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Moving on After Hardships (Counseling Session)

1. Question

Salam Alaikum when growing up I had an abusive and controling father. Now I have abusive husband to my children, how can I help myself and my children?

As salamu alaykum sister,

Shokran for participating in our Live Session. As I understand you situation sister, you grew up in a home with an abusive father and are now in an abusive marriage-one in which the children are being abused. I know this is so heartbreaking for you.

I also imagine it took a lot of courage for you to reach out. As a loving mom, it is eveident that you do not want your children to live how you had to-under oppressive and vile conditions. May Allah bless you sister in your efforts to stop this.

Growing up with Abusive Father

Sister because you grew up with an abusive father it is possible that when choosing your spouse you did not see little warning signs that may indicate he may be abusive. Some of these warning signs are subtle and others are red flags.

For instance, a man who is quick to anger, one who does not exhibit kindness and compassion towards others, one who has a need for control, one who may try to distance you from family and friends, and one who may lack empathy or concern for others are a few traits.

As your father was abusive, some of these things may have appeared normal to you. You may have thought most men are this way. Abusive men are despicable to Allah. You as your father’s daughter, are a gift to him from Allah. You had the right to live and grow up in a loving peaceful home. Sadly your father did not make that possible.

Married with Children

Now that you are grown, married, and you have children, you are finding the same traits and issues in your husband that your father has. As stated earlier it may be that you did not notice the little warning signs that he may be abusive, or perhaps you did not get to know him. It is very important to get to know the person we are going to marry to avoid a dangerous situations such as this. Granted, no one can definitively state this person will or will not be abusive, but there are little signs sometimes.

Abusive Husband/Child Abuse

Horrifyingly, as indicated in your question, your husband is abusive to your children. Your children are suffering just as you did under your father’s abuse. As you and your husband are accountable to Allah for the treatment and well-being of your children -as well as keeping them safe, you cannot allow your husband to abuse your children.

Immediate Needs

Sister in sha Allah, please do contact your nearest community health center for immediate help with leaving the home or at least getting the children to a safe space. If there is nothing near where you live, please do call the hotline for domestic violence /child abuse.

When searching for them on the Internet or calling them, please do ensure that you erase your search history as well as your call history so your husband does not find out. As he is prone to being violent you do not want to put yourself in a dangerous situation. The immediate need to get your children to a safe place is critical.

Safe Spaces

If you have relatives in the area and it is safe to go there please contact trusted relatives to see if you and the children can stay there. If there is not, please check with your local Islamic center, Masjid, or seek direction from one of the counselors when insha’Allah, you call the hotline. They have many resources.

Accountability

The most important point right now is that your children are being abused and it must be stopped immediately. In addition to your husband’s accountability to Allah for the sin and crime he is committing, you are also responsible for keeping your children safe. Sister, if you do not, you will also be held accountable spiritually and legally and may have your children taken away from you for not protecting them. I am sorry if this thought scares you but in all reality, it is best to be blunt in the situation because your children are being abused.

Suggesting Counseling for Husband

Sister, once you and the children are relocated to a safe space and are stabilized, you may wish to inform your husband that he needs to go for counseling and/or a men’s group for men who are abusers. Sometimes when the courts are involved they will mandate this for men who have a history of abuse. As abusive men and husbands were often abused in some way as children themselves, they must work very hard to overcome these tendencies.

Counseling for Healing

Counseling would also be good for you as you have been abused and traumatized for most of your life. By choosing to get counseling and starting the healing process you will in sha Allah begin to feel safe again as well as feel joy as the weight of the traumas are lessened. You will also learn how to identify abusive behaviors and traits in others. In turn, you will be able to teach your children to have a zero-tolerance for violence or abuse.

Looking Foward: Marriage Decisions

Concerning your marriage, it is up to you whether or not you want to seek a divorce. You certainly have the right to. If you do get counseling which I hope you do insha’Allah, this is something you may wish to speak with your counselor about.

Conclusion

Sister, sadly domestic violence and child abuse are prevalent globally. It doesn’t discriminate between countries, religions, or ethnicities. While in some cultures do you have a more lenient attitude towards the abuse of children and women, it is still something that is abhorrent and is a sin. Please do go to a community center where there are counselors or call the hotline for domestic violence/abuse as soon as possible.

In sha Allah find a safe space either with the help of the agencies, Islamic centers, or family members who are supportive. Your children’s well-being is at high risk and as a mom, it is imperative that you take action to save them from this. Again if you choose to do this please do not leave any traces behind for your husband to find out. Pray to Allah for guidance, mercy, safety, and ease. We wish you the best.

