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Stress, Fears & Doubts (Counseling Session)

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Thank you for participating in the previous counseling session about hardships and struggles with your questions!

Due to the counselor’s limited capacity of answering questions, here are the 4 questions that our counselor has provided an answer for.

We apologize for not responding all the other questions.

If you have not received an answer below at this time, please submit your question to one of our upcoming live session.

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Thank you for your understanding.

Question 1. Elderly parents

I live nearby my parents since age 35. It was like a breath of fresh air because they are very controlling, very difficult.  I see them daily and for the last 10 years I’ve been their caregiver, going there after work, taking time off to drive them to doctors appointments.  My dad is now deteriorating quickly, and my mom has mobility issues. They both have had lots of surgeries over the years and I always take care of them. 

I have 2 older married brothers who have always gotten a pass from my parents. They dont help at all, its always been on me and even when I tell my mom that they should help, she basically tells me to shut up. 

Here’s the thing: I’m tired and resentful.  I wanted a different life.  My father may not live much longer. And, I don’t want to take care of my mom. I just don’t. She’s 85 and could live another 10 years.  She expects me to sell my house and move into the large, 40-year old house she shares with dad. I dont want to sell my home.  I don’t want to take care of my parents large house – I’ve been doing that already because they can’t, and I hate it. I have a job and I’ve put money and time into my house.  She won’t move into my house.  I keep thinking of ways to get out of this but I can’t. 

She will NEVER force my brothers to help, and my brothers are perfectly happy with that because they can continue to live their lives as-is.  I dread each day, knowing my dad will pass and the burden of my mom will fall on my shoulders.  She’s getting more and more difficult but it’s just a more acute version of how she and dad used to control me – telling me my clothes are inappropriate,  complaining about the food I cook, calling me at work all the time, not following medical advice, etc. I’m having a hard time balancing my job with being a caregiver to 2 old and unhealthy patents.  No, they won’t accept outside help!   I feel like at age 50, I’m still under the control and influence of my parents and will be until I’m 60. And who will take care of me?  But deep down I know I can’t just abandon her.  I always wanted to get married and then my brothers would have no choice but to take care of our parents. But they find them just as difficult as I do, but because my parents want ease for my brothers (as most muslim parents do), my parents will never ask them to share the load.  Even financially I will be expected to support my mother even though my brothers are each very well off.

Can I move away? Refuse and just force my mom to live alone? I’m just dreading every single day. I have unrealistic fantasies of some Muslim man quickly sweeping me off my feet and taking me away!

Answer:

Salam alaikom wa rahmatullah dear sister,

Thank you for writing to me. I am sorry to hear all that you have been going through. And your situation is not easy. It must be tiring and resentful, while I am sure you love them and do not want to leave them.

I think there is an important sentence in your letter to reflect upon:

“But deep down I know I can’t just abandon her.”

Let’s put aside here for a moment the general Islamic etiquette about our duties and respect for our parents. Is there anything else there why you say this? Why you cannot abandon her? What are your fears exactly? How would you feel if you had to “abandon” her? And what would you think about yourself if you would do that?

Whatever the answers are, I think you need to work on this issue, as it may be connected to your own feelings of vulnerability.

Dear sister, I think you are arriving at a turning point in your life. And I do not mean the possible changes due to the age and health condition of your parents. I mean that you, as a person, are getting closer to forming your own identity and setting your own boundaries and rules for your own life, alhamdulillah.

You know, this process sometimes happens sooner than later. It depends on the person and her circumstances. And some of us are burdened with more tests regarding our family members, while others with more ease.

This causes the feeling that you are not comfortable with your role anymore. You are growing out of it.

Get Strength from Other Roles

We all play different roles throughout our lives. And maybe, if your role as a “child” (the daughter of your parents) has an extended presence in your day-to-day life, it can have a stronger influence on your life and can make it more difficult to step out of it.

I mean that you always remain the daughter of your parents, in some form, even after their death. But you are also a working woman, an adult lady with maturity, for example. You might need to focus on these roles.

If you strengthen your identity as an adult woman, with your own decisions and with certain boundaries, you may find it easier to handle this situation.

