Sr Hannah’s Advice on How to Deal with Relationships


Salamu alaykum dear brothers and sisters,

We would like to thank you for joining us in this live session.

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

If you have any queries that you would like to send to our upcoming live session, feel free to send them to [email protected]


Q: Assalamalaykum,

Me and my wife got separated 2 months ago because of a fight between us and she demanded the khula and it ended. There were mistakes from my side and which I am able to understand now. But I still love her and I want to reconcile but she has blocked me all over and not in contact with me. Her family also will not trust me now.

Can you please guide me on what to do?I am suffering from depression and still want to reconcile but the other party is not interested

A: Walaikum wa rahmatulahi wa barakatuh, 

Getting a divorce is very distressing to both parties and anyone else involved. Even if it ended in cases where there were unresolvable discrepancies between both involved, there will be consequences to deal with. In your case, you wish to reconcile, but your ex-wife has blocked you out and is not in contact with you anymore. 

What’s done is done now and there is no going back so it’s important to try and not focus on regrets of what could be done back then, because you will not get that time back again. However, you can focus your efforts on now and what you can do moving forward in the future. 

The first thing to do is to get Islamic advice on whether it would even be OK for you to reconcile and remarry in the case that she does start to respond to you again. I say this as I believe there are certain prerequisites involved in marrying the same person again. This is something you should first clarify with a scholar or knowledge. 

The next thing to do, simultaneously with seeking Islamic guidance on the matter is to seek counselling for your depression. I can provide you with some one of advice that in sha Allah will ease your current feelings and give you some ideas about where to go from here, but you should Seeking ongoing counselling for your depression. This will give you an outlet to express your feelings to a neutral party who will also be able to support you in overcoming your depression. 

Regardless of whether it is deemed that you could remarry her, you must keep in mind that now you are not married anymore you are no longer halal for one another and therefore contact alone with her is not permitted. Perhaps this is even the reason she is blocking you, to avoid sin on both her part and yours.

Also, given that you were once married and the feelings are there, contact with her will like lead to heightened emotions, more so than with couples that were never married and could lead to harm quite easily. So, for the sake of Allah, this is best avoided. You might however, instead contact her via someone else, either from her family, or yours.

Again, regardless of whether you would be permitted and/or able to remarry her, then you can use this as an opportunity to work on yourself. You mention that there were some mistakes from your side and that in hindsight you can now see that. Work on bettering yourself on these matters so as not to end up in this kind of scenario again, or at least find ways to manage yourself more appropriately should you feel like this again.

Often this involves things like recognizing your own personal triggers that make you behave irrationally or inappropriately. Was there something in particular that happened or was said in that argument that made you behave wrongly? How could you have managed your feelings or actions more appropriately?

Often things like taking the perspective of the other person, taking a fee seconds to think before responding, or even walking away for a short while can help to avoid irrational, in the moment, reactions that can sometimes end with devastating effects as you have experienced. See this as an opportunity for growth to nurture you into a better person who could be an even better husband to your ex-wife if permitted, or otherwise a new wife in the future. 

Another thing to do is to give both of you time. She will also be going through her own difficulties too right now and needs space too. This might be another reason why she is blocking you also. Rather than focusing too much on trying to get in touch with her, instead, for a short while at least, be focused on keeping yourself well emotionally.

When experiencing depression, it can be easy to let go of oneself and neglect basic needs. Make sure you are eating well, exercising and spending time with others doing the things you usually would. Not only will this be good for your psychological well being, but it will give you the space to clear you mind and decide more clearly what is best to do next.

It will also give her the chance to do the same. With that space, if it is deemed permissible to remarry you will be in a better place to approach her again. And, if not, then you will be in a better place psychologically to accept its over and move on. 

May Allah ease your difficulties and guide you to do what is best and most acceptable to you. May He bring you comfort in His remembrance. 

