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Counseling Session on Family, Parents and Forgiveness

Dear Brother/Sisters,

Thank you for participating in the session.

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Please see the four questions answered by our counselor. If you do not find yours, check the upcoming session or submit it again. 

Thank you for understanding.

Question 1. Husband and his faith

My husband is converted to Islam, but now he feels not being able standing behind, of several reasons, one is people believe bad about Muslims, second because his mother died and could not cope with it. What should we do, what should I do?

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My husband converted to Islam almost 12 years ago. His mother never finds a way to cope with it. So she putted a lot of pressure on him and us, trying to bring Christianity close to us, like we should celebrate Christmas having Christmas tree, and we are evil not giving our kids something such great and holding them back and so forth. But also other stuff if do not do something like she expected the whole family was gathered against us and we needed to explain. Such situations occurs on quite banal simple stuff like eating mussels. For me it’s just something that I can not swallow. So I will be judged that I am wrong because of it and ungrateful that she is interested making food for me. But she never asked what I like, rather she focused to offer and cook what we clearly dislike and several times denied kindly, like thank you appreciate it but I can not eat or like such a thing, but you buy for you and we cook two dishes… Often ends up in family pressure and gratefulness. The last Christmas she brought sparkling wine without alcohol. I brought that for us, so I said thank you but the taste and smell brings me to vomit. I am really sorry but I can not drink it. But she complained she has brought it to me, and she expected we drink so I said I can not. So she went to supermarket and both syrup and offered me again. And I said no with repeating myself.the whole night I spend listening to her and her tragedylife, that her father took his life in front of her, and all the other…. My response was more likely you think it’s bad for you, but it may more hood in it than you. But with a lot of mercy, she felt good and I thought elhamdulilah she is gonna to be fine. The day after she called in front of us family members and told them how disappointed she is, that we do not allow our kids a tree for Christmas, that every house have Christmas stuff on house only ours not, that we will have with people, that we are punishing our kids, I do not drink sparkling wine even if she intended the best, I am so grateful….

I lost my control that morning and screemed the first and last time, I will not seek with you anymore I will not allow you anymore to manipulate me. Everyone on the other side has here it, and of course she continued to call all others and inform about it. After that my husband and she have an argument, she went home. I took 2 month to reflect, let her know that she is grandmother of my kids, and mother of my son, I want her close. But I do not like the way we deal with each other and I want to reflect over it, what is it that makes me acting in that way. It was February when we visited her on her 65 birthday, she was calm and tired. Two days later she had brain bleeding and died just few days later. Now my husband is not talking about it much, but he is taking responsibility of it, and I have sometimes the feeling that he is belief I am the one, because without me he would not have such issues. But also before me he had and when I remind him he confirms.

This has lead to a lot pain in our marriage. So, if I am praying isha in summer (Sweden quite late) so he is angry I not come in bad, he is angry on the prayer, while I need to respond when he is calling. But this creates a burden to me. Making the choice between salah and him. He has stopped to pray. Now I know a lot of psychology and a lot of religion, but I do not know what else to do. The opinions differ, regarding prayer, regarding divorce and yesterday I asked him, the promise of hajj will never happen you do not stand behind and he said no. Not yet. We have two kids, I sometimes feel we Cinderella, when I do everything that we will go to mosque, but the truth is he will find thousands way not to do or to delay it, when I call it out than it means I have no patient, I am aggressive or doing pressure. When I say I waited already weeks but nothing happened and how he would I am saying it? I waited 11 years for circumcision and how much patient should I be that he do not bother. Than he says it’s no big deal not one expected. When I say you may risk the prayer, it’s not worth, he sees differently. When I ask for praying with me it’s more likely other do not pray and are also Muslim. So, I asked him why do you take the worst and the best one as example. I fearing to losing my religion, and my kids. I am fearing my husband lose it. And I know I am not in control of it my Lord is it, and he turns hearts as he want. But what advise you have to me? Should I continue this marriage or not?

Answer:

Salam alaikom dear sister,

Thank you for sharing your struggle. Your main concern is that your husband seems to be negligent with his worship, delays and misses prayer, delays going to the masjid, and in general seems not to be enthusiastic when it comes to religion.

