Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Thank you for participating in the session.
Please find here the questions our counselor provided answers for. If you do not find yours below, please check under the next session or submit it directly there.
Thank you for your understanding.
Question 1. How to make peace with life
I often feel compelled to complain about life situations and have trouble accepting things in life. How do I just “man up” and accept whatever situation I am in? How do I make peace with reality? I feel comfortable moping rather than taking action or trying to change my mindset.
Watching people grow up and watching our parents grow older and the thoughts of what the future is going to be like cause me emotional pain. The good old days when my parents were younger and our relatives were younger are never going to come back and one day I am going to grow old as well. People are also going to pass away. The reality of life evokes a variety of different emotions. I worry about life in the future and feel sad when it comes to the past. How do I embrace the reality of life? How can I make peace with the changes in life?
Salam alaikom wa rahmatullah,
Thank you for your questions.
You say that you have trouble accepting things in life and you say you are complaining rather than taking action.
You are not alone, brother. Changing our mindset is sometimes easy to say, hard to do for many. Why? Because we are familiar with these inner voices and get used to the feelings created by them.
These thoughts can be influenced by our character, but from people around us also, who frequently complain or make you feel that you are not good or capable enough. You might end up internalizing these comments and this will become your inner voice that you keep repeating on and on.
Some people fear failing and this fear prevents them from taking action. Others are threatened by taking responsibility because they are not confident enough in themselves.
As Muslims, we know that everything happens by the will of Allah. Every situation you are in – struggle or happiness – is by His judgement. He knows that this is the best for you at that moment.
You may not see that from that perspective, but once you look back, you will see that everything falls in its place and everything makes sense.
Sometimes, when we approach new situations with fear, our mind just shuts down and we are not able to use it constructively. And, fears unfortunately a impede success.
So, with this being said, here are some tips:
- Practice gratitude – see the blessings in everything around you. In each situation there is a blessing. Just note down some things every day you can be grateful for. Use Ramadan to build this habit, and try not to miss any days. Here is a video about it.
- In your duas, focus on the ones about gratitude and gratefulness. Same, when you are reading the Quran. Try to find verses that are related to gratefulness.
- Find the greatness and power of Allah in His names. Learn about his names and attributes and you will realize that you are not alone and He is there to hold you in times of hardship.
- Accept that you are not perfect (none of us is). It is OK to ask for help and assistance if you are struggling with a task or a life situation. It is OK that you are still learning and some tasks are challenging. Ask for support from those you trust.
- Know that there is no fixed time or age to “be ready” to take responsibility and to “man up.” Everyone matures at his/her own pace. Others’ expectations can be very distressing and counterproductive. Do not compare yourself with others.
- What makes you fear responsibility? Is it related to confidence in your abilities? Or do you fear error and fail? You might need to work on your self confidence and self-esteem first.
Regarding your other question, it is a beautiful and deep reflection, masallah. I know what you mean.
I think that realizing the passing of time and the future end of our existence and those all around us is a very complex experience. Yes, it involves a lot of emotions: sadness, longing, nostalgia, a kind of fear of the unknown, etc.
If someone has the courage to face the nature of death, that everything in this life will come to an end is also a blessing. Why?
Because it makes you aware of the unique importance of each moment Allah blessed you with. You might find motivation to make use of your time and learn about how you spend it.
You say that thinking about the past makes you sad, and thinking about the future makes you worry.
Ask yourself: What do you miss from the past? And what makes you worry about the future?
If the answers are related to your loved ones, think about the fact that now, in the present, you are still there for each other, but maybe not in the same way as in the past. You may not revive past moments, but you can create new ones in the present.
And also think about the fact that, in the future, when you will probably face their loss, you will be a different person than you are now. You will be more mature, your circumstances will change, and probably you will have a family, kids, etc.
In sha Allah, by that time, you will be capable of dealing with some struggles you find difficult to deal with in the present. Just trust in Allah and in His perfect timing.
- Be more in the present. Enjoy each moment Allah gave you by appreciating what is actually happening. Try to live it; pay attention to what something is all about. If you are fully present in the moment, you can embrace that experience and carry it with you forever without having the feeling that you have missed something.