***

Q: Assalamalikum,

I am a young college student studying in the U.S.  and for the past months, something has been bothering me, but whenever I bring this up with an elder I am often not taken seriously. Toward the end of my high school, I felt I was maturing and when I entered University I realized that I was growing into a man. with this came in the natural desire for me wanting to have a “partner”. 

As a very strict practicing Muslim, I am often in this dilemma where on one hand I want to hang out with my friends whose parties are not at all aligned with our Islamic values at all. On the other hand, I wanted to follow what Allah has ordered me to do. I Alhamdulillah have chosen the latter one often.

I also realize that Allah has made us in pairs. and that we are meant to marry. in fact, it is a hadith where Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “O young people! Whoever among you can marry, should marry…….. ” I also know the latter half of the hadith where we are asked to fast if we cannot marry. But I feel fasting is a temporary solution and that a person is supposed to marry as soon as he is able to. (that is my understanding of the text because it perfectly aligns with the beginning of the hadith) 

Nonetheless, I tried fasting so many times but I often failed to get “rid” of my desires. I turned to other solutions. Like involving myself in so many activities that I would be exhausted to even think about a “partner” even that didn’t work. 

I remember I used to take part in extracurricular activities. I used to be busy from morning till late at 2 AM in the night working. Yet still, the desire to have a “partner”(or wife) was still there. I had all the friends in the world. In fact, at one point the whole year group( 1000’s of students) knew me. I was that popular. Yet I couldn’t get rid of the natural feeling.

So, I decided that rather than fighting it. Maybe this is my body and Allah’s way of letting me know that maybe I should embrace it and find a suitable partner. 

When I brought this topic up. My mother was quick to jump and tell me “ Who will give to a child that hasn’t finished his Uni” or “if you have a desire just fast” or “ even in the past people had this issue. Deal with it”(she used more polite words I am paraphrasing it here) 

When I try to mention that most of my friends take drugs, watch porn, indulge in pre-marital sex, and date. She denies it saying I am wrong about these things. But 90% of the “Muslim” kids I grew up with do this. I am tired of fighting the desire for all these things. The one place where I want to approach by what Allah has given us permission I am not met with support there.

But despite that, I AGREE with my parents that no good family would give their daughter (through the “halal way”) to a 20-year-old uni student. But in all honesty, I find myself much more mature than most 20’s old heck even 25-year-old people I find just outright immature. Yet they are classified as “ready for marriage” but I am classified as “immature” because of a piece of paper(degree)?

I am a board member with social organizations. I work part-time. I live alone. I Cook perfectly on my own. I take care of my financial spending properly (I am still dependent on finance from my father), I pray all my salah on time without fail. What more do I need to do to show my maturity?

What I type here is not just my story but I feel this is a story of many Young Muslim boys and girls.What do elders think? That we ‘the young people’ will go to university where interaction between young people is so open with no boundaries that we will not develop any emotional-social and in some instances sexual bonds?

I remember a very strict practicing friend tell me once that another Muslim girl(who was very practicing) texted him for some work and both of them knew each other. After a couple of conversations, they both started very lightly flirting with each other. Then instantly stopped. And he was quite frank in saying he really liked her. I asked him why’d he end the convo and he told me because he was fearful of Allah. I strongly believe another youth in his place wouldn’t mind continuing the convo. 

Let’s be realistic here. Dating is so common!! Nobody wants to legalize something which is Haram but it is high time we make Halal easy. I am dubbed an extreme person because I don’t want to date and choose to keep my interactions Halal !? I firmly believe that if given the chance. Maybe us marrying younger will make us more mature. Now that we will have to take care of someone. 

I also realize that after marriage the challenges just begin. There is a journey that will be tough but with Allah’s support and the right person, it will be worth it. I am tired … I won’t commit anything “haram” but I feel every day is like hell !!

I am not praising myself or anything. but I have had many girls flirt with me. It may seem something to brag about but honestly, it’s really hard to not want to be desired by others. It’s really hard as a guy to turn down girls and live the “halal life”. I don’t want to date or have casual sex.