You say he compares himself with other Muslims who do not pray either, instead of setting good examples. The fact that people “think badly of Islam” pushes him back, plus he lost his mother, who never fully accepted his conversion. Additionally, there were some conflicts between you and your in-laws, which you detail in your letter.

Sister, I understand that if you practice Islam, learn about it, and study psychology, and you love your husband, you are naturally concerned about his spiritual and mental well-being. If you have taqwa, God-consciousness, and you fear Allah, you will automatically fear for your loved ones as well.

Besides, the Quran commands us to enjoin good and forbid evil, so it is very natural that you try to guide your husband with the best intentions and care for him.

Allah is in control

“And I know I am not in control of it my Lord is it, and He turns hearts as He wants.”

This is your statement, and I agree with you. So, I kindly suggest that you take this approach and focus on your worship and your connection with Allah.

You say that you fear that your husband will lose his religion, and you and your kids will too.

Sister, while we do and should care for our family, everyone is responsible for their own actions, and at the end, Allah is the one who guides. So, while your husband may risk his faith if he is negligent, you can only risk yours if you also neglect your religious obligations.

According to your letter, you do not, so I encourage you to keep on the straight path and maintain your focus on your relationship with Allah.

You say that he thinks that you are “impatient, aggressive, and pressuring” him. It may not be the case; it may not be how you intend to be, but he perceives your behavior as such for some reason. And if we are pressured, we naturally push back.

Encourage with your example

The best way to show the beauty of religion is by example. Try to practice Islam according to your best, both in worship and in manners, and leave the rest to Allah.

If your husband sees that you are feeling great, are content, are shining, and are able to cope with struggles in life thanks to Islam, he may realize the importance of faith and be more willing to do more.

Encourage with your manners

Furthermore, try to follow the example of the Prophet and show the best manners possible in your daily life. Be kind and loving, be patient and understanding, etc., with him, and focus on the things you love about him.

You both might come from different backgrounds. This is great, but it also has some challenges. I am not sure, but maybe it is also an intercultural marriage, plus he comes from a Christian background. It means that you both need to be open, accepting, and respectful of differences.

This is not an interfaith marriage, although your husband comes from Christianity. Alhamdulillah, he embraced Islam. At the same time, he has to feel that his family and traditions are respected. Everyone has their own pace, and we need to be careful not to force upon others our religion. 

Conversation about Muslims

Sister, I agree with you that, when it comes to religion, we have to look upon those who are better than us and take them as examples. This is what Islam teaches us. Be this person for your husband without setting expectations for him. Just let your worries go and make dua for him; he does not even need to know that.

If there are other Muslims around you, whether family members or friends, tell them to invite your husband more and to spend more time with good Muslim company. It would be good for him if he knew other practicing Muslims as well.

Show him the Seerah

At the same time, I understand that he does not like that people have a negative perception of Muslims. But actually, our history is full of examples like this, and no one suffered more from the bad treatment of non-Muslims than the Prophet (peace be upon him) and his Companions.

Show him the seerah and help him to understand that we are not the first and probably not the last who are treated unfairly because of our faith. But we’re not here to please others; we’re here to please Allah. Try to be gentle when you talk with him about religion and let go your intentions of wanting to convince him about the truth. Double-check your intentions and remind yourself that Allah is in control.

His mother

His mother passed away this year, which means that he may still be actively mourning her death. Grief has several stages, and during these processes, people struggle with different, sometimes contradicting feelings and thoughts about the lost one. He can have feelings of blame, anger, and guilt—these are very normal reactions—but finally, in sha Allah, he will be able to put into the right perspective what happened.

I am not sure whether that conflict with her mother is still “in the air,” but if you think that talking about it and asking for forgiveness would help, I encourage you to do that.

I understand your disturbance over what has happened between you and your mother-in-law. However, admitting that you lost control of your words but repented may benefit both you and your husband.

Sometimes there is no direct opportunity left to apologize for our shortcomings, but we can do that through a letter, through our prayers, or through our loved ones. Talk to your husband and let him know that you love him and let him to express his frustration as well. If you forgive to each other, relief will come in sha Allah.

The kids

The role of a father is very important when it comes to practicing Islam. Children will look up to their fathers as role models, imitating his behavior and attitude.