There Is a Middle Path

For example, I think the solution can be somewhere in the middle. You do not need to abandon her completely or give up your life entirely for her. It is your duty to take care of them, yes. But it is also your right to have your own life, just like your brothers, for example.

You can still take care of her and visit her regularly while you maintain your preferences, your house, your job, and so on.

For example, you can find a part-time nurse, a cleaning person, or whatever eases you the most. While you are continuing with your job AND taking care of your mother.

You say that they do not want external help. But what if they have no other choice, for example? 

Explore Your Limits

Try to explore, set up, and express your limits (physically, psychologically, and also spiritually – as your overall well-being should not be lost and sacrificed on the way) and say how much you can take from this without resentment, blame, and guilt.

If someone demands more than you can bear and wants to make you feel guilty for not being able to accomplish it, know that there is something dysfunctional in that relationship, and it is not necessarily your fault.

Love Should Not Be Conditional

I think it is an important step to be able to express your needs without fearing that you will lose the love of your parents. In a “healthy” family dynamic, love is not conditional.

One should not fear losing the love of others for saying no.  And if you partly continue with your life, it does not mean that you do not love them either.

You mentioned that they had been controlling you. Unfortunately, it can lead to these beliefs and thought patterns.

Alhamdulillah, these thought patterns that make you feel sad, depressed, and guilty can be modified in therapy into healthier ones while it is possible to strengthen your boundaries and learn to say no.

Try to understand where your parents are coming from. What could be their reasons for their controlling behavior?  Maybe due to family norms, culture, etc. they lacked the skills to express their care properly for you? Do they know how this makes you feel?

Maybe trying to speak with your mother about your point of view could help.

But sometimes people are not willing to change perspective because they cannot deal with its emotional consequences. It is not your fault, then. The important thing is that you become aware of these patterns and you are able to modify your responses to them.

Learning to Say No

So, if you do not want to take care of the cleaning of a big house that is not yours, it is OK. Not wanting to abandon your own home for the next years, also.

You say, “she expects me to sell my house”. Yes, but she has to consider your opinion as well. Your comfort also matters. It has to be a mutual agreement and compromise between the two of you. Even in these delicate years.

Talk to Your Brothers

I think, regarding at least the expenses, you can speak to your brothers. Instead of asking your mother about them, you can speak to them directly and explain to them your side of the story, your feelings, and your needs. And I think the possible answer that they have a family and you don’t is not relevant in this case. They also have the Islamic obligation to take care of their elderly parents, even if they do not ask for it.

My sister, I can feel your disappointment when you say that this is not the life you wanted for yourself. That you were not granted to form your own family yet. It is part of your test. There are lessons to learn and grow.

But think about it: in sha Allah, you still have plenty of years ahead. You can still take the lead in your own life and find ease.

Do It with Love

Let me tell you something. Do as much as you can for your family, but only as much as you can with your heart and for the sake of Allah.

And what does not come with love and real willingness, leave for others. Because if you do your duties and serve without real conviction and willingness, you probably won’t be content with your actions. And this probably leads to tiredness and feelings of resentment. Probably mixed with blame and guilt.

So, to summarize, here are the practical steps I recommend:

  • Practice forgiveness and, on the other hand, gratitude. Forgive them, yourself, your brothers. For everything that went wrong. And show gratitude for all the blessings you have received during these years. Contentment comes when we are able to wish for what we can truly want or have at a certain moment, and we are able to say no or let go what cannot happen.
  • Reflection about fears related to love, self-love, and being loved. And, if possible, work with a counselor on believing more in yourself and your adult identity, which is separate from your family. Read about  boundaries and about learning to say no.
  • Explore the limits of your willingness to help and try to do your best – but only as much as it comes sincerely from your heart. Always with good intention and for the sake of Allah.
  • Try to arrange the management of “the rest”. Either with external help or in some other form. Involve your brothers and let them know that they also need to take part in taking care of your parents.
  • Try to get prepared to the reactions of your family around you if you start to behave “differently” thanks to your self-improvement. It would be very common reaction to try to “put you back in the box”. Just stay strong and commit yourself to your decision of self-improvement.

You may need to seek further counseling and see how you can fix these thought patterns that make you feel sad and depressed.

