You Ask, and Our Psychologist Answers (Counseling Session)

Salaam `Alaikum dears brothers and sisters,

We would like to thank you for joining us in this Counseling Session.

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

Monday, Sep. 30, 2019 | 08:00 - 09:00 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.  

I sent questions to and she says that for fiqh issues sent it to Then I sent to and he replies sent your question to . My goodness, will anyone answer my question. I suffer from a disease called obsessive compulsive disorder. This disease is characterized by excessive fears but also weaknesses in understanding and working. I ask you for the correct answer in terms of Islamic fiqh, since you are neither a psychiatrist nor a psychologist.

Please give a correct answer in terms of Islamic fiqh. If a Muslim hears someone else insult Allah with dirty words on the street. After a few years, this Muslim wishes to remember this event. Question: Is it permissible for this Muslim to remember( recall to mind) that voice that used to insult Allah with dirty words? Or is it a kufr size sin to remember(recall to mind) that voice that blasphemed Allah with dirty words? Example of recalling something to mind. I recall working as a teacher, I recall when we played together.



As salamu alaikum brother,

Shokran for writing to our live session. I am sorry that you have been sending your questions and keep getting rerouted. I do apologize, may Allah forgive us. As I understand your situation you suffer from obsessive compulsive disorder. You are concerned with the permissibility of a Muslim to recall or remember-bring to mind a voice that used to insult Allah with dirty words. You want to know if it is a huge sin to remember this voice that blasphemy Allah.

 

Mental Illness and Intrusive Thoughts

Brother with the situation being that you have obsessive-compulsive disorder, there are probably intrusive thoughts that you are suffering from which you have no control over. Given that you have a mental health disorder, Allah may provide provisions for those who are disabled, are psychologically, mentally ill, or have other mental issues, are sick or otherwise incapacitated, or not in control fully. In the Qur’an it says ““Allah does not hold the soul responsible for more than its capacity.” (Sura al-Baqara 2:286)”.

 

Mental Illness and Judgement

Your OCD may cause you to remember and bring to mind these horrid thoughts about Allah. Allah knows your heart brother and he knows that if you had a choice, is not what you would be doing. However obsessive-compulsive disorder does have features of intrusive thoughts which are very difficult to control. With that said, it could be that Allah understands the situation and your illness and why these thoughts come. It may be that in Allah’s mercy, you are not under judgement for not being able to control these thoughts. It may be that you are. It depends on your degree of awareness, control and level of mental illness. Only your psychologist can determine your level of mental illness.

 

Allah is Most Merciful

Allah is most merciful and he does love us. Allah knows you better than you know yourself. Regarding the blasphemous thoughts which cannot be controlled at this point, you may not be responsible for them.  I hope this helps some and provides relief from your worry.  Brother if this is not helpful, please do ask your psychologist about your mental health illness and if he feels that you are responsible for your thoughts. This is what they do in court cases. They ask a psychologist to testify in regard to a person’s ability to make decisions, make rational choices and generally be found competent. While this is not court, it would be a  professional medical opinion which you may find more conclusive.

We wish you the best, you are in my prayers.


Assalamualaikum Dear Sister Aisha,

I have a problem that has really been getting to my head. I don’t know how to put it, it’s been driving me crazy. Something happened over two years ago that was neither illegal nor haram in any way, and I don’t exactly understand why it’s been affecting me so much. It seems almost silly. I can’t find the courage to write down the whole story again; I’ve only ever told one person part of it.

I guess my fear is just that when people hear it, they will jump to assumptions/conclusions. Why, my own best friend assumed the thing I dreaded, before I went full caps-lock to explain how wrong her assumption was.

I don’t know what to do. I’ve tried diverting my mind with other things, but this only works for a few days before I find my mind drifting back to it. I make dua every night that I don’t say anything of it in my sleep. The whole thing make me feel frustrated, paranoid, sometimes sad, anxious, and well, frustrated. At other times, I’m laughing at myself at how ridiculous it is.

