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Romance, Love & First Encounters (Counseling Q/A)

Dear Brother/Sisters,

Thank you for participating in the session.

Here are the 4 questions our counselor could provide answers for. If you do not find yours below, please submit it to one of the upcoming live sessions or check the answers there.

Thank you for your understanding.

Question 1. Feeling peace right at first encounter


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We are on a holiday group trip and accidentally had an eye contact with a man. Funny is it begin with eye locking, being pulled toward him, and felt so familiar as if we have met before as a best friend, even though we haven’t met.

We didn’t talk, but since that encounter do feel at peace, worries and sorrow dispelled away, being more feminine, giving up beliefs and habits that disrupt my well- being without much effort, gaining more clarity and acceptance in life, and having more hopeful worldview.

It’s like a life-changing encounter. Is that a soulmate and are those signs as potential husband? What does Islam say about this. And what steps further should I take with such encounter?

Jazak Allah.


Salam alaikom sister,

Thank you for writing into the live session. You relate your first encounter with someone, which seems to have had a great and positive effect on you. You haven’t talked, but you made eye contact, and you felt at peace, felt familiarity, felt more feminine, etc.

You feel that it is a life changing encounter because it helped you give up beliefs and habits that disrupts, you gained more clarity and hopeful worldview.

Masallah, sister, this sounds very nice.

I cannot tell you for sure whether these are signs of meeting your future spouse or not. Usually, we interpret these signs as signs when we look back and reflect upon our meaningful encounters in life.

But as far as I know, in the Islamic tradition, there is no literature about signs that predict meeting your future spouse.

I have no knowledge about talking about “soulmates” in Islam either. It is a concept that I think is related to other traditions. It is based on the concept of perfect complementarity between the partners and, in some traditions, even the divinity of their union, which is obviously outside the Islamic perspective. Check out this video, for example.

Allah says in the Quran:

“And We created pairs of all things so perhaps you would be mindful.” (Quran 51:49)


“We created you from a male and a female and made you into peoples and tribes so that you may ˹get to˺ know one another.” (Quran 49:13)

Yes, Allah created us in pairs so that we would know each other and grow. We know each other and ourselves through others. This is a part of our journey in life as well as a test.

And what we have is the Qadr of Allah. The meeting with our future spouse has been decided by Allah. He chooses our partner and hastens or delays his or her arrival until the right moment arrives.

We are all going to be tested, and marriage is one of the places where we are strongly tested.

Allah says in the Quran:

 “And one of His signs is that He created for you spouses from among yourselves so that you may find comfort in them. And He has placed between you compassion and mercy. Surely in this are signs for people who reflect.” (Quran 30:21)

The purpose of this union is to find comfort in each other. He placed compassion and mercy in us in order to be able to forgive and overcome differences during marriage.

So, we have to strive for these values in our marriages in order to have comfort in life. Also, ideally, marriage would help us get closer to Allah, be better people, and help each other grow with the deen.

That is why, instead of searching for signs, the Prophet in one authentic hadith recommended prioritizing the religiosity of a future spouse over other characteristics, like status, wealth, and beauty.

The most important question is whether your future spouse will help you get closer to Allah or not. And if you want to find someone who does, you also need to work on your connection with Allah in order to be better spiritual companions for each other.

Are Not Conditions

Feelings of peace, attraction, and familiarity can all be present when you meet your future spouse, but these are not conditions of the encounter. There are couples who are successfully married and haven’t had these feelings or have had different ones.

And these feelings can be explained by other factors as well, for example, similarity in characters, temperament, and attitudes. You may find familiar the “vibes” of someone who shares similar mindsets and attitudes with you, or his physical features may remind you of someone you closely know.

Also, having these feelings does not guarantee a happy marriage without any struggles.

And one more thing: Allah may place people in our way in order to improve and get closer to him, but without marriage.

What is important is to be grateful for every encounter and experience that helps us get closer to Allah and gain ihsaan.

With this being said, sister, I recommend you the following:

Try to find out more about him to see whether there are chances for marriage. If you know someone in common, you can also inform yourself about how he is and what else to know about him.

If there is a chance for more, I would encourage you to involve your family members or someone who can be your wali to help you arrange an encounter.