- Related to the point above, try to get rid of distractions that prevent you from enjoying the moments. Especially with your loved ones around. Try to take care about the quality of the moments you spend together—pay attention to each other and express your care and love for each other.
- It is good to remember the past and also make plans for the future, but do not let that prevent you from being in the moment. You cannot change the past, but you can do something for your future right now, in the present moment, with a positive mindset, as I mentioned above.
- You can make peace with changes if you accept that they are part of our existence. Everything is changing around us, inwardly and outwardly also; it is the nature of creation. But Allah is there with you at each moment. He is eternal, so His presence is a source of safety.
Use Ramadan to build new habits based on the points above and give yourself time to change your mindset and perspective. Try to be consistent in your practice.
May Allah bless you.
Question 2. Am I doing the right thing?
I wanted to ask if I’m doing the right thing by choosing my lover over my parents/family. It’s a long story and I’m sorry in advance. I met a guy online and I had a deep connection with him. We talked for a few months (not really knowing how we looked like). We made a lot of good memories online. He’s 20 and from H. He didn’t have a good past because of family issues so he decided to be independent. He lives without his family and he’s financially good too. We both really, really and really like each other. We want to be married but my parents are not agreeing.
My parents were already looking for a guy for me and I was aware of that, but it was too late because I already found someone for myself. I didn’t have any courage to tell my parents about the guy. Firstly, he’s white with a different culture. He’s from H. and my dad thinks people from there are criminals as he has more life experience than me. Secondly, my parents never allowed me or my siblings to talk to people online because it’s “dangerous”.
We came up with a plan and the plan was for me to sneak out at night, find a mosque together, talk to an imam about our situation so then the imam can make my dad understand that it isn’t always about culture and that it is allowed in Islam to get married to anyone as long as he’s a Muslim and a good person. Things did not go as planned and we ended up seeing my family after 2 or 3 days. The guy took me back home safely and that’s when everyone got to know about him, met him, and spent some time together to get to know him more. I was so happy because I thought everyone finally agreed. My mum used to tell me it will happen and not to worry.
After some days my dad spoke to me and told me it can’t happen because he’s white and he isn’t from the same culture. I still remember his words. He said our culture will never get along with his culture no matter what. I tried to stand up for the guy, but it just didn’t work out. He wasn’t satisfied that I will be safe with him even though the guy is ready to move near my family, visit them once or twice a week after marriage. He said to me no one will force me to marry anyone and it’s my decision after all, but he has his condition too. He told me if I’m going to marry the guy, my parents and family will disown me and that I will be dead for them. He will take my siblings back to their country (Pakistan) meaning they won’t have the opportunity to study or have a future in England anymore. He said I will be responsible for everything bad happening. However, if I leave the guy for them, I will get all kind of support for lifetime, my siblings will get to study and build a future and everything will be fine with time. Also, that it will be still my choice who to marry but just not the guy I choose right now.
He gave me time to make a decision but it was so hard. I couldn’t sleep for days. I was so depressed and I just didn’t know what to do. I started to watch videos on YouTube to see if anything can help me out and I was surprised to know I wasn’t the only one going through such a bad time. I watched Islamic videos on marriage and Islam supports us, but I don’t know if I’m being disobedient to my parents. I don’t know how much I’m hurting them or if I will ever get karma back to me. I don’t know if Allah will punish me for hurting everyone. The research I’ve done so far is telling me that I’m not really being disobedient if I have my own choice which isn’t going against Allah. So, I read the hadith about Khansa Bint Khidam and the Prophet told her she has her own choice to marry who she wants and it’s not called being disobedient.
As time went by I didn’t have any courage left in me and I started to write letters for my dad to read instead. I expressed my feelings but I couldn’t even give it to him. I was scared, hurt, not confident at all. I was even ready to leave the guy for the sake of everyone else, but the guy never gave up on me and made me feel so strong and confident about standing up for what’s right. The guy wanted to meet my family since day one and not delay our marriage because he thought we might end up committing zina and he just wanted to be with me asap. We didn’t want to waste our time waiting and talking online when we could be married and live a halal life together.