I can’t believe I’ve come to this point that I’m asking for help over something so silly, but here I am. My apologies for the lack of details, but I just can’t get myself to write it down. It’s been really getting on my nerves.

I would really appreciate if you could give me some advice. I’m awfully frustrated.



 

As salamu alaikum dear sister,

 

Shokran for writing to our live session. Sister, please know that nothing is too small or silly to ask about. The fact that this situation is bothering you is reason enough to seek advice. I can understand not wanting to rewrite the whole story again as it can be stressful, confusing, as well as encourage more thoughts over the situation. In fact, depending on the situation, you need not ever worry about talking about it again insha’Allah.

Past Situation that may be Traumatizing

Sister the situation that occurred is done and over with it is in the past correct? You stated nothing illegal or haram happened. However, is still affecting you. If nothing illegal or wrong happened there should be nothing to repent for or worry about. However, whatever happened, still has an effect on you in some way. It is almost like when we are crossing the street and we almost get hit by a car.  We may think about it for long after. While we actually did not get hit by the car, it may still affect us because it may have been perceived as traumatic . You may want to determine if you feel traumatized by this past event. If you do, I would kindly suggest that you seek an assessment and ongoing counseling in your area insha’Allah.

 

Stopping thoughts that Intrude

I do not know what you experienced or what happened, or almost happened, however it has made an impression in your mind that will not leave.  It needs to be addressed. This is not a silly situation sister, it is one that is causing you great grief and anxiety. It would be nice if we could just forget about things right? But sometimes it’s not that easy. For some reason thoughts can come to our mind about things that almost happened or did happen and stay there. They can be difficult to get rid of. I kindly suggest sister that if you do begin to think about this incident, you just let it pass by and give it no more thought. Insha’Allah, if you do this enough over a period of time, the thoughts should diminish. Often thinking about something and trying to analyze it too much gives it more power, especially if they are intrusive thoughts. Intrusive thoughts tend to be that way.

 

Another technique -which is kind of the opposite, is picturing a big red stop sign when you are having these thoughts about the incident. You can picture a big red stop sign in your mind. This may cause the thoughts to halt, especially if you quickly begin to think of something else. I kindly suggest that when you start thinking about this incident, that you immediately verbally or mentally say or think  the word STOP with a big red sign and engage in something else. Pick up a book to read, go for a walk, or even do a mathematical problem :-). By replacing the unwanted thoughts with other thoughts, it can retrain your mind to stop thinking about the incident. If after about a month of letting these thoughts pass or if by trying to divert or stop these thoughts, they do not stop, please do be assessed by a therapist in your area for possible OCD/intrusive thoughts.

 

Possible Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

OCD is common. It is part of the anxiety disorder spectrum. Intrusive thoughts can be triggered by an experience that is either traumatic or fearful, or perceived to be. It can also appear for no apparent reason, but anxiety is underlying. Thus, the cycle of not being able to stop thoughts may occur. If this is the case dear sister it can be treated, and a therapist will be able to help you.

 

Conclusion

Sister, I am not sure what the situation was. I am not saying that you have OCD or are suffering from  trauma. Insha’Allah, you are just worrying to much about something in your past that you need to let go of-and give to Allah-totally.

I do think that you will be able to overcome this issue if you assess what it is that is really bothering you about the situation (do you feel traumatized) and try the above tips. You stated you are worried about what others will think when you tell them about this. My question is-do you have to go telling others or can this remain a part of your past and be forgotten?

I am confident you will over-come this sister. While excessive worry is scary, it can be addressed and resolved.  Just rule out any underlying anxiety issues that may be present (like OCD, intruding thoughts), or trauma. If at any time you feel that it is much deeper than surface anxiety or worry, then please do consult a therapist in your area.

Continue to make duaa to Allah to assist you in not recalling this event or putting such significance on it. You are in my prayers sister and we wish you the best.


Wa salam.

First of all I am not afraid of using my own email or name its just that on one of your answers you mentioned that Allah says to hide your sins and not make it public. I am extremely struggling hard with life. I am torn between Islam, Family, Society pressure and then my own mind and head. So much expectations and things to do that i don’t know. Also I have this guilt which is eating me up inside about not being good Muslim and I cant handle it anymore.

