forgives and she said the following- I forgive you for what you did on bumble and Reddit, I don’t want to know details, I trust you. I got happy that day and then thinking began later which reminded me of WhatsApp one time sending cropped picture. So again once I generally asked for her forgiveness by saying I’m sorry for using your pictures for my lust. Once again I kept thinking and said I’d be happy if you say I forgive you for what i know or what I don’t to which the person replied I love you. I know this might look like a drama but I genuinely all the time think about this. I approach local imam a few times and people have started asking questions. He said once you make tawba you should believe you’re forgiven. He even said things should get better now since she’s forgiven you. It all began with overthinking. A sheikh advised me to not tell her anything and I ended up telling her about bumble, local imam said cover up with a lie which I did, now she’s aware of truth since again I said the truth. She’s forgiven me but I think she doesn’t know details, or I think what if someone’s saved her pictures, I feel how could I do this with her. I also think how could I let that guy say those disgusting sexual things on bumble and get turned on. I genuinely need a way out please guide me. A general apology suffices to avoid embarrassment I’ve read, however whenever I see her I get reminded of what I did and in future when we marry I don’t want this. I am trying to get over my recent explored dark content of cuckold and exhibitionist porn. I regret everything and I need to know how to calm my overthinking mind.

Answer:

Wa alaikum salaam wa rahmatulahi wa barakatuh,

You have engaged in several different unacceptable sexual acts over the years and now it is having an impact on your approach to marriage and feelings about it moving forward. Even those these feelings are uncomfortable, in sha Allah, it is this discomfort that will propel you to do the right thing moving forward. The fact that you are aware that what you have done is a sin and have reached out for help in moving forward is a positive sign, May Allah forgive you and make it possible. You have sought advice from people of knowledge on how best to tackle the issue from an Islamic perspective and in sha Allah, I can add some further points to this from a psychological perspective also.

It seems to have been an ongoing issue for you as these kind of things keep popping up time and time again. As a result, it is very important that you tackle this from the root to avoid it happening again. Naturally the best solution is to such desires is to satisfy them in a halal way that is pleasing to Allah. This way you will not feel the need to commit sin. In your case, this would be marriage. You note that you are planning to marry this girl, but I would suggest that you give a lot of careful consideration to this given your past with her. You have had at least some kind of contact outside of marriage which as you are aware, is not acceptable Islamically. Whilst you have sought forgiveness for this which is absolutely the right thing to do, you must consider the potential consequences of this on your marriage. You saw indecent pictures of her and she willingly shared them with you. May Allah forgive her and give her the strength not to do the same again. In sha Allah she won’t but it may be what will make you become suspicious of doing it again further down the line and cause strain in your marriage. Likewise, with the say she may feel about trusting you when you have already betrayed it before marriage. Additionally, even though you have repented, you are worried that you will be reminded that you shared these pictures when you see her. This is again something that will cause additional stress on your marriage. That’s not to say that these barriers cannot be overcome, but it will take a lot of time, effort, and patience on both your parts. You have already developed feelings for her and so at this point it will be difficult to separate more rational thinking from those towards her. A way to help with this is to take time away from her. Refrain from contact for some time. Give yourself time to really think about whether this is what is truly best for you and if you really could overcome your past with her. Certainly, marriage is a solution to overcome your inappropriate desires and actions, but is marriage to her the best solution? For both of you? On the other hand, you have the option to walk away from this relationship and marry someone else who you don’t have a past with and conduct the marriage in the correct way that is most pleasing to Allah. This may be difficult for you since you have developed feeling for this other girl, but sometimes the most difficult decisions are the best ones. This is something for you to take time to ponder over. Explore your options, think about the consequences of every possibility. Think about how pleasing each is to Allah. Take your time with this. Then, make your decision, take action and make Istikhara and in sha Allah, if you make a decision that is best for you and pleasing to Allah, He will permit it and allow it to happen. If not, He will place barriers in the way so that it does not happen.

In the meantime, you must keep yourself occupied in a way that will keep you away from sin. There are many ways prescribed in Islam to support you with this. Here are a few. Always keep Allah in mind by remembering your duas throughout the day, even down when entering the toilet. Keep Shaytan at bay by seeking refuge with Allah and saying your daily Adhkar morning and night. Complete salah on time and do additional voluntary prayers if and where possible. Read a portion of the Quran each day. Also, be with good people who will remind you of Allah. This are many actions that you can do to busy yourself in a positive way that will prevent Shaytan from tempting you to do haram.