I recommend setting realistic expectations. If there is no chance to find him, let it go for now so as not to lose other meaningful proposals on the way.

Also, if you meet again, I recommend that you stay on the ground and not let your initial assumptions lead you. These are very positive and hopeful feelings, but make sure that you do not overlook important incompatibilities and “red flags” due to them.

Check out these videos, for example: this, this and this.

At some point, do the istikhara prayer, either before you start looking for him or before or after another meeting. Here is an article about how to interpret the signs of the prayer for marriage.

Sister, put your trust in Allah. I know that waiting for the right one fills us with hope at each positive encounter, and we are eager to find out whether he is “the one” or not. But be sure that Allah has the one for you, and He will put him on your way when the moment is right. And it will be impossible to miss it! Make dua and continue hoping for His guidance and love for you.

Question 2. About relationship and marriage

I fell in love with my school teacher and then I had his contact so we communicated and I loved him more but he had someone he loved and they married their marriage will be 2 years now so if I call him he usually says he is busy and I love him so much sometimes I have this feelings that he doesn’t like me.

Please help me am confused


Salam alaikom sister,

You say that you fell in love with your school teacher. You communicated sometimes. He is married, and he usually says that he is busy. But you love him, although you have the feeling that he does not like you.

Sister, I assume from your letter that you have not been involved in any form of romantic relationship with your school teacher, but you have very strong feelings of love for him.

If that is the case, I am sorry if it sounds harsh, but I have to remind you that your teacher is a husband and has a wife. So, I am not exactly sure what your goals and expectations are regarding this situation.

You know that, as a Muslim, to be in a romantic relationship with someone and act upon these feelings of love, you need to get married first. And if you fall in love with someone who is already married, it is a kind of “dead-end” situation, especially if this love is one-sided and not reciprocated by the other person.

I am not sure, but according to this letter, it seems that you have communicated sometimes, but usually he says that he is busy, and you sometimes feel that he does not like you.

Sister, it seems to me that he is trying to maintain some kind of boundary with you, and I think it is the right thing to do. So, I kindly advise you to respect him and his marriage and try to distance yourself.

He is your teacher, so you will undoubtedly have some contact with him. But he is a married man, so I think you need to step back and realize that your love and expectations are kind of imaginary ones.

I am sorry to tell you that, and I know that you may feel hurt right now, but it would be better for you not to pursue a relationship that has a very low chance of ending in marriage. I kindly suggest that you orient yourself toward forming a halal relationship with someone in the future.

So what to do?

  • First, I advise you to stop contacting him and limit your interactions to the necessary ones in school. Do not approach him alone; rather, do so when you are with other schoolmates, and only when necessary. It may take time until your feelings lessen, but you can help with it if you shift your focus and engage in other things with your friends, with studies, and of course with strengthening your imaan through extra worship and learning about the deen.
  • Try to understand your feelings. Having feelings of love is a blessing from Allah, and it is natural for both men and women. But as a Muslim, you need to keep these feelings within the boundaries of marriage. Feeling love is not a sin, but acting on your feelings outside of marriage is.
  • And if something cannot happen in a halal way, it is better to let it go, as you will not have the blessings of Allah in it anyway. Also, if this love is only felt by one and not reciprocated by the other, it is better to look for real alternatives.
  • Learn more about Islamic marriage and the relationships between a Muslim man and woman. You can take an online course on marriage preparations as well. About Islam also has a regular webinar on marriage preparation. Here are some good articles from our site: this, this, this and this, for example.
  • Write down what you are looking for in a future spouse. What are the characteristics you like? Then try to write down what you need in a relationship. Compare the two lists and see where your likes and needs are met and which areas you need to revise in order to match them.
  • Start new activities or focus on a hobby you like. Exercise and take care of your physical and mental health. 
  • Strengthen your imaan by holding on to your daily prayers. Incorporate some extra worship; for example, spend time in remembrance of Allah in the morning before you go to school. Try to increase your taqwa and be mindful of Allah during the day. 

I hope these tips help you. May Allah help you, sister, on the way.

Question 3. Is this love?