You can try our life coaching services as well.

If you need further advice, do not hesitate to contact us again. May Allah ease your situation

Wish you the best,

Question 2. Overthinking about past sins

Asalamalaikum, I am struggling with masturbation since years and ended up in dark content like incest and cuckold. I have inappropriately touched my sisters. I have shared pictures of my partner who I am going to marry inshallah. Some decent pictures with face, nude pictures without face and some indecent pictures with face on a dating app. I started overthinking what if someone has saved her pictures and ended up telling her about the dating app to which she didn’t ask any details like which pics or how many times. I had sexted on that dating app and talked about her on other places I shared her pictures. She has forgiven me and Allah saved me form humiliation. Local imam said details are between you and Allah. She actually repeated after me saying I don’t want to know details about what I did on bumble and Reddit. Overthinking made me realise I had once shared a face cropped picture to someone on WhatsApp too which made me generally apologize by saying sorry for using your pictures for my lust. I want to really marry her but I overthink about the following- 1) what if someone saved her pictures. 2) she doesn’t know what I spoke, how many times and other details like which pics 3) I feel like a very bad person when I am in front of her.

I have cried to Allah a lot of times and I believe he’s forgiven me.

Answer:

Salam alaikom wa rahmatullah brother,

Thank you for writing to us and asking for further clarification about your concern.

If I understand well, you committed some indecent acts with the pictures of a girl who you wish to marry. And although she does not know the details, she is aware that you were on online dating apps. She forgave you, but she prefers not to know more about it. But you keep overthinking this issue. Your concerns are:

  1. What if someone saved her pictures?

Brother, I cannot tell you with certainty that this has not happened.

You know, there is a principle in Islam, which is: certainty cannot be overruled by doubt. It means that until you are not certain 100% about something, you cannot take the doubtful matter as truth.

Brother, I am not an Islamic scholar, so this is not a scholarly opinion. But I would like you to see your doubts from this perspective.

What if someone saved a picture? Until you know with certainty that this actually happened, you do not need to worry about it.

Furthermore, you say that you repented and asked for forgiveness from Allah and also from the girl. Trust full-heartedly that Allah has forgiven you:

“O My servants who have exceeded the limits against their souls! Do not lose hope in Allah’s mercy, for Allah certainly forgives all sins. He is indeed the All-Forgiving, Most Merciful. (39:53)

You said that she forgave you, alhamdulillah.

Forgive yourself

You also have to forgive yourself. That is very important.

Brother, I am sure that you are aware that your relationship, according to your letter, seems to be way beyond the Islamic etiquette of premarital relationships. If you really love her, legalize your bond with her as soon as possible through nikah. It may alleviate your guilt that you are only using her to satisfy your lusts.

You have to accept that you were not able to control your desires and used her images for your lust and maybe for others’. But also recognize that you are now a better person and are striving to be even better. Forgive yourself, as this is necessary in order to be able to move on.

Of course, giving up bad habits takes time, and you need to be patient and resilient to resist any temptation. And repentance needs to be followed by a change in action and behavior.

This relates to another topic in your letter. About masturbation addiction and the dark content and inappropriate touches of your sisters in the past.

Reasons behind addiction

Brother, behind these actions there can be some kind of traumatic experience as well. If you know that you suffered or witnessed some form of abuse that probably led you to these desires and behavior, you need to work on this with a therapist.

Unfortunately, sexual and other forms of abuse, emotional trauma, loss, can be connected to addictions and other mental health problems. Even parental absence or neglect:

Dad-deprived boys are hurting,” explains Warren Farrell in this article.  “They are more likely to be addicted to drugs, video games, opioids and online porn, more likely to be depressed, withdrawn and to commit suicide, they are even more likely to have their life expectancy shortened.”

You can also work on how to change this habit. You can find useful tips on our site here, here, and here. But if we are talking about addiction and a deeply rooted issue, these tips might not be effective.

If you are not able to give it up despite your attempts and you think you suffer from addiction, you need to work on your healing in order to fully recover and be able to avoid future conflicts and issues in your relationships and with your mental health.