The guy was ready to change his skin color, learn our language, tried to fit in our culture to prove that he really is serious about me and he isn’t using me for time pass. The guy was giving his best but my dad didn’t care to understand. He didn’t give him a chance to actually get to know him. My dad said the guy is unknown for him because they don’t know anything about his family, his background and that he is not satisfied I will be safe with him.
Everyone said to me that I won’t be happy with the guy and he will leave me. I truly believe in him and we really do have true feelings for each other. If the guy wasn’t the one for me, he wouldn’t be waiting for me right now, but instead he’d be doing his own stuff in his life. He’s understanding and he isn’t giving up on me too. He doesn’t really have anyone but me. He doesn’t get along with his family and it’s so hard for him to keep waiting. I feel so bad and I really don’t want to delay our marriage. But no one is accepting us and my dad said he doesn’t believe the guy is a Muslim because he thinks he doesn’t pray. The guy is even ready to prove that he converted to Islam and he does pray. I just don’t know what else to do to prove he really is the one for me. I’m 100% confident I will be safe with him, but I’m childish and naive for my parents. They don’t believe me at all and they think they know what’s best for me.
Whenever I tell them in a respectful way that in Islam, I have my right to marry the guy whether he’s Asian, British, Hungarian, Indian, I still have the right to marry who I want, and they always say that in Islam it’s also wrong to not obey your parents and it’s wrong to hurt them. When I told my mum about not leaving the guy, she told me I’m doing so wrong and threatened me saying I won’t be happy with the guy and Allah will punish me for hurting parents. I told her I still won’t be leaving the guy no matter what and I could tell she was mad. She told me to mark her words that after 2 or 3 days the guy will leave me no matter what because that’s how they are like. I still said I won’t be leaving him and she asked how am I going to be happy with him because once my parents/fam leave me, the guy will also leave me after some time and I will be all alone. She also threatened to burn my passport/documents as soon as I choose the guy over my parents.
Also, I wanted to know if I do decide to go against my parents, will the marriage still be accepted? I’ve heard the marriage will not be accepted without the girl’s father’s consent. Also, my dad said to me that I can disagree with parents only if they’re telling me to do a bad thing so like eating pork, or committing a sin. Only then I can disagree with them because it’s going against Allah. If parents don’t have any bad reasons, then they are right and I’m wrong. They said worrying about my future is not a bad reason and that I should leave the guy because they know what’s best for me, and I should not be disagreeing as it isn’t a bad reason, nor going against Allah. This gets to me so hard and I start over thinking if I’m really being disobedient with any good reasons. I don’t know what to do. Please help me. Could you also get the verses from the Quran to support your answer? Thank you.
Lastly, does my dad have a right to take my siblings away just because of what I’m doing? He said he’s scared and worried that my other siblings will be like me too one day (going against my parents). Thats his reason for taking them away back to Pakistan. It’s really wrong because they do not deserve to go through anything bad. I just want my family to get along with the guy I love, and the guy to get along with my family. I just want to have a happy family. If my parents were only disowning me, and not take my siblings away, I would still not be okay with it but I’d be still happy knowing my siblings will get to achieve their goals staying in England. Things aren’t so easy because he threatened to take my siblings away too with also disowning me. I can’t leave the guy too because I really want to be with him. It’s going to be so unfair for a different guy I marry because I know I won’t have any love for him and things won’t be the same. It just isn’t fair to anyone but my parents think with time I will move on and forget about him. How can I tell them that I truly love him and I really want him.
1) Am I really being disobedient?
2) If the father has no Islamic reason for not accepting him, can the wali be someone else?
3) Is it right for my dad to leave with my siblings because of what im doing?
4) Is it right for him to make me choose between parents or lover?
5) Is it right for my parents to threaten me so I choose them over my lover? (burning passport, Allah punishing me, saying that I will be to blame for all bad things that happen to them when I choose my lover, saying negative things to put pressure on me, and so on).
6) If my dad keeps refusing to accept based on non-Islamic reasons, what action do I take when I want to marry my lover?