I will not lie. I have had to commit to masturbation quite often… but there needs to be some outlet of my desire. But I am making it clear I DO NOT watch porn !! My culture is such that we don’t even entertain any youth who is wanting to get married. 

I would like your opinion on what other solution can I try. As I am at a loss for words right now. And please don’t give me the clique answer “ try making more friends”, “you must be lonely” or “try working out”. I have done all my research and I was not able to come across anything that I haven’t tried. 

I end by saying. Yes, I know that in 2-3 years or so when I am done with my degree many prospects will open up for me. But the issue is I don’t know if I can go on for another 2-3 years like this. I would really like your perspective on what are some realistic ways I can talk with my parents and if that is not right. How can I deal with this realistically?

A: Wa alaikum salaam wa rahmatulahi wa barakatuh, 

This is a common feeling for people of your age to go through. You are at an age where these feelings are so strong and can become so distracting. This is why Allah has permitted marriage to allow you to satisfy these feelings in a way that is pleasing to Him, but is also beneficial to society and families for so many reasons. Unfortunately, there are also many barriers that stand in the way of this and they are usually cultural. 

Certainly, when people are studying it can add additional challenges such as managing time committing to studies as well as a spouse and potential children, but also financially, as a student it is not usually possible to financially provide for a family when there is no income until studies are complete. This can make it difficult for the student to contemplate a successful marriage with too many burdens on their shoulders, but also potentially makes them undesirable to any suitors. However, these are additional burdens that might make things tough, but not impossible and therefore something to rule out entirely. 

Alhamdulilah, you are doing all the right things and following all the advice laid out by Allah and our Prophet (SAW) in dealing with the challenges that come from combating strong desires. Unfortunately, whilst this has helped to some extent, in the long run, you are still facing difficulties with it. The ultimate solution would be to get married as you mention and certainly there could be numerous challenges to this, particularly the lack of support from your family, especially when you are currently financially dependent on them so would struggle to facilitate a marriage without their support.

You have clearly said that you do not wish to be responded to with suggestions that you haven’t already tried, and I can see that you really have exhausted many suitable options, beyond those recommended in Islam, aside from actual marriage. You do also note, that yes, in a few years time when your studies are finished you will be in more of an easy position to approach marriage both practically and with your parents support. However, 2-3 years is a very long time to be battling with such strong desires. 

Given you have exhausted other options, trying to win your parents support in seeking marriage now could be your way out. Yes, the fact that you are not financially dependent at this point might be off putting to potential spouses, but the fact that you are pursuing your education with the end goal of employment in a good role to support a family is certainly an appealing one. Beyond that, the most important thing for a family to observe in a potential suitor should be that the person is an Allah-fearing person.

This way they can be confident that moving forward their daughter/sister/niece… Will be comfortable in a marriage where she will be treated well according to the commands of Allah. They will be able to trust that their family member will be in good hands and that when you do graduate you will provide for her in the way you should.

Confidence in an Allah-fearing spouse should be the utmost priority for them over any other quality. With this in mind, you can be sure that there will be families out there that would be willing to allow a girl in their family to marry regardless of your current financial and study situation. Perhaps there won’t be many, but good families will understand this well for the sake of Allah. These are points that you might like to raise with your parents to try and convince them to support you in seeking marriage. 

I understand that you have tried approaching them about it already but results have been fruitless as they are doubtful that anyone would marry a student such as yourself for obvious reasons and that you should do all the things that you have already been trying. This has understandably not been very helpful for you. There are a few options you might attempt to try and convince your parents otherwise and win their support in seeking marriage. 

Since they have not responded positively to your request as yet, you might consider getting the support of someone of knowledge to talk to them. They might be more willing to trust and listen to someone in such a position. As your parents they feel they know what’s best for you, and to some extent, as your elders they do, but there are also things standing in the way of this that light be overcome with third party intervention from others like elders of more knowledge.