No one is perfect, sister. We all have shortcomings, and even those who practice regularly and outwardly fulfill their duties still have many things to improve. But we can only work on ourselves, trying our best to be good examples for our kids.

Teach your kids about Islam, take action, and do not wait for your husband to do that. Teach them the Quran and the Seerah, pray together, and take them to the masjid or to Islamic classes. There are wonderful online options for kids too. Ask your husband to join, but if he refuses, stay positive and just do it with the kids.

Counseling

You may try couple counseling, at least to settle some past conflicts and prevent future ones. Plus, it might help him to cope with the loss of his mother and move on together as a family.

I wish you the best, sister; may Allah ease

Question 2. I feel so alone in my life, like my parents will never love me and I don’t know how to carry on

I’ve done some bad things in the past (like speaking to boys) and my parents were obviously very upset with me. I feel like I’ll never be able to move on from what happened – they don’t trust me anymore. I know it was my fault but even years later all I feel is shame at home.

I just wish they’d be kind to me sometimes when I need help or want to talk about things but they always get angry when I’m upset. My mother thinks I’m trying to play the victim every time I cry even though I only cry in front of her because I need someone’s help. I feel awful and have felt this way ever since I was a child. I’m scared to speak to them and try to stay away at home, I stay in my room and study when I can and that’s all I do most of the time.
I’m not allowed to have many friends unless it’s a family friend because they won’t approve of anyone; if my friends don’t wear abaya for example (even if they wear modest clothing and hijab) my parents won’t like them.
I hate it when they judge my friends for not being perfect; I know they just don’t want me to be influenced in a bad way but it’s awful how they just decide whether someone loves Allah and religion just by looking at them.
Even I am not allowed to wear anything except a plain black abaya – not even a long dress.

I feel really alone now. I’ve spoken to my parents and told them I really want to fix things, that I want to feel safe at home like my friends do. I don’t want to dread the weekends and the holidays like I do now. My mother got very angry and told me I was being unislamic, that the only Islamic way to deal with sadness was to pray and read Qur’an. She does not want to help me because she says I don’t deserve it after I’ve lied about who I am and where I’ve gone at times in the past. I’m just so scared to tell them anything about myself in case they get mad at me for it… I don’t know what to do anymore.

I pray that Allah will help me out of this, to escape from here but I’m not sure whether or not it is right to blame my parents. I know I’ve done awful things but I truly believe I’d be able to change if I just felt like I had a loving home to go to. All I want is a family like everyone else I know but my mother says I ask for too much, that life isn’t all rainbows and butterflies and that I shouldn’t expect people to love me – not even them.

Everyone always says “no matter what they say, your parents still love you” but it feels so useless to hear that because no matter how hard I beg for them to just give me a hug or listen to me it always backfires. My youngest sibling is shoved and pushed around a lot of the time and I can see the toll it’s taking on her, she’s starting to hit people a lot more and so she gets yelled at even worse each time. All I hear most of the day is her crying and I feel awful. I have other siblings too, but they’re older and already awful in so many different ways. Violent at times, unloving and untrustworthy.
If my parents really loved us would they have let us grow into these kinds of people?

Sometimes I wish I could just leave but I know there’s nowhere for me to go and that it would be really wrong to leave them. I’ve spent so many years of my life just wishing for it to be over. I know I’d feel guilty leaving my younger siblings with them because they don’t deserve to grow up in that kind of environment, getting physically hurt and yelled at for such little things. I can’t protect any of them and I just feel so useless when I look at the situation. It feels like every decision I could make is the wrong decision.

Please help me decide what to do, I don’t know how I’ll get through the rest of my studies like this. I feel like I’ve given up already but I know I’ll never be happy if I do just stop trying

Answer:

Salam alaikom wa rahmatullah dear sister,

Thank you for writing to us. I am really sorry to hear your story. It must be very hard to feel that your parents are not there for you when you need them. When you need a hug or want to be listened to, you meet backfires and anger instead.

Sadly, other siblings, especially the younger ones, also suffer from physical harm and yelling. You would like to protect them, but you feel useless in those situations.