As well as this, continue to repent to Allah. Do so in the times when we know He is closest. Repent with sincerity and do all you can to avoid anything that may lead to the same sin again. Think about the times when you have committed these sins and see if you can pinpoint what led you to it. Perhaps it was being on a certain website? Having too much idle time? Watching something in particular? Talking to someone? When you figure out what the trigger is, avoid it. Avoid it and replace it with something more productive and pleasing to Allah. This is all part of repentance and proving the sincerity of it to Allah as you do all you can to avoid falling into the same traps again. It may be difficult to do all these things to begin with, but with patience and perseverance you will reap the rewards of moving away from haram for the pleasure of Allah

May Allah forgive you and make it easy for you. May He reward you desire to change for His sake and may He grant you a righteous spouse who will be the coolness of your eyes in this life and the next.

Question 2. Intimacy

Assalamu alaikum warahmatuallahi wabarakatuhu. I have a question regarding my marriage life. It’s been five years of marriage. We have been together past two years. I can feel my husband’s intimacy level is very low. He doesn’t show interest in me.he doesn’t desire sexual intercourse. I am the only one forcing him every time. I feel broken to ask him every time. It’s been just two years. Sometimes I feel like hate him. I always fight and argue also fed up. Once I have discussed with him. He accepted his mistake but still he is behaving the same no changes. What can do please help

Answer:

Wa alaikum salaam wa rahmatulahi wa barakatuh,

Intimacy is a large part of the marital relationship. The marital relationship provides the only place where we can have these intimate needs met. When these needs are not met, it will inevitably lead to feelings of frustration because these is no other way to meet them.

The first thing I would suggest is to see if there may be some underlying reason why he is being like this. Has he always been like this? Or is it something that happened further into marriage? Depending on your answer to this will determine how to best move forward.

If it that he has always been like this then maybe his drive is just naturally low and you need to work together to find ways to support each other in both increasing his desire whilst meeting your needs also. You might encourage him to go to the doctor and get checked out. Maybe his hormone levels are off balance, or there is some other underlying condition? Doctors frequently see this kind of thing so it is nothing to be ashamed of. Having your support in doing so may help to encourage him more. Perhaps there is nothing medical behind it and he is tired from working a lot? If so, then for the sake of your marriage you might support him in adjusting his hours to a schedule that is more suitable and see if that makes a difference. These may be some common explanations to explore.

Alternatively, perhaps this is something that has happened into marriage and wasn’t a problem at first. If this is the case then you can take some time to figure out when the turning point was and use that to try and turn things back in your favor. Often, this may come down to having children and the change of routine that comes with this as well as the emotional shifts all around. If this is what has happened, then it’s time to try and make space for the 2 of you again to rekindle things. Have a date night once a week or two weeks, or whatever suits your routine. Ask a friend or family member to be with your child(ren) for even just an hour so you can be alone together and enjoy each other’s company. Even if it is not having children that has caused problems with intimacy, this is a good practice to have in marriage anyway. Often in time, the spark in a marriage is lost and it takes to reestablish it by spending time together doing something more fun and intimate than the daily chores of life. Snap out of that routine for a little bit each week. This is something to establish regardless of the cause or even if it was an issue from the beginning. This might be something as simple as having dinner together or doing something together that you both enjoy. You might even encourage him to join you in doing something that he loves to do as a way to show your feelings towards him and bring happiness in him that you can experience together.

Another thing that can reduce desire is negative emotions. Is there a chance he may be experiencing depression? Might there be something that has caused it? Changes at work? Feeling inadequate? If you believe this could possibly be the problem, you should be sympathetic to this and encourage him to see a doctor or seek counselling.

Either way, you have noted that you feel like you hate him, and you fight and argue with him. Be aware of how this will likely only exacerbate the situation. Ask yourself if you would like to be intimate with him if he spoke to you in the same way? You might even apologize to him for this behavior and his heart will soften towards you and make him feel more like being intimate with you.

I hope that something here will be useful in helping you to overcome this difficulty or at least give you a better idea of how to address it with him. Communication is very important here to ensure you are both being heard and working together to overcome this to fulfil both of your needs most effectively.