Alternatively, even someone in the family could help to convince them, or otherwise, if you know of anyone who did get married as a student with positive consequences then they would be a good person to advocate on your behalf to the fact that marriage at this stage absolutely can work. Alternatively, if none of these are an option, you will also find lectures online that will say the same thing. 

In sha Allah this will at least soften their heart towards the prospect of you potentially getting married which along with some gentle persuasion form you might be enough to get the ball rolling so to speak. Perhaps you could agree to come to some kind of middle ground in the matter. Let them know that you do understand their concerns and you have tried to follow their advice and struggled and that with the support/advice of the person of knowledge, relative or person of experience that you may have been able to get to speak to them you would like to request their support in seeking marriage with an agreement that if things don’t go well you will gladly step back and bear the difficulties with patience.

You might set some kind of time limit to these to keep it fair to all, but such that also gives you a chance to try as in sha Allah proving to your parents that it is possible. This way you are approaching it in a way that is considerate of their own thoughts in the matter whilst allowing you to at least try and approach your situation from a more favorable angle. 

May Allah reward your continued patience and grant you a righteous spouse who will be the coolness of your eyes in this life and the next. May He soften your parents hearts to what is best for you and most pleasing to Him. 

***

Q: Assalamalaikum,

Assalam Alaykum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh. My husband comes home from work daily from 1:30 – 3:30 am for almost a year now. His work ends by 11 pm if he works overtime. When I ask him about it he gets angry. He said he is happy outside with whomsoever he is with.

I’m also working as his business is not doing good and he has another family with 4 kids. I make sure that I prepare his things and breakfast before I leave home and usually cook dinner for us daily but no chance to eat with him as he comes home very late and ends up not eating what I cooked for dinner.

We don’t have any other problems.  I get disturbed every time he comes home late as he makes a lot of noise talking on the phone and he loves to watch t.v before going to sleep. I need to wake up as early as 5:30 am to get ready for work.

I am regularly attending Islamic classes every Friday since I reverted to Islam 10 years ago. I am pregnant now and I can’t do TALAQ though I tried to ask for it before my pregnancy but he is not willing to leave me. I’m planning to ignore him and not to do all my wifely duties like preparing food and things for him. He has been very dependent on me since we got married. It might let him realize how he is treating me. But I’m afraid Allah will punish me in a day of judgement if I do so. Please give me some advice.

A: Wa alaikum salaam wa rahmatulahi wa barakatuh, 

This sounds like a very terrible situation for you to be in as a wife, pregnant and who attends to her husband’s needs, yet he seems to give little back, or even be bothered about the fact that he is not. At the same time, he is unwilling to let you go also so you are stuck in an unhappy marriage. 

I understand that you feel that if you neglect all your duties it might annoy him enough to either pay attention or seek divorce, but I would advise you to seek Scholarly advice related to the Islamic perspective on the matter to be sure of its permissibility as well as the potential consequences Islamically. 

Aside from whatever the ruling is on this Islamically, do also consider the consequences of these actions. It may end up with more severe consequences than you might otherwise face by continuing as is right now. His attitude towards you is not acceptable, but a more sensible first action before behaving in a way that may have unpredictable outcomes would be to seek reconciliation through talking, either at home, just the 2 of you, or else through counselling with a third-party present to mediate. Either way, it may be that he doesn’t realise just how much his behaviour is hurting you and he needs for you to make it very clear to him. 

Another option might be to request to go and stay with family for a short while, or even just for the weekend to get some space away from the situation that is causing you distress. This would also give him the chance to appreciate you as he comes to realise what life is like without you and just how much you do for him. Sometimes it takes for something to be taken away from us to realise how much it means to us. Perhaps this is the type of wakeup call he needs to realise this. 