7) Do I get another wali if my dad does not ever agree? Could the wali be an Imam too? Can you give me verses from the Quran to back my decision in choosing my lover when my wali doesn’t agree for non-Islamic reasons
8) How can I stop delaying when parents are not agreeing? I feel like I’m missing out on so much.
9) Was it right what my parents did in telling me and the guy that they will accept us only to then change their decision? Can you give verses that support that their decision change was wrong?
10) What can I say to my family when they try to emotional blackmail me, threaten me? What verses can I tell them from the Quran for them to stop?
Salam alaikom dear sister,
Thank you so much for your detailed letter. Ramadan Mubarak to you.
Your case is unfortunately a very common one; we receive many letters with similar content.
A couple, both practicing Muslims, would like to marry and find each other to be the right one, but the parents—either one or both of them—do not agree with the marriage as the candidate is from another country, nationality, tribe, family, etc.
This is a very common cultural expectation and is somehow understandable. For the parents, this means a form of perceived safety for their daughters and sons and an attempt to prevent future conflicts. As in collectivistic cultures with extended families, the marriage of the couple is actually the union of two families. That is why parents usually take a very close look at which family they will unite through their children’s marriage.
This in and of itself is not necessarily wrong, unless the parents disregard the choice and preference of their daughter, prioritize their own, and set up unislamic criteria to prevent an unwanted marriage. In Islam, there is nothing that says that one must marry within a specific culture or family.
What matters is the religiosity of the spouses—to marry you with someone who draws you closer to the deen—and that the spouses are ready to fulfill their duties in the marriage. In this case, he has to be ready to provide for you and your future family. He has to give you a dowry and take care of you, treat you with respect and kindness in the marriage, and make sure that you grow together in your faith.
So, if your future husband is a practicing Muslim, has financial means, and has good Islamic manners, and you want to marry him, there should be no obstacle from your parents. It is their test to accept the plan of Allah instead of their plans for you. If he happens to have another nationality and a different family background, well, it can mean certain challenges in your marriage. But you and they have to know that all marriages have challenges, even if you marry within the same family or culture.
Yes, you have to obey your parents, as your father pointed out, unless they command you against the will of Allah. But this goes beyond eating pork or committing sin. Actually, if they want you to obey without any Islamic reasons (wanting Asian in-laws is not an Islamic reason, nor is a convert Muslim candidate with non-Muslim family), they are the ones who commit sin as they are forcing upon you their will. And saying, “We do not force you who to marry, just tell you that you cannot marry x or y, is actually forcing their opinion on you without a sound reason.
What sound reasons could they have?
If your husband has bad manners, If he is unable or not willing to provide for you, if he is not practicing, if he is not trustworthy, for example.
And talking about sin, it is completely forbidden in Islam to cut ties with kinship.
“It is not permissible for a man to forsake his Muslim brother for more than three days, each of them turning away from the other when they meet. The better of them is the one who gives the greeting of salaam first.” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 5727; Muslim, 2560).
So, if they threaten you with cutting ties, they should know that it means disobeying Allah and committing a sin. Unfortunately, they are not the only ones. It is a weapon that parents use to get their children to cooperate, unfortunately still frequently. It is a totally un-Islamic attitude; just because something is common does not mean it is right.
With this being said, I advise you to do the following:
Focus on your needs
Sister, you haven’t written almost anything about how you get along with this boy. No one can guarantee that your potential marriage will be successful, and may Allah make it that one. But the first and most important thing is that you put your love aside a bit and think about whether you feel that you are truly compatible with him or not.
Do you think that you find tranquility in each other and can be a source of comfort and love for each other? Think about what qualities you need in a spouse and which ones you cannot stand. Before you decide, make sure that you have reflected enough on this and know that he is the one you really need (and not want—there is a difference).
Express yourself and keep kindness
If you still want to proceed with the marriage, keep talking to your parents.
Tell them how you feel; even give them the letter you mentioned so that they can grasp your thoughts and feelings. Maintain your good manners and kindness. From your letter, it seems that your parents love you and want the best for you.
Help them understand that Allah’s plan is always the best. They need to put aside their prejudices and give this boy a chance, for the sake of Allah. Try to convince them to invite him and get to know him more.