May Allah bring you both happiness and satisfaction in your marriage and make you the coolness of each other’s eyes in this life and the next.

Question 3. Very Depressed

I am so depressed. I can’t even tell you how stressed I am, how much self-hatred I am filled with and how emotionally and psychologically traumatised I am. For the past 2 years, I have just been super sad and crying almost every day. I have very low self-esteem and wish for my non-exitance and death. Even though I try best and make lots of dua, it just keeps on getting worse.  The reason that has led to this and the fact this keeps going, makes me feel like I am one of the people who Allah does not like or does not want to guide. I have exhusted all methods, of which all proved of no use. What should I do?

Answer:

Assalamu alaikum wa rahamtulahi wa barakatuh,

It is clear that you are coming from a very dark place and feeling hopeless to find a way out. May Allah make it easy for you and guide you out of the darkness and into the light. Without details on what it is that you feel lead you to this place I am somewhat limited in the advice I can give, but in sha Allah I hope and pray there will be something here to at least support you on your journey.

You have not specified the steps you have taken so far, but I’m going to outline the steps I would encourage you to take. Hopefully there will be something new here that you are yet to try, or at least give you another perspective on something you may have resisted so far.

Given the severity of your condition, I would first recommend getting pharmaceutical treatment. Whilst not ideal, it can be a good measure to take temporarily to help lift you out of the dark space enough to open to seeking further help and to engaging in it more that you would do otherwise. Not everyone would agree to or like to take this approach, but sometimes, when things get really bad and there seems to be no way out, this can be the best first step to take until things are more stable.

When you see you doctor for this, they should also point you in the direction of getting some kind of talking therapy. Depending on your location will determine the availability of this. However, there are many online options these days as I’m sure you are aware. Considering this episode seems to have been triggered by something in particular and is causing ongoing problems for you for a length of time, talking therapy over a course of time will be the best option to help you get through this. It will take time to explore things with a counsellor but will give you the best opportunity to go through things, get to the root of the issue and explore ways to move forward that are best for you. Ideally you would get this support from a Muslim counsellor who will be able to advise from the Islamic perspective. However, you can still get advice from a general counsellor but can supplement it yourself with support from someone who may or may not be able to advise from a counselling perspective but will be able to offer suggestion from an Islamic perspective on dealing with depression. There are many ayats from the Quran and hadith that provide excellent sources of support during periods of depression that they will be able to highlight to you, such only testing those He loves, that with difficulty comes is and that every difficulty is an expiation for sins to name a few.

In addition to getting support directly for your depression, self-care is very important. Understandably it will be particularly challenging at this time and deleted self-care is even a symptom of depression itself so don’t be too hard on yourself if you do struggle with this. However, taking baby steps will help. Start with the basics such as making sure you are eating well and establishing a healthy sleep routine. You may find that you don’t have much appetite and that you’re suffering with insomnia so this may be hard. Begin with making sure that the little you do eat is nutritious and healthy. To help with sleep, winding down an hour before bedtime, not using devices and being aware from overstimulating activities can help. Exercise is a great way to encourage the body to release the chemicals that support mental wellbeing. Gentle exercise such as walking is a good place to start. It will also get you out and about. This might be something you do with someone else to get social interactions in too which is also good for mental health. Perhaps you might even start a new hobby or take a course as something to provide some positivity. It will give you something consistent to work and give you a sense of achievement.

Most importantly, find self-care through continued prayer. I understand that you feel that this is not working for you at present but keep at it. Continue to turn to Allah and be confident that He is listening. It may not feel like it, especially when you are feeling so low, but He is. With patience and perseverance along with the steps above, in sha Allah you will begin to see and feel how Allah is hearing you. Turn to Him during the times we are told He is closest such as the last third of the night. Cry to Him, take your problems to Him and plead for His mercy. As this becomes more comfortable for you, add in more voluntary prayers and fasting. Read the Quran more and continue to get closer to Him such that you will feel comfort in His remembrance deeply.

May Allah guide you out of your difficulties and bring you happiness and success in both this life and the next.

Question 4. Does Allah not like my prayers?