I can recommend counseling. If you have limited resources, you can find some organizations that offer services for the vulnerable. Check out this list, for example. Furthermore, this lecture by Sr. Abeda Ahmad on the topic may be useful to you.

  • She does not know what I spoke about, how many times, and other details.

I think the important thing is that she forgave you and she willingly decided not to know any details about your past.

You have to focus on this. You can still have a sincere, honest relationship as long as you remember to be sincere and honest in your present and future with her.

Try to close the past. But remember, you may only be able to close it if you are able to arrange all aspects of it, including your addiction and other underlying issues. All these things are connected, and you need to clean them up in order to be able to make a new start.

  • You feel like a very bad person in front of her.

That is understandable and is a normal reaction. A normal reaction of guilt when you cause harm, especially to someone you love.

You can try to eradicate these feelings if you engage in good deeds, especially towards her. Try to do things that please Allah and also help this girl. Insha Allah, whatever good deed you do for her and for the sake of Allah, it will help you to feel better towards her with time, in sha Allah.

Unfortunately, you cannot change what happened in the past but you really can do a lot about your future, now in the present.

So, focus on the present and on doing good deeds, practical ones and in worship as well.

Try to find out the root causes and the underlying issues related to sexuality and addiction, and work on overcoming them and healing.

In your day-to-day dealings, turn completely away from harmful content and people. There is no middle path in this case; you need to cut off 100%. If this means physical distance from your current environment, consider it also.

Engage yourself in new activities, in positive actions, and try to clean your heart by taking care of your physical, mental, and spiritual health.

May Allah help you with it.

Question 3. Relationship and Marriage

I love someone. We were involved in haram relationship for some time. Now I have stopped our relationship temporarily out of fear of Allah, for the sake of Allah. Have I done the right thing? And what if we get married in the future? Will it be a sin?

Answer:

Salam alaikom wa rahmatullah dear sister,

Thank you for writing to us.

You say that you love someone and you were involved in a haram relationship with him. But out of fear of Allah, you stopped it.

You are asking about whether it is the right thing to do and whether it is a sin if you will get married in the future.

First of all, your fear of Allah is absolutely commendable, masallah, and you definitely did the right thing by stopping this relationship.

According to your letter, you are just in the middle of your teens and probably in puberty as well.

It is quite normal that you experience more intense emotions, outbursts, and deep feelings during these years. It is also quite common that you start experiencing your own attraction towards the opposite sex, having romantic feelings, and having a desire to love and be loved.

This is part of the physical and emotional maturation process. And environmental factors—the culture and the society around us—will influence how much you can act upon these desires.

I do not know where you live, but particularly in the West, it is completely normalized to act upon your desires and engage in relationships once you feel attracted by someone.

And for young Muslims like you, it is especially hard to resist peer pressure and go against the flow. It is a big test for the Youth, and certainly you will be rewarded for your resistance.

Sister, as a Muslim, wherever you live, you have to first try your best to live according to the standards of Islam. And from your letter, it seems, masallah, that you are aware that having a boyfriend-girlfriend relationship (basically, a relationship outside of marriage) is not permitted by Allah (SWT).

I would like you to know that Allah, the Most Merciful, is not against love:

And of His signs is that He created for you from yourselves mates that you may find tranquillity in them; and He placed between you affection and mercy. Indeed in that are signs for a people who give thought.” (Quran 30:21)

It is not love, or feelings of attraction, that is haram, but living these feelings outside of marriage. In each and every command there is wisdom, just like in the protection of the couple by the boundaries of a legal union, namely, marriage. Check this article if you want to learn more about this.

So, it was absolutely the best decision that you stopped this relationship for the sake of Allah. It means that you were able to prioritize your faith and your love for Allah before your desires and feelings.

And I hope that you know that there is a reward for giving up something you love for the sake of Allah:

“You will never leave something for the sake of Allah, but Allah will give you something better in return.” (Musnad Ahmad, vol.5 pgs.78, 79 & 363)

You also mentioned that you had stopped your relationship “temporarily”. I do not know what exactly you mean by this. But I strongly encourage you not to continue this relationship in this form anymore.