Try to tell them that you love them and do not want to lose them for standing up for your choices. They need to trust you and respect your choices, even if they differ from theirs.
In the UK, there are good Islamic organizations; please check out some of them and find a trustworthy member of the community who can mediate between you and them.
They need to understand that they will lose the blessings of Allah if they act against His will.
Regarding your questions, I can answer them as a counselor, not a scholar. What I can say is that it is wrong to:
- draw conclusions about a person based on his nationality. The Prophet (pbuh) said clearly that there is no superiority over one another just in terms of taqwa. This should be their focus when they are considering him. Check out his video advice: Parents Rejected Him Because He Is Arab
- It is sinful to cut ties with kinship. It is not correct to use threats, blackmail, manipulation, and other means to force your opinion on others. And use your siblings and your love for them. It is a form of emotional abuse and oppression.
- As it is haram to cut ties, it is also not correct to make you choose between them and your fiancé.
If they had any sound reason, they would have already told you that. But it seems that they do not have any, so what remains are these attempts, unfortunately.
- Regarding Qs no. 9., actually, I think they can change their opinion if they become aware of something that would be a sound reason to reject your marriage.
- If they keep rejecting him, please turn to a local imam or someone who knows them and knows this boy. You can ask how you can proceed and whether someone else—an imam, for example—can be your wali in this case to get alone with the marriage ceremony.
- Please find here some sources (including the links in them) that you or your parents find beneficial.
Parents Say They’ll Cut Ties If I Marry Him, What Are the Types of Annulled Marriages?, Marriage Decisions: Finding Balance Through Shura (2), Is Marriage Without Parents’ Permission Permissible in Islam?
May Allah make it easy for you.
Question 4. Thinking of leaving Islam
Salaam Alekum. I converted many years ago. Recently I’ve been questioning myself. I live in a location with no mosque and rarely someone is Muslim. The Muslims who I have encountered are not of strong faith.
One sister who is also my landlord put me down for not having job without knowing I work small jobs of cleaning on the weekends to support my family. The same sister insulted my kid by comparison saying he was like poor people and go live in welfare building. Then she tries to send me videos of Islamic lectures? Anytime she does something for my family to purchase dinner. She doesn’t do it for good deeds. She always wants a favor in return for providing a meal. That’s why I’ve refused to sit and have iftar with her. I felt she was being a hypocrite. I had a spouse who never financially supported the household. I’ve always had to save money to cover expenses yet he would spend money like water. I’m just so weary how people who are supposed to be part of the ummah have hurt me.
Salam alaikom dear sister,
Thank you for writing. Ramadan Mubarak!
You converted to Islam but have recently started to question yourself because the Muslims around you do not have a strong faith.
Sister, I know what you mean, as I also came to the faith and had some similar experiences during these years. I think that it is something that many converts experience. This is the contrast between the perfect guidance of Allah (Islam) and the imperfect nature of humans, even some Muslims.
But you may experience different levels of truthfulness and honesty among non-Muslims and people of other faiths also. This phenomenon does not exist only among Muslims, and on top of that, there are many Muslims with excellent character and a willingness to improve and strive for the deen. May Allah help you find good company, like them.
The virtues and characteristics—kindness, truthfulness, sincerity, mercy, honesty, etc.—are universally positive traits. Islam is a beautiful religion and promotes all these virtues, among others, as they lead to personal and social wellbeing.
But it is very understandable that if you are surrounded mainly with people who have some character flaws and you notice contradictory behaviors to an ideal Muslim character, it can be disappointing. But it is not Islam to be blamed for.
As Muslims, we know that there is no difference between each other except in terms of taqwa, or God awareness or consciousness. We are also supposed to follow the example of our beloved Prophet, peace be upon him, who had the best character.
But unfortunately, this does not mean that all Muslims have equal knowledge, willingness, and taqwa to behave accordingly. Some practice less, others more. Some suffice only with the 5 pillars, while others go beyond and recognize the holistic aspect of Islam and the importance of good manners.