Assalam O Alaikum
I am a 22 year old university student from Pakistan
I live in a joint family of 6 people that includes me my parents my sister and my uncle ( my fathers older brother) and his wife.
My whole family has always been very religious and practicing. My uncle have performed Umrah and Hajj as well. He is pur guardian who basically takes every important decision of the house and my father being younger listens to my uncle.
We fulfil every obligation that Allah has asked us to.
I am the youngest and have always had the luxury of everything that my older siblings and cousins didnt.
I was not very punctual in praying and practicing untill my college days infact i have started praying often very recently.
My basic intent to tell you all this was to tell you that how my life has been.
I had my every dua and prayer excepted by Allah when i was not praying
I was getting good grades even without hardwork
I was having less anxiety and anger issues as well
But since i started praying everything went downhill.
I never for anything that is bad or materialistic in my prayers too
I ask for forgiveness and little things like good grades and peace even when i am working hard now
But nothing is working
My grades have gone bad to worse
I am feeling confused and clueless and anxious at the same time
I dont know what to do?
Does Allah not want me to pray to him ?
And if i stop praying will he againg accept my every dua ?
Idk what have i done to make him angry
I think there is No One up there anymore
I am unable to cry as well because i have this heavy weight on my chest that doesnt let me cry
please i need guidance

Answer:

Wa alaikum salaam wa rahmatulahi wa barakatuh,

When things are going well when we are not high in eman and keeping on top of our obligations and then things start going badly when we start increasing our acts of worship this is a huge test from Allah. This is something that we all experience to some extent at some point or another. Alhamdulilah, you are doing the right thing, you have started praying, but unfortunately everything else seems to be going wrong. This is making you question whether Allah is angry at you, or if He even exists. Astaghfirullah. There are some things you can do get out of these thought patterns and in sha Allah get you back on track.

Firstly, now that you are praying again, make sure that you also remember to be seeking protection from Shaytan. It is the Shaytan that whispers the types of thoughts you are having. He does this to deter you from turning to Allah as he wants you to believe that you were better off when you weren’t praying. Thoughts like this will turn you to abandon prayer in pursuit of more worldly matters.

This leads on to the next point. Think about the things that have changed for you with regards to the feeling of going downhill. Are these matters related to having a good life in this Dunya? Are you perhaps feeling frustrated because worldly matters don’t seem to be going your way? Remember, what matters most is the Akhira and actually the fact that you are now praying is a sign of success even if other worldly matters are falling apart for you. If you stay firm in faith, continue to pray and get through the test, the reward will come from somewhere you will probably not even expect.

Another thing to think about is again, reflecting on what it is that seems to be going wrong for you right now. Perhaps there is a good reason why these things are being taken away from you. A reason that is better for you that at the moment only Allah knows. Maybe you will find out soon, or maybe it will take time, but eventually you will come to know that by Allah’s will this is the path chosen for you. Only a strong faith in Allah will help you to be ok with this and satisfied enough not to let it cause a lot of bother to you. This is where continuing to strengthen you connection to Allah through prayer will help you in this respect. You could even ponder over some potential reasons if this helps, such as findings benefits in the situation. Take your grades for example. Perhaps Allah wanted you to not feel so comfortable with good grades to give you a push to study harder so that you get even better grades and attain something greater. On the other hand, perhaps the subjects or topics that you are failing in are not for you and won’t be good for you further down the line and He wants to save you from falling into the wrong career at this early stage to save you heartache further down the line. Perhaps He wants to place you in a position to try something more suitable that will be better for you and more pleasing to Him.

Either way, the main point here is to use a seemingly negative situation as means to push you in the right direction under the guidance of Allah. Whilst it presently feels like He is neglecting you, you need to prove your faith to Him for your own sake. This will require patience and persistence. Have confidence that Allah is hearing everything, even if you feel He is not and that His wisdom is greater than any one of us so what may seem like a terrible thing to you will be something that is actually a blessing but you don’t yet see it. Hanging firm to your faith will make this easier. Alhamdulilah, it seems you have some good people around you who will serve as good role models to you in doing this.

May Allah ease your concerns and support you out of your current difficulties. May He reward your steadfastness with the best in this life and the next.

Tuesday, Sep. 13, 2022 | 09:00 - 10:00 GMT

Session is over.
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Views expressed by hosts/guests on this program (live dialogue, Facebook sessions, etc.) are their own and their appearance on the program does not imply an endorsement of them or any entity they represent.