Assalamualiakum, I am 17 years old. I study in 11th grade and I am confused that I am in love or not with a girl. I feel a sense of affection for the girl and sometimes a possessiveness towards her and can’t live without asking her how is she and I maintain a physical distance from her as per the Islamic ruling. I think I love her and I miss her every day and I can’t stop making dua for her health and also for making us keep together and the main point is we are best friends. We have a conversation with her on Instagram on a daily basis if I can’t we just have a talk on the bus. I am confused If I am in love with her or not. Can you guide me according to the Islamic perspective Is it love or not


Salam alaikom brother,

Thank you for writing to us. You are asking about a girl who is your best friend. And according to your letter, you start developing feelings for her, and you want to know whether it is love or not.

Brother, I think the concepts of love, affection, attraction, and friendly feelings are not strictly separated categories. There is an overlap between them, and they can exist at once. For example, you can feel attraction for a friend, feel affection and attraction for someone, or the one you love can be your best friend at the same time.

For us, Muslims, what matters is the setting in which you live and express these feelings. What matters is whether you act on them in a context that is halal or sinful.

In and of itself, feeling attracted to a girl, feeling a sense of affection, “possessiveness,” as you put it, and caring for her is very natural.

Allah placed in humans the capability to develop these feelings for each other in order to create bonds, find comfort, and find companionship:

 “And one of His signs is that He created for you spouses from among yourselves so that you may find comfort in them. And He has placed between you compassion and mercy. Surely in this are signs for people who reflect.” (Quran 30:21)

So, when you start noticing these feelings in you for someone, know that it is very normal and there is nothing wrong with it.

However, as a Muslim, you can develop and express (i.e., act upon) these feelings only within the boundaries of marriage.

It is your wife for whom you will be “expected” to feel love, affection, attraction, etc. And if you can be best friends (i.e., you have good and open communication and feel understood by each other), that is a “bonus” and will help you overcome many obstacles in your marriage, in sha Allah.

So, with this being said, dear brother, yes, you may feel some kind of love for your friend. But there is something more important: you need to decide what you want to do with these feelings in order to keep them in a halal way.

You may have noticed that these feelings fluctuate and can be more intense or less intense depending on whether you cultivate them or not.

If you spend more and more time with your friend and think more and more of her, it is normal that your feelings will be stronger. Why could this be a problem? Because it can gradually lead to the point where you can’t control your feelings and desires and end up committing a sin.

And the key is graduality, because if one were invited to commit zina, he or she would most likely say no right away; may Allah forgive and protect us. But if your relationship increases gradually, first by, for example, only saying salam, then a few words, then texting, then having a coffee after school and talking on the way, etc., you might not stop until it is too late.

That is why Islam does not support opposite-sex friendships. It is difficult to separate overlapping feelings from each other and make sure that a simple, friendly attitude does not turn into love and attraction with time.

I know that you are still young. But you need to think about whether you would be able to marry her soon or not. Can you imagine your life with her?

If yes, then you may take steps towards it. And if yes, but a bit later in life, know that if you are meant to be husband and wife, it will happen by the will of Allah. So, you can step back now and wait for the right moment.

And if not, I think it is best to set up some boundaries, even if they hurt in the beginning. It might hurt, but surely it will hurt much less if you involve yourself in something that cannot happen in a halal way.

I am not sure whether she is a Muslim or not. If yes, it would be easier to understand that it is the right thing to do and you will be rewarded for it.

But if not, she might not understand why keeping boundaries is important for you. In this case, I would recommend talking to her and explaining what Islam says about male-female relationships, friendships, and marriage. Especially if your future marriage is a possibility. I am sure she will understand why Allah’s guidance is important for you.