Choosing the Halal Way

If you mean that you would rather seek the possibility to get married and continue your relationship in marriage, then this is a viable option. As far as I know, there is no sin if you get married with someone you were involved with in a haram relationship, but rather the opposite: after repentance and seeking forgiveness, one can marry and continue being together as husband and wife in a legal union in the sight of Allah. You can write to our scholar and ask this specific question by clicking here.

If No Possibility of Marriage

If there is no possibility to get married soon, but probably yes in the future, I also advise to stop this relationship until your marriage becomes a realistic option. If you keep contact, it will make it more difficult for both of you to resist, and you can easily end up falling back into zina again.

Remember, you cannot lose him, no matter what happens. If he is meant for you and your marriage is decreed by Allah, it will happen for sure, sooner or later. And Allah will never bless or approve of any relationship that violates His Law. The most important thing is to follow the guidance of Allah, in order to be guided by Him:

“Then when guidance comes to you from Me, whoever follows My guidance will neither go astray ˹in this life˺ nor suffer ˹in the next˺.” (Quran 20:123) 

And lastly, if there is no realistic possibility that you will ever get married, there is no need to be in contact anymore.

I know it is hard and it is hurtful to break contact with someone you love. But as soon as you go through the process of loss and emotional detachment, you will feel better, in sha Allah.

Move On

Get prepared for these times and involve yourself with good company. Go out and have fun with other Muslims and good friends. Do sports, study, take care of yourself.

And lastly, but most importantly, strengthen your faith and connection with Allah. If you accept His wisdom and decision, you will be able to see the big picture and understand why He shields you from certain things in life that appear lovely and fun.

You can try our life coaching services, if you need a more detailed advice.

May Allah help you, sister.


Question 4. Jealousy How to deal the jealousy to the second wife of my husband

Kindly give me advice how to accept without jealousy and we will happy all in sha Allah

One month already my husband is married and I know everything thing before he married because my husband is a very honest person I ever meet and before he married that his second wife I know because I’m the one choose for him who he married but when they are already married I start get jealous getting insecure to her worries maybe my husband he will love that lady more than me he will get much time than so many questions and negative coming from head but my husband always comfort me guide me and let me remember how we are happy before is never changed even he have other woman but everytime o to him few minutes my stress are gone but after a few hours I getting irritated again I get angry I fight fight with him, my point is how i deal to to my jealousy and worries I want to be happy and accept everything about them without jealousy and insecurity I want to her friend bestfriend sister that we will ne happy all us kindly advise me what I’m going to do. Thank u so much may Allah guide all of us.

Kindly give me advice how to accept without jealousy and we will happy all in sha Allah

Answer:

Salam alaikom dear sister,

Thank you for writing to us.

You are asking for guidance regarding jealousy, which has started to overwhelm you since your husband is married to a second wife.

According to your letter, you have a fulfilling marriage. Your husband is honest and tries to comfort you. You were involved in his decision. You want to be happy and accept her without jealousy and insecurities, and treat her as a best friend.

Masallah sister for your noble intentions.

I think that what you have been going through is very normal and understandable. Your soul and your mind seem to be ready for this situation. The fight is rather in your nafs, on an emotional level.

It has been only a month, so this is quite a new situation. Even if this idea was there in theory before, in practice, being the first wife and not the wife is not as long. I think, just like with any major change in life, it takes time until we adjust to the new context.

Insha Allah, you will see that everything is going to be OK.

Feelings of jealousy and of not being loved enough are natural feelings and common fears. Jealousy is a perceived threat to a relationship, creating feelings of insecurity. You are not the only one. Women (and, of course, men) struggle with these feelings, even in monogamous, happy marriages. To some extent, jealousy can be even productive, creating motivation for the couple.

Think about that the part of your destiny was that you would become a first wife. It was decreed upon you. Allah chose this as one of your tests. So, take it as this is part of your personal jihad.

So, your jihad in this life includes fighting these emotions and your nafs. Think about it. Aren’t we promised that Satan will follow us on our path until the last day?

So, on one hand, try to accept that the goal is not to eradicate these feelings, as they probably will always be there, with more or less intensity. It does not mean that you are not strong enough in your faith or that you are weak in emotion.