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2. Question

I got married 6 years ago and faced a lot of hardships after marriage. I endured everything patiently for my husband’s sake. I did not even shared my troubles with my parents. My husband loves me and takes care of me alhumdullilah and I love him too but sometimes when I remember the past I get so depressed and we often end up arguing. I can’t find a way to move past whatever happened. I am also having a faith crisis. Please help me!

As salamu alaykum sister,

Shokran for participating in our Live Session. Sister, marriage is not always easy, often couples do have hardships and issues. Even though you stated the hardships were in the past, you are still re-experiencing them emotionally from time to time it seems, which causes depression and leads to arguments.  

Hardships After Marriage

Sister you stated you faced a lot of hardships after marriage although you did not indicate what they were. In sha Allah you must know that marriage is an adjustment. Oftentimes when couples are married they do go through some hardships and rough spots but with time, patience, love, kindness, and mercy, couples can smooth out the rough spots in the marriage as they get to know each other, compromise, and adapt as a couple.

Love for One Another

You stated that your husband loves you and takes care of you, and that you love him too. However you sometimes remember the past, and this causes depression which leads to arguing. Again,  you did not state what happened or what hardships you went through or for how long, but it could be that they were more than just arguments and disagreements. If your hardships included things such as someone cheating, someone leaving, abuse of any kind, or other challenges which go beyond basic hardships, then possibly you may be suffering from unresolved sadness, anger, an inability to trust, or trauma.

Remembering the Past

Sister by always remembering the negative in the past despite positive changes and a fresh start, we train our brains to focus on the hurt and pain and thus it is difficult to move forward. I kindly suggest that you keep a journal and write about how your marriage has changed for the better; the postive qualities your husband has and has developed as well as how your marriage has grown from one of hardships-to one of blessings. Insha’Allah, by doing this it will help you to refocus your emotional energy on the growth and good things that have come out of these hardships.

Counseling

Sister if you cannot move past the hardships which occurred in your marriage perhaps you would benefit from counseling. Depression may or may not have been present before you got married. Often times depression is chronic coming and going throughout one’s lifetime. When faced with hardships and or losses, depression can be ignited just by memory. Counseling is a way to help you deal with the thoughts and behaviors surrounding your past hardships in your marriage. In some appoaches in counseling, while addressing depression, the counseler can help reformat negative emotional and behavioral responses into ones that are more positive and conducive to your mental health and marriage. At some point the both of you may even want to think about marriage counseling.

Faith Crisises

Sister, if you are having a faith crisis it may be a result of depression. Depression sometimes disconnects us from our faith as when depressed one often feels hopeless, defeated, worthless, among other things. I kindly suggest that you pray and ask Allah to keep you close to Him; ask Allah for mercy, forgiveness, and ease from depression. Sister Allah knows you best-Allah knows your state of mind-and Allah loves you. Insha’Allah make time to do dhzkir, read Qur’an, pray, engage in some charity work in your community. Additionaly, encourage your husband to do these acts of worship with you, it can only draw you both closer together for the sake of Allah. Insha’Allah,  attend the Masid for prayers as well as connecting with the sisters there. Our sisters can be a good source of love, support, and encouragement.

Conclusion

Sister please do consider your past hardships in terms ofthe positive outcomes of growth and a stronger marriage. If there were things that happened that are beyond basic hardships and you are left with possible trauma or trust issues, please do consider those events impactful still, and please get counseling insha’Allah. Increase your prayers, dhkir, acts of charity, reading of Qur’an, insha’Allah if possible as a couple. Turn to Allah for mercy and ease, knowing He loves you and He knows how hurt you are, and Allah is most merciful. Insha’Allah sister, ongoing counseling to work through and out of the depression will be most beneficial. We wish you the best.

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3. Question

Asalam Alaikum. I am ashamed to be writing this, last year I really struggled with my iman and was in a very low place with depression, I fell deeply in love with a Muslim man and as a result we now have a beautiful sweet baby boy together. I have asked Allah swt for forgiveness and we didn’t speak at all during my pregnancy during this time I found out he’s got engaged to his ex.

He has recently come back into our lives saying he loves me and wants to marry me too possibly as a second wife but feels confused about the other woman. She has told him not to see our son which I’m very upset about. I am desperate to raise our son in a secure, loving Islamic home and move on from this as a family. I feel that the best thing for my deen would for me to get married as I do not have any Muslim family and struggle I have no wali to act on my behalf and we are currently meeting outside in a public place for his contact with our son. I am devastated that he has done this engagement and feel like it’s a big mistake.

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As salamu alaykum sister,

I am sorry to hear of all the issues that are going on right now, I can imagine you feel very betrayed by your child’s father leaving you-and then proposing to someone else. He has now re-appeared wanting to marry. I know this cannot be easy, but insha’Allah it can be worked out in a way that is benefical to all.