Well, let me start by saying that physical violence and abuse should not be the way to treat each other at home. It can really harm your integrity and well-being on multiple levels and does not lead to any benefits, just more hatred and violence.

Unfortunately, in many cultures, physical violence is used as a common tool of child discipline and runs in families from generation to generation. Emotional intelligence and empathetic understanding are simply not on the table in some families. Children are growing up without being taught to identify and manage their emotions.

So, when they grow up, they will also face difficulties managing emotionally tense situations in a calm, respectful manner and supporting their children in a healthy way.

You say: “They always get angry when I’m upset. My mother thinks I’m trying to play the victim every time I cry.” It seems that she has difficulty being a source of comfort for you when you need it. Maybe your mother has difficulty recognizing and responding to your needs in a loving and healthy way.

Sister, I am not trying to take away her responsibility for her actions. Try to understand her: she is perhaps unable to be there for you because she simply does not know how to do that.

Their inability is not your fault, nor is it your siblings’; try not to condemn yourself and question your self-worth, even if it is very painful and hurts.

It seems that your parents have difficulty expressing their love for you and for your siblings in a proper way. But it does not mean that they do not love or care for you.

Too much restrictions

I am sure that they try to protect you from the harm they perceive around you. There are many things going on in today’s society that could be a good reason for that.

Apparently, they fear that you might lose Islam if you are exposed to certain things, and they try to protect you by overly controlling behavior and restrictions.

Unfortunately, while they might have the best intentions, these types of treatment just can push you away from them and from the deen and can seriously affect your mental health.

The deprivation of love is one of a child’s biggest fears, even if they are older, just like you. When it is used to gain control and power, it becomes a very destructive force.

What can you do?

Sister, although I haven’t heard the other side of the story from your parents, it seems to me that they would need to adjust their way of parenting and understand that if they want to protect you from any harm, they have to learn to be there for you and be ready to listen to your needs. 

You said that you had tried to speak with them about fixing things, but they told you that they could not trust you after you had lied to them.

I advise you to keep initiating conversations in a positive, kind tone and ask them to forgive you for your past shortcomings. Ask them to understand you and that you aren’t perfect, just like them either. We all make mistakes, but Allah is the Most Forgiving and Merciful.

You can assure them that you would like to regain their trust and let them know how it makes you feel to feel unloved and ignored.

You can involve a third person as well, who they trust and who can be on your side.

Parenting

It would be very good if you could participate in a family counseling session together. Preferably with a Muslim counselor or an imam whom your mother respects and who can mediate between you.

It would also be very beneficial if they would participate in an Islamic parenting session and learn about the manners of our beloved Prophet towards his family and children. 

If this is not possible, try to find some online sources on Islamic parenting. Alhamdulillah, there are growing numbers of available materials and even online courses. Check these for example: Raising Better Humans and Muslims: Parenting in Muslim Tradition, Today’s Parenting: Balancing Between Us and Them, This Style of Parenting May Push Your Children Far from Islam

Also, there are online social media groups for Muslim parents where parents discuss common, everyday issues and give and receive advice from each other according to the Sunnah. Learning from other parents could be very beneficial, as she can reflect on her behavior and make changes for the better.

Counseling

I also suggest you find a local youth counselor who can help you restore your love for yourself. Someone who can assist you and teach you some techniques to cope with a situation like this.  You are a lovable, beautiful human being, despite whether others around you recognize it or not. Your self-worth should not depend on the attention you receive.  

Physical violence

If you experience domestic violence, please try to raise awareness of the problem by speaking to your parents first and by telling them how this makes you feel. This is not Islamic and is not supported by our religion.

They need to stop hurting you and your siblings, and they need to learn how to deal with you in a more respectful manner.

If you feel that your or your sibling’s physical safety is in danger, please turn to a youth association or ask your local community to help you.

Allah, the ultimate source of comfort

Finally, do not forget, sister, that the ultimate source of comfort and help is Allah. It is very sad if we cannot find help from our loved ones. It is a test; maybe it is your test. Know that while others you need might not be there for you, Allah is always there.

Strengthen your connection with Him; pray more; make dua; and do extra worship.