It may also be that you both need to do something new and refreshing together to renew the spark again. Perhaps you could initiate something new and different that you could do together outside of the house so open up that chance to strengthen the bond. This kind of thing would be good for you both as individuals as well as a means to boost relations between you and give you both something new to look forward to. 

Aside from looking into these things as a means to improve things with your husband, do also make sure to not lose sight of yourself. It’s easy to get so caught up in things like this that we forget to also concentrate on ourselves and this only makes the situation worse. Do things that make you feel good with or without him. Take up a hobby, new or old, visit new places, spend time with friends and family, go for a walk, read a book, learn something new and reach new goals.

These are things that will help to boost your self-esteem at a time when it’s probably a bit low as a result of what’s going on. This will also make it easier for you to face your situation with more confidence in yourself and ability to manage difficulties. This will also ensure that your baby is kept safe in your tummy and not exposed to stress in the womb. 

May Allah ease the difficulties in your relationship and guide you to do what is best for you and most pleasing to Him. May He grant you a safe delivery and a child that will be the coolness of your eyes in this life and the next. 

***

Q: Asalamualikum, 

There is a girl of age 25 living who is also a distant relative to me. Yesterday I saw her doing something that she shouldn’t do ( I saw her talking to a boy, probably her boyfriend) . Will there be any sin on me if I tell her brother about the incident?

A: Wa alaikum salaam wa rahmatulahi wa barakatuh, 

This would be a matter that you best ask a scholar about to ensure you are getting the correct advice. This is because the consequences could be quite dire either way. Certainly, a case could be made either way on the surface, either that you have an obligation to report wrongdoing for her own safety l, but at the same time, that it is not your business to get involved in. This is why it is of utmost importance to get scholarly advice on the matter to be sure that you are acting in accordance with Islam and won’t do anything out of place. 

If it is that you are obliged to tell someone about it for her own safety and wellbeing in the eyes of Allah then to not speak out you may be looking for trouble when facing Allah for not doing the right thing. 

On the other hand, if it is that it is actually not for you to say anything about it, then to speak out unnecessarily will not only get the girl into trouble and possibly you as a result, but will also not be looked upon favourably by Allah. 

Whatever the result is following consultation with someone of knowledge you also need to consider how you handle the situation moving forward. Certainly, getting the advice will tell you exactly what you should do which is the best guidance and will give you confidence in your actions, but whichever way it is to go, it will be difficult, whether it is to report her, or to keep it concealed. 

Given the very sensitive nature of the event and the significant consequences that could arise from it, it is important that you take time to consider how to approach her brother if this is the path you need to take, or otherwise make a plan for how you keep it to yourself. Also prepare for the backlash either for reporting her or holding onto a secret.

Whatever the consequence, there will be some level of pain involved, whether it to be to her and her family, or to you as a result of sharing, or solely to you having the knowledge of something like this, but being unable to share. Whichever path you must take, the best way to deal with it psychologically is to remember that you are doing what you are doing for the sake of Allah and are doing it to please Him alone. This will give you the strength to do something difficult as well as keeping the purpose of your actions in mind. 

If it is that you will need to approach her brother or other family member, do so in a sensitive manner keeping in mind how devastating it could be to them. In doing such, the first thing is to be absolutely sure and confident that the male you saw her talking to is definitely someone who is haram for her. If you make a mistake here, you could land yourself in trouble for making false assumptions and causing discord in their family.

If you can confirm that this is not the case and he is in fact a boyfriend or so, then when approaching her brother or family member, make sure he is in a calm state of mind and alone in order to minimize the impact and make it easier for you to tell him and for him to receive the message. 

If it is deemed that I’m fact you have no business intervening then you must make sure to take a step back and not get involved in the situation. If you see anything suspicious again, just walk away to save yourself from the frustration of seeing something that you can’t talk about. If possible and you know the right people you could always ask someone that you are permitted to to subtly discourage her away from such interactions in the future. 

May Allah reward you for keeping an eye out for your fellow brothers and sisters and for seeking guidance on what to do before actually acting on instinct. May He guide you to what is best and most pleasing to Him. 