Struggles with Iman

My dearest sister, perhaps it is because of your struggles with your iman that you found yourself weak thus committing Zina. You stated it was due to depression and I am wondering if you adrressed the depression, or are you still depressed?  I understand you feel that you fell deeply in love with this man however things can be deceiving as you can now see. As stated you, repented to Allah.

I must ask you however, what other things are you doing to build your relationship with Allah and increase your iman? It is at times when our iman is weak that we are most susceptible to doing things we normally would not. In sha Allah you will continue to remain close to Allah and trust in him when you make decisions.

To keep focused on Islamic principles and on Allah swt, I kindly suggest sister that you increase your prayers, dhkir, reading of the Qur’an, as well as attending the Masjid for prayers.  Insha’Allah reach out to the sisters at the Masjid for friendships, encouragement, strength, and love.

Father of Baby Left

As indicated, the father of your baby left you when you were pregnant. Perhaps his leaving was already agreed between the two of you for the sake of keeping things halal after repentence, but none the less he was not involved in the pregnancy. Additionally during this time he proposed to his ex. I can imagine this hurt you so much, left you confused (if no agreement), as well as caused a difficult time of struggling alone. You did not deserve this sister as you both made your beautiful son.

A Return

Strangely, you are a child’s father has recently come back into your life saying he loves you and wants to marry you. You stated that you feel confused and rightly so. Why would a man who left you and proposed to somebody else circle back around and want to marry you now? Perhaps it is that he sincerely repented, is closer to Allah, trying to live an Islamic life, and do the right thing. Only Allah knows. Sister, do you see any changes in his lifestyle, his attitudes, his deen? Insha’Allah it may be something you would want to discuss with him regardless if you chose to marry as he will probably be in your son’s life.

Examining the Situation

Sister in sha Allah please look at the situation from an unbiased perspective.  You and this man who is also Muslim, had sex before marriage. You were in love with him and I assume he claimed his love for you as well. However when you got pregnant he left and he proposed to his ex. Sister my question to you is why would you want to marry somebody who left you when you were pregnant and proposed to someone else?

While a mistake was made and you both committed Zina, the fact is a beautiful baby was born of this union. The honorable thing for him to do at the time he found out ou were pregnant would be to marry you especially if he loved you. Insha’Allah sister, please think deeply about your future with a man who would leave a pregnant woman and child.

Family Dynamics

In regards to the woman that he will be marrying, as I understand from your question she has told him not to see your son. That is not Islamic. Can you imagine what it would be like if you did actually marry him? It could be that she would make your life hell and your child’s.  If you were to marry him his future wife could make things very miserable. Is this really what you want for your self and your son?

Looking at the Fuuture and Current Options

Sister I realize that you want to get married because you feel it is best for your deen, and you are right! However, for it to be best for your deen, it must be the right person. You indicated that you do not have any Muslim family and struggle.

You also stated that you do not have a Wali to act on your behalf. I kindly suggest in sha Allah that if you are not doing so already, that you find your Muslim Community home in the Masjid. Speak with the imam there and see if he can act as your Wali.

If you are seriously wanting to marry this man, you may wish to have the imam talk with you and your son’s father to assess his intensions as a possible husband, and to discuss his future wife’s feelings and objection. If the imam is your wali, he must act and assess based on your best interests.  I kindly suggest pre-marital classes as well. Lastly, there would have to be some sort of intervention concerning his future wife as she does not even want him to see his son. It could be that once you look at the situation from an Islamic perspective, you may find you desire an Islamic family foundation that does not have the predisposition to the negative interferences that you are already experiencing from your son’s father’s future wife. 

Sister Supports

Sister, you may want to begin to make friends with the sisters at the masjid if you have not already. By forming a close network of support, love, and lifelong friendships in sha Allah you will contiinue to increase your iman. Our sisters are often our greatest source of comfort and strength.

Conclusion

In creating a life for you and your son you may wish to think about his father and how is father has treated you and him thus far. I kindly suggest that you really think hard about your choices regarding marriage to him. In sha Allah once you get integrated into the community again, you may feel a sense of belonging and in sha Allah you will meet a future spouse who will truly treat you in an Islamic way.

As you do love Allah very much and you do want a loving Islamic home, please do speak with an imam (who is your wali) regarding the situation, take some time to become acclimated into your Islamic community, assess the situation and ask yourself-is this (marriage to your son’s father) what you truly want? Importantly sister, Insha’Allah make istakharrah prayer. We wish you the best.