But the goal is to learn to cope with these feelings and not let affecting negatively your wellbeing and your relationship with your husband, converting these fears to a self-fulfilling prophecy.

How can you cope with them?

First, realize that it is something “external” to you. It is Satan who whispers to our hearts, causing you distress and suffering:

the evil of the lurking whisperer, who whispers into the hearts of humankind” (Quran 114:4-5)

And remember Our servant Job, when he cried out to his Lord, “Satan has afflicted me with distress and suffering.” (Quran 38:41)

And part of Satan’s „job” is to create conflict among mankind:

Satan certainly seeks to sow discord among them. (17:53)

And conflict and separation between husband and wife:

„Iblis places his throne upon water; he then sends detachments (for creating dissension); the nearer to him in rank are those who are most notorious in creating dissension. One of them comes and says: “I did so and so.” And he says: “You have done nothing.” Then one amongst them comes and says: “I did not spare so and so until I sowed the seed of discord between a husband and a wife.” The Satan goes near him and says: “You have done well.” A’mash said: He then embraces him.” Sahih Muslim 2813b

So, I advise you to do the following:

Take your time

Take your time to adjust to this new situation. Accept your feelings and learn to cope with them instead of trying to see them as something „unacceptable”.

Your goal of being real sisters in Islam and maintaining a loving friendship is commendable. Set it as a goal, but don’t force it on you until you’re ready. It can be a gradual process rather than all of a sudden.

Share with him your struggle instead of suppressing your feelings

Share with your husband that this situation, although you agree spiritually and mentally, is challenging, so ask him to be patient and understanding of your shortcomings until you get used to it. Assure him of your love and your good intentions.

Focus on your relationship with your husband. Actually, sister, I think this is the most important thing. If you had a loving and good relationship, you would try your best to maintain this love, sincerity, and care. I am sure this is what he wants also.

If your husband has good character and he is supportive of you, that is a barakah. Try to make him happy when he spends time with you, and try to avoid quarrels and fights because of your feelings. That is most probably contra productive in the long-run.

Do not let this struggle become an underlying issue that causes you to lash out and become irritated in minor, everyday situations. If you suppress these feelings, they will probably break out, and you will end up fighting with him over irrelevant issues.

It is better to discuss it. Set up a time for that, when you sit down quietly and talk. Here, both of you can express and address your feelings and concerns.

He probably wants to spend his time with you in peace and in a good mood. If you let this happen, his love will increase and he will be eager to come back to you again.

Avoid triggers

Sister, you need to see what extent of involvement you are comfortable with without starting to be overly jealous. For some people, the less they know, the “happier” they are. Others are more confident if they know the details. Monitor yourself and if you feel that too much information about their relationship causes you negative feelings, try to distance yourself.

Do not compete

The other important thing is to fight the feeling of competition by having realistic expectations. Yes, your husband will most likely develop feelings for his other wife. That is part of the “deal”. They will also share pleasant moments together.

But it is not about who he feels better with, who he loves more, whose cooking he likes better. There is really no need to compare yourselves. Just focus on yourself and him and try to have a good relationship.

Remember Allah and Fight Satan

These negative feelings, insecurities, and competitiveness are all part of Satan’s tricks to harm you, your relationship with your husband, and finally your faith.

So, what you need to do is to fight Satan and these whispers:

“Indeed, when Satan whispers to those mindful ˹of Allah˺, they remember ˹their Lord˺ then they start to see ˹things˺ clearly.”  (Quran,7:201)

Remember Allah and strengthen your faith in him. Be grateful for what you have and for all the love you have had and will have, in sha Allah in this relationship.

When these feelings start to overwhelm you, do voluntary worship, listen to the Quran, make dua and dhikr.

You can also write down your feelings in a journal and „get rid of them.” By journaling, you can diminish the intensity of feelings by verbalizing them.

Counseling

If you continue to feel insecure over time, it is possible that this situation has triggered some underlying psychological issues related to self-esteem and confidence. You may take a couple of counseling sessions to address it and improve individually. You can try our life coaching service as well.

I pray these tips will help you. May Allah bless you with comfort in your marriage.

Saturday, Sep. 24, 2022 | 10:00 - 11:00 GMT

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