I kindly advise you to:

  • Think about the final goal of this relationship and see whether you can manage it in a halal way. If not, it might be time to start distancing yourself.
  • I know that it feels good to have a friend who understands you. But with the opposite sex, it is risky, which is why it is discouraged in the religion. Be grateful to Allah for this experience, but be mindful of Him and know that His command is for your own good and protection. 
  • When you interact with her and with others, be mindful of Allah (have taqwa) and have pure intentions. Insha Allah, this will protect you and maintain your chastity. 
  • Talk about Islam with her and explain how we, Muslims, deal with each other, what our values are, and why. You will increase your knowledge and, therefore, your imaan this way. If she is your friend, she will understand why you need to distance yourself.
  • If there is any chance for a future marriage, you can start learning about Islamic marriage and help her increase her knowledge as well. On our site, for example, there are many good articles on marriage preparation. Check out these, for example: this, this, and thisWe also hold a webinar regularly. Show them to her and encourage her to learn more about Islam. 
  • Continue making dua for her and for yourself. Ask Allah to help you find the right one for you. And ask Him to guide her towards Islam.

I hope it helped you clarifying it, may Allah bless and protect you!

Question 4. Family problem

Assalaamu alaikum
I come from very small family where we are only two daughters. I had just turned 30 and my sister had just turned 36. We have always been close until she started seeing her second husband whom she had recently gotten married to and had a baby with.

I could never take a liking to her current husband because I know the lies that she told us as a family just to be with him, leaving her teenage daughter and then two-year-old son for me to take care of, whilst she would say that she is working but would be out with him. Be that as it may.

In the last year my mum has fallen ill and had just had a major op to help her health issues. The problem is that my sister has become such a burden to me, although she is not living in our household. For example, although we enjoy to have the kids over, she expects us to feed her entire family of five, knowing how expensive food is (without bringing anything to contribute). This would be the case every single weekend Friday, Saturday and Sunday. They would leave and I would have to be the one to clean up her kid’s mess. She leaves her one son whom is eight years with us every weekend. She expects me to babysit her one-year-old son whenever she needs or wants me to, although I have said no before, she ignored my no and just dropped him off anyways. With no regard for my private time whatsoever. There is basically no room for me to breath because herself and her kids are always over at our place, every day of the weekend and sometimes during the weekdays too.

Ramadan is my favorite time of the year and I say this with a saddened heart, last Ramadan was my least favorite. I am placed under immense pressure to cook and bake for them every day of the holy month. Cooking for others brings me joy, however the financial burden it forces me to carry is a heavy one. Instead of cooking for (and purchasing food for) our family of 3(myself and my parents), I have to do it to eight of us, without any financial assistance from anyone. For the entire month there were only two nights where my sister has brought food to prepare.

My mother and I are the only ones working, and my mother refuses to tell my sister that she cannot come over to our place every single weekend with her family without bringing anything along. Which brings me to the point that my parents have been married for almost 40 years but they have started living past each other to the point where I am now in the middle. They will not speak to each other. My father gets upset when we say that he has to find a way to contribute in the household and because of this to prevent arguments i step in and do not only my part, but his too and this screws my finances big time.

I have never had any intention of moving out, I was going to extend our property so that I could always be with my parents. I have started the process of obtaining building quotations etc. but my dad has not once been interested or asked me any questions about it. The minute my sister said that she plans on renovating her house my dad went out and got her quotations on material. I felt so sad that he was not interested in my building but could easily attend to her needs. I have then decided that I will save up and move out.
I have tried speaking to them individually, to no avail.
I kindly request any advice on how to deal with this as I am sure that circumstances will not change and because when I do speak up, nothing happens.



Salam alaikom, dear sister

Thank you for turning to us.

Sister, I am sorry for this situation. From what you present in your letter, it is understandable that you feel this way and see your help and contributions as burdens.

You said that you tried to speak up, but nothing happened. I’m not sure if this means talking to your parents or your sister. It would be good to know what their responses were and how they see the situation in order to get a clearer picture.

In these scenarios, usually the best solution is some form of mediation, where both sides are heard and then, with the help of a neutral third party, some form of compromise is reached.

Do you eventually know anyone who could fill this role in your situation? Someone who both you and your family trust and are willing to accept his or her help?

If yes, I strongly recommend that you turn to a counselor, imam, another family member, etc. together to help you find a balance by setting up new norms and rules and trying to adhere to them.

Let me give you some tips on how you can generate some changes that will hopefully make you feel better. 

Regarding your sister

Sister, how was your relationship when you were children? Did you get along well? Was there any rivalry or resentment back then? 

You mention her second husband and that you were close to each other until they met. You say that you were struggling to accept that she lied to you and your family about spending time with her future husband.