I want it to stop so badly that i have suicidal thoughts a lot more now i mean more frequently. Somehow to stop gaining more sins or this pressure. I see other Muslims who are drink go to clubs and are so happy or at least they seem happy and me all i have been trying to do for the past 5 years is to support family, My brothers and parents and i only get failures.

One problem after another and its killing me. I can't handle it. The imams here say things that make no sense. I was born in a Muslim country lived all my life there. I have seen soo many different versions of ISLAM that i don’t know what to believe what to do. Even writing this email makes me cry. I have so many questions small questions based on my personal experiences that i need answer to.

So much confusion in my head that i feel like i am going to implode. Please help me out i promise i won’t bother you again just if i can please talk to someone. I am not a maniac or crazy person i have tried my best to find solutions on my own. I go to therapy here paid so much and now they tell me that maybe i should talk to a father in the church.

I don’t want to do that. I could really use someone who can just please guide me little bit just show me little light in this darkness. I promise i wont take long just please someone to show me little light and why this happening to me what am i doing wrong in soo many years that i am at such a low point.? Please this is my last chance of hope. I am expecting a lot.



As salamu alaykum dear brother,

Shokran for writing to our live session. After reading through your question and your situation brother, my heart really goes out to you. I am so sorry that you are going through all of this confusion, uncertainty, and feelings of inadequacy.

 

A Good Heart and Intentions

First of all, I would like to say that based on what you have written in your cry for help, you are a very good Muslim. People who are not good Muslims or who do not love Allah, or strive to please Allah, do not bother seeking answers or looking for help concerning Islam or personal problems. They just go about their business with no regard to resolving their problems. You however, have a conscience and you care, you are striving to be a good Muslim and Allah loves you for that.

No one is Perfect

No one is perfect brother. Not one perfect Muslim exists. We are all striving at different levels. As you know Allah looks at our heart. You have a very good heart. You work hard, you take care of your family, you support them financially, and you think of everyone else besides yourself. You make sure that your parents are taken care of, and you still strive to somehow take care of yourself as well.

 

Immense Stress & Pressure

From what I could tell, and based on what you have written, you are under an immense amount of stress and responsibility. For the past 5 years you have been working very hard to support everybody in your family. I am sure that you work long hours and then come home and deal with problems that must be resolve as well. I honor and respect your dedication and love for your family. However, you must also take care of yourself. Self-care must come first because if we don’t take care of ourselves, we cannot take care of others. This is not a selfish ideology, it is a real one. If you do not take care of yourself by eating good foods, quality sleep, and exercise, having an adequate social life with good friends, and attending to your spiritual needs Islamically, you are bound to feel mentally, physically and emotional exhausted. You may even feel hopeless and depressed. This may even be indicative of adrenal fatigue and/or a stress syndrome.

Confusion, Guilt, Feelings of Failure

You state that there is so much confusion in your head that you feel like you’re going to implode. That is a symptom of stress and possibly anxiety. According to you, you have a lot of guilt about not being a good Muslim and you can’t handle the thought anymore. Brother please rest assured that you are a good Muslim. You have a wonderful heart and you are sincere. Insha’Allah, if you can love and accept yourself where you are at right now and turn to Allah for help and guidance things will get easier. The emotions you are feeling right now in regard to guilt, pressure, and feeling like a failure is due in part to everything you are trying to accomplish.

 

Many Responsibilities

You are trying to do the job and live up to the responsibilities of two or three people. You must remember you are you are just one person. I kindly suggest if there are any other siblings, uncle’s or aunties in the family who can help out, please do enlist their assistance. You need to have some time for yourself.  Brother regarding your feeling torn, I asked you to please sit down take a deep breath and relax your mind in your body. I encourage you to practice some stress management techniques which I have included in the references. Why you are relaxing, and your mind is in a good place, I asked insha’Allah that you write down a list of five positive things about yourself. I know there are many more but let’s start with 5. Next, I would like you to make a list of the top five things of importance in your life right now. It could be a job, going to the Masjid, going for social activities, studying, or whatever is important to you right now. I am sure there are a lot, but please limit your choices to the top five. I would like you to focus on these two lists. One, which are your good points and your strength, the other is regarding things that you would need to do or would like to do in your life or are currently doing. Insha’Allah for the next few months try to focus on these five top important items and reflect back to your five strengths. Often times when we prioritize the things in our lives in order of importance, other things can fall to the wayside for a while and we realize that it really didn’t make that much of a difference in our lives.