If you need comfort, remember the words of Allah:

“Surely in Allah’s remembrance do hearts find rest.” (Quran 13:28)

Question 3. Childhood sins haunt me

As’salamu alaikum dear brothers and sisters. I’m 14 and my sins from times on which I didn’t hit puberty yet haunt me.I used to steal from a small store, stuff like keychains and surprise eggs I was 6-10 years old at that time I knew that stealing was haram but I didn’t have the capacity to realize that what I was doing is wrong. I cannot find the owner of the shop. Does it count as a sin? And is it okay if I give charity in the name of the shop owner? I also used to bully a classmate of mine at that age I found her and gave her a genuine apology. Does that count as a sin too?

My heart is burning because of guilt please help me

Answer:

Salam alaikom dear sister,

Thank you for writing. You are asking about sins that you committed earlier in your childhood. You mention that you stole from the small store keychains and surprise eggs when you were between 6 and 10, and now you feel very guilty.

Sister, you are still very young, in your teens, and you were even younger when you committed these actions. Actually, you gave the explanation: you knew that stealing was haram, but you didn’t have the capacity to realize that it was wrong.

There is a very simple reason for that: you did not reach cognitive maturation then. This includes the formation of moral judgment, when one is able to decide between right and wrong.

According to modern psychology, the formation of moral judgment is a developmental process. 

The probably most widely-known theory was developed by Lawrence Kohlberg who argued that there are 3 main stages of the moral judgment formation.

Of course, these stages serve more as orientation, and on an individual level, you can observe differences.  

The first stage—which lasts until about age 9—is called Preconventional Morality. During this stage, you might be aware that there is a punishment for a certain action, but you might prioritize your own needs, like wanting to get a surprise egg at all costs.

Later in adolescence, you internalize the rules of permissible and prohibited behaviors and start to act according to them.

Sister, I am sure you see that this is exactly what happened to you, so know that this is the normal way of development. Furthermore, you are not alone: many children “break the rules” when they are young; this is a very common behavior.

Alhamdulillah, Islam is perfectly in balance with this: this is why, due to their lack of sound judgment, children are not accountable for their actions. Check this article out.

So, back to your question, you realized that you had done some things in your past that were wrong, and you repented.

What can you do?

If your repentance is sincere, ask forgiveness from Allah. Allah is All-Forgiving, All-Merciful:

 „And seek Allah’s forgiveness—indeed, Allah is All-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (Quran 4:106)

When you have asked for forgiveness, you can expect that Allah has forgiven you, as this is what the Quran says:

 „But whoever repents after their wrongdoing and mends their ways, Allah will surely turn to them in forgiveness. Indeed, Allah is All-Forgiving, Most Merciful..” (Quran 5:39)

Move forward and focus on your present behavior

You mention you cannot find the shop owner. You may wish to seek forgiveness, which is an excellent idea. But if you have tried to find him and were unable to, there is nothing to worry about. Ask him to forgive you during your prayers. Besides, you have already asked Allah also

Write a letter

If you think that brings you some relief, write a letter to the shop owner. Even if you cannot deliver it, just express your repentance by directing some words to him.

The idea of charity is a beautiful one; of course, you can do that.

Also, if you do some good deeds in his name, and for increase your own rewards.

Good deeds eradicate bad ones – it is in the Quran:

Surely good deeds wipe out evil deeds. That is a reminder for the mindful.” (Quran 11:114)

The same goes for bullying and other wrongdoings you might commit. The important thing is that you realize that something was wrong, that you repent, and that you try not to do it again.

I think you are doing it very well, masallah, so just keep up with this attitude and trust in the mercy of Allah.