My question is to ponder: how did her behavior make you feel? What exactly was or is difficult to accept? Was this the point when your relationship started to change?

I am asking these questions because I think if you want to solve the situation, it would be good if you could see whether there are any underlying issues in your relationship beyond the apparent and practical ones you describe in your letter. If there are, you need to talk about them and forgive each other in order to fully overcome these difficulties.

Sharing responsibilities and finances

You write that you live with your parents. I assume that you are not married and have no kids yet. Your sister coming over and being together to enjoy each other’s company is a good thing, and according to your letter, you also find joy in it, alhamdulillah.

You know, sister, each family has its own dynamics and roles are “assigned” among the members. And I know cases where a married sister with kids considers it somehow “evident” that her unmarried sibling has enough time and willingness to take care of her kids without even questioning her availability or her limits for helping out. It is taken as something obvious, especially if she still lives with her parents. It is a matter of boundaries within family members.

Furthermore, in some cultures or in some families, it is considered extremely “rude” to refuse helping each other in need, even if this brings a real burden to someone.

But the thing is that there should be a balance, and none of the parties should take advantage of the situation. Even if the setup is not identical, i.e., you do not have kids to go over to their home or ask her to take care of them, some kind of agreement about compensation would be just.

I am not sure, but maybe your sister considers your home (where you live with your mom and dad) as “her home,” as that is where she grew up with your parents. It’s possible that being fed and cared for there is natural for her. She might need to realize that even if this was her childhood safe place, you are both grown adults now with certain responsibilities, even financial ones. Your roles have been changed, and it necessitates some adjustments.

Maybe that is why your mother also finds this situation “normal.” At the same time, it should not be expected of you to feel the same way, as you are not the primary caregiver of your sister and her family. Between you, there should be some kind of “equality,” a balance in roles and responsibilities, when you are together at your parents’ house.

Of course, if you lived somewhere else alone, these boundaries would be clearer. So, if you finally decide to move away, that would naturally help with setting new norms in your own home.

However, if you decide to stay with your parents, I kindly advise you to speak with your sister about adjusting the situation and arriving at a compromise where both of you feel OK. With kindness, without being too emotional. 

I think this is the issue that needs to be fixed between she and you because, as I said, your mother’s perspective is different. Try to let her know how this makes you feel and what it practically means, especially the financial burden. She has to understand that even if you still live at your parents’ house, your constant financial responsibility for her and her kids’ expenses is an act of kindness and not an obligation on you. Try to ask her how she would like to balance this situation—what are her ideas to contribute to or compensate you?

Make a list of scenarios you would find more just. What should be change in order you feel Ok with the situation? Less “babysitting” time? Or respecting when you say no? More financial contributions? Make the expenses fifty-fifty? Distributing: who prepares or brings the food? Helping with the cleaning?

Think about it, note it down, and you can even share it with your sister when it is appropriate. Let her know that you would like to reach a compromise and set new norms. And it does not mean that you are not happy helping out with her kids or cooking for the whole family. Hopefully, she will understand it. As I said earlier, you can involve a third person, if you know any, who could mediate between you.

Regarding your parents

I’m sorry if you feel like you’re in the middle of both of them; this may be due to the fact that you live together.

At the same time, sister, you have to know that the conflicts of their marriage primarily have to be solved by them. Their disagreements are their tests, and while Allah promised reward for those who help settle conflicts, it is their relationship, and they need to work on finding a balance in their duties and responsibilities.

Encourage them to resolve their differences among themselves, but do not bear the burden of their conflicts.

You say that they treat you somehow differently. Maybe I am wrong, but it seems to me that you are treated as an adult, responsible individual who does not need as much support as your sister.

It happens that parents treat siblings differently: one is more “pampered” (usually the younger one) while the other is held more responsible, which naturally leads to feelings of jealousy and unjustice.

Sister, if you want to deal with these feelings, I recommend seeing a counselor and delving deeper into your family dynamics and core beliefs about family roles. This will help you put your feelings in the right place and find ways to communicate your needs in an effective way.

May Allah help you with it!

Monday, Jan. 23, 2023 | 09:00 - 10:00 GMT

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