 

Versions of Islam

You spoke about the many different versions of Islam that you have seen, and now you don’t know what to believe. I understand this can be very emotionally draining and depressing. However, there is only one Islam. To find it brother, please read the Qur’an. I’m sure you are already reading the Qur’an or have read it many times before.  However, I’m asking that you read it in a different light. Read it with nothing in your head heart or mind except the will to please Allah. By approaching the Qur’an with this in your heart, Allah will surely open the doors of knowledge for you. I will make duaa for you that Allah swt clarify your path.

 

End of the Rope, Hold on to Allah

What I hear from you and I may be wrong, is someone who is at the end of their rope. Someone who has taken care of everybody else except themselves. Someone who has strived, someone who has sought knowledge and found confusion. Someone who’s cried out to Allah but yet feels alone. Brother you are someone that Allah loves very much. Regardless of how many sins you have committed or what you have done, Allah is merciful, and Allah loves you. There is no perfect Muslim, seeking Allah is striving.  When we do sin, it is during these times of suffering with these sins that we seek forgiveness and learn what true freedom is. We see that the freedom lies in pleasing Allah as best as we can. It often takes hardships, stress, falling down and getting back up again to realize this. It is said that Allah tests those that he loves the most. You are being tested brother and you are loved very much. Insha’Allah you will pass these tests. The shaitan doesn’t want you to of course and fill try to fill your mind with all sort of defeating thoughts. You have the rope of Allah, the blessings of Allah to get you through. Should you truly feel suicidal, please-call the suicide hotline and tell a family member. This darkness and hard times in your life will pass, don’t give up as the light of Allah is with you. Prophets before us walked this earth in great tests and trials. Our beloved prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is a beautiful example of surviving tests, trials, confusions and losses. Yet he trusted in Allah’s mercy, love and protection.

 

Getting Therapy

You stated that you have been going to therapy for a while now and they recently told you to talk to a father in the church. I do not understand that, it sounds unethical. Perhaps they are related to a church organization and that is part of their treatment. Please do seek out a new therapist, one who can be impartial, correctly diagnose you and lead you on a path of healing and wellness.  Insha’Allah, please do seek referrals for qualified counselors in your area. Regaining composure after years of prolonged stress, confusion and possible depression is not easy, but it is so worth it. You just need to take the steps forward into a new life.

 

Delegating & Self Care

Brother, please do find a way to delegate some of the household responsibilities among family members. If you are like every other Muslim, you feel like you are a great sinner. Make repentance to Allah and ask for forgiveness. Read the Qur’an and ask Allah for guidance while reading it. Seek a balance in your life that includes loving yourself enough so that you can be healthy both mentally and physically, as well as spiritually and emotionally. You have great and wonderful things coming to you in this life insha’Allah. What you’re going through now is like a testing ground. You are not weak, you are strong. In trials and tribulations strength grows. One day soon insha’Allah, you will look back and be amazed at how much you went through and how victorious you rose from these things that hurt you now.

 

Conclusion

Brother, I want you to know that you can talk to us anytime. In fact, please do write to us and let us know how you’re doing or feel free to submit another question that you may be concerned about. In any event you have a family here in AboutIslam who cares about you. This is what the ummah is for. We are brothers and sisters and we are to be there for one another. With that said, insha’Allah please do try to follow up on the tips in this response. Insha’Allah they are of some used to you and bring some sense of peace and resolve. Let us know how you’re doing, and please do contact us should something come up. We wish you the best you are in my prayers