Wishing you the best,

Question 4. My mom seems sexist and ableist toward autistic and bipolar

I just did comment on to a Muslim YouTuber that he was sexist toward females. I made arguments toward him that both men and women are equal for working their jobs that depends on their abilities. Other users commented me about this that I wasn’t smart. The problem is that I am autistic and bipolar. I did have problems of making relationship with this male and failed my studies when I studied in states in college for special needs that my dream was to be teacher. I was hospitalized in mental health hospital that they diagnosed that I was crying a lot. I felt that wasn’t my fault that I made relationship with him. He just told that he loved me, but I felt refused until later a year. He just wanted to convert to Muslim and wanted to marry me. I didn’t have much time to marry him that I needed to focus on my studies. I also didn’t have much to take permission from my mom. I failed my studies because I didn’t go to office hours. I had go to office hours that professor didn’t give me explanations. I was very stressed out of my studies and I communicated with him that I had to leave out of country to keep in touch with him. I tried to find jobs, but they’re not suitable for me. Then I decided to go back to states to continue my studies, but I failed it again. Then on third time, I did succeed. My mom seems disapproved of me that I made relationship with him. I didn’t flirt with him or anything. I tried to explain to her that he loved me and he was so good person, but then he turned bad person. I feel guilty myself that I did join in movie clubs by surrounding with males and females like activity. I am pretty interested in watching movies. My mom thought it was haram. I just noticed that males with disabilities more than females. Some people with disabilities accepted me who I am that made me happy. My mom was okay with this before, but now she changed her mind because of my mental health bipolar and stigmatized as crazy. She told me that I can’t make friends with males.

 Now I am studying in another college in my home country since I got kick out of college. I just did well studying. I told my mom if I make relationships with males and females that I won’t get too much close to them unlike before studying in states. I don’t flirt with anything. My mom didn’t trust me anything. I also have a sister or other family members don’t support me at all. I’m autistic that I have problems of socializing with others and also troubles in academic and workplace. My mom discouraged me if this man wanted to get to know me very well and then he decided to marry me. I have to communicate my personal life so that he should understand my symptoms and mental health. My sister told there’s no one to marry because I am ugly and problems with autistic and mental health bipolar. I was hoping to think better things that I get a job and marry a good person. My mom got married to my dad, but she didn’t know him and get permission from her family members. After they got married, my dad was narcisstic not caring my mom. When my mom left him, she was pregnant with me and she felt depressed that is why I was diagnosed as autistic. Now, I did explain to my mom that I have doubts if any men wanted to befriend with me that I won’t make any closer to them. Just friends, not intimacy relationships. I just learned the lesson before. My mom was scolding that she called me as stupid and crazy. I can’t get enough sleep after she called me that. She might be very cruel and also my dad was also cruel and he passed away in 2020 during coronavirus. I can’t commit suicide like same as before.

The problem is that I made make friends with males and females like happening at school and university because there’s male autistics more than females. My mom thought that I was going to hellfire because of having friends, disability and mental health bipolar. My mom thinks that autistics or other disabilities are evil and even other users from was extremely religious Muslim. He was misogynistic against women should be housewives to treat their husbands. Husbands won’t help her for cleaning and cooking unlike prophet Mohammed was treated and helped their wives not becoming housemaids.

I felt depressed and cried myself that I have male and female relationships, being autistic and bipolar. I learned to love myself not hurt myself. My mom and my sister think that I don’t improve my life for my mental health and autistic symptoms. I felt very lonely where there’s no can befriend with me in this university that I am transferred. Also in workplace. My mom forbids to join any clubs because there’s free mixing of men and women. The problem is my country now is like Western country. My family have lack of empathic toward me,

Answer:

Salam alaikom sister,

As I understand, you are autistic and bipolar, and you have had some episodes when you had to be hospitalized for your mental health condition. You went abroad to a special-needs school, where you struggled with your studies. During this time, you met someone who was a non-Muslim during your studies, but you “did not have time to marry him” because of your studies.

According to what you write, your mother disapproved of this relationship and the way you lived abroad—going to see movies in a mixed environment and befriending males—as it contradicts the teachings of Islam. Now you are back in your home country, and she still forbids you from joining clubs and seems to have a negative attitude towards your mental health condition and, as a consequence, the way you see certain things in life.

Sister, I am very sorry to learn that you feel that your family does not understand your health condition, labels you “crazy,” and lacks empathy towards you. It must be very hard to feel lonely without the support of your loved ones.

Being autistic and bipolar is not something taken lightly. Alhamdulillah, it seems that you can highly function and adjust to “normal” life by studying, working, and being able to socialize. This is a blessing, because unfortunately, many autistic people struggle with these daily activities and require lifelong assistance.

At the same time, your family should not forget that by being able to accomplish in these areas of life, your perception of norms slightly differs from the majority of those around you. This includes your reactions and behavior in certain situations.