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4. Question

Assalamualaykum, when I started looking into Islam, one of the things which caught my attention was how well women were treated. Along the way, I found some hadiths and verses from the Quran which seemed unjust but later I found explanations on articles which helped me understand it and I hope they’re true. I recently found a Hadith saying that women could not refuse intimacy to her husband even if she was riding a camel and the one where our Prophet (Pbuh) said  that the women who were most deserving of heaven would not sleep til they had made their husband satisfied if he were dissatisfied for any reason and a ton of hadiths and opinions from scholars saying how sinful it would be for a wife to refuse intimacy without a good reason but by “good reason”, they only meant illnesses, obligatory fasts or periods, but what would happen if her reason was an emotional one? Like not being in the mood, busy with something else, not emotionally ready, any anxiety, sadness or being mad at the husband for something etc. Would she be sinful if she refused for a reason like that? I know in such cases, a husband should be caring and merciful and understand but what if he doesn’t? What if he’s mad or upset about it? Would she be sinful in such cases? I read an article in here saying that those emotional reasons would be enough but after reading all those hadiths pressuring women to almost never refuse intimacy, I’m confused and afraid of being abused by my future husband. I’m not married or planning to marry yet, I’m a 14 year old girl and when I read hadiths like these, I feel so anxious and scared that one day I might be forced by my religion and my husband to sexually serve him wherever and whenever  he would want and my feelings would not matter at all and if I would refuse then Allah (SWT) would punish me. I know Allah (SWT) would never give anyone such a heavy burden, so please help me understand this and thank you so much for your answer.

As salamu alaykum sister,

Shokran for participating in our Live Session. Sister you have such a beautiful and natural desire to learn about Islam, how inspiring you are-may Allah bless your path always. Undertandably while studying we find things that do not make sense, or that which we find difficult to understand.

Islamic Scholars

Sister, I am not an Islamic Scholar and these concerns are best explained and discussed by those that are. Insha’Allah check out our section ’Ask the scholars” or try to attend some reputable online classes regarding these questions, or on Musim women’s rights in general. You indicated you did look at a lot of responses but perhaps it can be discussed in a way that makes sense to you. Often times ayats and hadith as given in relation to other things.

Possible Intrepretations

Sometimes when a rather shocking hadith is read (such as you were describing) they can be attribted to other issues. For example there may be some wives who use sex as a weapon-withholding intimacy to get her own way, or if a husband wont buy her something. It could be that a wife may never want intimacy with her husband (marriage includes intimacy) because she dislikes him, or because she is angry. Perhaps these types of situations are why these hadith and articles exist. 

A Woman’s Rights

Sister as you know, a woman has many rights in Islam. As she has the right to chose who she will marry, does it make sense she would be forced to have sex? Or punished if she does not want to? The forcing part-That is rape. Allah would never command a wife be raped. A wife has the right to refuse for any of the reasons you mentioned in your question. She just does not have the right to use sex as a tool, as a punishment to her husband, or refuse because she is not ’feeling him”. If a wife will not have sex with her husband because she dislikes him, they should divorce. Sex/imtimacy is a very integral and bonding part of marriage.

Mercy, Love, Kindness

Sister, one of the strong points is finding someone kind, merciful, loving, and compatible to marry. When a woman finds a husband like that, it is likely they will form a close bond and be merciful towards one another. In this case should the wife (or husband) not feel like being intimate, or be struggling with sadness, depression, or anxiety, her husband will be merciful and loving and they will resolve it together.

Husband-Wife Relationship

Sister, the key is ’working it out together.” When a husband and wife have a solid, close relation, these things are not used as weapons or threats-but are lovingly resolved. So insha’Allah when you do get married, insha’Allah seek one whom is kind, merciful, loving, and one you can bond with. Lastly, the issue of with holding sex, or men being angry at a wife who may be ill or ’not in the mood” is not limited to Islam-it is across all religions and cultures!

Continuing Studies

Insha’Allah sister, you can continue your studies on a deeper level. There are many great online Islamic schools that are free or low cost. Insha’Allah join a study group at your Masjid or Islamic center. Keep note of your questions, ayats or hadiths that concern you so you can bring them up during study classes. You may be surprised to find many other young girls (or boys) may have the same concerns!  In fact, I get a lot of questions from women/girls relating to this very topic.

Conclusion

Insha’Allah my dear sister this has helped you in some way, may Allah swt forgive me for anything incorrect I said. For a more in depth answer, please see our Ask the Scholar section. Please do keep studying and seeking answers! Knowledge is encumbant upon us and is a blessing. May Allah swt bless you for your determination, love, and your quest to seek the truth in our beautiful deen. We wish you the best.

Friday, Jan. 21, 2022 | 06:00 - 07:00 GMT

Session is over.
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