***

Q: Assalamalikum,

 I am writing this to you as a matter of urgency. Please kindly help out on this. I married my wife About 5 years ago. We had a daughter, who happened to be our first child through C.S. After 2 years my wife got pregnant again. During the eighth month of the pregnancy she wasn’t feeling well and I had to take her to the hospital. The doctor had to operate on her and abort the child for her safety. My wife went through C. S. three times in 5 years. We lost the second and third child. Alhamdulilah, at present my wife is well and sound.

My family tells me to divorce her and remarry. I have been under pressure for the past two weeks now. They say that I am spending too much money on her and that we aren’t destined to be together. Please I need your  advice on this. What is the Islamic ruling on this? Should I take my family’s advice on this as Islam forbids disobedience to parents?

A: Wa alaikum salaam wa rahmatulahi wa barakatuh,

This is always a difficult situation when you have parents advising against the will of the child, especially in adulthood. Of course as your parents you must respect and listen to them. However, when they are advising you against Islam then you are not obliged to obey them. This may be considered one of these occasions. Just because your wife has had struggles with losing children, she has not done anything that would give justifiable reasons for divorce as such. This is where it gets difficult because if you disobey your parents, this will potentially cause difficulties between you due to not listening to their suggestions. 

However, before making any decision on what to do hear, the first thing you should do is seek advice from a scholar of knowledge who will be able to provide the Islamic ruling on your situation. Having this secure advice will give you a much clearer idea of what’s best to do keeping the values of Islam in mind. 

Regardless of the outcome, you will need to be prepared for relations to be upset somewhere. If it is that you must listen to your parents, this will have consequences for your marriage and will cause upset to your wife. If it is that you don’t have to listen to them and choose to stick with your wife then this may upset relations with your family. Either way, there will be consequences that you will be the centre of and people will be upset. 

There are however ways in which you can soften the blow for all whatever the outcome may be… 

You and your wife have been through a lot losing 2 children. Your wife has been through the physical as well as emotional pains that accompany this. May Allah reward her every struggle. To add divorce to this will only add extra grief to her life at an already burdensome time. She needs the support of her loved ones at this time. Even if you chose to listen to your parents and divorce her it is necessary to do so with empathy for how she is feeling.

Given that it would not be that you are divorcing due to relationship difficulties this should not be a problem, except that the separation will be difficult for you both. Also make sure to do so in accordance with Islamic practices to ensure all rights of all parties are maintained, especially yij daughter who would suffer the most at the hands of this divorce if it should come to pass. You could also make sure that she has sound support from her family also. 

It seems that your parents have only been making this suggestion to you recently so there is every chance they may change their minds, and in sha Allah they will, especially if they can develop some empathy towards your wife for all that she has endured lately and as the mother of their granddaughter. It’s important that they understand how much your wife and daughter mean to you and the significant impact it would have on you all if you were to divorce. Maybe this will also change their minds for the sake of your happiness.

If it is deemed that in this case you don’t have to obey them then you could also back up your choice with justification from an Islamic perspective and ask them to give things a try in accepting your wife with this in mind. In sha Allah these things will be enough to convince them, but if not and then there may be consequences to deal with for you. Perhaps it won’t be as bad as you expect or will only be short lived, but continue to show them love and respect regardless of the turnout to let them know that your decision has no impact on your relationship with them.

In sha Allah in time they will come to accept your relationship and bonds will be remade. It might take some time and patience but if you keep at it at least you can be confident you have done your best to maintain family ties.

May Allah make things easy for you and your wife during this testing time and may He make your daughter a pillar of the Muslim community who will be the coolness of your eyes in this life and the next. May He soften the hearts of your parents and guide you to make the choices that will be best for you all and most pleasing to Him.

Salam,

*****

Tuesday, Oct. 06, 2020 | 08:00 - 09:00 GMT

Session is over.