Autistic people have difficulties reading the “social keys” of daily interactions, including the interpretation and expression of emotions and behaviors.

In light of this, it is quite normal and can be expected that your behavior and reactions differ from others’.

Learning to deal with these differences despite societal norms is one of the biggest challenges, not only for you but maybe for the families of people with autism.

This challenge can be intensified by religious norms and requirements and the notion that people “should” behave according to society and religion.

Your mother’s attitude

Sister, it seems that your mother and sister struggle to accept these differences and their consequences related to religious rules, like mixing with people of the opposite sex, for example.

It necessitates mutual understanding; you need to understand that they try to guide you according to the teachings of Islam. Why? You might ask them about it. They can have multiple reasons for that: trying to fit in to avoid comments from the community; because they fear Allah and they love you, they do not exactly understand why it is difficult for you; etc.

On the other hand, they should accept you for who you are, as this is not something you do “intentionally.” They need to understand that you may differ in your judgment of what is right and wrong and what is meant to be correct behavior. This is a direct consequence of your mental health condition.

While you may have the capacity to understand certain rules and prohibitions of the religion, you can still struggle with implementing them in your life.

Wanting to connect

On the other hand, it is the natural instinct of human beings to have the desire to connect with others. So, it is very understandable that you would like to be with others, despite the difficulties and critiques you face during these interactions.

I know, sister, that it is a huge struggle to socialize with autism, and it deserves a lot of appreciation that you are trying your best to connect with others.

This is not a scholarly opinion, so if you want to get more details about this, please turn to our section, Ask the Scholar. But I think the important is to practice religion according to your best abilities and leave the judgment to Allah, the most Just and Wise.

While you might reason differently and not see the point in the rulings on free mixing and befriending with the opposite sex, try to understand that they meant to protect you from possible harms. This frame is for your own benefit, so try to implement it if possible. It is quite understandable that if you are a Muslim and live among Muslims, these norms are even more expected in social interactions.

It is also quite understandable that when you consider marriage, you want your condition and way of life to be the starting point of the marriage search. This may require certain adjustments in etiquette. You may go and ask a local scholar with your mother about how all these rules apply to you. 

Unfortunately, your mother’s comments about hellfire and labeling you crazy if you struggle with these rules won’t help you. 

Talk to Your Mother

With this being said, I suggest talking to your mother and trying to explain to her that you cannot be measured with the same stick as others.

You can suggest she join a support group of autistic people / their parents to learn more about the way of life on the spectrum.

It is also a test of acceptance and the ability to let go of the expectations of society. Finally, what really matters is being close to Allah and serving Him according to our best.

Being a parent of an autistic and bipolar person is not easy either, so your mother surely has her own struggles.

Understand her. If being empathic is difficult for you (as it is for many autistic people), you may find it easier to understand the other person if you express your exact needs verbally and allow her to express her fears as well.

Try to make her realize that if you support each other and work as a team, both of you gain strength. Mutual acceptance and understanding are the keys.

Self-love

You are on the right track, alhamdulillah, when you say that you have learned to love and not hurt yourself. This is a blessing in itself, and you need to keep up this positive attitude.

I advise you to keep searching for a supportive atmosphere and community where you can experience acceptance and love for who you are.

Probably, in certain Muslim countries—where mental health issues are still treated as taboo—you face more difficulties, but, alhamdulillah, there are online options as well. I do not know whether you have connections where you studied abroad, but if in your current environment your condition and life quality worsen, you may consider going back and having more support there.

Try to connect with others and do things that make you feel good about yourself.

Online Conflicts

While I advise you to seek online support if in real life you face obstacles, I also want to warn you about the dangers of social media. 

I know that this can be hard for you, but try not to disclose too much personal information about yourself and be prepared that strangers might take advantage of what you have said.

Do not take it personally or seriously; do not forget that they do not know you; they just make judgments without getting the whole picture. You have to be strong to distance yourself mentally and emotionally in order to protect yourself and not get hurt.

Find a trustworthy online space and involve yourself in discussions with those whom you know you can trust.

You can try counseling also.

I hope that these tips bring you some relief, I wish you the best, insha Allah.

Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2022 | 09:00 - 10:00 GMT

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