Living our lives according to these values is rather related to personal education, knowledge, and choices. Islam is the guidance, but these are the personal choices of people according to their free will and own level of taqwa.
And finally, everyone is responsible for their own choices and will be rewarded according to their intention, so what you need to focus on are yours.
Sister, alhamdulillah, you are blessed with more wisdom and insight about what is right and wrong, and you are better able to distinguish falsehood from truthfulness than some others.
Think of it as a great blessing, because it really is. Especially that you look around and see that it is not something all people have.
Be mindful of this gift and think about what you can do with it.
Maybe Allah chose you and placed you among certain people—whether Muslims or not—to spread the true message of Islam among them. Maybe you are the one who can bring some positive change into their life.
So, think about it as an opportunity, not a burden.
It can also be a test of faith from Allah to see if you maintain your strength and certainty despite the negative experiences.
Only Allah knows best, but with this being said, I advise you the following:
You do not need to spend too much time with those who are filled with hatred or falsehood, but keep your respect and kindness towards them. At the same time, know that only Allah sees the depth of our hearts and that everyone has some strengths and values we can learn from. Just remember the story of Al-Khidr and Musa (AS). Focus instead on their positive traits.
Maintain your honesty, and in the right moment, you can even educate them in a respectful way. Just make sure that your intentions are pure and for the sake of Allah.
If you have negative feelings and you feel frustrated in these situations, try to purify your heart by making dua for them and asking Allah to guide them towards the right path.
Also make dua to Allah to bring you closer to more pious people and to give you righteous company. There are many Muslims who are in a similar situation and looking for true friends and sisters around them.
If you do not find anything locally, you might try looking online. An Islamic course of your interest or an online sisters’ group can be a positive experience.
Question How to Know Allah Forgave Me?
How can I find out that God forgave me from my previous sins? I did many bad things against God many years ago. But straight after my sins I asked for forgiveness from God. I don’t know whether God forgave me or I still a criminal in front of his door?
Salam alaikom brother,
Let me start with some quote from the Quran.
“O My servants who have exceeded the limits against their souls! Do not lose hope in Allah’s mercy, for Allah certainly forgives all sins. He is indeed the All-Forgiving, Most Merciful. 39:53
They are˺ those who, upon committing an evil deed or wronging themselves, remember Allah and seek forgiveness and do not knowingly persist in sin—and who forgives sins except Allah? 3:135
Whoever among you commits evil ignorantly ˹or recklessly˺ then repents afterwards and mends their ways, then Allah is truly All–Forgiving, Most Merciful.” 6:54
Whoever commits evil or wrongs themselves then seeks Allah’s forgiveness will certainly find Allah All–Forgiving, Most Merciful. 4:110
I am not a scholar, but a counselor, but let me point out that these are just some examples, but with one message: Allah is Al-Ghafurm the Forgiving who forgives all, “certainly,” even if you “wronged recklessly” and “committed evil deeds”.
So, the answer to your question is that there is a promise from Allah, repeated in the Quran. You have to believe it.
The forgiveness has some conditions, as you can see in these quotes above: “repents afterwards“, “not knowingly persist is sin” and “mends their way.”
It means that your repentance in the past had to be sincere; you had to stop that sinful behavior and follow it up with honest attempts to change in action.
If you think that your repentance was not sincere enough and that you did not strive enough for change, now is a good time to start.
Just turn to Allah and seek forgiveness in your prayers. Make dua for forgiveness.
Remember, it is Ramadan, and Allah always accepts the supplications of the fasting person and the one who stands up for night prayer during this time.
Read about this here. Not to mention the last ten days and Laylatul Qadr, which are worth more than 1,000 months of worship, subhanallah.
So take advantage of this precious time of the year and ask for forgiveness and a change of heart.
After that, you can move on with the promise of Allah that He will forgive you for what you did in the past.
Try to focus on your present deeds and make sure you are striving to improve yourself.
I recommend some articles from our site on the topic: Forgiveness: A Way of Life, Repentance and Asking for Forgiveness- Any Difference?, Forgive & Seize the Days of Forgiveness,
May Allah help you with it.
Monday, Mar. 27, 2023 | 09:00 - 10:00 GMT
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